Computer generated links
I am a college graduate (2 degrees) and worked in IT for 40 years, with my main work in writing and implementing search software. I've been building my tree for about 50 years and have used FS since it became available. I teach genealogy twice a month at my local library with emphasis on how to search and have written and had published about a dozen articles mainly on using wildcards in searches. It is my opinion that the use of wildcards does a much better job than computer algorithms that use soundex or whatever. Try V/F(alternate)*rnl*r in a surname search versus Vornlocker/Fornlocker and you will find most of my ancestors with fewer extraneous results. BTW, you can look at my tree at bobv.droppages.com. If you are interested in my approach, please contact me and we'll have a contest.
A specific issue that I have resulted in a recent class. I was demonstrating the use of catalog/place and that a town may have 2 locations with the same. Herbolzheim, Germany was the example. The 2 towns are hours apart in Germany. You have created a database with both towns in it and used both the towns to create trees as if they were the same town. I've also found trees being computer built with the wrong choice of people with the same name.
Germany, Baden, Archdiocese of Freiburg im Breisgau, Catholic Church Records are available online, click here.
Here's an example of the problem:
NameTheresia PfistererSexFemaleBirth Date1 Apr 1865Father's NameSebastian PfistererMother's NameMaria Anna HoffmannEvent TypeBirth
Event PlaceHerbolzheim, Emmendingen, Baden, DeutschlandEvent Place (Original)Herbolzheim (A. Mosbach), Baden, Deutschland
It should be Herbolzheim, Mosbach. That's where the church is located; it's Catholic. The church in Emmindingen is Lutheran.
Bottom line, computers can only differentiate based on the data included. It's why a human can make a better selection using wildcards than a computer using partial facts.
Dear Bob Vornlocker,
I want to know how to use wildcards. I have German lines and need help in finding relatives. How can I connect with you?
I was called as a stake familysearch consultant in our FSC and am serving a FS Records Mission from home, so my time to do my own family history is kind of limited now. But on Sundays and sometimes Fridays I have some time. What is your schedule like?
Doris, you can message Bob by clicking his name at the top of this post.0
@Bob Vornlocker Thank you for your feedback. There is a FamilySearch Places group in the Community that is managed by the Places Team. If you post your feedback there, they should be able to help you.0
Great example! I appreciate you sharing this experience. The good news is that much more is being done now to correct mixed-up locations in FamilySearch.0
I will [x]th the motion for support of wildcards in search, pretty much everywhere. Besides * I'd ask for ? + and . (period). $ and ^ would also be welcome.
We'd need clear documentation on their use (especially if it deviates from standard regex).0
I'm seeing this same sort of problem in Swiss records. For some reason well-established parishes are getting renamed in a sort of random way in the indexing of records. The new places are in the correct parish but why the system should pick those places instead of sticking with the correct name of the parish is unclear. Some examples - Schweizerholz and Schoenenberg, instead of Neukirch an der Thur in Thurgau Switzerland; Rauchlisberg instead of Amriswil; Wagerswil instead of Wigoltingen and there are many other examples. When you follow the indexed link back to the original the name of the parish is correctly displayed in the film but the indexed places are all incorrect. I suppose in some ways this is better than the generic "Helvetia" or Switzerland that is generated in many cases, but still not correct. I've worked with these records for many years. Parish censuses show the correct relationships between the places for example. Why this is happening is a mystery, though computer generated mistakes seems an obvious explanation, based on poor programming.0
@Bob Vornlocker Your example is a error in standardized place names. I will submit this for review.
@Jeff Felix Do you have a link to the record(s) so that this can be investigated?
Thanks guys. Maile 🙂0