I'm on English Wikipedia and I've turned on "new search" in the beta features.
I used the search box to search for "mackinnon":
The excerpt that shows up on the search results page now, with CirrusSearch, comes from citations 5 and 6 in the article on Catharine MacKinnon:
"Highly Cited Author - Catharine A. MacKinnon ^ Catharine MacKinnon 2005 Fellow of Stanford's Center for"
This feels like a less optimal result. I think we should prefer the first sentence in an article, maybe especially for articles that are biographies. For instance, the body of the article on Catharine MacKinnon starts:
"Catharine Alice MacKinnon (born October 7, 1946) is an American feminist, scholar, lawyer, teacher and activist."
Under the old search, that's what shows up on the search results page, albeit with some extraneous spaces around the commas. This is more relevant to a user who is trying to find a particular person's biography. In general, I suspect that the first sentence of a wiki page is more likely to help a searcher gauge relevance than is an excerpt from footnotes.