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Upgrades: Advanced Search Facility

Deceased Online has upgraded the advance search facility specifically for Memorial/Monumental Inscriptions. Below I look in detail at the new changes and how you can better use the database to find your ancestors.

The team at Deceased Online has been working hard to improve the Deceased Online search page. You should find searches (simple and advanced) of Monumental Inscriptions (MIs) present more accurate results, making it easier to find your ancestor. At present, the largest collection is that of Scottish MIs (SMIs), and features around 300,000 individual names in over 200 cemeteries and kirkyards across Scotland. For those with English ancestors, look out for further additions coming soon of more than 100,000 MIs, many of which are from England.

There are two major improvements in the new upgrade:-

(i) Easier and more accurate searches of Monumental Inscriptions (MIs)
(ii) Searching with Inscriptions/Headstone Collections.

I look at them both in detail here and illustrate the changes with example screengrabs.

Easier and more accurate searches of Monumental Inscriptions (MIs)

One of the main changes is in the presentation of results. Originally, when you searched for a name (optionally with forenames and/or date) on the search screen [see above], the main search results table included only register records.  If any MI records were found with the searched-for surname, a message was displayed at the top of the search results page with the option of displaying just these MI results instead of the register results.  An entry appeared in the results table for each cemetery that has inscriptions which include the surname *only*; forenames and dates were not indexed.

Now, thanks to the improvements, you can search MIs on surname, forename(s) and date, just like register records.  In the example below, I have searched for the surname "Couper" on the advanced search page, and specified "headstone collections *only*". The resulting MI matches are then displayed directly in the main results table.  Otherwise, register matches will be displayed in the results table as before, with the original message at the top of the table about matching MIs. Searching MIs with advanced search means that you can also specify the location of interest with varying degrees of specificity.

The results of my Couper search are as follows. I have changed the number of "Results per page" shown [in the the top right] to "100" so that I can scroll down to see the maximum number of results on one page. This also enables a quick search for a name or cemetery using Control+F.

As before, clicking on the name [in blue] of an MI result takes you to the options for viewing all grave inscriptions in the cemetery, or just those that match the search criteria.  Note that even though you can now search on full name/date, as before, you get just the option to view just the MIs with the required surname, which will include the one found in the index -- for no extra charge!

Searching with Inscriptions/Headstone Collections

The new Inscriptions Searching Facility is particularly useful when you are browsing a whole cemetery.  You can stipulate more than one word or date to search for, and each match will be highlighted in a different colour.

In this example, above and below, I have focused on Ferryport On Craig Cemetery in Fife. I searched for two words: firstly, the surname "Duncan".

I then clicked on a name in the list above, chosen at random. This led me to the next screen where I was given the choice of searching all 1458 headstones in the cemetery for £7 or just the collection matching the surname Duncan for £2. I chose the cheaper Duncan option.

This led me to following screen [below]. I amended the search box at the top of the page to "drowned duncan" in order to find those with the surname who had died by drowning.  If, like me, you have fishing or seaman ancestors who lived along the Scottish coastline this can be a useful way to discover where they died.
Using the search facility in this way can enable you to find ancestors who were killed overseas also. For example, those who were "drowned" on the way home, at "war", or "killed" in battle. You can of course also search for more pleasant terms, such as countries where parts of your family may have emigrated. In this example, I have searched on the word, "Australia".
Also, Scottish inscriptions can give a great deal of genealogical information, as shown by this example below which reveals the names and birth/birth details of a number of generations in the featured families.
The Scottish MIs are available to search now and the English MIs will be added over the next few weeks. We hope the new search improvements enable to you to find some long-lost members of your family trees.


As ever, we love to hear from what you have found in the Deceased Online database. Recently, we heard from a family historian, Brenda, in Namibia of her discovery on the website. This led to her visiting England and Plumstead Cemetery, where she found her great grandfather's and great uncle's joint headstone. She told me, "It was amazing! Thanks for telling me about DeceasedOnline - I'd never have found it without buying the info." 

Please do get in touch to share your discoveries via the Comments Box below or post on our Facebook and Twitter pages!

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