Monday, May 6, 2013

SuperSearch Matches on

Since MyHeritage added the 1790 to 1930 United States Census records last week, I thought that I would see if the site finds all of the census records for my second great-grandfather, Isaac Seaver (1823-1901).  I always use this Isaac Seaver first because I know quite a bit about him and have collected records for him on other record collection sites.

1)  On the MyHeritage website (I have a PremiumPlus subscription and a Data subscription on MyHeritage), I clicked on the "Research" tab on the menu bar.  The "Basic Search" form opened:

The Basic search form has fields for First and middle name(s), Last name, Year of birth, Place (year of birth, residence or other), and Keywords.  There is an "Exact search" check box.

I put First name = isaac" Last name = "seaver" and clicked on the green "Search" button and received 1,922,122 matches.  That's unmanageable.

I checked the "Exact search" box, and received 116 results.  That's manageable!  Frankly, I don't know where my limit on matches is - I think it's around 100 - I will take the time (30 to 60 seconds) to scroll through (but not click on) a list of 100 matches, but not 200.

2)  I usually search using more fields than the name fields, and I wanted to see what the Advanced Search fields have to offer.  On the screen above, I clicked on the "Advanced Search" link at the top of the Search field box.  The "Advanced Search" page has more fields, and more filtering options, than the "Basic Search" form:

On the screen above, I put First name = "is" and then clicked on the dropdown menu for the First and middle name field.  The options included:

*  Match name exactly
*  Match similar names
*** Varying on spelling (e.g., John or Jon, Robert or Bob)
***  Matching initials (e.g., J and John)
***  Names starting with letters (e.g., Jo finds Joshua)

Note that any of the three sub-categories for "Match similar names" can be chosen.

On the screen above, I selected all of the "Match similar names" options.

There are also options for the Last name - I clicked on the dropdown box for the Last name options:

The options for the Last name are:

*  Match name exactly
*  Match similar names
*** Daitch-Mokotoff soundex
*** Regular Soundex
*** Megadex
*** Metaphone 3
*** Refined Soundex
*** Metaphone
*** Double metaphone
*** Names starting with letters (e.g., Jo finds Joshua)

On the screen above, I clicked on the "Match similar names" and selected several of the options.

Apparently, the MyHeritage does not permit wild cards like most other genealogy search engines.  A Last name = "sea*" returns matches with the surname of Sea, but not Sears or Seaver.

There are also options for the Events field:

The Events that can be searched are:

*  Birth
*  Death
*  Marriage
*  Residence
*  Immigration
*  Military

The Date fields include Day, month and year.

The Date options include:

*  Match flexibly - match by date closeness
*  Match exactly - only results matching date + / - X years.

On the screen above, I entered a Birth event, a birth year of 1823, and requested + / - 2 years (i.e., 1821 to 1825).

I could have added more Events and event dates.

I could have added Relatives - the choices on the dropdown menu are the names of a Father, Mother, Spouse, Sibling, or Child.  The same name filter options apply.

I could have added Keywords.  I could have checked the "Exact Matches" box.

3)  I clicked on the green "Search" button and there were 37, 382 matches (first 3 screens below):

The good news is that I specified enough known parameters in the search fields so that the best matches are listed first.  The first 11 matches on the list are my Isaac Seaver (1823-1901), all with 3.5 gold stars.  The search found:

*  The 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880 and 1900 census records
*  The WikiTree entry (mine)
*  The Find A Grave entry
*  4 MyHeritage Family Tree entries

The 12th match is for an Isaac Shaver - which has only 3 stars.  The balance of the 37,000 matches are variations on the first names starting with "is" and the Soundex variations of "seaver."

There are, of course, many ways to search for your target persons.  My best practice is to use wild cards or, in the case of MyHeritage, use the similar search options.

4)  I clicked on the search result for the 1860 U.S. census, and the record summary appeared (two screens below):

The record summary includes the list of Township, County, State, Date, Sheet, Family, Line and Image number.  The small record image can be zoomed in and out (either the + or - buttons or use your mouse wheel).

Below the image is a list of the Household members, listing their name and age.  The names can be clicked to take the user to their record summary page.

5)  There is a "Full screen" button on the image above.  The 1860 United States Census image looks like:

The image can be zoomed in and out also.

The area above the image include the census year, the target name, the state, county, township, sheet number, family number, line number, and image number.

The record summary and the image do not provide a NARA or FHL microfilm number and roll number.   This is, to me, a significant issue for those of use that want to source records in our genealogy program or online tree.

There is a "Download" button on the top right of the last screen above.  The image opens in a separate tab, and the user has to use their browser "Save as" or "Print" functions to save or print it as a JPG file.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Disclosure:  I have a complimentary HyHeritage PremiumPlus subscription for my family tree site, and a complimentary Data subscription for access to the MyHeritage record collections.  The subscriptions do not affect my objectivity, and permit me to investigate and evaluate the MyHeritage capabilities.


Rick Crume said...

Why is it important to include a microfilm number when you're not using microfilm? Isn't it more useful to include the image number for this record on (Plus, of course, the town, county, state and sheet number.) The microfilm number won't help anybody find the record online. -- Rick Crume

Anonymous said...

To search for a prefix like Sea*, you can select "Names starting with letters (e.g., Jo finds Joshua)" on the last name advanced options popup, and enter "sea" in the last name field.