Casefile Clues

04 December 2006

Exact versus Ranked Searches at Ancestry.com

If you are searching at Ancestry.com and getting stuff you never even searched for, and you don't want those matches, make certain you have your search box set to "exact matches only." Otherwise, Ancestry.com performs ranked searches and many times returns as "hits" items that do not come close to matching your search terms.

We've posted samples of search boxes (screen dumps only) illustrating this on our site.

I know I'm in the minority, but I do not like the "ranked" searches. With the exact search, it does what I tell it to. There are so few times I get to be in charge, that I like to take advantage of every opportunity that comes along ;-)

Seriously, if I do a ranked search, I cannot be exactly certain how the search was conducted. If I am uncertain how the search was conducted, how can I tweak it to improve the chance I find who I was looking for?

And frankly, I don't care if I'm in the minority either ;-)

Feel free to email me your thoughts on the ranked search vs. exact search.

Michael