17 May 2014

Are the Search Results at Ancestry.com Based on Phonics? Maybe....

A recent blog post on Ancestry.com's search result sort order ("Search Result Not in Alphabetical Order") prompted Sue Maxwell to comment that the results were actually sorted phonetically. That made perfect sense because in the initial post the last name of "Phair" was listed in the "F" section so that searchers of "Fair" would find it.

That made sense and I thought I had it figured out until I went to find another image to illustrate a follow up blog post.

Why is the last name of Perry listed in between Penfield and Penell? It would seem reasonable that Penfield and Penell would be adjacent as they "sound similar." Certainly Perry sounds different.


I understand why "Saint Andrew and St Clare" are listed together. But the other names notated on this image confuse me.

Which leaves me confused about the sorting of the search results. Strict alphabetical order I can handle. But now when I need to leave the surname blank on a search, I will have to scroll through all the results. Just in case.

I don't believe that we should take "whatever results" we get and be happy with them. There's no reason why these search results cannot be displayed in a way that makes sense. This is computer programming where sort procedures can easily be applied.


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