Go for the Gold

Go for the Gold

Stephen P. Morse unveils a Gold form for searching Ellis Island databases.

Stephen P. Morse, whose popular One-Step Web Pages <stevemorse.org> help researchers find ancestors in online genealogy databases, has replaced two of his forms for searching the Ellis Island passenger database <elIisisland.org> with a single, enhanced version.

Morse’s new Gold form replaces the old Blue and Gray forms, which used the EllisIsland.org search engine (as does Morse’s still-available White form). That could bog down more-complex searches, such as those for name fragments. But the Gold form uses a different search engine, which Morse says works faster.

Using the Gold form, you can leave the name fields blank, choose “sounds like” for the name and town of origin, search on a traveling companion and marital status, and type in a departure port (rather than select it from a menu). The Gold form also uses the Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex system, designed to handle Eastern European surnames, whereas the White form employs American Soundex.

Think of the White form as a basic search and the Gold form as an advanced search. Morse recommends starting with the latter and going to the White form if your search is unsuccessful and you need a “fresh perspective.”
From the May 2007 issue of Family Tree Magazine

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