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Place names

Discussion in 'Ancestry problems' started by Pauline, Oct 9, 2019 at 2:27 PM.

  1. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Star

    I know it's not a new problem, and I think it may have been mentioned here before, but it seems Ancestry has an ongoing problem with 3 letter place names - such as Cam in Gloucestershire, Elm in Somerset and Box in Wiltshire.

    Whenever I try and do a search involving such places, I find that it just isn't there in the drop-down menu so I can't select it.

    My workaround is to enter the county in the search box and then the place name as a keyword. But the keyword box isn't available for all searches - including when searching DNA matches.

    It's annoying!
  2. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    There's a similar problem in this forum - you can't search for words of fewer than 4 characters (annoying if you're trying to find articles mentioning DNA).
  3. Susan48

    Susan48 LostCousins Star

    Does a space at the end of the string count as a separate character?
  4. Bryman

    Bryman LostCousins Megastar

    No. Nor does punctuation increase the string length, ie "DNA," was still only 3 characters when I tried that.
  5. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Star

    I wonder if it is something similar at Ancestry then, though technically I'm not searching on just 3 letters. If, for example, I enter Cam, then when it doesn't appear in the drop down I add in a comma, then a space and then start on Gloucestershire, but the place still doesn't appear. Also it seems to find things like 'Lee County' which exists in several US states.
  6. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Star

    My workaround (because I have FTM) is to use this and go to 'Places' and search for the 3-letter place name. This invariably shows, although you may have to select a county if more than one. For instance 'Box' exists in Gloucestershire & Wiltshire. Select the one that applies, then when the map appears and a red marker highlights the place name, click + to enlarge and select the nearest place (or more than 3 letters of course) on its doorstep. For instance in Box, Wiltshire, Colerne fills this roll and can be found in Ancestry.

    Of course this can be done using Google Maps or its like and will not satisfy when searching entirely, but given Ancestry does build in some leeway in proximity to place names sought, will often come up trumps.

    For instance -merely to test this out - I attempted a search for Colerne, Wiltshire and used the surname of my nearest ancestor to that place (Morris), also picked up from FTM. Several results but the first showed an 1891 Census with a Jacob Morris, born in Box, Wiltshire and residing in Colerne. Jacob was not my ancestor but at least Ancestry recognised Box, Wiltshire, even if it won't allow a search by its name.
  7. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Star

    Bob, I am not an FTM user but hopefully I've understood correctly what you are suggesting. However, for place name searches, Ancestry's next option after 'exact to this place' is the whole county - OK if the surname under review is not too common, but not much help when looking for a particular John Smith, for instance. Even at FMP with their 'search radius' option set at 5 miles rather than exact (usually a much smaller area than a whole county), this can lead to an unmanageable 3000 results instead of 30.

    Ancestry is clearly aware of these 3 letter place names as, using the appropriate collection, I can browse the parish registers for Box or Cam etc - they just don't seem to be in the drop-down list when searching.
  8. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Star

    Yes Pauline, and I understand your comments. I wondered if you used FMP with their 'within 5 miles' and was going to suggest same, but of course if coupled with a common surname (and goodness knows have had my own share of Smith and Jones searches) the number of results can be quite frightening.

    In Ancestry can one not edit a search and move the location slide-bar away from 'exact' to the next notch, rather than widen to the whole county, just a thought. Otherwise it might be worth just seeking a place name you know is little more than a mile or so from the 3 letter place name you seek, and hope that brings results. (Can't do much about a common surname of course, but could work wonders with Pumpernickel or Abernathy and their like).;)
  9. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Star

    Yes, once you get to the results page you can move the slider, but the next notch is 'County', then 'County & Adjacent Counties', then 'Country' and lastly 'Broad'. It really needs a notch between 'exact' and 'county', and without it I don't think using the name of a nearby place will help.
  10. Helen7

    Helen7 LostCousins Star

    I have ancestors in Elm, Cambridgeshire, and although this does not appear in the dropdown list, if I just enter 'Elm, Cambridgeshire' into any of the 'location' search boxes, it returns people born/living there. This does not work for searches of DNA matches, of course, where you have to select from the dropdown menu, but it seems to work for all other searches on Ancestry.
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1

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