Allow checkbox option for location
edited September 28, 2020 in Suggest an Idea
Deb Smith said: For Location, allow a checkbox of locations. My paternal ancestors came from Bohemia, Austria, which is now part of the Czech Republic. But when I select Austria, Bohemia, nothing comes up, but if I don't list anything, some Bohemia locations come up. If I could check several locations, while excluding others, it might work better to narrow the search. Same with Provinces/State choices. Change these to check boxes. If I enter Prussia, nothing comes up, although when I don't enter anything many of the results are listed as being from Prussian documents. I can't figure out why this happens, as clearly they should come up when you select Prussia, yet often they do not. I don't know if it could be because of German/English spelling differences in some records, but that isn't always the case.
Lundgren said: Thank you for your feedback.
I don't have a solution for your desire to have a check box to select locations.
If you'd share links to some of the searches you have tried, we'd like to look at them too better understand how you are currently using the search and the results that aren't coming to in the searches where you expected them.
Tom Huber said: I make use of https://www.familysearch.org/research... on FamilySearch. First, it helps me establish if there is or is not a place in the standards. If there is not, then I search for alternate names the place may have used and search for there in the standards list.
One of the options on the page is to set a place that covers a somewhat broad area. For instance, I want to see Ocosta, Washington. I know it is located in Grays Harbor County, so I search for that on the site:
This brought up the results, showing I could search for places in the county. When the results came up, I saw that there were 238 places in the standards for that county. They were displayed 50 to a page:
Paging down, I found three places, including the locality itself:
Election Precincts in Washington State are areas that are used in Census Returns. They are useful in recording a residence for the applicable census records (which contains the Election Precinct name).
Cemetery locations are also useful when recording the burial place for the person. But if the cemetery is not listed, I have the option of using the locality in the standard.0
Juli said: Mr. Google tells me that there are currently around 195 countries in the world. Add a single historical change for just half of them (which is likely much, much less than the actual number) and you're at nearly 300 country names. Fifty checkboxes is too many to manage; 300+ is completely impossible. And that's just countries; it doesn't include lower-level entities like "Bavaria" or "Galicia".
I agree that the current behavior of Records Search regarding placenames Needs Help, but checkboxes are not the answer.0
Gordon Collett said: Record collections are so diverse, names have changed so often during history, boundaries have moved, and search engines are a bit arcane so that you usually have to first learn as much as you can about an area, as much as you can about record collection sets, and get some idea about what you can expect to find, then experiment with the search engine in various way before you can expect to efficiently use a search engine. In other words, you first have to learn how to research before actually doing any research. This can be exasperating as you try to deal with following the thought processes of those who constructed the record databases and those who created the search engine.
One basic principle to keep in mind, is to start with very broad searches, analyze the results, then very carefully narrow the search one step at a time and make sure each time the results are leading you where you want to be.
For example, I tried an exact place search using just the term "Bohemia" and got 1,687,838 results that all are from Bohemia. Results are from both Austria and Czechoslovakia:
One thing that can also be helpful is to narrow the collections you are searching in by using the Catalog to find out what collections exist.0
Deb Smith said: OK, then how about more generalized location checkboxes, like North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, etc. They could be even more specialized -- western Europe, Central Europe, Eurasia, Scandinavia, southern Europe, and so on.
At present you are limited to country and state/province, but for some reason when I select Germany and Prussia for the two location boxes, virtually all Prussian records seem to be excluded.0
Adrian Bruce said: Deb - what are you searching?
If I try to Search Historical Records on https://www.familysearch.org/search/ and enter a birthplace of "Prussia" (just that) it tells me that there are 59 million Historical Records. If I enter just "Bohemia" as a birthplace, I get 9 million Historical Records.
However, I wonder if that's what you are searching - because you said "when I select Austria, Bohemia, nothing comes up". "Austria" then "Bohemia" is a fairly unusual order in FamilySearch but it does appear like that in the FamilySearch Catalog on https://www.familysearch.org/search/c...
If I enter "Bohemia" there, it offers me "Austria, Bohemia" (in that order, like you had) and I have to select it like you say. When I press the search button, then the Catalog Search Results screen says "No Results Found".
But it also says:
Part of Austria
And if you click the "Austria, Böhmen" bit (which is a link) then you get a list of collections for Bohemia.
A similar thing happens when you search the FamilySearch Catalog for "Germany, Prussia" - "no results found" but there is a link to the search for "Germany, Preußen" and if you click that link, then you get lots of collections.
1) This may not be what you're doing at all, which is why Lundgren asked for links to the searches that you're doing - you need to do the search that doesn't work, then copy the address / URL out of your browser.
2) I have no idea why the catalogue can't cope with the different languages - intuitively I'd imagined a place-name search would do that. (And even weirder - a search on "Germany" gives lots of records but a search on "Deutschland" gives no records but points me towards a link for the "Germany" search. So Germany is catalogued in English, but Bohemia in German(?!) )
3) The "no results found" message confused me - I thought it meant that there weren't any at all - the fact that there were entries under the other name in a different language wasn't obvious, even though it was a link.
If this has nothing to do with what you were doing, then I apologise for not understanding but that's why FS needs those addresses / URLs.0
Lundgren said: Deb,
We don't have any work on the backlog to provide any place check box functionality.
If you can provide some specific searches that you are having problems with, perhaps we can find problems in the system that we can resolve, or better understand the problems you are running into.
Thank you again for your feedback.0
Deb Smith said: For example:
Johann Christian Wulsch
Birth: Germany, between 1735 1745
Restricting location to Germany, Prussia yields NO RESULTS
Restricting records to just Germany, yields 2079 results, many of them citing events taking place in Prussia. Why doesn't the restriction to Prussia find these records?0
David Newton said: Checkboxes won't do anything about that.0
Adrian Bruce said: OK - adding in the URLs.... Note that we are searching Historical Records.
Searches for that guy with a birthplace of Germany. 2,088 records found in my case.
2. Slight variant:
Same as above but set birthplace = "germany, prussia" - gives 913 results. (944 if birthplace = just "Prussia" by the way!)
3. Revert to first search from #1 and then use the "Restrict records by:" filtering on Country = Germany, province etc = Prussia
No results found. (This shows as "Germany, Prussia" by the way on the (non-) results screen ).
This appears odd - downright wrong - because one might anticipate 913 as per search #2.
And no, it doesn't help if I write "Preussen" or "Preußen" instead of "Prussia".
So - what I want to understand now, is how come using "Prussia" as part of the birthplace (as per #2) gives 913 entries, whereas sticking "Prussia" in as part of the filtering in "Restrict records by:" results in no entries.
I'm wondering if "Restrict records by:" looks at something entirely different from the birthplaces in searches 1 & 2? Such as - is it looking where the complete collection "Germany Births and Baptisms, 1558-1898" is catalogued to? Not the individual events?0
Lundgren said: I've tried to re-create your search here:
Please confirm that is your search. If not, then please copy and paste your search from your browser here.
In this search:
I do see several results from
EVANGELISCH, RUENDEROTH, RHEINLAND, PRUSSIA
We will investigate why those are not coming back as part of Germany.0
Gordon Collett said: As several people have sort of asked, unless you show exactly how you are trying this search, no one can tell you why you are not getting the results you want.
Everyone is assuming you are working from the main search page.
Is this the search you are doing?
or something else?
No matter how I try to search, using Germany or Prussia or Germany, Prussia or Prussia, Germany, not using a the exact search checkbox, I get one to two thousand matches:
Unless you post a screen shot that shows exactly what search terms you are entering and where, no one can really answer your concern or explain how what you are requesting is already built into the search engine. If you are not sure how to post a screen shot here, posting the URL of the search results page will exactly replicate your search for others to evaluate like this:
Deb Smith said: In the Location section, I have Germany in the first box, Prussia in the second. It shows NO results. If I exclude Prussia in the second box and leave it blank, I get lots of hits, many of them from Prussia records.0
Deb Smith said: Yes, that is what I am getting.0
Deb Smith said: Yes, my point too. Many of the records that come up are from Prussia, but they don't show up if you restrict it by location to Germany, region Prussia. Obviously you want to limit the number of hits to a reasonable number, so it would be nice to just pull up Prussian records, but I can't seem to get it to work the way I want.
Same with Bohemia/Austria. Lots of the records come up Czech which is where Bohemia is presently, but it just seems a bit buggy when trying to restrict location.0
Lundgren said: Please provide some sample links to your searches in Czech and we will look at those as well.
David Newton said: So Germany as a country and Prussia as a state or province?0
Juli said: In other words, the answer to Gordon's illustrated question above is "something else": it's the post-search filters that are failing to identify Prussia as Prussia.0
Deb Smith said: Correct0
Deb Smith said: No, the third illustration. Restrict by location: Germany in box 1, Prussia in box 20
Adrian Bruce said: I think it's failing to identify records referring to events in Prussia as being records from Prussia according to whatever definition of Prussia the "Restrict Records By" post-search filter is using. (I'm using Germany as Country, Prussia as State).
That's what I'm doing. And that does puzzle me....0
Deb Smith said: Me too, and to my mind, the key word Prussia should pull up anything with Prussia in the entry. Some it doesn't find are from the Prussia books of in the left hand column of entries .... and it isn't finding those. If it weren't finding those where you have to actually click on the link to look at the entry and it says Prussia or Preussen or Preußen it would be more understandable.0
Deb Smith said: I didn't really search for Czech entries specifically. When Austria + Bohemia yielded nothing, I just left the location blank and pulled up lots of entries that included some in Czech. They may or may not have been Bohemia, as I wasn't sure of the location from the entries. Some said West Bohemia, but others I wasn't sure about.0
Lundgren said: We will focus on the Prussia example then.0
Deb Smith said: Here is another one:
David Newton said: Trouble is that Prussia is both a national unit and a sub-national unit, depending on when is being considered. Same as with England and Scotland, although it's less of a problem for them since their borders have largely been stable for 1000 years, whereas Prussia didn't even exist before 1648 as a geopolitical entity and its borders have varied wildly over the years.
That filtering mechanism only appears to have relatively modern entities available to filter by so I would guess that those indexed records which have Prussia as the top-level part of the event location are not being picked up Prussia is used as the second level of the event filter.0
Adrian Bruce said: The "Johann Wolfgang Prell" search that Deb mentions above illustrates something that I'm trying to grasp - for my own understanding as much as anything.
The basic search from URL https://www.familysearch.org/search/r... gives 3 answers
There are 2 birthplaces (Austria & Bohemia), 1 immigration place (Baltimore) and 1 naturalization place (Wisconsin) according to the Search Results. If we use the post-search "Restrict Records By Location" filter on the left hand side - which of those 4 places gets picked up by the filter?
If we use the filter "Restrict Records By Location = Austria" (see
Then we get no records returned. Even though two of the records have Austria as a birthplace.
If we filter "Restrict Records By Location = United States" (see
Then we get one record returned. I had foolishly hoped that I had cracked it at this point because the actual events that created these records are 2 immigration and 1 naturalisation, and are all United States records. The birthplaces are just detail - they're not why the record was created, or who created the record - all of which was the USA. But, of course, there's only 1 record returned instead of the 3 that I started out with!
I can understand why the "Illinois, Northern District Naturalization Index, 1840-1950," didn't appear when I filtered "Restrict Records By Location = United States" - the event place is Wisconsin - not "Wisconsin, United States". (And actually Wisconsin is the archives containing these records for Illinois so that's not a good citation anyway!) So the "Illinois, Northern District Naturalization Index, 1840-1950," didn't appear when filtering to "United States" because there is no link to "United States" anywhere on the record or its citation.
What I still don't understand is why I only see one from "Maryland, Baltimore Passenger Lists, 1820-1948" when I filter "Restrict Records By Location = United States", as both appear to have the same event place.
Anyway - my suspicion is that using a post-search filter "Restrict Records By Location =" will filter only on the location responsible for the event that causes the record to be written down. Neither Bohemia nor Austria caused the immigration or naturalisation event to be recorded. Only the USA did.
There's too many locations floating around!0
Deb Smith said: And these apparently aren't my ancestors anyway. Johann Wolfgang Prell's generation didn't come to the US. It was his great-grandchildren who migrated to the US. I am glad to see that records from these areas are finally coming online, as I have filled many gaps in my family tree, but still many gaps left to fill. But despite my efforts to exclude US records from the search, they still creep in.0
Jon Pabst said: Thanks for the feedback!
From this feedback and others, we've identified an issue around location restrictions and formulated a fix that should be pushed out some time relatively soon after RootsTech.
Until then, you can use "Other" for the "Restricted Location State/Province", we're very sorry for the inconvenience. If you find any more, please continue to report them so that we can verify that they're on the fix list. The list is somewhat large but we'd like it to be as correct as possible.