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Top tip - using the Genes Reunited community

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Tip of the day...Use Wildcards

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Jonesey

Jonesey Report 21 Sep 2010 08:51

As a result of misrecording or possibly just difficult to decipher handwriting, the names of our ancestors often appear differently in records than how we feel they should. This can lead to us having difficulty or even failing to find them.

Wildcards can be effective query tools if you are searching for words or names with alternate spellings, but don't wish to view all the extra hits that other methods (such as Soundex) searching can produce.

Wildcards are special symbols that are used in searching to represent a number of unknown letters in a word. Ancestry uses both the asterisk “*” and the question mark “?”. Many other sites search engines also allow you to use “*” and some sites such as Freebmd or the 1911 Census site even allow you to leave a complete blank or to only type in part of a name.

On Ancestry for example the “?” represents just a single letter. Using their example, a search for Johns?n will return both Johnsen and Johnson.

An asterisk “*” represents several unknown characters. Again using their example, a search for John* will return surnames such as John, Johnson or Johnston. A search for a forename fran* will return names like Fran, Frances, Francis, Frank or Frankie.

• You can use a wildcard for either the first or last letter (but not both). So, “Han*” or “*son” are OK, while “*ans*” is not.

• Names must contain at least three non-wildcard characters. So, “Ha*n” is okay, but “Ha*” isn’t.

So if you are not sure of the exact name or how it might have been spelled it is worth experimenting by trying a wildcard search.

Good luck.

Beverley

Beverley Report 21 Sep 2010 11:44

Thanks Jonesey

Another excellent tip as usual.

Beverley

Garry

Garry Report 20 Jun 2013 11:57


I have heard that somewhere on GR there is info on wildcards. Do you know where I can find that info?
I am at present scrolling through the threads and have come across this one. Excellent tip any more.
looking for any wildcards but have heard that the @ sign reduces results

Garry

SueCar

SueCar Report 21 Jun 2013 17:33

Nudge