Rootstech Day 3, Part 2: Successful Genealogy Search

Successful genealogy search is something we strive. This is Part 2 of my day 3 sessions. Check out Part 1 for Genealogy Research Log for another day 3 session.

Focusing on my goals to be a better researcher, the next the Search session was a lab sitting at computers and trying out the techniques being taught. Techniques for successful searching was taught by Beth Taylor. Beth works for Family Search where she prototypes new tools and services aimed at simplifying family history research.

Family Search

Family Search: starting search page, click for larger image.

We started with a class hand out detailing one of her ancestors. Firstly Beth showed us her techniques of searching for particular information using the Family Search site and the 1880 census. Then we had a go. As with my previous search session the aim is to filter out unwanted material in a controlled manner. None of the searching is haphazard and when you review search results along with other information you already know, results are speedily found. Definitely restriction to filters to such items as the catalogue, surname, birthplace + Country + state eliminates many records that you do not even need to review. The filters help make the number of results manageable.

Tip: Update number of matches per page to maximum.

Select the highest number of result views per page.

Select the highest number of result views per page.

That is the highest possible number of matches per page. This way when you use the next search method you are scanning less pages and saving time loading page after page. Now with more results per page and a more manageable number of results to review however still too many to check very one manually use the browser Find function (Ctl + F on Windows and Command + F on Mac) to search for data such as christian names. Find should give you better prospects to research into further with reviewing the indexed data and perhaps the actual image, if it is a definite or possible source for your records.

Tip on Family Search: Filters can be locked so that it does not reset and you loose filters. Make sure you do this so that they do not reset and you loose the filters while working through a search gradually omitting unwanted files via filtering.

Tip: Filters help you find people with spelling mistakes as you have a limited matches to scan through. Use of wild cards like ? for single letters and * one or more letters.

You may be wondering why I attended another search session. I was looking for emersion in selected topics, including search, from my Rootstech sessions. From this one I learnt lots of techniques to use on multiple sites. Beth was so great and the session was fast paced. Something that appeals to me. I had no idea all the stuff I would learn from another search expert.

Want to know more? Here are Beth’s notes on the the case study, search questions and search hints for sites including Family Search, Ancestry and Google.

Any successful search tips you like to use?