Which is more useful - a Place Category or a text search ?

+7 votes

If not every profile relating to a place is categorised, then is a text search more useful ? 

For example, a text search for Stoke Hammond reveals 39 profiles http://wikitree.sdms.si/default.htm?report=srch1&Query=Stoke+Hammond&MaxProfiles=500&SortOrder=Default&PageSize=500  ( Click on the blue "Get Profiles" button )

whereas there is only one profile in the place category "Stoke  Hammond  https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Category:Stoke_Hammond%2C_Buckinghamshire

Would it be useful to expand the search capabilities to include body text in the Biographies as well ( rather than just birth and death locations )?  Then any profile with any reference to that place could be found easily.  

If this type of search is not possible to implement, then would the Place categories be best used for locations other than birth and death, ie events in the biography ? ( Since birth and death can be easily searched )

in WikiTree Help by Joe Farler G2G6 Pilot (154k points)
retagged by Ellen Smith
Although birth and death locations can easily be added to profile data fields, thousands of profiles lack them.
Good point Kay. Would they have a birth or death Place Category, though ? ( and not birth or death location ).
Probably not. Also not likely to have sources, or maybe just a FindAGrave.

Searching from a different perspective, I was chasing a Samuel Reed who lived in New York, Ohio, and Illinois. From among more than 350 profiles.
I typically use text searches in Google:

site:wikitree.com/wiki/ stoke hammond

but I don't think this is a substitute for categories. In fact, I use the site search to help me find profiles to categorise. Having them in a site category means they're embedded in the category tree, and the relationships among the categories. And it means they're queued up for whenever someone wants to, say, take a town under their wing for special attention, or to work on a regional religion or politics or cemetery or surname or immigrant or church project.
Thanks Brad, that search idea is great ! Just what I was looking for. Now I can find any profile with a reference to Stoke Hammond in the biography, such as a marriage etc etc.

I'm not suggesting a substitute, but I would imagine that the Stoke Hammond category alone may never reveal this many associated profiles.
Google site search is the most useful way to search WikiTree. I feel like everyone should know it.

I actually have a little page I created to help other users with this topic: Genealogy Toolkit

Excellent ! Thanks for that, Steven.  That will help too...

2 Answers

+7 votes
I think it's useful to have categories for birth and death places on profiles where this is known. Or if birth / death happened at some random place where they spent little time, it's useful to have a place category for where they lived most of their life.

With a category on the profile the viewer is just one click away from the bunch of other people categorized in the same location, which may be very useful for finding connections and getting fresh ideas. Provided there are people in the category, of course.

I like the text search for locations a lot, as well - but I mostly use it for populating categories ;-)
by Eva Ekeblad G2G6 Pilot (591k points)
+9 votes

Yes!, Yes! & Yes!

I am adding place categories to all my profiles not only for birth and death locations, but also other lifetime events such as marriage, residence at censuses etc. 

Searching as you have is great for identifying birth and death locations and ideally such results should be categorised for the future benefit of others. Expanding the search to capture mentions in the biography would be fantastic but I don't now how complicated this would be to achieve.

Thanks Joe for flagging up the search - I intend to make very good use of it for all my one place studies!smiley

by Martin White G2G6 Pilot (151k points)
I mostly agree with your approach. And I definitely categorise by birth or death or residence. I usually don't add categories for the place people get married, though. Because a lot of times (in the regions I'm working on) the category of a town with a church would end up containing ten times more people than actually lived in the their, since people would come from several communities away just to get married, or to christen their child..

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