Default First Name Settings

When you use default settings, we look through every first name we have recorded in our more than 29,000 data collections, and pull out any record where the first name is:

These records are also evaluated against the other criteria that you have given us, and are ordered based on how well all the elements in that record match your search.

First Name Search Options

Exact Matches: Records that contain a first name that is exactly what you typed in will appear in your results.

Phonetic Variations: There are other name matching algorithms that we can use to help identify records to consider for your results. If you choose phonetic, we will identify appropriate algorithms that apply to specific data collections and if a record has one of those names, we will use it as a possible record for your results set.

Similar Variations: There are alternates and spelling variations that are commonly used, such as Will for William. If you choose this option we will look for records with these alternates and consider them as possible results for you to look at.

Initial Variations: Sometimes in records our ancestors were identified with just their first initials, or the initials of their given and middle names. By including this option, you allow us to examine and possibly include records that just have initials in the first name. So if you enter Mary, we will look at records that have M as the first name.

Other tips you might find useful

Wildcards: You can also use the wildcards * and ? in your name searches. * (or asterisk) will match any number of characters and ? will match only one character. You may use the * and ? anywhere in your search, but you must have at least 3 letters. So *own is a legal search, but *wn is not.

If you type in Ann*, this will match names such as Ann, Anne, Anna, or Annabelle. And if you type in Ann?, this will match names such as Anne or Anna but not Ann or Annabelle. If you use Ann?* you will match Anne, Anna or Annabelle, because there must be at least one character after Ann.

You can use wild cards with exact matches. If you choose the Soundex, phonetic or similar options and use wild cards, then we will only apply the wild cards to the exact matches.

If you are searching for the name Sally, and would like to use wildcards and some of the other search options, you could try: Sal*, Sally