Name Search needs technical enhancements to help in finding common names and recent people

+19 votes

As WikiTree grows, it is increasingly common to run a Name Search that returns substantially more than 100 results (the maximum that can be viewed), and the available filters may not be adequate to trim the list down sufficiently to be sure that we are seeing all of the relevant results. It's time for some improvements to its capacity to handle large numbers of search results.

Here are some enhancements I'd like to see:

1. Make it possible to view more than 100 results (is it possible to add the ability to page to a second Results screen?).

2. Enable reverse-order searching on the various sort keys. (That is, enable reverse-order searching on First Name, Last Name at Birth, Birth Date, Death Date, and Profile Manager.)

3. Add a filter to limit the search results to active members of WikiTree. When I see or receive a message from somebody who wasn't logged in when they sent the message (or didn't include their WikiTree ID), I usually want to know whether they are a WikiTree member -- and if possible, identify their member ID. Or maybe I remember interacting with a member with a particular name, but don't have their member ID handy. When the name is unusual, it's usually pretty easy to do a search to figure that out. But when the name is common (for example, if the last name is Smith), it's usually hopeless -- there's no point in even trying to find them with Name Search. (The results can be restricted to living people, but for many names that now yields well over 100 results. And because "Dates after 1940 can only be searched wthin (sic) your own Watchlist," filtering options can't be used to divide the list of living people into smaller groups. But I don't think that limiting the results list to members would violate privacy the same way as a search by date would.)

in WikiTree Tech by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
I agree and would also like the search to always return all exact matches to the last name, as spelled, before any variants.  I think this is especially confusing to newbies/visitors.  If you search for Smythe you won't be shown any at all -- even though there are several pages worth.  All you see is a few of the Smiths.
Hi Ellen, I'm just going through some of the search-related items on the to-do list.

With the upcoming ability to page through all results, and the additional search filters that were added in the update to search, is reverse-order sorting still something that is needed?

Is the "still living" filter + paging good enough, or does there still need to be an "active member" filter?

Paging should greatly reduce my need for reverse-order sorting (I can't wait!), but as WikiTree continues to grow (and results lists grow correspondingly) I predict that people will be clamoring for it, because scrolling through long lists 100 profiles at a time can be slow.

The combination of the "still living" filter and the Unlisted status for profiles that aren't WikiTree members does make it much easier to find profiles for active members, so I guess that requested capability isn't needed. When I search for my own name and use the "Still Living" filter, there are over 173 results, and the first page of the results shows 18 who are active members -- they are easy to pick out because they are the only ones on the list that aren't Unlisted. (But that makes me wonder: Is there a way to exclude Unlisted profiles from a results list?)

Thanks, Ellen. You are right that these things will probably be needed when the database gets large enough.

3 Answers

+2 votes
Best answer
Thanks, Ellen. I'll add them to our list of search improvements.
by Abby Glann G2G6 Pilot (487k points)
selected by Lynda Crackett
+3 votes
In addition to your suggestion for item number one, if more items can be added to a page, it would improve Ctrl + F second level searches.
by Anonymous Barnes G2G6 Mach 3 (32.8k points)
+3 votes
Agree Ellen.

I also would also like to see some enhancements to "searching".

Is it possible to have a "list display" (like a table format (1-line across (wrapped) that shows (bmd) i.e.,

(1) Date(b/d) Spouse, Father, Mother, Children (don't need PM or Edit date as these can be seen when profile is opened)

(2) "sortable by each field) i.e. DOB - subsort spouse/Parent

(3) It would also be helpful to have the merging and matching feature display before the "name".
by Sandy Edwards G2G6 Mach 7 (73.2k points)

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