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Stores & Publications name search problem

Stores & Publications name search problem

Posted: 9 Oct 2012 11:36PM GMT
Classification: Query
Does anyone else have a problem in searching this portion of ancestry?
I'm doing some research on Nickey family. When I fill in name fields of first name John, surname Nickey, I get no hits. But if I leave those empty and use keywords "John Nickey" in quotes, I get 418 hits in newspapers and 25 hits in stories.
If I just fill in Nickey as surname, first name left blank, I get 1 newspaper.
It seems it is just the Nickey name that is doing this.
I can't figure this out.. anyone else have a problem with specific names?
(I'm not looking for info on this person, just addressing the search problem).
Ancestry.. if you read this, any helpful hints would be appreciated.

Re: Stores & Publications name search problem

Posted: 10 Oct 2012 12:04AM GMT
Classification: Query
The issue you are seeing can occur with OCR documents. With OCR documents, we don't have explicit indications of what is a name. As a result, if we fail to properly identify either the first name or the last name as a name, then searching with the first and/or last name may fail to find a match.

Re: Stores & Publications name search problem

Posted: 10 Oct 2012 12:10AM GMT
Classification: Query
I think I got the drift of your response, thank you. Can Nickey be added as an identifiable surname?

Re: Stores & Publications name search problem

Posted: 10 Oct 2012 11:42AM GMT
Classification: Query
"Otto" is another failure as a surname in the newspapers.

Re: Stores & Publications name search problem

Posted: 10 Oct 2012 5:32PM GMT
Classification: Query
This is very helpful information - it would not have occurred to me that the search needs to be completely different for newspapers, stories, etc.

Re: Stories & Publications name search problem

Posted: 10 Oct 2012 6:12PM GMT
Classification: Query
I've found the best way to search newspapers is by last name only. I use genealogybank, newspaperarchive, the Library of Congress database, as well as the Galileo database of Georgia newspapers. It's much easier to manually filter out the first names that don't match, rather than risking finding nothing by including first name.

Old obituaries often have just the initials, and the search engines can't handle that at all.

Re: Stories & Publications name search problem

Posted: 10 Oct 2012 6:18PM GMT
Classification: Query
I agree and often do the same, this particular problem on ancestry does not even recognize the name Nickey in the surname field (even with no first name), only in the keyword field. I'm wondering how many other names may not be recognized, other than Otto as noted by another poster, and how many obits, etc., I've missed due to this issue.

I'm hoping tripthrutime will respond as to whether these unrecognized names can be added so they can be found by other researchers.

Re: Stories & Publications name search problem

Posted: 10 Oct 2012 6:28PM GMT
Classification: Query
OCR often has trouble recognizing double letters or similarly-shaped letters - especially in old newspapers from microfilm, where the typeface may appear broken.

Words like Mississippi or Sewell are particularly difficult for OCR to determine. An "e" may be recognized as a "c" because the typeface is not clear in the original.

There are threads discussing the OCR issues with U S City Directories Beta - variation on a theme.

Re: Stories & Publications name search problem

Posted: 10 Oct 2012 11:59PM GMT
Classification: Query
I'm not a programmer, so I'm not following how the OCR cannot read "Nickey" for example in a surname field, but yet can read this in the keyword field. Isn't it looking at the same document and searching for the same word?

I'm still confused, but found the workaround using the keyword - but still would like to understand it.

Re: Stories & Publications name search problem

Posted: 11 Oct 2012 12:05AM GMT
Classification: Query
I think the surname field only picks up words that have been specifically indexed as surnames. So if the only thing that exists is an OCR search function, with no indexing, then "nothing" has been indexed as a surname so the search would not return results if looking only for a surname.

I do agree with those who have commented that there should be a capability to at least add names found on the page to an index for the page, which could help others. This is especially true where the OCR reading is garbled because the print was not clear enough - updates could help a lot.
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