Author Topic: Optimise Scotlandspeople searches  (Read 97217 times)

Offline bonjedward

  • RootsChat Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 159
  • "It's comin' yet for a' that ... 24 MB at 1.3 Kb/s
    • View Profile
    • My data at genopro
Optimise Scotlandspeople searches
« on: Saturday 19 March 05 15:49 GMT (UK) »
As many have discovered, the indexing at http://scotlandspeople.gov.uk leaves much to be desired, and you often spend credits in vain only to discover it's the wrong individual. That's part of their business model, I suppose, but we might as well try to spend our money as wisely as possible. Here are some examples of how to get value for money and even get some free results. It takes a little patience, and probably annoys the hell out of Scotlandspeople, since it hits their servers with many non income-generating queries. What a shame!

It's often worthwhile designing a search so that it results a number of results, for example where the surname is rare, or where you're interested in a surname in a particular district. There can be up to 25 results on a single page, at a cost of 1 credit, so try to go for the 25. E.g. search for Deaths, "TOWERS"; County: Renfrew; Year From: 1912; Year To: 1954, 25 results. Or if it's 2 pages, try to go for 50 results - try selecting districts - up to 5 at a time - to narrow the search. Even if you're currently only looking for one particular individual, there's a good chance that some of the others could be relevant later. Even once you've narrowed the search down so it returns 25 results, try to expand it a little. E.g. if 1866-1913 returns 25 results, try 1865-1913, 1866-1914 etc until you go over the 25 and have to go back one year. I.e. try to get the most extensive search for your 1 credit - you may well want to go back to this search later while looking for another individual.

I often have a browser window open searching the IGI, or FreeCEN at the same time as Scotlandspeople. In Scotlandspeople, you can't for example, search for all children of given parents - you have to know their names to search for them. So find them first if possible other places and then search Scotlandspeople.

There's a maximum limit of 5500 characters in a Rootschat post, so for my examples, see the following post:

Researching: Towers family of Paisley; Argyll: Carmichael, McQueen; W. Lothian: Aitken, Smeal, Cunningham, Brash, Easton; Stirlingshire: Bruce, Henderson, Galloway;  Midlothian: Gillis, Philp, Turner; Ayrshire: Robertson, McMurren (also County Down), Bone, Eaglesham, Scoffield, Frew, McLatchie;  Moray: Rennie, Stronach;   Donegal, Derry: Douglas, Wray, Steen;  Bermuda: Outerbridge, Seon

RootsChat is the busiest, largest free family history forum site in the country. It is completely free to use. Register now.
Also register instantly with Facebook or Twitter (and other social networks). Start your genealogy search now.


Offline bonjedward

  • RootsChat Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 159
  • "It's comin' yet for a' that ... 24 MB at 1.3 Kb/s
    • View Profile
    • My data at genopro
Optimise Scotlandspeople searches part 2
« Reply #1 on: Saturday 19 March 05 15:51 GMT (UK) »
Example: Search Statutory Register (SR) Deaths (1855-1954)
Euphemia Rennie, born ca. 1846, married 1871 to John Pritchard.
Search for death, Euphemia Rennie, 1871- 1954. 32 results, 2 pages.
Reduce search til it fits on 1 page: 1871-1932 - 25 results. Pay 1 credit for that search.

This result: 1919 RENNIE EUPHEMIA MCGEEC F 73 HILLHEAD LANARK looks promising - age fits, and the location.
Now search for Euphemia Pritchard, aged 73, died 1919 in Hillhead, Lanark. Returns 1 result: itís her. For the moment Iím not all that interested - Iíve discovered the year  and place of her death. The middle name (probably McGeech) is interesting . I havenít come across it before. Maybe Iíll have a look some time in the future if I have extra credits, in the meantime I wonít spend the 1 credit to get the exact result of the search, or the subsequent 5 credits to download the image. This is a typical example of trying to save credits - she's a remote relative, not a direct ancestor, so I'm not willing to spend a lot of money right now following that line.
Result: Euphemia Pritchard, nee Rennie died aged 73, in1919 in Hillhead, Lanark
Total cost: 1 credit


Example: Search Statutory Register (SR) Marriages (1855-1929)
and Search Statutory Register (SR) Births (1855-1904))

From 1881 census - Rennie family, Govan. Flora Rennie, aged 16, born in Irvine, Ayrshire (her mother Jane born same place). I.e. born between 4th April 1864 and 4th April 1865 (the census was taken on the night of 3rd-4th April 1881 - earliest possible date is if she turned 17 on 4th April 1881 and the census taker appeared before midnight, latest possible date is if she turned 16 on 4th April and the census taker appeared after midnight.)
 1901: David Rennie dies, widow Jeanie Muirhead.
Search for marriage: David Rennie, Jeanie Muirhead, no matches. Neither are there matches with Jean* (note on wildcard searches: * matches any number of characters -including none, ? matches one character only -e.g. THOM*SON matches both THOMSON, THOMPSON, THOMASON, THOMASSON, etc. THOM?SON will match THOMPSON and THOMASON but not the others
Replace Jeanie with Jane, 1 match. Narrow it down to 1870, Glasgow (could have narrowed it down to district, but couldnít be bothered). So Flora born before that wedding. Search for births, Flora Rennie 1864-1865, Ayr, Irvine. 0 matches. Replace Rennie with Muirhead, 1 match. 1864-1864 1 match.
Result: David Rennie married Jane Muirhead in Glasgow in 1870.
Result: Flora Muirhead born in Irvine, Ayrshire in 1864.
Total cost: 0 credits


Example: Search Statutory Register (SR) Deaths (1855-1954)
Search for death cert for. Sarah Wray, nee Davis. Was 38 yrs old in 1881 census, so should be born between 4-apr-1842 and 4-apr-1843. Search for deaths, all years, all counties, Sarah Wray. 9 results. Married women are usually also indexed under their maiden names, so try Sarah Davis. 57 results. So Wray is a rarer name, try this first. The family lived in Port Glasgow in 1881, so let's try Renfrewshire, Port Glasgow district, and Sarah Wray, deaths from 1881 and from age 38 upwards. (note: not all age of deaths are indexed - those not indexed are set to 131, so if you set an upper limit of 100 years of age, you won't find these). 1 result. Try replacing Wray with Davis and do the same search. If there are no results, then we shouldn't be looking in Port Glasgow. 1 result. That's better than I'd hoped - there could easily have been more. Now find the year of death, changing the surname back to Wray, and try 1900-1943.  Remember to set the district, Port Glasgow, each time - it gets reset. 1 result. 1920-1943  1 result. 1930-1943 0 results. 1920-1925 0 results. 1926-1928 1 results. 1926-1926  1 result.  Now try to find the age. In 1926, she should have been about 83. Try ages 81-85 1 result. 81-83 1 result. 81-81 0 results 82-82 1 result. Now replace Wray with Davis, all other criteria as before 1 result. That must be her.
Result: Sarah Wray nee Davis died aged 82 in Port Glasgow, Renfrewshire, in 1926.
Total cost 0 credits.


2 March 2007 - new example. Looking for a George Philp, born probably between 1700 and 1728, probably around Edinburgh. Searching for Ph*l*p*
G*r*g* in Midlothian gives only one result. I could pay for it now, but might as well get any siblings at the same time. Since searching only for Ph*l*p* (all first names) would cost 3 credits, find out what parish he's born in first. Narrow this down, taking say 5 parishs at a time - either you get 1 result or 0 results. I result in Edinburgh Parish. So do the Ph*l*p* (all first names) search of that parish. 24 results. Extend to 1700-1729 25 results.  Pay 1 credit for this.
Researching: Towers family of Paisley; Argyll: Carmichael, McQueen; W. Lothian: Aitken, Smeal, Cunningham, Brash, Easton; Stirlingshire: Bruce, Henderson, Galloway;  Midlothian: Gillis, Philp, Turner; Ayrshire: Robertson, McMurren (also County Down), Bone, Eaglesham, Scoffield, Frew, McLatchie;  Moray: Rennie, Stronach;   Donegal, Derry: Douglas, Wray, Steen;  Bermuda: Outerbridge, Seon

RootsChat is the busiest, largest free family history forum site in the country. It is completely free to use. Register now.
Also register instantly with Facebook or Twitter (and other social networks). Start your genealogy search now.


Offline Arranroots

  • RootsChat Honorary
  • RootsChat Marquessate
  • *******
  • Posts: 12,371
    • View Profile
Re: Optimise Scotlandspeople searches
« Reply #2 on: Saturday 19 March 05 18:53 GMT (UK) »
Thanks David

This is very useful guidance - something that could be added to the site itself.  I can't believe they are just after our money!!  ;D

I did in fact hace some success searching for all children of known parents.  If you put the child's surname (or supposed surname) in the top surname field and then the mother's surname into the "parent's name" field at the bottom, it brings up likely matches. By a process of eliminating those born in the wrong place (Thurso instead of Bute!!) or to parents with the wrong first names, you can come up with a likely list.  Not foolproof I know,but useful for further flung rellies.

Caution: remember to apply alternative spellings!!  e.g. I found my GUY relatives under GAY (same pronunciation in the vernacular)

Arranroots  ;)
Census Information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
SOM: BIRD, BURT aka BROWN
HEF: BAUGH, LATHAM, CARTER, PRITCHARD
GLS: WEBB, WORKMAN, LATHAM, MALPUS
WIL: WEBB, SALTER
RAD: PRITCHARD, WILLIAMS
GLA: RYAN, KEARNEY, JONES, HARRY
MON: WEBB, MORGAN, WILLIAMS, JONES, BIRD
SCOTLAND: HASTINGS, CAMERON, KELSO, BUCHANAN, BETHUNE/ BEATON
IRELAND: RYAN (WATERFORD), KEARNEY (DUBLIN), BOYLE(DUNDALK)

Offline JAP

  • RootsChat Leaver
  • RootsChat Marquessate
  • *
  • Posts: 5,035
    • View Profile
Re: Optimise Scotlandspeople searches
« Reply #3 on: Sunday 20 March 05 02:56 GMT (UK) »
David's advice is excellent!

Arranroots mentioned finding GUY spelled GAY, and suggested trying spelling variations.

As David pointed out, do make use of wildcards on ScotlandsPeople (I find their Soundex useless but that's a personal opinion).

Using wildcards in the GUY/GAY case cited, one could search for G*Y (* = no, one or more letters) but that would not be any help as it would bring up e.g. GRAY, GREY etc.  But a search for G?Y (? = one letter) would bring up GUY and GAY - and also GEY, GIY, and GOY should there happen to be any.

The Free Surname Search on the Home Page is also useful - in the above example it shows that there are heaps of GUYs and GAYs, no GIYs, 1 GEY, and 9 GOYs (and specifies in which set of records they appear).  I couldn't try GY as the Free Surname Search requires a surname with length greater than two characters(!!!).

Cheers,

JAP

Offline bonjedward

  • RootsChat Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 159
  • "It's comin' yet for a' that ... 24 MB at 1.3 Kb/s
    • View Profile
    • My data at genopro
Re: Optimise Scotlandspeople searches
« Reply #4 on: Monday 21 March 05 15:57 GMT (UK) »
Thanks for your comments.
As I recall, specifying parents' names when searching for births is only possible for OPR searches, and I seem to remember that although parents' first and last names are transcribed there, you can't specify parents' first names in the search (My credits have expired, and I'm not planning to buy more before the 1871 Census is available "this Spring" - well, it's the 21st of March today).
The OPRs are good for one other thing - you can via the free searching I described find the exact dates, by halving your search interval each time, if you have the patience.

The parent's surnames in the Statutory Birth records might not be indexed, and it would certainly be a major undertaking for Scotlandspeople to do it. But in the absence of good indexing, I think it would only be fair to make the search results free of charge - perhaps increasing the cost of downloading an image by 1 credit to pay for it. Also, you should be able to search for female deaths by specifying surname AND maiden surname.

Researching: Towers family of Paisley; Argyll: Carmichael, McQueen; W. Lothian: Aitken, Smeal, Cunningham, Brash, Easton; Stirlingshire: Bruce, Henderson, Galloway;  Midlothian: Gillis, Philp, Turner; Ayrshire: Robertson, McMurren (also County Down), Bone, Eaglesham, Scoffield, Frew, McLatchie;  Moray: Rennie, Stronach;   Donegal, Derry: Douglas, Wray, Steen;  Bermuda: Outerbridge, Seon

annesapphire5

  • Guest
Re: Optimise Scotlandspeople searches
« Reply #5 on: Saturday 11 February 06 21:56 GMT (UK) »
Dear David


Thank you for this information.

My husband's Scottish family is proving most elusive and the conversion from NZ dollars to British pound is horrendous.   

Anne 8)

Offline linmey

  • RootsChat Aristocrat
  • ******
  • Posts: 1,669
  • Propping up a Saxon shore fort!!
    • View Profile
Re: Optimise Scotlandspeople searches
« Reply #6 on: Sunday 12 February 06 07:02 GMT (UK) »
Very useful advice David. I have only just started using Scotlands People and I have to say I am horrified at how much it has been costing. I suppose I was expecting it to be like Ancestry. I dont seem to have found out much for my money so your tips will come in very handy.
         Best wishes.  Linda.
Reynolds, Woodham, Payne, Wilmott, Hart, Richardson, Packwood, Tandy, Dexter - Bedfordshire.
Chamberlain and Wagstaff- Hunts.
Freeman, Cheney, Cox- Northants.
Burns, Muter, Cobban, Hossack, Strachan, Moonlight.
Lanarkshire, Ross and Cromarty and Kincardineshire.
Garvey- Ireland.

Census Information Is Crown Copyright From--
www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Offline ladybird

  • RootsChat Aristocrat
  • ******
  • Posts: 1,200
  • Oh golly
    • View Profile
    • A Tinful of History
Re: Optimise Scotlandspeople searches
« Reply #7 on: Sunday 12 February 06 09:46 GMT (UK) »
Thanks for that David, I have just narrowed down, to within a year, the deaths of 2 of my Jeffreys for free!!

I have 16 credits left on SP (expired at the moment) and I'm putting off buying more till the 1851 census comes online...shouldn't be much longer surely.

Sylvia† ;D

PS Anne, I'm in NZ too so have to watch the $$$'s
Main names:
Scotland (Travellers) - Townsend/Townsley
Lanark and Stirling - Jeffrey.
Northumberland/ Durham - Newton, Nixon, Sharp, Greaves, Naters
Warwickshire and London - Garfield.
Ireland, Co. Kerry - Marah/Meara/Mara
Lincs - Smith, Vinter

other offshoots - Berry, Steven, Craig, Atkins, Fuller, , Stewart, Conway, Heather,

Census information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Offline Sally P

  • RootsChat Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 174
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: Optimise Scotlandspeople searches
« Reply #8 on: Sunday 12 February 06 10:30 GMT (UK) »
Hi David

I only joined the forum last month so have only just picked up on this thread. I already use some of your tips & will try some of the others so Thank you for posting them.
Do you have any tips on census searches by any chance?

When Scotts Origin had the censuses online you could include the birthplace in the search which was very useful when you had no idea where an ancestor would be 10 years on from the previous census. Scotlandspeople say they can see no point in adding the birthplace into the search boxes - they either have no idea how hard it is to search for a common name on the census or perhaps think that if they make it slightly easier for us then their income may drop slightly.

In my case they have actually lost out on at least 6GBP as I have search results I am not sure of so have not purchased the image. LIke you these are not direct ancestors, so I am not willing to spend money - especially when I am not sure I have the right people.

Regards
Sally