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Archiver > ROOTS > 2009-07 > 1247676810

Subject: Re: [ROOTS-L] Ancestry's New Look
Date: Wed, 15 Jul 2009 12:53:30 EDT

In a message dated 7/15/2009 12:43:20 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,

I'm not clear on what people are looking for (assuming that they have,
indeed, changed to the "old search") that gives them thousands of unrelated
hits, or nothing.

"Unwanted" and "unrelated" are not the same. If I put in Jos* Smith,
Pennsylvania, 1830, I'm pretty sure I'll get quite a few of "unwanted"
Why? Because, of course, there were many different Jos* Smiths in
Pennsylvania. They may not be "yours" and therefore "unwanted."

That doesn't mean there's something wrong with the program, or the search

"Unrelated" hits, on the other hand, would be putting in the above and
getting a bunch of Sam* Smiths in PA in 1830, or a bunch of Jos* Smiths in

Some of this is legitimate, because, for example, a probate of a will might
have Jos* Smith in Florida, and Sally Black in Pennsylvania. This is not
error in the system. The search engine might ask "find me the word Jos*
the word Smith AND the word Pennsylvania within twenty words of each
(note, I made this up, the actual query won't look quite like that.)

I will say, I do not always see the connection. I've come up with book
index that has the first name on one line, the surname on the next line,
no evidence of the state at all. I'm sure it's there, but who knows where.
That, I would call "unrelated." Or, the full name, but no indication of
the state. The first is easy to discount -- not the same person. The
requires more looking at the index (or whatever) to see if it indeed could
be "my guy."

That said, IF you check "exact" and keep your queries simple, you should
find what is there, within all the "unrelated" stuff. I'm not sure what
"too long" is. The whole point of doing research, to me, is finding those
nuggets hiding in the gravel. And, of course, you'll still miss a nugget
but later, with further information to determine who's who, you may
that piece of data and find that it's related to what you're doing.

Perhaps you got "no matches" because there were none. However, I would shut
down Ancestry, open back up, and do a completely fresh query, because
sometimes I think there are stray electrons floating around. <G>

How about sending a name, date, place, and let us (all the list, not just
me, please) see what we can find.


Ancestry problems can be attributed to census takers who couldn't spell,
got information from neighbors, were restricted from putting family members
on the census who were in the home because of instructions not to,
TRANSCRIBERS who knew nothing about the family or the census taker and transcribed
what they thought they were seeing. and MOST importantly, people who are
family descendants, who have access to the Ancestry census, NOT submitting
corrections to benefit ALL researchers. They can also be attributed to
Ancestry CLAMING they have an ALL name index to the census, when NOTHING could
be further from the TRUTH.


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