Tried searching Sterr in 1920 Census for Minnesota. None came up. There were a lot of Sterr folks in Minnesota in 1920. Really don't like the new search feature. Not an improvement.
I absolutely agree about the new search interface. It is poorly designed (presumably for cell phones, not computers) and had crippled my search efforts. Give us back the previous interface!
I tried the search you describe and got 0 results:
Relaxing the search criteria to just the surname (exact) and residence in Minnesota (exact), and then looking at filters, it appears there are no 1920 census results:
KennethHarris84, Can you share a PID of anyone named Sterr resident in Minnesota in 1920?
I see 254 results for Last name Sterr, place MN
collection US 1920 census
@KennethHarris84 Like @Miss Jessie I too find results for the surname of Sterr in Minnesota in the 1920 US Census. Maybe it would help us to know exactly where you entered search terms and what search terms you entered. You can do a general search; you can choose to search using "More options"; you can search a specific record collection like the 1920 US Census. If you can take a minute and tell us where you clicked and what you entered for search terms, maybe we can get to the root of the problem.
Whoops. I did the search @KennethHarris84 describes and got no results. My comment with details is missing from this discussion thread.
Specifically, @KennethHarris84 is trying to find persons with surname Sterr recorded in Minnesota in the 1920 census. I find none.
I thought I'd applied my usual inputs / filters for such a search, but didn't get any exact results. See https://www.familysearch.org/search/record/results?count=20&exactSearching=true&q.residenceDate.from=1920&q.residenceDate.to=1920&q.residencePlace=minnesota&q.residencePlace.exact=on&q.surname=sterr&f.collectionId=1488411
What did I do wrong? Please don't say I should have completed the "Place" fields. as I never do that - just use "Residence". In fact, I conducted a similar search (in response to another user's post) earlier today and had no problem finding results using this method.
I can confirm that it comes up empty.
I started from https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/1488411 (the 1920 census collection search page).
I searched for last names = Sterr, exact match, restrict records by location: United States, Minnesota. I got No Results. https://www.familysearch.org/search/record/results?q.surname=Sterr&q.surname.exact=on&f.recordCountry=United%20States&f.recordSubcountry=United%20States,Minnesota&f.collectionId=1488411
To add insult to injury, because the No Results page takes away filter controls, and searching by collection is technically a filter, the lack-of-results page doesn't mention the census anywhere.
I tried the same thing with 1910 and came up with 17 hits: https://www.familysearch.org/search/record/results?q.surname=Sterr&q.surname.exact=on&f.recordCountry=United%20States&f.recordSubcountry=United%20States,Minnesota&f.collectionId=1727033
1930 is also No Results, but 1940 has eight hits (https://www.familysearch.org/search/record/results?q.surname=Sterr&q.surname.exact=on&f.recordCountry=United%20States&f.recordSubcountry=United%20States,Minnesota&f.collectionId=2000219).
Maybe they all temporarily moved to Montana? Here's the 1920 search with the "restrict by" removed and filtered for a birthplace of Minnesota: https://www.familysearch.org/search/record/results?count=20&q.surname=Sterr&q.surname.exact=on&c.collectionId=on&f.collectionId=1488411&c.birthLikePlace1=on&f.birthLikePlace0=10&c.birthLikePlace2=on&f.birthLikePlace1=10%2CMinnesota
I started at "Find a Collection".
Selected US Census, 1920.
Honestly, I can't remember how exactly I went from there. Just remember trying to search as in the past with changing residence (state), etc. and just would not work. Do remember getting to some of those blue bubbles and attempted to change those but without success. Thankfully my local library is giving at home access to Ancestry.com - Library ed. Went to it and found my family member immediately...first and last names were totally spelled wrong but much easier to find than with the new search function.
Just really want to relay how not liking the new search. No feedback button available.
LHZ2-258 - Frank Sterr Jr.
Lots and lots of Sterr family in Minnesota in 1920.
It is a shame you did not provide a FamilySearch URL that relates to your screenshot, so we could see your methodology (actual inputs on the right side of the Search page, if / which "exact" options chosen, etc.).
Since the new interface, screenshots are less helpful and URL references ever more important to show - both by the person with the problem and the person who finds a solution.
I do not doubt @N Tychonievich found similar results, too, but it can't be verified if we could all get these using her search criteria, as again there was no URL provided, in order that other users could attempt to replicate.
This is my search results URL. From the basic search screen, my only input was last name Sterr, place MN
I then applied a collection filter, 1920 census
Frank Sterr's family is more easily found in the 1920 census by searching from his daughter Edna's page, and using some wildcards and adding Father's name and mother's name. The family surname was indexed as "Star"
So exact search on the surname Sterr was doomed to fail. But inexact searching found so many other records that the family was lost in the noise.
This conforms with my impression that something has been done recently to change inexact matches on names, to such an extent that results seem to be of much less use.
Thank you for those links. Yes, they worked fine for me in getting the same results as you, but I still can't see why "my method" doesn't produce any actual STERR results!
Up till now, I have tried avoiding criticism of the current algorithms - reserving my complaints to the subject of the dreadful new layout of the search page and placement of the filtering options - but this experience really does show deficiencies in getting the desired results by using inputs / filters that really should work.
@KennethHarris84 You've gotten lots of comments and suggestions. Thank you for providing more details as to how you searched. If I understand correctly, you took these steps:
Does that sound about right? When I do those exact steps, I see 176 results. BUT not with the surname of Sterr. And, when I enabled the exact search for the surname, I got no results at all. This looks like a bug in the system.
So, to confirm that I should be able to find the surname of Sterr in the US 1920 Census index, I went to Ancestry.com to search. There I selected the 1920 United States Federal Census from their record sets and search for the surname of Sterr and lived in Minnesota. There too, I get plenty of results of names similar to Sterr (Starr, Sturr, Steere, and some more remotely similar). When I chose an exact search on the surname, I did get some, but not in Minnesota.
So, it does not appear that FamilySearch's search is flawed in this example. Could be that the name was misspelled in the index (we know from earlier comments in this thread that, for at least one Sterr family, the name shows as "Star"). Have you searched for specific people within that 1920 census using name variations or wildcards, as suggested above? For example, searching on FamilySearch and selecting the 1920 US Census, I put in the last name as St?rr and set the residence to Minnesota. I got 169 results--names that are similar to Sterr with variations on the vowel. When you think about the shape of the vowels, it's easy to see how those are the most often mis-indexed parts of names.
Went back to my records and you are correct the name was not correct in the database...spelling was Star. Although spelling on the actual record is correct and easy to read.
Still did have problem with blue bubbles but can't tell you specifics at this time. Could do so later. This was my first time posting an issue. Next time will try to better document my steps. Overall still not a big fan of new search but change is sometimes difficult.
Thanks for all your assistance. As mentioned I was able to find what I was looking for, again a misspelling issue, but Ancestry did retrieve without issue, even with misspelling.
Ancestry did retrieve without issue, even with misspelling.
For me, this is the big issue. Usually FamilySearch is at least as good as Ancestry at finding records despite spelling variations in personal names. Lately I am experiencing a significant decline in performance here.
@genthusiast I am not sure the name matching algorithms (or indexing) changed with the Search user interface.
I can to a limited extent examine the name matching algorithms by repeating now some of the surname searches I have been repeating periodically for years, as I look for newly available historical records. Do I get different results? Yes, I think I do!
It appears that now the difference between exact and non-exact surname matches is much smaller. That is, the non-exact matching appears to be more stringent, returning fewer records. In addition, the exact matching is definitely more stringent. I used to post feedback that exact matching on surname was perplexingly not exact! But, all the same, I had become used to the in-exactness and took it into account.
Now I am concerned that the non-exact matching may be too stringent to find the all-important spelling variations, both lasting changes as names evolve and inconsequential variations due to phonetic writing and transcription errors.
No apologies from me. This is where FamilySearch Community really shines.
Personal name matching is undergoing rapid development globally, with many commercial applications. There are more and more research articles on powerful new algorithms, more and more pages on Wikipedia. In this field of research FamilySearch has an extraordinary database to work from: historical records attached to Family Tree. This is a hand-curated database. Some curation is junk, but more and more it is spot on.
No worries, the commercial applications I mentioned are independent of FamilySearch. I mentioned them for context. Also independent, public, and free to use is forebears.io.
The new search format does not work very well all too often. I frequently end up going to Ancestry.com to find the information I was looking to find. On US Census reports and other databases like draft registrations for WWII, FamilySearch's system will not pull up the record whereas Ancestry's search using the same search data will display the record. It is frustrating and happens way to frequently.
Dear Everybody! The problem next is since I have the new search method I can't find anyone even those I have found here so far and saved to my family tree. I've tried many different search methods, but it doesn't work. Couldn't the original good working system be restored?
On June 14 I successfully searched for Gyula Rácskay in Budapest, finding his death registration and baptism records for two of his sons. (I don't believe any of them were actually recorded as Persons in Family Search.)
Today I'm unable to reproduce this same search result.
Fortunately back in June I was able to download an Excel file describing the death registration. (Although I can't remember how I managed to solicit that download.) The file contains a valid link that does take me back to the page displaying the death record.
1) Why have these search results disappeared? Has something changed in the algorithm? I've tried variations on my search criteria, more exact and less exact, to no avail.
2) How can I initialize a family tree for the Gyula Rácskay family without attaching any of the Persons to anybody in my existing family tree? There don't seem to be any existing Persons among the Rácskay family members. They are distant cousins related through a great great grandparent I have yet to identify.
Here's the link to the Gyula Rácskay death registration cited in my previous comment:
Can’t find anything anymore. Less is not more and even with more entries, nothing resembling appropriate shows in results. Went from being the best search engine to the worst. Why?
I've just come across this thread after a recent posting by another user.
The link below provides the way to find his death records, etc. Initially (I'm sure using the same inputs) I got a "No Results Found" page. It appears the first and last names might have been indexed the wrong way round, but this hasn't prevented these results from appearing.
Perhaps you have been able to proceed further since your (November 2021) post, but I realise this response does not fully cover your query.
The majority of FamilySearch users appear to be continuing to have difficulties with their searches, using the revised interface. However, it would help if you could shown an example of what you are failing to find, so another user might be able to assist you by showing the required inputs that are relevant to your search(es).