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Census Info Search Tips
Here are some ideas of things you can do to get better results out of our search form.
- Start with the least restrictive search terms Don't forget that when searching, times and locations that you think you know might not apply. Specifying a specific state or county can be good if you are getting too many results, but often you want to cast a wider net to begin with, and then add additional search terms if you are getting too many results.
- Use the SOUNDEX search for names. With all the variants of spelling in surnames in the records, a SOUNDEX search will help deal with these inconsistencies which otherwise can foil your search.
- Use wildcards in your searches. A powerful tool for enhancing your
searches is the wildcard character "%". If you enter
only the wildcard character where the surname goes, you will get a complete
alphabetical listing for that state and year. When using this feature, please only use one decennial
year at a time. You can also use this character before or after a word,
e.g., Jon% will
return all names that begin with "Jon" followed
by any other characters (Jones, Joncaire, Jonce, Jons, Jonson, Jon, Jonston,
etc.). For more on using the wild card, please read
- Try different combinations. If you get no results from a given search, try different combinations of search items. Don't give up on the first try. Sometimes you will find results in places that you would never have suspected.
- Check for new information periodically. We are working to increase our database continually. We added over 10,000 new names in the first two months of 2004. We hope to continue and even increase this pace.