Sometimes indexes do not provide the results we are looking for, but that does not necessarily mean that the ancestor is not in the index. Our search terms in combination with the technical procedure of the search might prevent us from finding our ancestors.
I rarely use the FamilySearch indexes of Denmark censuses, but I know that search results vary from search engine to search engine. I therefore wanted to test the results of a search with the same search terms at different websites. During that process, I discovered something odd about the search engine at FamilySearch.
Searching With Only a Parish Name
In my family tree, I have Elisabeth Nicoline Andersdattter, who gave birth to children in Klinte Parish, Skam District, Odense County, Denmark, from 1839 to 1857. I therefore expect her to live in Klinte at the 1845 census.
I did a search for her in the FamilySearch index of the 1845 census of Denmark with the following search terms:
First Names: Elisabeth Nicoline
Last Names: Andersdatter
Birth Year: 1810-1820
Residence Place: Klinte
None of the terms were set to exact.
The search produced twenty-four results, but Elisabeth Nicoline Andersdatter from Klinte was not on the list.
Searching Without any Place Name
I did another search where I had removed the place of residence but left all other terms as they were. Elisabeth Nicoline Andersdatter was then the first result on the list. As you can see in the image below, she was listed as a resident of Klinte, Skam, Odense, Denmark.
Adding a District and/or County Name
Leaving the place name blank is not a viable option if I were looking for someone with a common name, such as Hans Jensen, so the results from the first two searches left me wondering how to limit the search by place – if at all possible.
- I tried adding only the county name, Odense, to the residence place. Again, Elisabeth Nicoline Andersdatter was the first result on the list.
- The same happened when I added only the district name, Skam.
- And the same happened when I added both the district and county name, "Skam, Odense."
- I also tried searching with the place names "Klinte, Odense" and "Klinte, Skam," and for both searches, Elisabeth Nicoline Andersdatter was the first result on the list.
- Lastly, I decided to search with the full place name "Klinte, Skam, Odense," and again Elisabeth Nicoline Andersdatter was at the top of the list.
To me, it does not make sense that Elisabeth Nicoline Andersdatter does not show up in the first search when Klinte is in the indexed place name. I will suggest to FamilySearch that they change the search so that the entire indexed place name is searched. They might not do it, though. Either way, for now we must be aware of this issue when we search indexes of Denmark censuses at FamilySearch.
Do you have any Danish ancestors you might want to search for again now that you know this?