In this week's challenge, Randy Seaver points us to the site of Randy Majors and directs us to use his Google Custom Search box for marriages.
1 + 2. "Go to Geneablogger Randy Majors website (http://randymajors.com). Add his blog to your RSS reader, if you don't have it already." Done and Done!
3. "Read his blog post 'AncestorSearch Using Google Custom Search - BETA'." Done!
4-5. To summarize, test out the form, describe your results, how useful they were, and if there is anything Randy Majors can do to improve the form.
I tested the form with two couples.
The first were my great-grandparents, Gouverneur Cadwalader and Mae Drexel Fell Henry, who married in 1921. Mae's maiden name was Fell. She first married Howard Houston Henry in 1904, and he died in 1919.
My search terms:
Coincidentally, I received a copy of their marriage application from the City of Philadelphia in today's mail. The interesting thing with this couple is that they were married in one of their residences outside the city, in Montgomery County, though the application was made in the city. As such, I elected not to specify a location. I search under my great-grandmother's married name, 'Henry', and placed her maiden name, 'Fell' in the alternate last name box.
Results? I received only three hits, but they were highly relevant. One pointed me to a Google Books entry mentioning the couple (not new information), and the other two to pages from a family site indexing descendants of a particular line. The family site was new information.
The second couple I searched for yielded more interesting results, in part because I made an error in the entering their data in the form.
I was making dinner while doing this, so was a bit distracted and made a mistake in entering their names. The couple I was searching for was Jonathan Williams Biddle and Emily Skinner Meigs. What I entered was Jonathan Williams and Emily Meigs, lacking their married last name of Biddle.
Results? Four pages of relevant hits, many highlighting their middle names, exactly as I'd entered them. I haven't done a great deal of research on this family, so much of what I turned up was new. One entry in particular caught my attention, as one of the things I'd been wondering is about portrait paintings of the couple, specifically Emily. The entry pointed me to a book in the Internet Archive (http://www.archive.org/stream/loanexhibitionof00penn#page/66/mode/2up/) describing a portrait of Emily Skinner Meigs Biddle. I have no idea where the portrait is today, but maybe it's still in the family someplace.
How can Randy improve his search? Only one thing comes to mind -- launch the results in a new tab or window so I don't lose the form.
6. "If you like Randy's custom search, add it to your bookmarks or favorites." Done! Randy's search form is now in my toolbox at http://www.delicious.com/sarasancestors.