Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Search Trick For All Researchers

I would guess that all those experienced web searchers know this trick. So if you do, just close your eyes for a minute. It's called a Wildcard. It's using an * as a refining tool.

As an example, in looking for Patrick Cragun or signs of him in Pennsylvania, with the spelling Craughn, perhaps expanding that to other spellings would go like this.

 I went to familysearch.org

Instead of using the search box for indexed records I scrolled down browse all public collections.

I followed the path from the United States to
Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Marriage Indexes, 1885-19511,830,46824 Dec 2013

I've been through the records above this link. (I selected the dates so most recent comes to the top)
In the search box there were no Craughn records. But while I was here I went down a bunny trail.

Wow, (I am writing this post as I research) Sixty two marriage records roll out. There are various spellings of our Cragun name. However, it deserves some investigation as we have one reference to Patricks wifes name; it is in his Patriarchal blessing given in Nauvoo.

I will wrap up the message of the post, using wildcard by illustrating were I to search with cra* the search would sort and deliver only all options possible following cra, craig as an example.

You can also inject the wildcard in the middle of a word in a similar manner.

This link takes you to an article with more detail:

PS: An update on the 62 marriages. None seemed to be our Patrick, the dates are later than his would be.

I then went into these records:Pennsylvania, Eastern District Naturalization Indexes, 1795-1952
I could browse through all Browse through 232,810 images or I can search. CRA* takes the number down to 258. A common change of spelling is the u in Cragun. I will do Crag*n; = no results. 
Crag* brings up 7 records to research.

The wildcard is a great help.

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