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How to apply filters to your search results in Historical Records
Symptoms (Problems)

The search returned too many records. How can I filter my search results to focus on the records I am looking for?

Answer (Resolution)

After you have initiated a search from the Historical Record's home page at http://familysearch.org/ (see Document 106515), you can also Filter your results to reduce the number of records and refine your search to the specific records you are looking for. If you understand the way the filters work, you have a better chance of finding the historical records that you are interested in.

 

NOTE: Filters work with all index-only or index with images collections. This filter technique is not applicable for browse point (image-only) collections.

 

For example, from the home page http://www.familysearch.org/, you searched for Juan Valdez (First Names and Last Names only) and got 88,990 search results.

 

NOTE: Entering less information will increase the likelihood that filtering will return the records you are interested in.

 

 

By applying filters, you can focus the results on exactly what you want to find. The filters are located on the left side of the list of search results below the Refine your search menu. Currently, the available filters include:

 

BASIC FILTER TECHNIQUES:

 

Collections: Initially you will select types of collection, and then select a specific collection, if available records exist in the collections. For example, Collections: Birth, Marriage, and Death (79,197 records), then Mexico, Baptism, 1560-1950 (15,849 records)

 

 

Event Place: Initially you will select by a Location and then select a country, a state, and finally a county or district, if available records exist in these areas. For example, Birthplace: Mexico (10,352 records), then Guanajuanto (1,256 records), then Dolores Hidalgo (28 records).

 

 

Event Year: Initially you will select a century, and then a decade, if available records exist in these years. For example: Birth Year: select 1800 (12,519 records), and then 1810 (586 records), if available records exist.

 

 

Gender: You can select from Female, Male, or Unknown.

As you can see, you were able to reduce your search results from 88,990 records to 28 records just by applying a Birthplace filter.

 

 

SEARCH BY MULTIPLE FILTERS:

 

You also can select multiple filters. For example, you can filter by Birth Date, Birthplace, Gender, and Collection.

 

In any search form, enter information about the person you want to find, and click Search.

 

NOTE: Entering less information will increase the likelihood that filtering will return the records you are interested in.

 

1. Review your search results, and decide exactly what you want to find. For this demonstration, you are starting with search results of 88,990 records.

 

2. Click the filter type that you want to apply. For example, click Birthplace.

 

NOTE: Click the triangle (>) that is next to the filter that you want to apply. The number that is next to each filter in the box indicates how many records match that filter. A filter is available only when it contains records that match your search. A pop-up box listing subfilters appears.

 

 

  

3. Click the subfilter that you want to apply, such as Mexico, and your search results are reduced to 10,352 records.

 

 

  

4. To go down another level on that subfilter (such as a State in Mexico), click the triangle that is next to the subfilter that you want to apply, such as Distrito Federal. Your search results are now reduced to 593 records.

 

5. Click additional filters and subfilters until you see the set of records that you want. For example, you are interested in a particular type of collection to look through the 593 remaining records, so you would switch to filtering by Collections.

 

 

 

6. Click the subfilter that you want to apply, such as Birth, Marriage, and Death (586 records).

 

7. Click on the specific collection filter that you want to apply, such as Mexico, Distrito Federal, Catholic Church Records, 1886-1933 (38 records).

 

 

8. Once again, click additional filters and subfilters until you see the set of records that you want. For example, you are now interested in an event year to look through the 38 remaining records, so you would switch to filtering by Birth Year.

 

 

9. Click on 1800, and now your search results are now reduced to 4 records to choose from, as opposed to the initial 88,990 records.

 

 

When you apply multiple filters, remember the following tips:

  • You can combine as many different filters as you need. For example, you can use filters for Birthplace, Birth Year, Gender, and Collections at the same time. You cannot, however, select more than one filter of the same type. For example, you cannot select more than one Birthplace filter (such as Distrito Federal and Chiapas).

     

  • As you apply filters, remember that the effect of the filters is cumulative. Each new filter is applied to the set of search results that are currently shown on the screen. In the example above, in Steps 3 and 4, you selected a Birthplace of Mexico, Distrito Federal, limiting the search results to the records that match those two filters. When you applied additional Collections filters in Steps 6 and 7, the selection was limited to collections that matched both Birthplace filters in Mexico.

     

  • Adding too many filters may cause you to miss records of interest in your search results. Applied filters appear highlighted in white.

     

  • At any time, you can look at the top of the search results to see how many records remain in your filtered search results.

     

  • To remove a filter, simply click the X that appears next to it.

     

  • If you decided to filter by death information, remove the birth filters so that you can apply death filters to your entire set of search results rather than to the search results that have already been limited by the birth filters.

     

  • If you change the information in your search fields, your filters will be reset.



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