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My Ancestors beta

Discussion in 'Latest news' started by peter, Oct 25, 2014.

  1. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    I've just uploaded a beta version of the My Ancestors page which allows you to check the census references you've entered by clicking the [​IMG] symbol alongside. The search results appear in a new tab. For the 1881 Census (where we use the transcription) it's also an opportunity to check your entry.

    Note: this only works for the England & Wales censuses since it uses findmypast (no subscription required).

    Is this a useful feature?
    • Useful Useful x 3
  2. SuzanneD

    SuzanneD LostCousins Star

    Yes, I can see this being potentially useful especially as the number of entries a member adds grows and you start to get several people of the same name (not uncommon in most families). It will also make it easier to check up on things if you get new info in. I can recall a couple of times when I've had to look up references from Lost Cousins using the census references, which is fairly cumbersome on most sites.
  3. Liberty

    Liberty LostCousins Megastar

    I have just discovered this new addition to the LC site (thanks Peter). A quick, new way to check who is at the reference you have entered. Sadly I have 3 entries from the 1911 census (institutions) where Find my past does not recognise the reference I entered, and at least 12 from the 1841 census that are 'wrong'. Undoubtedly more than that, but I gave up checking at that point!
  4. Liberty

    Liberty LostCousins Megastar

    Ok, potential problem..
    My ancestor Lawson Dunn and family are marked on the Ancestry 1841 transcription as being at 298/6/7/10. FindMyPast has them as 298/6/8/11. In the hope of making a match with a Cousin, should I enter the household under both?? This is rather more significant than differences in transcription of names. Sometimes/often you can't see folio/page on the image and have to trust to what the genealogy sites tell you is the correct/full reference. In this case, I think FMP is correct, but.....
  5. Alexander Bisset

    Alexander Bisset Administrator Staff Member

    I'm still on holiday so can't check directly but as far as I recall it should be possible to build a FindMyPast URL from the reference. If my memory is true on this then in addition to providing the text of the reference it should be possible for you to add the link thus taking people directly to the FindMyPast page.

    I'm almost 100% sure this can be done as I build a similar URL in FTAnalyer when users use the feature to automatically search FindMyPast for their missing ancestors on the 1881 (and other years) census.

    If possible this would dramatically increase the usefulness of the feature AND make it a LOT more likely users would click the link to check the reference is right. It's so so much easier for users to click a link and visually check that the census page has the right list of people than it is for them to check a reference number vs a reference number they have previously recorded.

    P.S. I am of course happy to assist with the code to generate the url if you are at all unsure as to how this can be achieved.
  6. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Alexander, when you get home from holiday you'll be able to see how it works. As far as I can judge what I did is precisely what you've described (although you may have something even more sophisticated in mind).
  7. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    The instructions for entering relatives from the 1841 Census include this warning:

    Note: the references in the transcription may be incomplete, or even wrong (at Ancestry); see the FAQs page for an explanation of how to interpret the references shown in the census image. When a private household is split over two pages use the references for the first page for the entire household.

    Anyone who uses Ancestry's 1841 Census references without checking them can miss out on matches, which is why this warning appears every time you enter (or edit) someone from the 1841 Census; in the case of Lawson Dunn the correct census references are 298/6/8/10 and in accordance with the instructions on the form the same references should be used for the entire household.

    I always take the 1841 references from the handwritten census form - it only takes a few seconds longer, and it eliminates the possibility of error.

    Be careful using findmypast - if the household you search for is split over two pages, and the individual you search for is on the second page, the census references displayed will relate to the second page. This is another reason to take the references from the image, rather than the transcription.
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
  8. Bryman

    Bryman LostCousins Megastar

    This can be quite confusing and the new My Ancestors facility can make it look as if there are errors when there are not.

    I have relatives from the Moulton family (John, Ann, Sarah, Elizabeth) with reference 468/19/49/19 where the 2 daughters appear on page 20.
    If I click on the new arrow against one of the daughters, the transcription displayed does not show her!

    Please can the displayed list be shown in the same order as the original document, where John and Ann appear at the bottom of page 19, rather than in surname order? At least that would suggest that there may be additional family members on the next page. Also, how can one then get to see the next page?
  9. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    What you'll see when you click the grey arrow is precisely what you'd see if you carried out the census search manually.

    I can't alter what Findmypast show in response to a search - they offer various options to reorder the results, but none of those will display the results in the order they appear on the page. By all means post a suggestion on the Findmypast feedback forum if you think it's an option they ought to offer.

    When you click the arrow you'll only see people who appear on the page specified by the census references. If a household is split between two pages it's inevitable that you'll only see the members who are on the first page. To view the following page click Edit your search and change the census references accordingly (alternatively, if you have a Findmypast subscription you can view the image and click the right arrow).
  10. Bryman

    Bryman LostCousins Megastar

    Unfortunately, that is not so.
    A manual search would display the whole household in the same member order as the original document.
    The new LC display shows the contents of the original page only, sorted in surname sequence of the entries contained.

    I don't know how you specify what FMP should display so am rather lost as to what I should be asking for. There is no sort sequence available on the FMP page displaying the household members from a manual search.

    That is rather awkward as an adjustment of the census reference may be more than just a change of Page Number, even if one realises the need to scroll down to find the reference in the first place.
  11. Alexander Bisset

    Alexander Bisset Administrator Staff Member

    What to do Bryman is to do a manual search for one family and then post here the URL that it takes you to. Then do a LostCousins "search" using the new beta feature for exactly the same family and post the URL that takes you to. By comparing the two URLs we can identify where the difference lies. I do recall their being tweaks I needed to incorporate into the URL builder for FTAnalyzer to cope with odd searches this is perhaps an example of one of those.
  12. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    What I said IS correct - it's precisely what you would get if you searched manually using the census references (remember that the aim of this new feature is to make it quicker and easier to verify that you have entered the right census references). Findmypast display all of the individuals on the specified census page, initially in alphabetical order.

    If you have a Findmypast subscription you can view their transcription of the household by clicking on the icon against any member of the household. If it's the 1881 Census you can do this even if you don't have a Findmypast subscription, but you will need to log-in or register.

    The transcription DOES show the entire household in the order that they appear in the census. Bear in mind that the concept of a household didn't really exist in the 1841 Census, so what you'll usually see is a list of all the people in the same dwelling.

    Alternatively, if it's the 1911 Census - which only returns a single household - reordering them by birth year will often produce the order you're looking for. This is a good option if you don't have a Findmypast subscription.

    The order in which they are listed on your My Ancestors page won't necessarily be the order in which they appear in the census, but it often is (they're listed in the order you entered them).

    Please remember that the primary aim of implementing this new feature is to help members verify the census references they've entered using a FREE search - incorrect census references are the leading cause of missed matches, either because of misunderstandings or because the member has relied on Ancestry's 1841 transcription (which often gives the wrong references).
  13. Bryman

    Bryman LostCousins Megastar

    Thank you Peter, the new facility is good, but could be better, I believe. After all, it is a beta version and I am just trying to point out possible areas of improvement, as a user not co-developer.

    I do have a FMP subscription and I was logged in when performing my 'tests'. However, I still did not get to see the daughters on the second page. The parents were shown near the top of the first page display so it did not look like a split household. Technically, what you have done is not wrong but I believe that my case has shown a deficiency with FMP, in this instance.

    This new capability is very easy to use and in most cases gives a quick and simple confirmation of the correct reference having been entered.

    The transcription from a manual search using names does show all household members but the result from a reference search only shows the contents of the specified page.

    In another 1841 reference, there were several families living in the same street of a village, appearing on the same page of the census as if living in the same dwelling. Three related surnames were present, Haines, Luff and Weakford, so entries were spread out rather than grouped together, as in the original document. Once again, not an error by LC but the short-coming of FMP lessens the usefulness of the new facility by introducing doubt and confusion in a few cases.
  14. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    There are all sorts of other searches that can be carried out at Findmypast, but the census reference search is the ONLY one to provide instant verification of the references - which is the object of the exercise.
    It doesn't impact on the usefulness of the new feature at all, just so long as it is being used for the intended purpose. It still verifies the references far more quickly and reliably than if you had to navigate to the appropriate search page then type them in yourself.

    As far as Findmypast are concerned, I think we're extremely fortunate that they provide as much information as they do in response to a free search - I don't see it as a shortcoming of their site.

    If you already know that your census references are all correct you won't benefit directly from this new feature - but you'll still benefit from corrections made by your cousins.
  15. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    It isn't a deficiency - they show the entire household if you go to the transcription. Search results are a means to an end, not an end in themselves.

    In any case, it surely doesn't matter whether you can see the whole household or not? So long as you can see the head of the household you know that the census references are correct.
  16. AndyMick

    AndyMick LostCousins Star

    Thank you Peter - this is a cracking feature. I've had to correct quite a few entries. But it's a long boring task to check them all, and I've only done my own tree so far.
  17. AndyMick

    AndyMick LostCousins Star

    Now going through my One Name Study checking details. I've hit a problem with Kate Laura Micklethwaite (she's transcribed as MICKELLTHWATE) aged 52 on piece 5835 on the 1911 census. When I hit a problem, my usual method is to check on Ancestry to find the PN - in most cases I have an image so can see the SN at top left. However, Ancestry hasn't transcribed the hotel where she's staying as I've looked for several of the guests without success. I can find her by searching for the piece at FMP, but can't work out the SN. It says 204 on the image (I only have the page she's on, page 2 of several) but this is obviously wrong. Can anyone please assist?
  18. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Andy, according to Findmypast the schedule number is 83.
  19. AndyMick

    AndyMick LostCousins Star

    Brilliant. Thanks Peter!
  20. AndyMick

    AndyMick LostCousins Star

    As I work though the 1841 census checking, it raises a question - for many Micklethwaites, the transcriptions on FMP and Ancestry differ, sometimes considerably. Does this matter?

    I've also found differences in page numbers on FMP and Ancestry on 1881 :(

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