Experimental Search

I’m guessing that most of the readers of this blog also read other genealogy blogs. If so, do you read the ‘Tips‘ from Michael John Neill? One of his recent tips was about FamilySearch Experimental Search.

Since I’m spending this week researching Dr. Edward Ostrander, I decided to try out this search to see what I could find. Unlike many of the surnames in my tree, the Ostrander surname is not as common. Thus, I started my ‘test’ of this new feature by searching for just the Ostrander surname.

While the search turned up over 82,000 results, it was the filters on the left side of the screen that will help narrow that field of results down. There are four broad categories in this list of filters:

  • State
  • Counties (defaults to list of counties for the state listed at the top of the state filter)
  • Record Types
  • Years

Each set of filters contains a prompt at the bottom of the list to click to see more. When I clicked on the MORE prompt for Record Types, I got an extensive list of various types of records.

Following each of the various filters is a number in parentheses. This is the number of records that particular filter will return.

So, if I select New York as one of the filters, that narrows down the field to 46,682 records. When I add Rensselaer county as a filter, that narrows down the field to 2,018. Those record type filter can then be used to narrow the search even further. For my Ostrander search in Rensselaer County, New York the record types are as follows:

  • Land and Property (1863)
  • Probate Records (192)
  • Genealogy (87)
  • Cemeteries (81)
  • History (78)
  • Minorities (75)
  • Church records (56)
  • Vital Records (49)
  • Church History (39)
  • Census (37)
  • Directories (24)
  • Bible Records (12)

I found the ‘year’ filter to be a little confusing. Since I knew my Ostrander family was in Rensselaer county prior to the move to Ohio around 1813, I was looking for years prior to 1813, Since the years are listed in order by the number of records returned, I had to scan the list to find a year with records before 1813. At the top of the list is the year 1800 with 189 results. Toward the bottom of the list, I found 1811 with 37 results and 1807 with 36 results.

When I clicked to select 1811, the list of years changed to put 1811 with 37 results at the top and then showed years with results fewer than 37 below it. Scrolling down I found mention of results from the 1700s.

Selecting the year also changed the list of record types.

When I redid my search for Edward Ostrander in Ohio (where he died), it found 111 probate records. The first record was for a record in the Pickaway Wills v. 3 1838-1851.

Narrowing the search to just Pickaway county produced 6 results. The first result is the will record on page 200 that I had obtained a copy of in 1989. The last three results referenced books that ‘indexed’ the records of Pickaway county, including marriage records. However, the second result in the list of six was for another copy of the will on page 210. (Clicking the blue source information opens the image.)

I had not seen the will on page 210 prior to using this new ‘experimental search’.

Going back to the list of results, there is the option to VIEW FULL TRANSCRIPT! Clicking on that option opens a scrollable box that contains a transcript of the record. The information in this transcript can be copied and pasted into another document.

Word of Warning! When you click to view the image, there is NO information regarding the SOURCE of the record. The only source information is the blue links in the list of results.

THANK YOU Michael John Neill for your tip about this new feature on FamilySearch.

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