Earlier I posted a problem I had with the results display of an Ancestry.com search and promised to tell you what happened. Two things:
1. The response to the query I sent them by email was canned. It was clear that the person had paid no attention to the details I sent. I would post the response, but I immediately trashed it, it was so off point.
2. I turned around and posted the same query on the Ancestry.com Facebook page. The Ancestry.com representative there read my post, investigated, discovered a small glitch and it was quickly fixed.
Ancestry.com is huge and I can not fault them for having canned answers or for having to limit the amount of time they spend on one query. Further, I try to be as clear and concise as I can when wording a question, but it is difficult and I know I sometimes fall short. I’ll bet that is true of others, too — especially people who are frustrated.
The display of results is very important and is one area that I think needs great improvement.
First, it would be helpful if we were told the parameters by which the display is sorted. Also, it would be great if we could control how the displayed results appear. For example, if we could sort the results by county, then by birthdate within the county. Or sort the results by first name, then by county.
I think it is possible that the new sliders are giving us some control over how things display, not necessarily the number of results, but I’m not sure… it would be nice to understand better how they work.
In the old search system, you could sort categories of results by number of hits or alphabetically. In case you don’t remember how the categories display, try clicking the right tab. Here is what it looks like:
And here is how the results appear
This was for a search that specified James Withey residence Michigan.
The results are sorted within each category by the number of hits in that category. In the Birth Marriage and Death category, I really don’t want to see the England and Scotland hits — I want to see any birth, marriage or death record for Michigan. If I could sort the categories alphabetically, I could more readily find them. It’s not perfect, as some Michigan records might be in a collection that doesn’t start with Mich… but this scatters them everywhere on what will be a very long list once I click “see all 155, 516 results”
I know this is possible as it used to be an option to sort categories alphabetically. For all I know the ability for me to do that is there right now and I just haven’t figured out how to use it.