Searches are always conducted more effectively when the user knows how all search parameters and options work. That knowledge allows searches to be conducted in ways that best fit the varying spellings and rendering of the name.

The search interface at FamilySearch allows user to check an exact box to search for the spelling exactly as the user entered it. If the box is left unchecked, variant spellings of the name are returned. As an example search, one was conducted in the “Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1878-1994” for Peter Verikios with a place of birth in Greece. No results were obtained.

When a wildcard search was conducted for first name Peter, last name v*r*k*s, born in Greece, there was an entry in the database with the last name spelling of “Verikos.” It would have seemed that an unexact search for the last name of Verikios would have turned up the spelling of Verikos in the database. After all these two spellings are Soundex equivalent and only differ by one letter–a vowel.

Sometimes wildcards are more effective and sometimes they are not. The problem is that it would seem logical that an unexact search for Verikios would catch the spelling of Verikos.

Just a little reminder that sometimes things might not work the way we think that they do.




2 Responses

  1. Thanks for this tip. It’s strange how some of these searches work. I was unaware you could insert * in the search.

    • I keep adding to my list of “unusual” things I’ve noticed. The wildcards here are great.

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