FamilySearch.org has updated its search system with two new features that will allow users to focus their searches in a dramatic way. These two new features are:
- Restrict Results by Record Location & Type
- Search the FamilySearch Catalog with Multiple Search Parameters
Restricting Results by Record Location & Type
Among the many different genealogical search tasks, the most common are a broad search for any information about an ancestor and a narrow search for a specific record, such as a birth certificate, for an ancestor.
Someone looking for any information about their ancestor who was born in England is usually delighted to see the 1920 U.S. Census record showing the person and his family living in Wisconsin. Those specifically seeking their grandfather’s English birth certificate are not so delighted with a U.S. Census record.
Using the new main-page search form a user can designate that they only want records returned which originate from England. They can also choose to restrict the types of records returned to those of a specific type, such as ‘Marriage’.
Our search system uses all of the information it has about a record to determine it’s location of origin and type. It uses the jurisdictional of the known record keeping authority, the place and type of the primary event on the record, the collection place and type context, etc. There are some collections, like the World Miscellaneous ones, where this information is not known for the records and these will not be returned in a location & type search. You may want to search these collections separately.
This ability to focus in on specific locations and record types will be very helpful to researchers who are seeking to know if FamilySearch has the records they are looking for.
Searching the FamilySearch Catalog Using Multiple Search Terms
Those who use the FamilySearch catalog commonly look for all the resources from a specific location first and then sort through hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of published titles to find those relevant to their research. The new catalog search form allows users to enter multiple search terms by clicking the terms they want to search on. Filtering on both a place and keyword, for example, will greatly increase the efficiency of identifying the most relevant resources about ones family.
While the new catalog contains the same data as the old, and is getting better and better, there are still essential missing features in this beta product. Until these features are finished the previous version of the catalog will remain available for public use.