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Your Guide to the Family History Library by Paula Stuart Warren and James W. Warren (Betterway Books)
Hacks and Shortcuts
Record Search Pilot Site
- Use the Browse Records link to see collections grouped by region. Click a database title for coverage details.
- Click the Advanced Search link to add parents’ names for your target person.
- The Exact Match search finds the names exactly as entered. Exact and Close Match also finds similar spellings. Exact, Close and Partial finds records with similar first or last names.
- You can use an asterisk as a wildcard to stand for any number of letters in the name, but the wildcard must be the last character and follow at least three letters.
- If you’re looking for vital or church records, choose Birth, Marriage or Death as the event and enter the year. For censuses and other records, choose All for the event and enter a year range.
- Use the filters above your search results to sort information by name, record type, place, date and other fields.
Search for Ancestors
- In the IGI, Vital Records Index and other collections on FamilySearch, middle names are ignored unless you check the exact spelling box—but that prevents you from searching on the parents, spouse, event, year or country.
- You can search on just a last name, but your main results page shows only the first 25 results from each collection. To see full results, click on the collection header links on the right side of the page.
- You can’t search on just a first name in the Advanced Search or in the Ancestral File and Pedigree Resource File searches. You can search on just a first name on the individual search pages for the SSDI and the 1880 US, 1881 British Isles and 1881 Canadian censuses.
- In the Vital Records Index and IGI, you can search on a first name, but you must also choose a region.
- When searching the SSDI, select Death as the event to get matches for the person’s place of death. If Birth is the event, you’ll get matches for the location where the Social Security number was issued. If you leave All as the event, you’ll get matches for both.
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From the January 2010 Family Tree Magazine