Have you used Steve Morse’s One-Step Webpages? If not, hasten over to his website right away!
If you’re having trouble with an awkward or poorly designed search interface for a critical database, your first stop should be to check out Dr. Morse’s One-Step pages. At his site, you can find new ways to search genealogical databases with the data you need.
Steve Morse’s One-Step Webpages
There’s no shortage of genealogical databases available online, but often one encounters poorly designed user interfaces for searching these databases. The lack of Soundex, aka the ability to search phonetically, the inability to substitute wildcards into search strings, or forced search terms are all examples of bad interface design.
Sadly, the genealogical databases in the following paragraph are now offline as of 2020. But Morse’s One-Step site offers flexible searching to a host of other genealogical resources.
I’ve talked before about Cook County and their poor user interface. Originally, their marriage searches only allowed one surname! FamilySearch’s International Genealogical Index [update: site is defunct after database moved to FamilySearch’s main site] is another example of a maddening search interface. It demands a forename when one tries to structure a search by both parents’ names in attempts to discover siblings in a family group. Crazy!
Steve Morse’s Careers
Morse’s first career was in electrical engineering, where he is renowned as the architect of the Intel 8086 chip. Fortunately for those of us doing family history research, his second career has focused on the use of technology to open new avenues of family history research.
Steve Morse has provided alternative ways to search databases at his One-Step Webpages site. Just a few of the sites he improves upon include
Ellis Island, Castle Garden, passenger and ship lists for a host of ports in the U.S. and Canada, and others too numerous to mention.
Steve Morse offers search alternatives to major genealogical databases. These ingenious search work-arounds rescue genealogists who want to use important genealogical databases. But if these sites only offer inflexible search windows, sometimes genealogists get stuck. The One-Step search interfaces have rescued me from brick walls more than once. Give his site your attention for vital records for major US cities and passenger lists for all US ports.
Dr. Morse has also collaborated with Alexander Beider on the Beider–Morse Phonetic Name Matching Algorithm. This formula refines both the venerable Soundex created by National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and the spin-off Daitch–Mokotoff Soundex. His One-Step pages also help you with genetic genealogy, Jewish research, calculating dates and intervals, and other indispensable tools.
And don’t miss the chance to hear Dr. Morse speak. His presentations are great. Interested in more posts about big-city research or passenger lists? Click those links!