I have recently returned to Family Search after an absence of a few years and I can't begin to express my disappointment and frustration with the new search interface. I have been spending a lot of time on Find My Past, Scotland's People and Ancestry, all or which are much more intuitive and easy to use. It has reached the point now, that I turn to Family Search as a Hail Mary, last resort and given my recent experiences, I doubt I shall bother to do even that again. I am at a loss to understand the reasoning behind the changes that have been implemented. The site now is opaque, cumbersome and to all intents and purposes, designed to stymie rather than assist the hapless user. Humans have an unfortunate tendency, once having invested so much in an enterprise, to stumble blindly along the same path rather than admit failure. It's how even the mightiest empires fall and with so many alternatives available, I wonder if it may not be the downfall of this one.
Unfortunately, the FamilySearch developers appear to have learned no lessons from unhappiness the new search interface has caused to most of the website's users. As a "follow-up" there is the new "Find", with its opening page with similar graphics and along the same lines (i.e., anyone who wants to do anything with any "depth" needs to proceed immediately to the next page). What's more, it doesn't work properly, either!
The key to keeping people happy is, firstly, consultation (including adequate user testing) - to make sure most users will be happy with the end product - then making sure the tools provided are actually suited to the task they were supposedly designed for. Sadly, both the new search interface and "Find" have failed on both counts.
We can say whatever we want here. No one at Family Search is listening. This thread is cathartic, but apparently completely ineffective. We need to find a mole in the software team at Family Search and get them to help us. Anyone know any one?
Here's the TL;DR explanation for what happened. I, for one, never saw the old interface, but 2000 edits later, I am salivating, wishing I had. I'm a newbie, but I agree with the complaints... HERE'S WHAT HAPPENED:
On top of all of that, I would like to add these issues:
mi comentario es con respecto a la labor que como organización han emprendido. Es un esfuerzo muy digno de respeto y de consideración. La humildad que como asociación religiosa han demostrado al realizar gestiones diplomáticas con la ortodoxia romana es también como ya mencioné una muestra muy grande de humildad.
Su apertura para aceptar la colaboración de cualquier gente para la aportación de datos son medidas mas que inteligentes son obvia necesarias para hacer este proyecto viable.
I am currently searching Records in England. The 1939 register give the birthdate of the person being recorded. I have girls born to a family in 1911 but I don't know their married name. Can you imagine looking through the 1939 register for a Mary Elizabeth born 1905 when the only search option is the year? If you would allow us to search the month and day, I could easily narrow it down to the Mary Elizabeth I am looking for. Why do we index the day and month if we can't use them to search our ancestors?
I don't know of any other website that allows you to search on an exact date. The point of indexing with a date is to help you identify your relatives and either confirm or add an exact date of which you were previously unaware.
You have to appreciate it is not easy work in finding individuals (who you have previously identified as single women) after they have married. I often have to scroll through lots of marriage records (say on the FreeBMD website) for a woman in her single name, hoping she hasn't married far from where I found her as a single person in a census record. Even then, there might be several males listed as a possible spouse - the next step being to check the first name together with the alternative surnames, in a hope of finding her in a subsequent census record or, as in this case, the 1939 register.
Your suggestion has been made many times, but it appears it is impracticable to produce a program that narrows searches to actual (birth) days, rather than the year of birth. Most researchers will be only too aware of your problem, but have long given up on expecting any easy workaround.
Searching the family tree mostly works, most of the time. Searching records is worthless for me. It gives a ton of hits on the other side of the world, and misses the perfect matches. So I'm just out of luck if the record isn't already attached to the Family Tree.
I can make exact searches for records that I know exist, and only worthless results come back.
Also, I would think that most people have some idea of the birth date for a person. But the default is residence. That would be tolerable, except that after I go to the trouble of adding the birth field, the residence field stays in the search box. If I go to the trouble of turning off the residence field, so that I see only the birth field, it comes keeps coming back, and it comes back as the TOP field. I can't guess how many times I've gotten ridiculous search results because I didn't notice that the danged residence field has come back and I thought I entered birth dates.
At least let me turn the residence fields OFF, and let it STAY OFF.
How do I "refine search" in this new format? I cannot figure out how to go back to edit, without re-entering all of the information all over again.
This search is worthless. It's bad enough that it includes so many random, useless hits. But nowhere in the results is the one EXACT match I am looking for.
Tell me, what search parameters will find Johann Henrich Erking, M2CN-G5V? Because I couldn't do it.
Perhaps it hasn't helped if you have been spelling his first name with an extra "n".
Spelled "Johan", a search with the "Find" tool finds him at number 2 on the list (as illustrated). With that extra "N", he is pushed down to number 30 (on the second results page if you have 20 results per page as your option. See https://www.familysearch.org/search/tree/results?count=20&offset=20&q.givenName=johann%20henrich&q.surname=erking)
I assume this is your issue, rather than an inability to find any sources for him. I could not do that - perhaps because the only available source (the one attached) is an IGI record.
Following up on my previous comment about the inability to find the IGI source already attached to Johan, it doesn't seem to relate to the "IGI factor". When I opened the URL for the source, it produced the page in the screenshot. I don't remember seeing that padlock symbol before, so I clicked on it and got the message shown. So, this would possibly explain (well, not exactly) why there were no results to be found when I entered "Versmold*" in the Birth field when making my search. Even if there are no other sources relating to this individual, I would otherwise have expected this one to be found in a search.
BTW - in case anyone is baffled by my responses (above) I have made them on the basis of:
(1) My first impression that Cheryl could not find this individual by using the "Find by Name" facility.
(2) Uncertainty as to whether I had misunderstood her issue, which perhaps to related to the fact she could find no records for him, when conducting a search.
Am I missing a "third" point, unrelated to either of these factors?
That you for your effort @Paul W. I should have been more clear.
I didn't enter any first names in the search. Names are spelled so many different ways, that I keep it as broad as possible. The search algorithm is terrible at German nicknames, and the spelling of family names varied so wildly, that I stick with wildcards. (You would think that "Kochs" would come up when searching for "Koch", but no it doesn't.)
My first attempt was to search for last name Erk*, born Versmold 1790. In 18 pages of results, he does not show up.
If I do the same search on the Family Tree, he comes right up. This happens with every search I make in the Versmold area. If the person exists in the tree, they can be found. Otherwise, nothing.
I was hoping that a specific question would lead to some magic formula for making a useful search of records, but I guess I have to go back to relying on searching the tree.
Thank you again for all your trouble.
I can not find the search page to enter my search name. Also some of the pages will not scroll.
If you are talking about the FIND (by name) feature in Family Tree the page is at https://www.familysearch.org/search/tree/name
The FamilySearch search page is at https://www.familysearch.org/search/
In both cases, it is probably best to click straightaway on "More Options", which takes you to a page on which you can carry out a more detailed search. However, it has been noted that the FIND function does not work as it should, so you might have a lot of results produced, in spite of the criteria you input.
I waited a while before deciding about this new format. Most of us in the research field don't like change because we are focused on finding something and a new learning curve slows us down. That said, I can now say with a great deal of fervor that the search results in this new format are disappointing. I struggle to get the results I ask for - a marriage record in Indiana gives me a WWII draft registration card? As a genealogist, time is money so I lose a lot when trying to find exactly what I'm looking for, and the real struggle is, this is a site I used to use a lot because I could usually count on finding what I was looking for. Please create an option so we can get exact results, not unnecessary ones. Thank you.
@JulianWarner I cannot help but comment on the comment re changing the position of the navigation/search panel - neurological challenges are invaluable to 'older' people: our aim is to fight the inevitable decline of the brain, using every tool we can find. like the muscles, joints of our bones, heart and lungs etc - keep it moving and it will work as well and as easily as possible for longer
that's not meant to imply that all should be difficult - variety is useful