Limit search by date
Why does FamilySearch totally ignore the years I specify in my search ?
No matter what years I enter, the results will include hundreds (sometimes thousands) of BMDs spanning at least a century. And many of the results in the list don't show a year, so there's no way of telling whether there's any point in opening that record - or you could waste hours opening each one only to discover that it's totally irrelevant to your search specification.
Here's an example: in a recent search for a baptism between 1808 and 1812, FamilySearch came up with 2,144 results between 1709 and 1837.
Their search engine has become so vague, that I've almost given up using the website, which is a shame because it used to be absolutely wonderful.
Perhaps you are not using the tools provided to reduce your number of results.
I just did a search on William Wilson, born / baptised in Yorkshire, England between 1808 & 1812. Initially, I got 539 results, which included census records. So, from the right side of the page, I chose to filter on "Type", which reduced the number to 244. All but the last two of these were for Yorkshire baptisms / christenings in the county of Yorkshire, between 1808 & 1812.
Had my search been for census records relating to a William Wilson, born in Yorkshire in that period, I would have chosen the "Collection" option (instead of "Type") and filtered on one or more of the collections available from the England & Wales census.0
Sorry, try as might, I can't remember exactly who I was searching for. But, at the time, I was getting so irritated with the enormous number of irrelevant results that were coming up - and the sheer tedium of opening innumberable records with no dates displayed in the list - that I wrote down the number of results and the range of years for that search.
So, to see what came up today, I did a search for surname Urquhart b.1808-1812 in Angus, Scotland - and that came up with 644 results. The first 26 showed the year - i.e. baptisms between 1704 and1827.
Now I know that that was a fairly vague search, but there really doesn't seem to be any reason for the results to have included someone baptised in 1704 !! That person was more than likely dead by 1808 - or, even if they did live to an incredible age, they were hardly likely to have given birth or had a child baptised when they were 104+ years old :):)
Perhaps FamilySearch could limit the number of results by including a "show exact search" button next to the date ranges.0
OK, thanks, Paul and Mike. I'll try the search limits in future.
Can you also please tell me if there's a way to get back to where I was on the results list after viewing a record? After I've viewed a record and return to the list, it always takes me back to the very first result - which means scrolling through all the results again, trying to find where I'd got to before viewing the record.
As you can probably tell, I still miss the ease & simplicity of the "old" FamilySearch :):)1
I believe I can see the problem here. You are not using the slider at the bottom of the Search page to bring up the option of searching for Exact matches. Please see the page via the link provided that illustrates how you can get just those 26 results. As with the other example (in my earlier post) there are results at the bottom of the list that do not fit the search criteria, but filtering on "Type" and "Birth, Baptism, and Christening" removed these. It can take a while to get there, but you will eventually find better search methods to reduce these unneeded results.
Sorry I missed your last comments before responding to ones made earlier.
With regards to the problem of going back to the first result after viewing a record way down the list, I just tried opening a record and did not experience that behaviour - i.e., after closing the record I was able to get back to where I was (using the Back arrow).
However, I know what you mean and (when / if this does seem to be happening to me) I would open the record by right-clicking on the mouse, in order to open it in another tab. That way you definitely retain your place after closing the individual record you were viewing. Hope that makes sense.0
Yes, that makes sense, Paul - I'll do that. Thanks.0
@Kinsy1 Thank you for pointing out the search results fall far outside of the date range you selected. While the system does not offer an exact search match for dates, I think we all expect it to return results within a range that we specify. I'll report this to our engineers and see if they can tweak the search algorithm to provide better results. Can't promise that things will change right away, but it's worth bringing to their attention.0
Thanks, N Tychonievich.0
@Kinsy1 Wanted to update you. I heard back from engineering that the date search is "working as designed", but they agreed to review it. So, don't expect a change immediately, but let's hope they decide to tweak it a bit.0
I wonder why you state: "While the system does not offer an exact search match for dates...."
I have found this does work, as long as you activate the "Exact" option and filter results to exclude certain types of record and collections. Can you illustrate otherwise?
One should surely expect to filter results to include a location (say a county, for England) and type of record (say "Birth, Baptism, Christening"). You just have to expect to make separate searches for births, marriages and deaths, as well as census records, etc.
I have been working in Ancestry for the last two weeks and found use of filters to be essential in avoiding getting thousands of unwanted results. Comparatively, the FamilySearch engineers' algorithms work quite well.
Surprisingly (foe me!) I would probably accept the date search is "working as designed". Too much tweaking and I think there will be a negative affect, in relevant results actually being lost by too restrictive a search.0
Yet another difference between "Find" and "Search". There is no option for exact dates with "Find". The first hits are usually in the neighborhood. You would expect the next set of hits to be a little outside the range, but they are always a century away.0
@Paul W If you'll notice, after you activate the exact search option in Search Records, no box shows for the date fields. The lack of the ability to do an exact search by date is documented in this blog article:
Certainly, using filters is a great way to search and I have no complaint about how record search is working in my personal research efforts. But, @Kinsy1 was certainly correct that the system is not honoring date ranges in the search, as demonstrated by the example he/she provided. My effort is to see if engineers will consider improving that aspect of Record Search.
I'm glad that you like the fact that entering a date range does not in fact limit results to that range. Plenty of other users are not happy with that aspect of Record Search.0