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
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
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
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.