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Gerrit Veldman

FamilyTreeSeeker.com - search engine for gendex files

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Gerrit Veldman

I started FamilyTreeSeeker.com, a search engine for gendex files. I know we already have the TNG Network, but my version allows better search methods. You can not only search on names, but also on birth years and places of birth. And you can search in one tree at a time or exclude a tree from your search. And FamilyTreeSeeker.com not only indexes TNG sites, but indexes other sites using gendex as well. So there are now already 6.3 million names indexed from over 1,100 trees.

So, maybe you want to submit your gendex file to FamilyTreeSeeker.com as well. You are welcome! Once submitted, your gendex file is indexed regularly, so you don't have to do anything when you have updated your gendex file.

In addition to the standard gendex output from TNG I have made a small PHP script that generates a dynamic gendex file. If you install this script and use this to submit your tree to FamilyTreeSeeker.com, your gendex file is always uptodate, takes no server space and living people are excluded from the gendex file. You can find and download this script when you submit your tree at FamilyTreeSeeker.com.

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wombmate

Hi Gerrit,

The site looks great! At the risk of being redundant with Darrin's gendex search capability, I submitted my gendex file for indexing and added your logo/search box to my home page. I am looking forward to testing the site's capability/results as well as the potential for finding other family members who share my genealogy enthusiasm.

Darlene

Sorenson-Robey.org

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ebelew

How'd my listing get on there? I didn't send a gendex to you site!

Eddy Belew

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theKiwi

Hmmmmm

2 of my sites are showing up there in search results too. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but I haven't submitted any files to FamilyTreeSeeker.com

Is the FamilyTreeSeeker.com site using some sort of crawler to go through other genealogy sites to add to the index there?

I guess this page

http://familytreeseeker.stamboomzoeker.nl/disclaimer.php

answers the questions.

Roger

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Gerrit Veldman

No, it's not a crawler. But I have collected some addresses of TNG sites (and others) via Google and checked whether there were files at ../gendex/gendex.txt, ../gendex/gendex.gdx or just ../gendex.txt or ../gendex.gdx. Just to give FamilyTreeSeeker.com a quick start.

I have debated with myself whether this was a right policy, but I thought: Google also indexes sites that ar not submitted by the owner. If you don't want them to be indexed, you have to tell Google (by robots.txt for example). And I thought: gendex files are there just to be indexed; who will complain for getting extra visitors because FamilyTreeSeeker.com indexed their gendex file?

However, if you don't want your gendex file to be indexed, just give it another name. I promise I won't try other possible addresses, because that would really be wrong, I think.

If your gendex file is already indexed, it can still be useful to submit it. It will be linked to your account then and you can see statistics and edit settings.

Gerrit

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Ken Roy

I guess I don't have a problem with your capturing my gendex file as long as your site remains a free access site and does not become a subscription based site.

I am wondering though why your site is not showing as the referrer in the access log modification provided by Brian McFayden. I can see those accesses that came from a Google search or from the TNG gendex search, but yours only showed that I access a record as if I had done it from my site.

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ebelew

Good question Ken, I don't see it in my version of the log either. I guess that's what I wonder about....

Plus, unlike Darrin's, I don't have the 'option'. They got a list of TNG users and 'understood' the structure. So even if I don't want them there, I have one choice. Rename the file, which I guess after 'sending' it to Darrin, they won't be able to get it. Even if this thread goes away, I wonder.

But I paranoid, LOL.

EB

I guess I don't have a problem with your capturing my gendex file as long as your site remains a free access site and does not become a subscription based site.

I am wondering though why your site is not showing as the referrer in the access log modification provided by Brian McFayden. I can see those accesses that came from a Google search or from the TNG gendex search, but yours only showed that I access a record as if I had done it from my site.

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Gerrit Veldman

I am wondering though why your site is not showing as the referrer in the access log modification provided by Brian McFayden. I can see those accesses that came from a Google search or from the TNG gendex search, but yours only showed that I access a record as if I had done it from my site.

I don't understand that myself either. I will look into it. It should work. But maybe it is something with the modification. I haven't that one on my own TNG site, but I will try it out.

Plus, unlike Darrin's, I don't have the 'option'. They got a list of TNG users and 'understood' the structure. So even if I don't want them there, I have one choice. Rename the file, which I guess after 'sending' it to Darrin, they won't be able to get it. Even if this thread goes away, I wonder.

You can always log in at the TNG network and change your old gendex name for the new one. And, if I remember correctly, there was a warning when installing the gendex folder that the standard name could be easily found. So, I think yes, you had and still have a real option.

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wombmate

I too am curious about the referrer. I have Brian's access mod installed and since my site had little activity this morning, tried an experiment. I have a link on my getperson.php page that when clicked populates the surname and any other known information that FamilyTreeSeeker uses to search for an individual and searches the FTS site.

After clicking on a link within the results on the FTS site (for individuals known to be in my TNG database), I checked my log for the referrer and IP address of any new hits for today. The only new activity appears to come from my site.

Admittedly, I am not a coder and like the idea of additional exposure from the FTS site but would like a better understanding of how Gerrit's site works and why the lack of referrer information.

Gerrit--can you give me and other TNG users an idea of how you are indexing our gendex files (i.e., storing our gendex in a database on your site, querying the gendex file residing on our servers, etc) and how your search is being performed?

Thank you in advance,

Darlene

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Gerrit Veldman

I too am curious about the referrer. I have Brian's access mod installed and since my site had little activity this morning, tried an experiment. I have a link on my getperson.php page that when clicked populates the surname and any other known information that FamilyTreeSeeker uses to search for an individual and searches the FTS site.

After clicking on a link within the results on the FTS site (for individuals known to be in my TNG database), I checked my log for the referrer and IP address of any new hits for today. The only new activity appears to come from my site.

Admittedly, I am not a coder and like the idea of additional exposure from the FTS site but would like a better understanding of how Gerrit's site works and why the lack of referrer information.

Gerrit--can you give me and other TNG users an idea of how you are indexing our gendex files (i.e., storing our gendex in a database on your site, querying the gendex file residing on our servers, etc) and how your search is being performed?

Thank you in advance,

Darlene

I tried a search from FamilyTreeSeeker.com to your site and then checked your showlog.php file. I did see a referer from FamilyTreeSeeker.com. So I think you don't see your own visits from FamilyTreeSeeker.com to your site, because your IP-address is filtered. But when anyone else visits, you can see it.

By the way, I didn't see the link to FamilyTreeSeeker.com on the getperson.php page. Did you delete it again? I liked the idea.

About how FamilyTreeSeeker.com works: it reads the gendex file and puts the info in a database on FamilyTreeSeeker.com. Searches are done from that database. That's just the same way as Google and all other search engines do. Gendex files are indexed each month, so when a gendex file doesn't exist anymore, the data are deleted from the database.

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wombmate

Thank you for the reply and the explanation on the referrer Gerrit. I have since discovered that different browsers have the option to disable sending referrer information and it can also be turned off by firewall/anti-virus/adware-removal software. I also noticed that not all entries in my log contain referrer information so it makes more sense now. If (little word, big meaning) I could become a little more educated before asking questions, I could spare some readers some time.

By the way, I didn't see the link to FamilyTreeSeeker.com on the getperson.php page. Did you delete it again? I liked the idea.

The link on the getperson.php is still there but commented out. The link works great however it seems to take an inherently long time to display the results when clicked (atleast from this end). I will remove the comments and give you a chance to test it out and give me your take on the length of time to complete the query. Since I am learning by trial and error, there may be some coding issues on this end that are contributing to the query length. I am posting the FTS snippet code below for your look see.

$displaysch = " <a href=\"http://familytreeseeker.stamboomzoeker.nl/search.php?fn=$fagfname[0]&bd1=$bbyp&bd2=$ddyp&sn=$llname&bp=&m=2&t=1&submit=Search \" TARGET=\"_blank\"><img src=\"famtreeseeker.jpg\" alt=\"FamilyTreeSeeker.com\" align=\"top\">FamilyTreeSeeker </a> ";

echo $displaysch;

$fagname[0] - I exploded $row[firstname] and stored the info to an array (in case the individual had a middle name, I just used the first name and set the query method to contains on FTS rather than equals)

$llname = trim($row[lastname])

$bbyp - birthdate (year only)

$ddyp - deathdate (year only)

I have additional coding that I am doing but that is the guts of the FTS link.

By contrast, if you use the FTS query form on the bottom of my home page to perform the search, the results are almost immediate.

I am glad that you liked the idea of the link. I wish I could say that it was my idea, however, I picked up the clue from other forum messages and thought I would give it a try myself while I am trying to educate myself on TNG, php coding and MySql. Thus far, php has been the easiest ;) to pick up on. Hopefully, someday the rest will be a little clearer. In the interim, I will continue to ask questions (probably dumb ones :oops: ) and seek answers from the good folks here at the TNG forum.

I look forward to your comments and suggestions.

Darlene

PS forgot to mention that the link to FamilyTreeSeeker.com on the getperson.php page is back!

Sorenson-Robey.org

Update: I changed the search method to m=3 (begins with) on my FTS query and the speed of the query is dramatically increased. When I first setup the query string, I used the exact method (m=1) but noticed that the results were different than searching for contains or begins with. The exact method resulted in fewer results since it seems to be a literal search and did not want to risk eliminating any hits (i.e., my Mary Ann Fenn may be another one's Mary Fenn for example). Using the begins with method seems to produce results with both and maybe the safer route to go.

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Gerrit Veldman

It was indeed the search method that slowed down the speed. I consider removing the option 'contains' for that reason. When visitors numbers will increase, this will give problems I fear.

You seem to be on the right way to become an PHP expert, Darlene! Just take existing code and experiment with it... So I started too. But I won't say I am an expert yet... ;)

Gerrit

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D-B

Hi Gerrit.

A few suggestions to make the search experience a bit better.

1. Clear instructions on the primary search prompt to describe how the search works.

2. either the ability to get a hit on the first name if the given name contains both first and middle names (because that's what the label says) or change the label to indicate this field contains both (or more) given names, or default to the "contains" search rather than the "equals" search. Or just assume the given name field is always a wildcard search.

Take a look at name search prompts at places such as Rootsweb, Gencircles, etc. to see what I'm getting at. Much less trial and error to achieve results.

Other possible additions would be a soundex search.

Thanks

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wombmate

It was indeed the search method that slowed down the speed. I consider removing the option 'contains' for that reason. When visitors numbers will increase, this will give problems I fear.

You seem to be on the right way to become an PHP expert, Darlene! Just take existing code and experiment with it... So I started too. But I won't say I am an expert yet... ;)

Gerrit

Thanks for the vote of confidence Gerrit. I think time will tell in the end. I pretty much put the links on my site to help me out more than anything. It sure makes it easier to check the various sites for information or leads when I missing a piece of the puzzle.

Thanks for your time and help.

Darlene

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Gerrit Veldman

Hi Gerrit.

A few suggestions to make the search experience a bit better.

1. Clear instructions on the primary search prompt to describe how the search works.

2. either the ability to get a hit on the first name if the given name contains both first and middle names (because that's what the label says) or change the label to indicate this field contains both (or more) given names, or default to the "contains" search rather than the "equals" search. Or just assume the given name field is always a wildcard search.

Take a look at name search prompts at places such as Rootsweb, Gencircles, etc. to see what I'm getting at. Much less trial and error to achieve results.

Other possible additions would be a soundex search.

Thanks

I have made some changes to the search.

1. I removed the 'contains' option. It took to much from the server, at least for the 'Surname' field.

2. I renamed the label 'First name' in 'Given names'. 'First name' was indeed a translation error from Dutch.

I am thinking about your suggestion to use for the 'Given names' field the 'contains' or 'begins with' option by default.

Soundex is not an option. It will take to much from the server.

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wombmate

FYI to all users who have links from their site to FamilySearch.org that searches the site with information populated from the getperson.php page.

In addition to the link from my getperson page to FamilyTreeSearch, I also have a link to FamilySearch.org. Interestingly, this morning when I clicked on the link looking for additional information on an individual, I received the following message:

Your access to FamilySearch.org has been temporarily suspended. Your computer or a computer at your location has sent a large volume of requests to FamilySearch.org and as a result access to FamilySearch.org from this location has been temporarily suspended. Usually the suspension occurs when a computer uses software to automate requesting information from FamilySearch.org from any computer in your location. If this message appears again, contact the vendor who sold you your software to obtain the latest release.

I was not abusing the link as I only clicked on it at the most 5 times prior to receiving the message. It would appear that their stats reflect a cumulative history of searches from my site based on my minimal usage this morning. The Terms of Conditions on the FamilySearch site state in the Linking Section that "we believe that linking to other sites is legally permissible and consistent with the expectations of those who use the Internet."

I didn't read anything in the terms that strictly prohibited searching their site from other locations/sites but thought I would pass the information on to other TNG users who may doing the same type searching that I am.

Darlene (aka, the kid caught with hand in the cookie jar)

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LostinTNG

This is a very interesting discussion. I just added by gendex to familytreeseeker. Thank you Gerritt for developing the site.

I don't think I read any conclusion about why the reading of the gendex didn't show up in the access log. Did anyone ever figure it out?

Thanks.

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