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, 1885-1951||1,830,468||24 Dec 2013|
|I've been through the records above this link. (I selected the dates so most recent comes to the top)|
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.