Have you ever wished you could search only in the latest records that were added to Durham Records Online? Not the ones that have been there for years, which you’ve already looked through, but just the ones added in the last week or month, or since your last visit? We have that now!
Have you ever run a search, seen some interesting results, run some more searches, and then decided you’d really like to run that search with the interesting results again, but it’s gone because your later searches overwrote it, and you can’t remember what you input? We have a solution for that now!
Have you ever wished you could save your preferred Sort By order, so the default sort for your search results is, say, Event Year? We have that now!
Have you ever wished our site could find all your missing ancestors with one click? We have…oh, wait…no, I guess we don’t have that…but maybe with multiple clicks, viewing the right records, we can at least help you with that!
Under My Account, you will find a new My Searches tab. Clicking on it will open a list of your past 100 searches. Since this is new, your list will currently be empty, but we’re sure it will fill quickly! The table is displayed with the latest searches at the top. Each search is displayed with the date it was created, and the basic search parameters: who, where, and any search filters. If you left a filter set to the default, it is not displayed, to reduce clutter, but all the search parameters are retained even when not displayed. Clicking the Run button at the right will run the search. Clicking the Edit button takes you to the search form with the fields filled in with those search parameters, so you can tweak it before running the search again. Here’s what it looks like:
When 100 searches have been saved, the oldest searches will disappear one by one as new searches are added at the top of the list. If you re-run a search, it will move to the top of the list.
Search Latest Records Only
A new search filter has been added to the search form. You can now limit your search to the latest records added to the site. You can limit your search to records added (or modified) in the last week, the last month, the last 6 months, the last year, or since the beginning (all records). Once you log in, an additional menu option appears: records added or modified since your last visit. Choosing one of these options will limit the search to records that have been added to the site or modified in any way since the date you choose. If you think other time frame choices would be helpful, please let me know.
The box previously labeled “Search In” has been renamed “Record Type“, since it controls which record types (baptisms, marriages, etc.) are searched. Here is the new menu, dropped down, when not logged in:
and, when you are logged in, with the additional menu choice “my last visit”, which displays the date of your last visit:
Save Your Default ‘Sort By’ Preference
How you want your search results to be sorted usually depends on what you’re searching for. For example, if I want to see all of the burials in the Agar family in South Shields, I will probably choose to sort the results by Event Year, so I can see the burials in chronological order. Sometimes, I may choose to sort by First Name so all the Janes will be grouped together, and sometimes I sort by Birth Year if I want to follow one person through the censuses, but Event Year is my default sorting preference, so every time I log in, I always change the sort order from First Name to Event Year. Now, that preference can be saved on your Preferences page. You can still change the sort order for each search, and each search will continue to use the sort order from the previous search if you don’t change the sort order, but now, when you log in or click New Search, the default sort order will be your saved preference, instead of First Name always being the default. Here is the section of the Preferences page, with the new feature highlighted:
Removed limit on number of per-set search results
Ever feel like you’re not seeing all the records that should be available for your ancestral surname? We have removed the “500 results” limit on the number of search results per record set, as this may have been limiting the results for common names, making it difficult for our customers to find all the people they want. Previously, if you bumped up against the 500-result limit when searching in Baptisms, for example, you had to add a filter such as District and repeat your search in each relevant district, and if a specific district produced too many results, you had to add the first letter of a first name, or a time frame or another filter, and repeat the process. It was tedious, and we’re not sure the customers actually knew that the result size was being artificially limited to 500, so it was probably a bad design choice. The good news is, if you re-run some of your old favorite searches (too bad we didn’t have a My Searches page earlier!), you may find some records you haven’t seen before. Removing the 500-result limit will make the search slower by a few seconds, so please let us know if a particular search seems extraordinarily slow, and tell us the details of the search.
We kept the limit of 5,000 results per search, so as not to slow down the system too much with large searches. If you get a message saying your search will return more than 5,000 results, you will need to add some filters such as Record Type or District or Birth Year, and then repeat the search for each Record Type, District, etc.
We hope all of these changes make the site easier and more pleasant to use.