Casefile Clues

04 January 2014

An Overabundance of Arrivals of Gold People in New York on 4 November 1873.

This was the search I constructed of the "New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957" at today:

Pretty narrow search. Pretty simple stff. Just give me the people who arrived in New York on 4 November 1873 with a last name beginning wth "gol." And yet, here are my results:

"Too many matches..."

Will someone please tell me how there can be too many matches for this restrictive of a search? Did everyone with the last name of Goldman, Golden, Goldstein, Goldenstein, etc. all decide to immigrate in late 1873? Was there some edict requiring Gold people to leave? Is there some history regarding this of which I am unaware? I seriously doubt it.

When I remove the date from the search, the results for "Gol*" do come up: all 3683 of them.

Why does the search with date give the "error" message? Why does the date combined with the name tell me I have "too many matches?" If 3,683 is not too many, a number less than 3,683 certainly should not be to many. The date makes the search more restrictive, not less restrictive?

The frustrating aspect of this is that it would be nice if the searches worked the way they are supposed to work.

The last time I brought up this issue, I was told to "tweak" my search and workaround the limitation.

That sounds like an excuse to me.

I'd like searches to work they way they are supposed to work--especially when conclusions are sometimes based upon search results.

And there's always the lingering thought in the back of my mind: "if this search isn't working the way it appears that it should, are there other searches not working they way I think they do?"

It's as simple as that.