Site Search Changes

I’ve made some changes to the way the site search operates. Up until now, the search results always consisted of a list of Items from our members stock containing references to people or places matching your search query.

This has now been changed to return the actual names or places with summary details of the reference, and a link to the Item containing the reference. This means you are likely to receive a longer list in your search results, but the results should be easier to navigate.

For example, if you were to search for “Jones”, you may be returned numerous links to the Jones Family Bible from each person within that Bible with the surname ‘Jones’ whereas before you would have received just a single link to the Jones Family Bible.

A similar change has been made to Place searches with similar results.

Soundex Algorythm
There are other areas where the search can be improved, and today I have changed the Surname search functionality to provide more relevant results. Up until today, a search for the Surname “Wood” returned Westwood, Woodley, Woodward, Woods etc., but searching for “Pengelly” would not return Penngelly or Pengilly.

This has now been changed to use the Soundex Algorythm to search for surnames that are phonetically similar (eg Smith / Smyth / Smythe). The immediate result is that you may see surnames in your results that do not exactly match you input. I am working on the ability for users to be able to match exact names only and hope to roll this out soon.

There’s still a lot todo before the site moves out of ‘preview mode’, but I hope these change will make it easier for you to find references to your ancestors.

As always, if you’d like to volunteer your help to drive this project forward – it’s still a one man project – I’d be very happy to hear from you