Saturday, March 8, 2014

Miss the old search at Ancestry already? Read this post for some relief of the new search blues!

Now that I have cooled off from a morning of frustration with Ancestry and their insanity, I have found a nice work around that will get you back to some of the functionality and feel of the old search that isn't half bad. Sorry Ancestry, and all those Ancestry insiders and kool aid drinkers; your new search engine still sucks and nothing you can say will change my mind. I will illustrate point that later in this post.

First, you will need to open a new browser tab and jump over to Ancestry (keep my instructions handy) in another tab and do the steps that I have outlined and illustrated below.

Next, login to your Ancestry account. Good, now per diagram below click on pull down menu next to your account name and click on the "Site Preferences" menu option (click on picture to see a closer view).

Once you are on the "Site Preferences" page scroll down the page to the menu option "Search Preferences." (see below)

Click the box then hit the orange button titled "Update Preferences." (see below)

Now it is time to go over the search tab at Ancestry and click on it. You will get a screen that looks like below. Again if you have trouble seeing the graphic, click on it and it will enlarge for you.

At the bottom of the image above next to the orange button labeled search is a link titled "Hide Advanced" and you will then see the simple search form.

Now you should start feeling a bit more comfortable with the search engine you see above. I strongly suggest that you use the "Match all terms exactly" box if you have some exact terms you want to search for. So let's see how this works. I'm going to hunt for my 4th great grandfather Aaron Redus in Mississippi where he lived the later part of his life.
First here is a view of the search results with the category tab selected.
And now here is what it looks like with the records tab selected.
All in all this is manageable, what I wanted and expected to see. Since this search engine, like the old doesn't use their "fuzzy logic" you can use wildcards (an asterisk (*) and a question mark (?) to see expanded results. The question mark takes the place of any one letter. The asterisk can be used to indicate that any letters attached to the “known” portion of the name.
Uncheck the "Match all terms exactly" box and you will be back to the horror story known as the new search engine (see below), 57,199 results for the same search I did above.

If you use the "Show Advanced" function and check the "Match all terms exactly" box I still get the same result as I did with the "Hide Advanced" function. So if you can deal with a bit more screen you might improve your search experience by using the "Show Advance" function. Just remember if that "Match all terms exactly" box is unchecked, you will get a ton of stuff.

So hopefully this will help the few of us (Ancestry says there weren't many) who used the old search. Some of their volunteers on their FB page have belittled us as old people who couldn't grasp their new search engine and were still using televisions with knobs. Uh, to that poster on the Ancestry Facebook page, does the picture of my TV below look like it has knobs?

Nope, that is a 60 inch LED. Sorry we all aren't totally illiterate who liked the old search engine. Oh yea, that was a Nikon high end digital camera that took the picture.

As always if you have questions, please feel free to drop me some email at the address in the masthead and I will do what I can. If you are a student of mine in either Tuesday or Thursday nights classes, I will be in a bit early to address your questions in class.