Its not unusual to give Ancestry.com a death date in, say, 1910, but still get search results from the 1930 census. But after today, thatll be a rarer occurrence.
On the Ancestry.com blog, search product manager Anne Mitchell promises well start to see changes in search results around noon EDT.
Based on experience with census and vital records, Mitchells team has chosen fudge factors of five years for birth and two years for death. Searches also assume someone lived about 100 years.
I havent tried the adjusted search yet (it’s only 9 a.m. here), but heres what should happen:
- If youre searching for someone and you know he was born in 1880, but you dont know when he died, matching records will fall between 1875 and 1982.
- If you know the death date was 1926 but you dont know the birth year, matches will fall between 1821 and 1928.
- If you enter the birth year and the death year, matches will fall between the birth year minus 5 and the death year plus 2.
- If you pick a range for the birth or death year, the fudge factor will come in at the outside end of the range. For example, for a birth you enter 1843 with a two-year range. Search results will start in 1836.
If you give the 1902 death a five-year range, results will end in 1909.
- You can still choose Exact to eliminate the fudge factor. If you choose Exact for a birth of 1843 with a two-year range, matching records will have birth dates between 1841 and 1845. If you specify Exactly 1843 with no range, matching records will have birth dates in 1843.
Unless youre specifically looking for a death record, Its best to avoid choosing Exact for a death date. Checking Exact for any search term means matching records must contain that term. But few genealogy records have death information (most of your ancestors records were created while he was alive).
A caveat: Mitchell says 95 percent of records are covered with this search update. The rest will be added, but if you search a data set in that five percent, you wont notice these updates.