Thursday, December 8, 2011

Wild Card Searches on AmericanAncestors.org

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I've been corresponding with reader Carol, who uses the www.AmericanAncestors.org databases a lot.  She told me about wild card searches on the site.  I don't recall using wild card searches before!

The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page is at http://www.americanancestors.org/faqs/ and the Wild Card Search section is at http://www.americanancestors.org/faqs/#8.  It says:

"AmericanAncestors.org only requires one character before using a wildcard. The supported wildcards are:

"The keyword field and all other free text search boxes support the following wildcards:
  • ? matches any single character
  • * matches any number of characters
"The keyword field also supports these additional wildcards:
  • + between two words will require both words to be present in the record
  • – between two word will return results which contain the first word, but excludes the second word
  • “ ” around a word or phrase will require the term in quotations to be present, exactly as typed
  • ~ ~ between two years will search that year range, inclusive. Example, 1748~~1750 "
So it appears that a user can use either the first name, last name fields, or the Keyword fields, to search for a name.  I need to work a bit more in it to determine just how powerful this search feature is.

3 comments:

Carol P. said...

I wonder how many people use wildcarding beyond the basics. It takes a little skill and experimenting, but narrowing the wide net of search results can be very helpful. And less daunting.

Marian Pierre-Louis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marian Pierre-Louis said...

I'm glad to see there is wildcard capability on American Ancestors. I use their databases a lot and find they are not as flexible for searching as Ancestry.com. These wildcards are at least a step in the right direction.