The Many Ways to Search in FamilySearch

When you are doing your genealogy research, sometimes the only thing that will determine whether or not you will find the record that you are seeking is how you decide to search for it. Like most things about genealogy, this can be both maddeningly frustrating and very intriguing. Often, online databases have fairly limited search parameters and this can make research in those databases difficult.

The Family Search web site has a search engine that is quite good. The search engine offers nine different search options so there is a good chance that if your ancestor is in the database you will be able to locate him or her. How can you search in the Family Search database? Let me count the ways.

One possibility is to search for the person’s given name only, within a specific geographic region or narrow time frame. This will help with research in patronymic countries like Wales. You can also search just the surname with the name of a town or parish, in case you do not know the given name of one of the parties in a marriage that you are researching.

Family Search also allows users to search a birth year and local place name combination. I am not sure how I would use this search, though because I know more about names in my family than I do about dates and place of birth. If you are unsure of the spelling of a surname, you will appreciate that you can search he Family Search database using one or two “wild card” characters in your surname search.

If you are sure of the spelling of a surname, try searching with ONLY after the surname, so you don’t have to sift through results where the name is spelled differently. Advanced relationship searches enable you to search for children by providing the names of one or both parents. If you search for a mother, then the search will turn up all of her children even if they do not all have the same father.

Do any of these search methods sound like something that may help you to locate an ancestor or two? If so, you may want to check out the Family Search database to see whether searching in a different way than you have searched previously can help you find the answers (or ancestors) that you are looking for.