Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Ancestry Needs to Improve Search

Instead of spending money on making the different screens look better, Ancestry.com needs to spend money on improving its search engine.  I wanted to find the newspaper article on Frederick A. Snyder's death.  I went to the exact newspaper that I wanted, the Berkshire Eagle.  I used the Advanced Search screen to enter his name and the exact date of 25 Oct 1948 and name of the publication.  I received over 4200 search results, many from any year but 1948 and many other Warners besides the Fredericks.  At this rate it will be easier for me to get in my car and drive an hour to the Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield, Mass., to look up the article on microfilm in their local history room than to find the article on Ancestry.  

 The search engine also has difficulty returning results on a phrase.  I received as many misjointed results as I did with full names.  For instance the result might be Frederick Chase on one line and Gary Warner on another, instead of Frederick Snyder all together in one line of type.

If Ancestry wants to maintain and increase its membership, I very strongly advise it to improve its search engine.

I was very happy to see there was a link to a survey at the top of the screen at one point asking my views on the search screen and the results. You can be assured I told the company what it needed to do.

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