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Beta tester’s guide

This post is also available in: Français

Welcome to the beta testing period of Généalogie Québec’s new search engine!

Thank you very much for taking the time to help us improve and perfect this new system.

Your task as a beta tester

As a beta tester, you will have the following objectives:

  • Identify and report bugs and technical problems
  • Evaluate the relevance of your search results, and report irrelevant or misclassified results
  • Give your opinion on the user experience of the new engine; its appearance, speed, various functionalities and impact on your genealogical research.

A state-of-the-art search engine

Généalogie Québec’s new search engine is based on cutting-edge search technology. Here are a few examples of the new features that will be available in the new engine:

A global search

You will now be able to search through all the site’s databases from a single query.

A smart search

The technology on which the new search engine is based enables much more advanced logic to be incorporated into the various search functions.

For example, you’ll have much greater flexibility in your search parameters, whether for dates or spelling of names. Approximate date, alternative spelling or typo? No problem for the new search engine; you’ll still find what you’re looking for.

Dynamic filters

Your search results can now be segmented using three categories of filters:

  • Type of document
  • Location
  • Year

These filters allow you to refine your search results directly from the results page. For example, you can choose to display only a specific type of document or source in your search results. Or you can limit the results to a particular province or time period.

How to use the basic global search

The basic global search lets you search by first name, last name, date and location.

You can fill in all 4 fields if you wish, but you can also carry out a very broad search limited to a surname or even a place, a year or a first name.

First and last name

The search engine works to give you maximum flexibility in your search parameters. You don’t have to worry about using the exact spelling of a name. Accents, capital letters and hyphens can be used or omitted in your searches without having any impact on the results obtained.

You can also enter several first and last names for the same individual; the engine will prioritize the records where a maximum of these names are found, but you will also be presented records where the individual is named by only one of his first or last names.

Adjusting the broadness of the search

Under first and last name, you’ll have the option of adjusting the broadness of your search, i.e. the level of difference between the name you entered in your search, and the name in the document it matched with. There are three levels to this option:

  • Exact search
  • Similar search
  • Extended search

The different search levels are explained at this address.

Year of birth

It is important to enter the exact or approximate year of birth, not the year of marriage or death, in the box provided. The engine performs a calculation based on the year of birth to show you results relevant to your search. If you enter a date other than the year of birth (whether approximate or not), many relevant records will be excluded from your search results.


A match between the location searched and the location mentioned in the record is not necessary for a document to be included in the search results. Location is only used to prioritize certain results. For example, if two documents contain the name you’re looking for, but only one contains the location you searched for, the document containing the matching location should appear first in your search results.

You can therefore use the location box very freely, without worrying about excluding results relevant to your search.

Suggestions, problem reports, questions and comments

Please use the following form to send us your suggestions and observations, or to report any problems you encounter with the engine:

Submit a comment, a suggestion, or report a bug

Please note that we will not be able to respond to all comments, but we will read and consider them all!


What about the old search tools?

Généalogie Québec’s current research tools and databases will remain available to our members for the long term. However, they will no longer be updated once the new search engine has been fully released.

Some of my search results don’t match the information I’ve entered

The first and/or last names do not correspond

By default, the search engine allows for some variation in the spelling of names . What’s more, the LaFrance name dictionary will eventually be integrated into the system, meaning that certain names will be matched despite different pronunciation or spelling.

An option allows you to limit your search results to exact matches with the names entered.

The year does not correspond

In the global search, you are asked to enter the approximate or exact date of birth of the ancestor you are looking for. However, the majority of documents on the site do not contain a date of birth. We therefore use the date of birth entered in your search to exclude documents that are not relevant. For example, it would not be useful to show you a marriage that took place in 1734 if you entered 1844 as the date of birth, even if the names match.

As a result, you’ll often see results that don’t contain the date you entered; these aren’t there by mistake.

The location does not correspond

In the global search, location is used to prioritize and order results.

A correspondence between the location searched and the location mentioned in the document is not necessary for a document to be included in the search results.

For example, if you search for “François Desjardins” as the first and last name, and set “Montréal” as the location, all documents on the site where an individual bears the name “François Desjardins” and taking place in Montréal will appear first in the search results. However, once these results have been exhausted, all documents mentioning a “François Desjardins”, regardless of whether “Montreal” is found in the document in question, will be displayed.

What’s next in terms of development?

The development of the search engine will be done in two phases:

  1. Basic global search and filters (what you’re currently testing)
  2. Advanced global search

Basic global search

We are currently working on setting up and refining the basic global search and filters. The basic global search includes 4 search fields:

  • First name(s)
  • Name(s)
  • Year of birth
  • Location

This allows you to search for all the documents on the site. This search can be used to find a specific document, but is better suited for widespread searches, such as finding ALL documents pertaining to an ancestor or a family.

This is the level of research you are currently testing.

Advanced global search

In the second stage of the project, we’ll be adding many new features to the basic global search, such as the ability to add events (birth, marriage, death, etc.) and individuals (father, mother, spouse, etc.) to the search.

The advanced global search will let you refine your search to find specific events and documents more easily.

Problems and bugs we are currently working on

Here’s a list of problems and bugs we’re currently working on. There is no need to report these issues again: