www.Footnote.com permits the use of wild cards for its searches, but the rules are a little different. From their Footnote Search Tips page:
"It's always a good idea to try your search with variant spellings to make sure you catch any errors in the records or in the index. You can use the asterisk (*) wild card to replace any number of characters (e.g. Anders*n = Anderson, Andersen, Andersson, etc.) "
When I first read that, I thought "well, OK, it works like the wild cards on Ancestry does." But, Footnote.com actually has a more versatile wild card capability (I could not find this description on their Help sites though!):
* A wild card asterisk (*) can be used before or after any two characters.
* More than one wild card can be used in a search field
Why would I want to use a wild card? Because many names were spelled differently, or written differently, than what we expect.
Let me demonstrate some of the Footnote.com wild card capabilities with some examples. One of my ancestors is Martin Carringer (1758-1835), a Revolutionary War veteran. His last name can be, and was, spelled several different ways in the records. In the Person search field I entered the names "martin" and "carringer" and got matches:
But that is for just the exact spelling of his name as I input it. What if I use a wild card for both names, say "mart*" and "carr*":
This search found a lot more matches, but I need to check some of them out. I can refine my search by choosing one of the Categories - I chose Revolutionary War Pensions because that's where most of the matches occur for the time period I'm interested in. Then I'm going to refine my search by looking at the last names available - I clicked on the "Last Name" link and then typed "Car" in the query box, and it found 12 different names that start with "Car" in this database:
One of the results was for "Caringer" which was missed by the first Search because it wasn't spelled exactly the same as my search terms. Below the "Last Name" entry box, you can see some of the other names that the search found - Barringer and Springer. It also found a number of "Blank" matches - I'm not sure what those are!