Monday, June 24, 2013

Searching Find A Grave--Sometimes less is better!

Searching Find A Grave

I am a big fan of Find A Grave and have found a lot of very helpful information doing searches on the site.  However, I did encounter an interesting feature of the site while doing a search today.  I was searching for my gggrandfather's grave at St. Frederick's Cemetery in Manito, Illinois.  I know he is buried there because I have been there and photographed his headstone.  What I learned is that sometimes less is better than more.  When I put in his name, year of birth, year of death, and State and County of burial; I didn't get any results for the search.  However, when I just put the O'Malley surname with the State and County of burial the information came up for Peter, his wife, Julia, and their daughter and her family.  I later learned that the reason was that I had put date of birth as 1835 vice 1837, which is what is on the headstone and in the data base.  Thus, even thought I had everything correct except the date of birth--the search was unsuccessful.  I also checked and had not indicated it was an "exact" search.  I would have expected that the search algorithm would allow a little leeway for the date of death or birth.  Apparently not!  I repeated the searches a couple times just to confirm my results.  I will contact Find A Grave with this and let you know what they say.