Unexpected behavior of WikiTree search function

+10 votes
247 views

I'm puzzled by the search results page I got when I searched WikiTree (from the top of the profile page) for "Mary Hall," then sorted the results by birth date (I was trying to find and keep track of the various known duplicates and possible duplicate profiles for a woman born in the 1600s). The results covered the 1600s, but didn't include any of my target profiles:

What is it about the behavior of the search utility that prevented me from finding these? I noticed that most of the search results lacked married names. Some, but not all, of my targets had a married name at the time of the search, so I don't think that the search was consistently rejecting people with a Current Last Name other than Hall.

in WikiTree Tech by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.6m points)
Apparently, if there are more than 100, it shows you 100.  Then if you re-sort, it just re-sorts the same 100.

If you specify a date range, say 1660 +/- 30, then the missing ones show up.
Thanks, RJ. Limiting the results by date got me the target profiles.

However, your explanation of the algorithm doesn't ring true. Used to be, if I sorted by birth date, I'm pretty sure I would see the earliest 100 birthdates for the name. Even now, if I search on the name, then ask to sort the list by birthdate, I don't get the same 100 profiles that I got originally. In the Mary Hall results, the initial list included some birth dates in the 20th century as well as a bunch of blank birthdates, but the sorted-by-date list runs only from 1560 to 1819.
Second guess - looks like it repeats the search, but filtering out those with no DoB.  Then the first 100 returned are sorted in date order.
That guess doesn't work either, RJ. The first set of search results includes  many entries with birthdates like 1842, 1850, 1868, 1886, 1893, 1902, 1908, 1940s, and 1950s. When I sort by birthdate, the most recent date in the results set is 1819.
Third guess - it's weird.

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