Complex Searching

Tip version: 19.2

Revision date: 13 May 2001

Software versions: 5.2 and above

The Generations v5.2+ software has good search capabilities but there are searches which exceed what may be done in a single search command.

The answer is to carry out your search in multiple steps and use the ability to "mark" cards to save intermediate results.

Q. Do you already have marked cards in your family file?

Before you carry out the search, check to see if you have any cards already marked in your family file. The quickest way to do this is to open up the index (Control-I) and look in the upper right corner to see if any cards are marked.

Name index with marked people

The name index showing a large number of marked individuals

You may or may not want to save a "marked set" if the you want to use that particular group of marked cards again in the future. If you do not you may simply choose the option to unmark everyone in the family file.

Unmark options

Unmark options from the name index

Marked sets are discussed in the online help and in the Generations software manual. Make sure that you use a useful name for the marked set. Generations will give it a name with the date in it by default. Unless you have a phenomenal memory or WANT just to have the date in the name of the set pick something useful to you. Now back to the search we want to carry out.

Back to the search

Go to the index once again and unmark all cards (lower left corner), as shown above. Now we have a blank slate to work with.

Consider the following example. I have been working on various Swiss lines from a wide range of sources and have accumulated "bits and pieces" of evidence from all over the map. Often it is hard to decide if the Andreas Jecklin you see in a census, born in 1809, is the same as the one you see getting married in 1835. Or which of the, say, two of that name getting christened during 1809 in the church books you have been studying, and so forth.

So I have a lot of people with "some" data but who are not linked together. I want to collect these people, see how bad the problem is, and then devote my efforts to getting this unlinked people put together (or at least minimize the number of unlinked people).

One of the criteria for the search will be to find people with no parents listed (this is one of the Preset search definitions, by the way). A second criteria will be to be to identify the various Jecklins - but the Swiss records, like most others, show a variety of ways to spell the name: Jecklin, Jacklin, Jeclin, Jeklin, etc.

The obvious solution here is to search according to the Soundex for the surname, in this case the value would be J245.

One may perform a search with the two conditions: namely (1) no parents, "AND" (2) soundex equals J245.

Find anything example

The conditions for the first "Find Anything" search in our example

So what's the big deal? So far nothing, this can be easily handled by Easytree in a normal two condition search, as shown in the screen shot.

BUT, since I am going to be working in these Swiss records and I want to make the most use of my time, I also want to do a similar search for some of the other surnames I am working on in this area.

The conditions are similar but the names are Schalleben (soundex = S615) and Tarnutzer (soundex = T653). The latter surname is one where several further complications ensue. Tarnutzer is also seen in Swiss records as Tarnuzzer (soundex = T652) and furthermore with a D subsituting for the initial T (soundex = D653 and D652, respectively).

If you wonder about these, take a look again at the Soundex coding rules, it groups D and T together, and that proves true in the Swiss records as it does in the U.S.

So, since I want to put together a list of unlinked people with these three surnames, what I have is: [No parents] AND [(soundex equals J245) or (soundex equals S615) or (soundex equals T653) or (soundex equals T652) or (soundex equals D653) or (soundex equals D652)] Note that there is bit a boolean OR command between conditions in Easytree, nor can you search for multiple soundex values in one pass.

So what you have to do is perform the search in multiple steps, in this case six searches:

[No parents] AND [soundex equals NNN]

where the successive NNN values are J245, S615, T653, T652, D653, and D652

After each search, mark the results of the search, but do NOT clear the existing marked cards in the family file!

At the end of this use the preset "Marked" to get a list of all of the people you have found.

Marked search preset

Marked search preset

You can then save this as a set, or generate a report, or use it as a flag for exporting data. What I chose to do in this actual example was to export a data file consisting of ID number, given name, surname, birth date, death date, and first spouse. I then imported the file into Excel, did some sorting, and printed out a copy of the list. I then had it in hand while I was working with the microfilms. People whom I found and linked I could cross off on the list, conflicts could be noted, and I could just jump to the id number shown rather than having to call up, say the "previous list" under "Find Anything."

Regards, Mike Hobart

Copyright © 1999-2001 Michael A. Hobart, commercial reuse restricted.

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