Ok, I read this a few times and if I got it right, its the same issue for both scenarios … the field that stores the family relationships is not searched at all. The technical reason for why not is that that field stores the relationships as a serialized array which is not easily searched at the database level. The only way I could think of doing this would be to first query all families, only the relationship field, unserialeze, loop thru search for matches. The problem with doing that would be is it is not scalable. At
x-number, it just would work.
Searching between category when limited at the shortcode level just won’t work. Doing that would break everyone’s directory who relies on that category separation to create multiple directories.
With all that said, I not able to come up with anything that can be done easily to get what you want … the closest would be to create a custom link to you directory page that points to the “Member Directory” category like so:
x equals the category ID number of the “Member Directory” category.
You would then have to make one edit to a core PHP file in Connections so searches wouldn’t be limited to the “Member Directory” category. You would delete this line.
I think that would get you really close to a working solution. The problem is you would then have to delete that same line upon updates to Connections.
I hope that helps.