Rosemary Kopittke has been tracing her family history since 1985. A statistician by training, she has worked in that field as an hydrologist, teacher and biometrician. Her tertiary qualifications include a BSc (Mathematics) and BA (Computer Science) both from the University of Queensland. She currently works as a consultant for Gould Genealogy & History and is regularly invited to speak on findmypast and other topics at events in Australia and New Zealand.

She has published numerous indexes to cemeteries and government records though is probably best known for her work with husband Eric on the Emigrants from Hamburg to Australasia 1850–1879 publication. She is editor of Unlock the Past publications and author and contributor to several.

A current member of the Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations (AFFHO) Council and the Queensland FHS Management Committee, Rosemary is a Fellow of the Queensland Family History Society and in 2006 received the AFFHO Award for Meritorious Services to Family History.

Part 2 - Filtering

Instead of creating individual searches specifically designed for each individual dataset, the new findmypast sites use the basic search described in Part 1 of this blog in conjunction with a set of filters.

You can select filters before setting the Who, When, and Where search parameters if you already know how you wish to narrow your search AND/OR after you have done a search if you wish to filter the results that your search has returned.

There are five basic types of filter available –Country, Category of the record, Record collection, Record set, and Record type. All appear on the left side of your search screen.

Country filter – this lists the countries for which data appears. The figure in brackets following each country is the number of ‘records’ for that country (remember for digitised data each page is counted just as a single record). Initially, the list is in order of decreasing record count. You can select one or more countries by clicking the box next to the countries – those countries then go to the top of the list.

Category filter – all data is allocated one of eight categories. You can narrow a search by selecting one or more of these categories.

Record collection filter – depending on your search and other filters selected you will get a list here of record collections available. If you pre-select the Category of Newspapers, Directories & Social History then you get the Record collections as shown in the image on the right. Choose one or more of these to further refine a search.

Record set filter – following on the example in the previous paragraph, if you select the Directories & Almanacs collection then the list of record sets applicable will be listed (partial list in image on right). Selecting one or more of these will narrow your search to those particular sets of records.

Record Type filter – a very simple but powerful filter with just two options – ‘Records’ includes the data that is fully indexed (for which a search with first/last name is most appropriate) while ‘Documents’ is the digitised/PDF data (for which searching with Keywords is more effective).

Other filters – depending on the records you are searching other filters may also be available; for example, with some Australian data you can also filter by State and, should you be searching the UK census records, additional filters include Other Household Member, County, Birth Year, Birth County, Birth Place, Birth Town, City, Town, and Registration District.

Set as few or as many filters as you want. Try them out – both before and after a search – and see how they can let you control what you want from the data.

Try your new filtering skills today!

For more detailed information on how to best use you can buy a copy of Rosemary's new book, New Gateway to the World Collection