Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sometimes Wild Cards Get Awesome Results

Wild Horses - Not Wild Card

Many of us have names our ancestors couldn't spell. Yep, Cragun has 100 + spellings in Ireland, not C R A G U N. How nice that is or isn't, right?

Most search engines are structured to accept wild card searches. This is the wild card symbol * (the asterisk).

I was in a situation to use this today as I was training a new missionary. We found a child in a census that was new information to my trainee. The child was 2 years old in the 1880 census. She has done a lot of genealogy research never before to see an indication that there was this child.

The problem we had was the spelling of the name made no sense. The handwriting in the census was partly illegible. In trying to cypher what the name was we were only sure of the first 3 letters; CLA. It looked like there were a total of eight or nine letters in this name. Hummm, we wanted to add this child to his family, but what really was his name. What more can we find about him?

In came the wild card search. We went to and did a wild card search: cla*. SUCCESS - up rolled out our boy Claudius locating his birth certificate. Right parents, right age, right town the family lived in. 

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