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Ancestry search - can't find anyone I'm looking for


John_Hartley

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This evening I started to look for service papers for a particular unit's casualties. I've looked for over 70 and found not a single one on Ancestry. All are active service fatalities and had A or B surnames.

As search criteria, I've simply entered the regiment (Manchester) and then their service number(s) as listed on the MIC. Surely I should be getting some hits, shouldn't I?

Any thoughts?

John

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John

I subscribed today with Ancestry. I've entered thirty names on both MIC and Service Records. None came up on SR and only about 5 came up on MIC. Some of the 5 wouldn't come up a second time. I was also unable to bring up MICs which Forum members had posted to me in the past - ones I know that are there, but wouldn't come up. Like you, I played with variations on the search facility. I know that I have a fortnight's trial; but on today's result I feel like cancelling immediately. Is this just a hiccup, or does this happen frequently? I must have spent about 4 hours playing with it today.

Regards

Geraint

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I agree that less is more. I would try putting in number only to start, you shouldn't get too many search results that way.

If the number(s) don't produce a match, try name only (of course it's well known that the indexing can be eccentric! Some of the originals are very difficult to read after all.) Remember you can search with a wild card as well.

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I am a long time user of Ancestry and have never had trouble like that. All my rellys MIC cards there but my father SR's are not

although the rest of them are. One of my grandfathers must have been the last one partially burnt but it is still there very badly

charred. I generally just ask for a name and up they come. I suggest that not all SR's are on line yet, am not sure of the MIC cards

David

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Hi all

I've had the same problems but I find that if I log on to my tree first then hit the top search button and then Military it doesn't seem to be as bad. Perhaps the Ancestry software recognises if you have paid for the service!!! Just a thought

Regards, Barry

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I use Ancestry a lot - I agree with several of the suggestions above:

Less = more

I usually start with everything known the, if I don't find them I remove things - starting with serial number and regiment then replacing first name with initial etc

To BROADEN you search make sure you untick the exact match box. If you leave that a small typo will give you zero results

Regiments are particularly problematic because there are several different ways of abbreviating many and there are also SIGNIFICANT trranscription errors.

For example there are Gordons, Gordon Highlanders, Gordon H. and Gordon Hussars (LOTS!).

To avoid these problems you can use a wildcard so Gord* will get you all of the above.

Either there are gross catologing errors or the MIC records are still incomplete - I can find some in the Nat.Arch site which I cannot find on Ancestry.

While it is far from perfect I find it very useful and I must admit I have never had the scope of problems mentioned here...why not post a couple of the problem names and let a couple of folks have a look. Whenever I can't find something I feel I should I send it to friend and 9/10 she finds it!

Chris

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...9/10 she finds it!

Just like my dad used to say 'ya cant ide nowt from yer mother...'

Although I don't pay my subs, I don't have any trouble using the ancestry search facilties,, I just don't get to view the document (that's when you folks come in :rolleyes: )

Jon

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I also use the OLD search engine as I find that much better...

Steve.

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Here is what Ancestry currently says about MIC's - I am sure this info has changed recently though - so they may have added some more very recently

About British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920

This database contains the Medal Rolls Index, or Medal Index Cards. The collection currently contains approximately 4.8 million people, which is nearly all of the total collection. There will be one more update to this collection in the very near future that will complete this database. The records in each release cover a wide range of surnames from all alphabetical ranges. The records can be searched by first and last name and Corps, Unit or Regiment. These cards were created by the Army Medal Office (AMO) of the United Kingdom in Droitwich near the close of World War I (WWI).

I'm normally the opposite of Chris - unless it is a very common surname - I put just that in and then weed out the unwanteds - sometimes MIC's are indexed with only initials and putting a first name in doesn't bring them up

For John - I'd suggest just putting in Manchester in the Regiment box and no number (or as Chris says use the wild card with part of the word) and weed out from there - it is more time consuming but you are probably more likely to find them eventually if they are there

For Geraint - I'd certainly stick with it - let us know what MIC's you can't find (that have been found before particularly) and we can see if there is a problem with them

Cheers

Sue

Just read Steve's post - I have it bookmarked to the old search options - I had forgotten about the new 'improved!!' option

Cheers

Sue

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Oh yes, and the old search is much quicker - you can go straight from search results to viewing the original.

As Chris said, using the wild cards can solve a lot of transcription errors. Say you're after Johnson - if you put in John* you will get results for Johns, Johnson, Johnston, Johnstone etc, so if it's been wrongly indexed as one of these you won't miss it. Only snag is you must enter at least 3 characters before a wild card, so you can't find, say, Dawes if it's been misread as Davies.

No, the MICs aren't complete - somewhere on the Ancestry site it says they have one more batch to add, about another 700,000 apparently, so don't despair!

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Here is what Ancestry currently says about MIC's - I am sure this info has changed recently though - so they may have added some more very recently

.For Geraint - I'd certainly stick with it - let us know what MIC's you can't find (that have been found before particularly) and we can see if there is a problem with them

Cheers

Sue

Excellent tips. I shall presevere! Here's one name, details of MIC of which I have received by a Pal, which I can't kick up myself. See whether you can!

Robert MacLeod 8th Seaforths. No number given. (Name is exact).

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Geraint he's not there - in fact there aren't any 8th Seaforth Highlanders there, which suggests these are part of the final upload (otherwise if it was just your man missing, some of the others in the regiment would be showing).

I go with the less is SOMETIMES more option.

I usually start with all knowns (name, regt and No) if he cannot be located using that format (and that would be unusual) I then use number only and that invariably finds him (unless he's an officer of course :lol: )

What can throw the searches out is Ancestry's search order. IE: if you put name,number and reg you would expect your man matching exactly what you've put in to top the list - not necessarily so - I quite often find him 3/4 of the way down the page, and others which match my search criteria less well much further up the page - CRAZY :o

But as long as I get there in the end, and I know Ancestry's idiosyncrasies, I don't mind too much (although I should, I know!!)

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I book,mark the MIcs results page for any individual then change the details for the next search. Saves ages . then do the same for pension or service records. I found otherwise it takes ages going back and forth. Got through over 100 MIcs in acouple of hours. By the way there are lots still mising, officers and women in particular also THomas and williams are poorly represented. As for servcie files I found 0 out of about 50 . So I wonder if they are being held back.

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Kim - thanks!

But he is! I've got the paper copy of his MIC in front of me here - a facsimily of the AMO document. I'm too thick to post the emailed copy on to here - but it is there in Ancestry somewhere!

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Kim - rereading your post - I've got 5 other Seaforths - all called Robert McLeod (note the different Mac / Mc spellings) all belonging to the Seaforths - all their AMO MICs on paper here.

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Hi Geraint

Strangerer and strangerer!!!

I found othe Robert Macleod's, but not from 8th Seaforths - are these the ones you're referring to?

So, did you find Robert's mic on Ancestry, or through TNA? If on Ancestry, how did you do it?

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:unsure: Kim - it was emailed to me from a colleague who found it through Ancestry, and I can't reach it myself.

Gremlins in the system, and my ignorance I'm sure.

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Geraint, would you email it to me - it's bugging me that I can't find it (and I'm usually pretty good at finding things on Ancestry).

I'm sure you're not doing anything wrong - but they must have it listed strangely, I'd like to try.

I'll pm you my email address, if I may?

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Certainly! Though I may make a pig's ear (pardon the reference!) to my attempts. I'm an IT dummy. Thanks

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Since "McLeod" is in the alphabet range of "I to Z" of which about .01% have been uploaded for SERVICE records (mainly aliases), then you won't find him in WO363. If he was in WO364 then he should be online (but we still believe that that series isn't necessarily all there).

Only about 2/3rds of MICs are on. Sometimes a whole surname is not uploaded, other times just some of the surname is missing.

That is probably the most annoying thing for me about Ancestry - they never seem to want to put up a complete set of records!

Steve.

Oops, just read your post of 9.38am, Geraint. He should be there then!

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Thanks for the comments.

I'll go away and try to search on just service numbers. As my original post, I'm searching for service papers (amongst the "burnt" batch), not MICs (which I can successfully search ).

I'll be back later to report.

John

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There is something VERY weird going on with Ancestry MICs at the moment I think. Looking for Geraint's Robert MacLeod - forgetting the Regiment

Type in just MACLEOD - 418 entries - initials/first names go fine in alphabetical order up to the 357th - a John Macleod - there is then a single N MacLeod followed by 42 with initial W or first name William - so a huge chunk of the alphabet missing

Type in just MCLEOD - 1206 entries - haven't counted up actual numbers this time - but very similar scenario - at 50 names per page seems to run normal alphabetical order to half way down page 21 - John McLeod - then 2 x Norman McLeod, 1 x R McLeod, 1 x R C McLeod, 1 x T McLeod and then it jumps to W. McLeod and has 3 pages of William McLeod plus a few odds and ends - so again a huge chunk of the alphabet missing

Perhaps somewhere in the uploading of the most recent additions they have managed to "lose" some that had already been put up in the past???

Let's hope they find them again!!!

Cheers

Sue

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