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London Gazette, latest to ruin its search function

ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


JoonieCloonie Report 27 Apr 2014 02:11

Ancestry, FMP ... and the London Gazette joins the party

(new site name, used to be london-gazette)

It used to have a wonderful search engine

you could search by exact phrase
or by a set of words (the AND function)
you could exclude certain words from your search (the NOT function)
you could specify a range of years

this was all in the 'advanced search' function before

now all I see is a search box you can put words in, and as far as I can tell the results will include anything that has *any* of the words in it ... although the results will start out with the words as a phrase ... but what if you don't want them as a phrase?

what if you are searching for John Henry Brown who was *not* an admiral or a bankrupt or whatever?

(I just made up John Henry Brown but it gets 81797 results)

and I don't want to search by 'type of notice' (Royal Family ... Money ... Money? what does that *mean*???), I generally want to search for people generally, by name

I have found interesting info about my own families this way and also for other people I have done searches for, just by searching for names and refining the search terms

why is everything being designed for idiots now?

why do search functions have to be so 'simple' that only the simple can use them? while people who want to specify their own search terms and who know their way around databases are left out in the cold

(and why does everything have to be designed for people who are bent on using telephones to do things like famliy history research? Ancestry's new census search form is the height of stupidity in that regard, it's a mile long to suit the cell phone format so there can be a pointless separate line for each bit of information that nobody uses to search anyway, like household schedule number for pete's sake ...)

FMP's passenger search has eliminated the ability to search for accompanying passengers and to specify a date range of travel -- !!! -- so again if you are looking for John Brown you are up the proverbial creek

what is this obsession with making information LESS accessible ???

now I will stop driving myself crazy fighting with these things til the wee hours of the morning and have a lie-in and a lazy late brunch tomorrow I think ;)


JoonieCloonie Report 27 Apr 2014 03:20

wait, I may have been too hasty :-D

once you do the stupid simple text search

you get options that do include a date range

and you can use boolean terms to search (quotes, AND, NOT)

so I guess you could search for, off the top of my head,

"john henry brown" AND manchester NOT bankruptcy

... oh yes, that works well ... NOT ...

the first of 137 results has two items on it that I suppose the search engine thinks are relevant ...

and estate of THOMAS HENRY BROWN

oh, and there used to be an ability to search for text on the page you are viewing, I'm sure, but no more

now I shall growl into my pillow


+++DetEcTive+++ Report 27 Apr 2014 10:19

Blame it on BrightSolid :-0


JoonieCloonie Report 27 Apr 2014 17:05

oh no, do they have their finger in that too ? :-D

here is an example of what the London Gazette search function used to look like

(this is from the SA national archives ... that site is buggy enough so I can only hope they don't start 'improving' things too!)

heavens, that would even work on a cell phone ...

I hate being made to feel like a dinosaur because I prefer things that work to things that don't work!


bob Report 27 Apr 2014 18:44

I find the same problem with Ancestry. It doesn't matter how "exact" the info you put in, it always comes up with a wide date range, various spellings etc. Bob


+++DetEcTive+++ Report 27 Apr 2014 19:13

I take it back - it's the British Newspaper Archive which Brightsolid is involved with.


SylviaInCanada Report 27 Apr 2014 19:35


I don't have that problem with ancestry ...........

............ just make sure that you go to Advanced Search OR one of the Collections, then make sure that "Match all terms exactly" is ticked.

I get the same sort of result that I've always had.

Don't just use the Search box that first appears


InspectorGreenPen Report 27 Apr 2014 20:36

The problem with Ancestry is that it tries to be all things to all men, not helped by the current advert on UK TV which says all you have to do is type in your name and all will be revealed as if by magic.

I was a bit sceptical when the 'new' search facility came out but having used it for several weeks I now think it is actually a big improvement.

Sylvia hit the nail right on the head - that's exactly the way I ended up using it.

I quite like the idea that is looks for possible matching records too so even if I just search census records, bringing up something for, say, 1911 gives me a list of suggested records which may also be related to the person.

Down side to this is that I have seen rather too many trees recently where people have been accepting suggestions without thinking through whether or not they actually make sense, or worse still, copying the howlers from other trees to their own.


JoonieCloonie Report 27 Apr 2014 20:38

I don't Sylvia ... I use the specific advanced search forms for each English census for instance and it just doesn't find things I know are there ... it refuses to recognize place names is one thing

the place names for place of birth just are not always laid out in the person's census record the way Ancestry does them in its fill-in-the-blank drop downs for instance and it will not find the person born in a place if you just type the town or village name in the box

less control over how you search, less likelihood of finding what you want


InspectorGreenPen Report 27 Apr 2014 20:44

Place names have always been hit and miss - given so many variations which end up in the transcription - even the old search didn't work very well in that respect either.

I find that putting the place name in the Keyword box, rather than the location works for me most of the time.


JoonieCloonie Report 27 Apr 2014 20:47

I had just figured out after many years that putting the registration district in the keyword box was a good idea, especially when you knew the reg dist of birth from the GRO index but not the actual place name

and yes it does work for place of birth if you know it too, I should have mentioned

still a stupid set-up, and yes, it definitely comes from the whole idea that you will find a potted family history if you just pay your sub


CelticShiv Report 2 May 2014 15:11

I def prefer the old search function they had in ancestry. I am getting used to it though now it is gone.

Findmypast search is awful. I really hate it. They have great records, I just wish the searching was better.

Scotland's people isn't great either for searching, not enough fields so it ends up pretty expensive. Although I have worked out how to get certain info without having to use up credits.

Karen in the desert

Karen in the desert Report 3 May 2014 08:44

It's all gone bananas!
One after the other, they're all following suit in an effort to make things better....better? I wonder how they can possibly think that by keep changing things just for the sake of it, they are making things better. Ancestry and FMP, for the moment, who next? I hadn't noticed the London Gazette fiasco til you pointed it out. As you say Janey, all they are doing is setting up for idiots, whilst in actual fact reducing the ability to glean the detail and information the site/s actually contain.
I absolutely loathe FMP as it is now, in its useless state, and was ready to quit my annual subscription....too late Ethel, as the song goes, I suddenly noticed my bank a/c had been automatically debited for another year's FMP sub, fgs, I'm sick as a parrot over that! :-| :-|


CelticShiv Report 5 May 2014 00:45

There seems to be so many fields missing for searching on ancestry now, especially for the census, it used to be easy to find some badly transcribed people by throwing in some information, but with the new search it is virtually impossible.

I want the old search back :-(

Karen in the desert

Karen in the desert Report 5 May 2014 22:39

Me too, CS...I want the old search back too.... your dreams, as they say :-D

Karen in the desert

Karen in the desert Report 9 May 2014 09:59

Sorry, going off at a slight tangent here, but in essence the same topic...another apology from FMP...


Andysmum Report 9 May 2014 21:51

I don't use Ancestry or FMP, so cannot comment, but I have been playing around with the Gazette search and have got nowhere!

I have been using a known recipient of the VC as an example, but it comes up with 0 results. :-S :-S :-S

Some of the boxes don't work at all, but if you click on Help at the bottom of the screen, you can get a page with the old-style of dates on it. (WW1, WW2 etc.)

I agree with Joonie - it's awful! :-( :-( :-(


Dame*Shelly*("\(*o*)/") Report 11 May 2014 02:07

im not getting any were with the gazette search ether


JoonieCloonie Report 11 May 2014 15:58

maybe I will submit a comment and just send them the link to this thread :-D


Andysmum Report 11 May 2014 16:28

Good idea!