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Ancestry can be so perverse

Discussion in 'Ancestry problems' started by JoyNor, Jul 18, 2021.

  1. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    You can get around it by adding the following fields to the URL:

    &event=YYYY (where YYYY is the event year)
    &event_x=R-0-0 (where R is the number of years on either side)

    Note: when you use this trick R can take values that Ancestry wouldn't normally allow, such as 3.
  2. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Megastar

    I can get that to work if I add the date one to the URL after I've already tried the search without it - otherwise I just get an error page.

    However, it seems to work by unticking the 'Match all terms exactly' box, and gives me more results than simply unticking the box myself and putting the year in the Birth field.

    Other than in the Oxfordshire registers (where this date box is absent), the best solution I've found is to put the year in the Any Event field, and then pick what kind of event from the dropdown.
  3. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    I don't tick that box - instead I tick individual boxes which I find works better. But you can do whatever you want - just start with a search of one of the other baptism record sets, then copy the parameters across.
  4. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Megastar

    The Oxfordshire Baptisms 1813-1915 don't have the option to add in names for the parents, so I've tried this to add in a father's name and and a mother's name via the URL which worked fine.

    But since searching these baptisms with parents' names is actually possible, I wonder why Ancestry has omitted the option for this in the search box? Why make things harder than they need to be?

    EDIT: I should perhaps have said that when adding the parents names in the URL, the first 12 results had the right parents - including the children I'd been looking for. But there were a further 222 results that weren't relevant.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2021
  5. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Megastar

    As a further bit of Ancestry perverseness, when I did the above search there is a message at the top of the results "Note: To get better results, add more information such as First Name, Birth Info, Death Info or Location—even a guess will help".

    The baptisms I'd been looking for were in North Aston, so I added this into the search box (Match all terms exactly still unticked & parents' names omitted) and had to browse through several pages to find any relevant results. This seemed a bit puzzling until I realised, although the place is given as 'North Aston, Oxfordshire' in the place dropdown, in the search results it's 'Aston North'!
  6. Helen7

    Helen7 LostCousins Superstar

    We'll have to agree to differ on this one. I agree it's a photocopy and I know what the answer should be, but I think the name is clear (particularly the surname), and certainly the F for female is very clear. However, I agree with you that some of the others on the same page are less clear!
  7. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    When you know what it says it's very difficult to imagine what it would be like if you didn't know. So I showed it to my wife, who's normally pretty good at reading handwriting - she didn't have a clue what it says, and she stared at it for a lot longer than a paid transcriber would be able to.
  8. canadianbeth

    canadianbeth LostCousins Member

    I did not look at the original in a previous post, and to me it looks like Rawlins Harriet. The dot over the "i" in each case is really quite high.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  9. At home in NZ

    At home in NZ LostCousins Star

    I get that note almost all the time, it's easy to ignore.
    Going back to Job Green I have performed a search choosing Birth Marriage and Death including Parish from the drop down in 'Search'. Then, at the right hand side I chose Birth Baptism and Christening. I entered the name, the dob and the place and didn't tick any boxes.
    I got a list of Job Green baptisms with the correct one at the top of the list.

    At the left hand side is a further option to choose the data set, but you need to go a further page to find the right set in this case.

    Depending on your spread sheeting skills, it is possible to copy and paste a list from Ancestry then use the Filter tool to locate an individual. The links in the list in Ancestry copy through to the spreadsheet and work from within the spreadsheet.
    Lots of fiddling around? Yes, but I found it well worth while a few years ago when I was really stuck on something.
  10. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Superstar

    More out of curiosity than anything else, I showed it to my wife also and got the same reaction for the first name (she got Rawlins pretty quickly) and sat amused whilst she attempted to work out the first name, and couldn't. When I told her it was Harriet, and she -realising the first letter was an 'H' - said..." in that case I suppose Harriet seems the most likely interpretation" .

    Such experimentation clearly confirms that trying to decipher handwriting is no easy task - unless you have a good idea of what it should be in advance.
  11. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Megastar

    Ignore it is what I usually do, but on this occasion, since Ancestry was recommending adding a place name, I thought I'd check if adding one would actually work. I think it would have done had I not chosen a parish with other issues, as mentioned above.
    I haven't actually tried that, but with these Oxfordshire records, I have the family history society transcripts, and use those to find people when Ancestry won't oblige.

    Oxfordshire is unusual in that previously, when visiting the archives, you were expected to use the printed transcripts rather than original registers, since mostly these hadn't been filmed. So it wasn't until the registers were digitised (and subsequently appeared at Ancestry) that checking things out in original registers was generally possible.
  12. At home in NZ

    At home in NZ LostCousins Star

    Oh to have the luxury of visiting any place in UK to see records. it's quite hard going when you live so far away but I grew up in England and my geographic knowledge is good which really helps.
  13. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Google Maps is a godsend - in Suffolk, where I have an ever-increasing number of 'brick walls', there are over 500 parishes and there can be 50 parishes within a 10 mile radius. Knowing the walking distance between two parishes helps me sort possible baptisms and marriages according to likelihood.
  14. At home in NZ

    At home in NZ LostCousins Star

    My maternal grandmother's roots are in Suffolk, I found what used to be called Simon's Suffolk Churches to be a good source and, if you have people in the Cosford Registration District there is a Cosford Database which is now in the wayback machine. Don't take any notice of the invitation to contact Ray Long, he has passed away. I was able to go back 10 generations with it.
  15. A. Muse

    A. Muse LostCousins Member

    If you don't like the transcriptions you could always do it the old fashioned way and start at the begining of a parish record film and work your way through year by year, squinting at the poor handwriting. It sometimes produces a lot of more information about the family and names in the area. At least now the film is on Ancestry or FMP and searchable on your computer saving a trip to a repository I think we are too used to instant gratification with this hobby, and forget the old days when you might be lucky to find one useful record in a whole day's searching in a record office.
  16. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Megastar

    There are times when it's definitely a good idea to browse through the registers, but other times when it makes more sense to make use of the search facility. A lot may depend on how busy the parish was, how good the handwriting was and how close the person being sought is to your main line. With some parishes you can browse through a good many years in an hour or so, whereas in others it make take you that long just to browse through one year of entries.

    My issue, though, was less with the transcriptions and more with the deficiencies in the search facility, particularly when I was trying to check entries that I already knew were there.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2021
  17. canadianbeth

    canadianbeth LostCousins Member

    Many years ago, before it was available online, I wanted to know the name of the man to whom my grandmother was married before she married my grandfather. Apparently, it was a taboo subject in my mother's family. When my cousin had a son she named James, my grandmother allegedly said James was a wonderful name, so we assumed that was her first husband's name. I had to go to the library and look through microfilm for the record of the (second) marriage here in Canada. It took some time but I was able to find it, with her listed as a widow and the surname. Since then, with information much more accessible now, I have found the registration for that first marriage, and the name was indeed James.
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1

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