Friday, June 3, 2011

Navigating - Post 3: Old Search, Basic Form

In the previous two posts (Navigating - Post 1: New Search, Advanced Form and Navigating - Post 2: New Search, Basic Form), I highlighted using the Basic and Advanced Search Forms using the "New Search" features.  I advocate using the Advanced Search Form because it is much more flexible and the results are organized better than with the Basic Form.  Some readers have pointed out that "it's too complicated."

Not everyone uses New Search - some users like the Old Search capability on because they think that it is simpler to use. 

When users access for the first time, the system will probably come up with the "Basic Search Form" in "New Search." Beginning users will not know about differences between the "New Search" and the "Old Search" capability, and finding the "Old Search" capability can be a challenge (it is on the Search Tab when in "New Search").  Therefore, a new or beginning user will not be using "Old Search" unless they happen to click on the link in "New Search."

Assuming that a user is intentionally or accidentally in "Old Search," here is how to easily navigate "Old Search" using the "Basic Search Form:"

1)  The subscriber home page looks something like this (a user can customize their home page):

The "Basic Form" in "Old Search" has four tabs - for Historical Records, Family Trees, Stories and Publications, and Photos and Maps.  The user can choose one of these to search.  If they choose Family Trees, they will not obtain results form Historical Records or the other tabs.

The Basic Form (screen above) has fields for the First and Middle Names, Last Name, Birth Year and Birth Country (with a dropdown list of countries - select one, or All), and the Death Year and Death Country.  There is a check box for "Exact Matches Only."  The "Advanced Search" link is in the lower right-hand corner of the Basic Form, and there is a link for "Search Tips" in the upper right-hand corner of the Basic form.  The "Search" is consummated by clicking the orange "Search" button.

2)  I added "Isaac" and "Seaver" to the name fields, left the "Exact Matches Only" box unchecked, and saw:

The screen above shows the limitless list of search results, starting with the three-star matches.  My Isaac Seaver is on that list in several databases. 

There is a "Refine Your Search" link that takes you to the Basic Search form at the bottom of the Search Results page.

A user can click on one of the other Tabs to see the matches in Family Trees, Stories and Publications, or Photos and Maps.  Users should not forget to do this.

A user could organize their search by clicking on one of the Record Types (e.g., Census, Vital Records) on the left-hand side of the screen.  A user could also narrow their search by adding a birth date and birth country, and/or a death date and country, to the search fields.

3)  I added a birth year of 1823 to the Basic Search Form and the results were:

The first 9 matches on the list above are for my specific Isaac Seaver.

3)  If a user clicks on the "Old Search" "Basic Form" check box for "Exact Matches Only," the Search Form fields change - instead of the "Birth Year and Country" and "Death Year and Country" there is a "Lived In" field and fields for "Year Range" (e.g., 1823 and 1901), as shown below:

The screen above has "Isaac" and "Seaver" in the name fields, and the "Exact Matches Only" box checked, but with no other field entries.

4)  Clicking on "Search," the Results page looks like:

This page has the list of Record Types, with the number of matches in the list of specific databases.  The databases in each Record Type are listed by the number of matches found.  If there are more than five databases with a match, there is a link to "View all XX results."

As you can see, the "Basic Search Form" in "Old Search" works pretty well - it finds my Isaac Seaver born in 1823 using just a few entries in the Search form, with or without the "Exact Searches Only" box checked.

The "Old Search" with the capability using the "Basic Form" does have one major user advantage over the "New Search" capability - it has an "Exact Search" check box on the Basic Form. 

One major advantage of "New Search" over "Old Search" is that it searches all collections on, not just one category (like Historical Records, as is the case on "Old Search").

We will look at the "Advanced Search Form" in "Old Search" in the next post. 

The URL for this post is

(c) 2011. Randall J. Seaver. All Rights Reserved. If you wish to re-publish my content, please contact me for permission, which I will usually grant. If you are reading this on any other genealogy website, then they have stolen my work.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your "one major advantage" is not quite accurate, as you can navigate to different tabs from the Old Search Results page and see those hits without having to fill-in the search parameters again.
B.G. Wiehle