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Using the "wildcard" option

If the wildcard search is clicked, you search to find names starting with what is entered in the text box. This can be used for either the first or last names, or both at the same time.


  • If you enter "William" in the first name box, and you DO NOT check the wildcard box, you will get only people with the first name William. Persons who have middle initials would not display.

  • If you enter "W" in the text box, and you DO check the wildcard box by clicking on it, you will get everyone with the letter W. This will includes abbreviations like Wm. and names that include a middle initial.

    Tips and Hints:

    • Clicking on the wildcard search will make more names show up in the list. If you don't need to click the wildcard search box, you may find the resulting list of names easier to work with. It should only be used if your first search does not produce sufficient results.

    • When using a wildcard search, you can narrow your results by remembering to also choose at least a county and the township if known.

    • Census records were handwritten, and there are many misspellings due to language and literacy barriers. Use the wildcard search if you are not finding a simple name like Robert by using Ro or Ra or Ru. You may be surprised at how your ancestors’ handwritten name was interpreted by the indexers.

      We hope these suggestions help in your 1870 research.
      Please send comments to: librarian@michigan.gov

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