Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Interesting Ancestry.com Search Quirk

I've thought that I'm pretty good at searching Ancestry.com record collections, know the "rules," but I keep finding little quirks.  The latest one popped up today.

I wanted to find all of the records available on Ancestry.com for Cornelius A. Carringer (1834-1916), born in Pennsylvania.

I did several searches, starting with:

1)  Given name (exact) = "cornelius," last name (exact) = "car*nger," born in "Pennsylvania" between "1832-1836" (exact).  Here is the search screen:

And the search results:

One 1860 census record, one 1910 census record, one Civil War Draft Registration Record, and 6 Public Member Trees.

2)  I added the "Records where only initials are recorded" option to the Given Name field:

And the results page:

In addition to the records found in 1), there are now records from the 1870 census and the 1880 census.  In both of them, he was enumerated as C.A. Carringer.

3)  I wanted to cover spelling variations of the first name, so used Given Name = "Cor*" and kept the "Records where only initials are used" option.  Here is the search screen:

And the results:

The results are similar to #1 above - the matches found in #2 for matches with initials were not found.

My conclusion from this is:  If you use a wild card for a given name, then any other search criteria ("Phonetic matches," "Names with similar meanings or spellings," or "Records where only initials are recorded") is not operative. 

The Ancestry.com "Using Advanced Search Features" guidelines say:

"You can use wild cards with exact matches. If you choose the Soundex, phonetic or similar options and use wild cards, then we will only apply the wild cards to the exact matches."

I didn't know that!  Now I do, and so do you.  But you might have known it before...

The URL for this post is:  http://www.geneamusings.com/2012/11/interesting-ancestrycom-search-quirk.html

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

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