Wrong countries listing
In spite of specifying a country I am searching in, the search engine persists in offering people who have never had anything to do with the country I am researching. I don't mind if the result pertains to someone who had something to do with the country, but do mind if they had nothing to do with that country. How do I fix this?
Áine Ní Donnghaile ✭✭✭✭✭
There may be a couple of different factors at play in your search.
1 - There is a problem with placename standardization, so that some places show up in the wrong country.
2 - Where are you specifying the country for your search? There are a few different ways to narrow down the search parameters. I like to start from the main search page and narrowing my search to the country or even the state, using Search by Place. That helps the search engine from having to do extra work and can speed the search process.
Then in the search parameters, you can specify the type and place in Add Record Options.
Then, once you have results, you can also narrow down even further, using the Filter "bubbles" to specify where the event took place. That will, for example, help when you are searching for a child born in the USA to parents born elsewhere.
And, in the Collection bubble, you can select specific collections that are most likely to have the record you want.0
Julia Szent-Györgyi ✭✭✭✭✭
You can at least partially "fix" it with a better understanding of the search structure.
The search parameters -- i.e., most of the things you enter in the right-hand panel -- are variously weighted, but joined with a logical "or": if you tell it X Y in one field, N M in another field, and 1847-1852 in a third field, then you will get results that match any one of those fields. If there are any that match all three, they should be at the top of the list, but if there aren't, you may well see X Y but L M and 1895 at the top.
Some of the right-hand panel's inputs are pre-search filters. For example, if you tell it a film or image group number, it'll only look through index entries associated with that film or image group. I think this applies to everything in the "Add Record Options" section, such as the Location fields, but I don't know how it determines which index entries are associated with a particular location. For a pre-search filter, I think there needs to be some sort of pre-existing grouping that it can use, because otherwise it's a post-search filter. If I'm right, then this may explain some of what you're seeing: the index entries may be in a group that got the "country A" tag because of other entries in the same group. But I'm guessing here, based on anecdotal data; I seldom use the Location parameter. (I primarily use film/image group numbers.)
The post-search filters, which are the bubbles along the top, behave more like how people expect the search inputs to behave: if you filter the list to French births in the 1880s, then every result showing should have a "birth" field with a place in France and an 1880s date. The results will still not necessarily all be 1880s French birth records, though -- a 1940s obituary from Milwaukee can qualify, if it mentions that the deceased was born in Paris in 1882, and this fact was included in the indexing.
One caution: do not only rely on what FS's indexed records database says about "where". In an effort to change the way place and date matching works, FS ran an automated process that associated the existing text fields for dates and places with an entity in the relevant database -- but unfortunately, it cheerfully associated Iowa burials with places in Australia, if the cemetery name in the index happened to match a town in Queensland.1