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General => Technical Help => Topic started by: JohninSussex on Friday 03 January 14 08:28 GMT (UK)

Title: FamilySearch suddenly behaving differently?
Post by: JohninSussex on Friday 03 January 14 08:28 GMT (UK)
Unless it is just me, Family Search has become far less useful in the last couple of days.  (I am referring to the normal free lookup site, no login or anything, and searching for British records usually baptisms etc where you have partial information).  Suddenly they have added a clone of FreeBMD, i.e. GRO indexes, inaccurately labelled as "England and Wales, Birth Index, 1800-1920".

So my search just now for a birth, child named Harris, parents Arthur and Hannah, place Worcestershire, which would have produced a few likely entries, now produces every Harris birth in the county, as there are no parents' forenames in the index to use as a filter.  In other words the wanted entries from parish records are swamped by unwanted entries that I have already seen on FreeBMD.

The Mormons in Utah presumably think this is a good idea, but those of us who wish to use the site may have other ideas.  For anyone not used to what these records are, the title is wrong (where did 1800 come from), the event description is wrong (the event is the registration not the birth) and the place name shown is only the registration district not the actual town of birth or residence.

https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/England_and_Wales,_Birth_Index_%28FamilySearch_Historical_Records%29

 Record Description

The collection consists of an index to births in registered in England and Wales from 1800wrong-1920.
Record Content

The birth index generally lists:

    Surname and given name of the father wrong
    Registration date wrong
    Age d'uh?
    Year, quarter, volume and page number
    District
    Line and event number wrong
    Child’s full name
    Birth date  wrong

I couldn't find any other comment on Rootschat about this.
John
Title: Re: FamilySearch suddenly become useless
Post by: stanmapstone on Friday 03 January 14 09:21 GMT (UK)
https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/England_and_Wales,_Birth_Index_%28FamilySearch_Historical_Records%29
There is a box top right where you can "Edit the Page". Seems to be similar to Wikipedia.

Stan
Title: Re: FamilySearch suddenly become useless
Post by: Bee on Friday 03 January 14 09:33 GMT (UK)
Using the brief info that you gave familysearch brings up a few christenings, several with just a mother's name of Hannah and only one with a father Arthur.

familysearch is working fine for me, I've never come across the page that you have linked.
 
Title: Re: FamilySearch suddenly become useless
Post by: stevew101 on Friday 03 January 14 09:48 GMT (UK)
Seems to be working as normal here.

Steve
Title: Re: FamilySearch suddenly become useless
Post by: Annette7 on Friday 03 January 14 10:13 GMT (UK)
Sounds like you are entering details on the main search field screen which does indeed also include entries from the birth index in results.

You need to scroll down and click on 'United Kingdom and Ireland' and then search on England Births and Christenings.

Annette
Title: Re: FamilySearch suddenly become useless
Post by: stanmapstone on Friday 03 January 14 10:17 GMT (UK)
Family Search Wiki is a good resource for example see  https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/England 
Another resource on Familysearch are maps http://maps.familysearch.org/ where you can select Parish; County; Registration District; Diocese; Rural Deanery; Poor Law Union; Hundred; Province; and Division for England jursisdictions 1851.

Stan
Title: Re: FamilySearch suddenly become useless
Post by: JohninSussex on Friday 03 January 14 10:56 GMT (UK)
Sounds like you are entering details on the main search field screen which does indeed also include entries from the birth index in results.

You need to scroll down and click on 'United Kingdom and Ireland' and then search on England Births and Christenings.

Annette

I know there are many ways to use Family Search and some involve more effort than others.  But I have only just in the last day or two come across this mass of entries from the so called Birth Index, swamping more relevant entries, when doing a search that does not specify (for example) only England Births and Christenings.  Unlike the mass of entries from the 1901 and 1911 censuses where the index does not include the year of birth even though it is present on the records which is another pain, but is not new.

Maybe it is not a new record set but they could have adjusted the weightings in some way which has had this effect.
Title: Re: FamilySearch suddenly become useless
Post by: Guy Etchells on Friday 03 January 14 11:47 GMT (UK)
Unless it is just me, Family Search has become far less useful in the last couple of days.  (I am referring to the normal free lookup site, no login or anything, and searching for British records usually baptisms etc where you have partial information).  Suddenly they have added a clone of FreeBMD, i.e. GRO indexes, inaccurately labelled as "England and Wales, Birth Index, 1800-1920".

So my search just now for a birth, child named Harris, parents Arthur and Hannah, place Worcestershire, which would have produced a few likely entries, now produces every Harris birth in the county, as there are no parents' forenames in the index to use as a filter.  In other words the wanted entries from parish records are swamped by unwanted entries that I have already seen on FreeBMD.
snip

If instead of slagging them off on the forum you had looked at the results page you would have seen you could refine the search by giving the parents names

For example searching for Harris Place England , Worcestershire gives 81,434 results.

However the search may be refined either on the original search page or on the results page by searching by Type (Birth,Baptisms, Christenings, Marriage, Death, Census, Census etc., Immigration and Naturalization, Military, Probate, Other : Batch number, Film number : Life event, Birth, Marriage, Residence, Death, Any : Relationship : Spouse, Parents, Other Person
In other words quite a range of sensible filters

Do not forget the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints pay tithes to support Familysearch so that you can search their database for free.

Familysearch is and has been since its inception at the forefront of family history research and should be congratulated in their efforts.

If it was not for familysearch it is doubtful that many of the records available online would have been made available as familysearch was used as a model for such online databases.

That is not to say it is perfect, but just think what was offered before familysearch came online.
Cheers
Guy
Title: Re: FamilySearch suddenly become useless
Post by: JohninSussex on Friday 03 January 14 16:40 GMT (UK)
My point is or was simply, to suggest that something has changed over the last few days that has made these numerous index records drown out the more useful ones on one particular type of search.  Either I have just been unlucky, or something has genuinely changed.  I did explicitly say that it was a useful free site, but even a useful free site should understand what the GRO index is and not describe it so inaccurately.  I will wait a while and see if it was just a blip.  Any complex search algorithm is liable to produce duff results once in a while.  Hopefully it will sort itself out.
Edit: Just attempted to change the topic title which was perhaps a bit provocative.

John
Title: Re: FamilySearch suddenly behaving differently?
Post by: andycand on Friday 03 January 14 21:55 GMT (UK)
Hi John

It looks like Familysearch.org have added the GRO Index births 30th Dec 2013, deaths 2nd Jan 2014 and marriages 1st Jan 2014. If you scroll down and select the relevent region you gat a list of databases and when they were added.

As Annette7 said it appears you are searching from the main familysearch.org search page and whilst you can filter the results you may be better off going direct to a database. This usually gives you more appropriate results.

Andy