Author Topic: Ancestry "tree search" is a joke! any alternatives?  (Read 1496 times)

Offline GaryMorton320

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Ancestry "tree search" is a joke! any alternatives?
« on: Wednesday 10 November 21 17:06 GMT (UK) »
If you have a tree in Ancestry, then it is likely you have used the "tree search" feature to find someone with a particular name. Even for this simple search it is badly implemented, and its shortfalls are particularly obvious if you have a large tree and the name appears many times in your tree.

1) they could fit more names for each "page" of results.
2) they could fit more information about the resulting purpose to help identification, it currently just gives DOB and death (if available). No use if you have many "John Smith"s born 1800!
3) the filter is at best a joke, because the search options are likely not helpful in filtering down the list in a useful way.

I was wondering if there are any packages, ideally free, which are able to read in a GEDCOM from Ancestry, but allow more sophisticated search filtering?

On FindmyPast I did a search on Henry Smith marriages in a date range, looking for anything which might match a person I am currently expanding in the Ancestry web page. When I opened the search result, it was intriguing. It wasn't the Henry currently being researched, but I immediately recognised the "street name" as one I know appears many times in my tree. But how to find the "search result" Henry (now distracted from the original Henry) ?

I used the "tree search" feature in Ancestry for "Henry Smith", and get 5 pages of 10, 45 in total. There are 3 or 4 candidates about the right date. But hold on, what I really want to search for is "name=Henry Smith, father=John, Street(contains)Station Road". It's the street part that is important to me. I would also, ot of interest, like to do a search "return all names of people who have lived in Station Road".

Again yesterday while adding for a different Benjamin I came across the name of a small place called "Brightholmlee" which I immediately recognised from some previous research some months ago on the same family name (single surname research). This place could link different branches together if they live in the same (small) place they are likely related, possibly siblings. But I have no way in Ancestry (as far as I am aware) to make that search. I guess I am surprosed that Ancestry have not realised the value of a sophisticated search.

My current solution is to open the GEDCOM in a text editor and use the simple text search feature of the editor to find (usually) place names, and then you have to navigate around to find the associated name, which is not always clear and obvious in this file format. This method is slow and tedious.

I did at one time buy some software from Ancestry, which was to allow me to have the tree on a laptop when I visited a Family History centre in the UK, but I ended up rarely using it. I have no idea where the disk (CD) is, let alone the install key. I don't even know on which PC or laptop it was installed. I just mention this in case it does have the type of search I am looking for, as perhaps I can ressurect it. Just googled, it might have been "Family Tree Maker". Aha, just found the box. Is it worth re-installing for it's search features?

Sorry for the bit of a rant, but with a big tree, I get more and more frustrated with Ancestry bugs and missing features to allow the tree to be managed. For example from the recommended drop down fill in text, I know that I have mis-spelt Yorkshire as Yorshire, but of course I have no way to find these mis-spelling records in order to corrent them.

Offline Pheno

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Re: Ancestry "tree search" is a joke! any alternatives?
« Reply #1 on: Wednesday 10 November 21 17:16 GMT (UK) »
Are you using the 'keyword' option box (towards the foot of the search parameters) for things like the road name/hamlet name when doing your Ancestry tree search?

That may narrow down/firm up your options.

Pheno
Austin/Austen - Sussex & London
Bond - Berkshire & London
Bishop - Sussex & Kent
Holland - Essex
Nevitt - Cheshire & Staffordshire
Wray - Yorkshire

Offline GaryMorton320

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Re: Ancestry "tree search" is a joke! any alternatives?
« Reply #2 on: Wednesday 10 November 21 17:33 GMT (UK) »
Are you using the 'keyword' option box (towards the foot of the search parameters) for things like the road name/hamlet name when doing your Ancestry tree search?

Just to clarify, I am talking about the "tree search" , which allows you to find people already in your tree. It's not the general/global search. I just checked "tree search" and the only option I see is "Filters", which are of no use to me. I do not see 'keyword' which is why I assume you are thinking of a different search. Please corrent me if I am wrong, sometimes buttons appear off screen and you have to scroll to find them.


Offline GaryMorton320

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Re: Ancestry "tree search" is a joke! any alternatives?
« Reply #3 on: Wednesday 10 November 21 17:35 GMT (UK) »
Just was using "tree search" again. I forgot to mention this additional annoyance. There are 45 results, but there are no options to order the list, which can ONLY be viewed 10 at a time. They appear in what appears to be a random order. Ancestry haven't even done the most basic thing, which is to order by date of birth.

Offline GaryMorton320

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Re: Ancestry "tree search" is a joke! any alternatives?
« Reply #4 on: Wednesday 10 November 21 17:48 GMT (UK) »
I have attached a partial screen shot.

So note the limit of 10 results per page, even though there is room at the bottom for at least 3 more results.

Note the wasted space in each result box, which could have easily been used to add further information, e.g. names of parents or name of wife and children. Of course it would be nice to select exactly what additional information is shown.

Note the random order of results. It isn't sorted by either name or date.

BTW due to the size of the tree and the failings of the various search features in Ancestry I add on purpose the year of birth to the first name to help with those search results which only return first/last name. This particular search at the very least gives additionally year of birth and year of death. Other search results/filters do not. Try working out which of 45 Henry Smiths you want to attach when you get a list of 45 idemtical names (such as when attaching a record from the 1841 census).

Offline BumbleB

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Re: Ancestry "tree search" is a joke! any alternatives?
« Reply #5 on: Wednesday 10 November 21 18:01 GMT (UK) »
My apologies, in advance, for this.  Let's face it, we all have our own INDIVIDUAL ways of researching BUT we expect the likes of Ancestry, FindMyPast etc. etc. etc. to know and recognise our particular whims and methods. 
Transcriptions and NBI are merely finding aids.  They are NOT a substitute for original record entries.
Remember - "They'll be found when they want to be found" !!!
If you don't ask the question, you won't get an answer.
He/she who never made a mistake, never made anything.
Archbell - anywhere, any date
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Milner - WRY
Appleyard - WRY

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Re: Ancestry "tree search" is a joke! any alternatives?
« Reply #6 on: Wednesday 10 November 21 18:51 GMT (UK) »
Are you doing a Tree Search on your tree or someone else's?
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Re: Ancestry "tree search" is a joke! any alternatives?
« Reply #7 on: Wednesday 10 November 21 19:43 GMT (UK) »
I don't think the names in the tree search are in random order. They are in the order in which you added them to your tree. Sorry, I know that doesn't help you at all. I do feel for you as I have a tree for early Yorkshire Broadleys and there are umpteen Johns, Williams and Henrys, all in much the same area.
Broadley (Lancs all dates and Halifax bef 1654)

Offline GaryMorton320

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Re: Ancestry "tree search" is a joke! any alternatives?
« Reply #8 on: Wednesday 10 November 21 20:03 GMT (UK) »
Are you doing a Tree Search on your tree or someone else's?

My own tree. There are about 2000 people in this tree (more after today!). The problems I am encountering with Ancestry don't really become apparent until your tree gets larger, and it becomes more difficult to re-locate people to whom you would like to add some new information.