Looking for genealogical online records can be like looking for a needle in a prairie full of haystacks. Which haystacks do you search? In which order? We’ve just released a new filtering feature that will help you separate the hay from the needles.
After you conduct a search, you can filter your results by:
- Birth (and birth-like event) date and place
- Marriage (and marriage-like event) date and place
- Residence date and place
- Death (and death-like event) date and place
- Other event date and place (such as immigration, military service, etc.)
- Category (record type)
- In any search form, enter information about the person you want to find, and click Search.
- Review your search results, and decide exactly what you want to find.
- Click the filter type that you want to apply. For example, click Birth Place.
A pop-up box listing a number of geographic locations, each of which serves as a subfilter appears. The number that is next to each filter in the box indicates how many records will remain if you apply that filter. A filter is available only when it contains records that match your search.
You’ve now filtered your search from a larger geographic location to a smaller location. In this case, you have made it possible to refine your search to a specific state. Keep applying filters and subfilters until you have reduced the number of search results down to just the records that you wish to see.
When you apply multiple filters, remember the following tips:
- You can combine as many different filters as you need. For example, you can use filters for birthplace, birth date, gender, and category at the same time. You cannot, however, select more than one filter of the same type. For example, you cannot select more than one birthplace filter (such as Virginia and North Carolina). Allowing multiple filters of the same type is something that we will be working on for a future release.
- If you wish to change information in the search form, such as a surname, click the New Search button at the top left to see the fields. When you click Search, you will conduct a new search, and your filters will be reset when your new search results appear. We are considering adding a feature that would let you choose whether you want to apply the same filters to your new search results.
- As you apply filters, remember that the effect of the filters is cumulative. Each new filter is applied to the set of search results that are currently shown on the screen. For example, if you apply a birth date filter, the search results are constrained to the records that match that filter. Applying a birthplace filter takes that constrained set of results and reduces it to the records that match both the birthplace and birth date.
- Adding too many filters may cause you to miss valid records in your search results. So that you can tell which filters are applied, they appear highlighted in white.
- At any time, you can look at the top of the search results to see how many records remain in your filtered search results and to refresh your memory on your initial search parameters.
- To remove a filter, simply click the x that appears next to it.
Click below to post a comment to let us know how the filters have helped you and to suggest improvement we should consider for future releases. Your feedback helps us improve this feature and the rest of FamilySearch.org.
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