Our ancestors often used a variety of spellings for their first names and surnames. You can use wildcards with the Exact filter selected to find unusual spellings of names.
There are two wildcard characters:
- ? (question mark) : matches one character which can be anything
- * (asterisk) : matches 0 to N characters
So if you enter Sm?th* you can match Smith, Smyth, Smithe and Smythe
Ann* will match Ann, Anne, Anna, and Annabelle
My maiden name is Gillespie, and it is very often spelled: Gillaspie, Gillispie or Gillespie or even Gillespy.
I can use wildcards to match a variety of combinations.
This matches a variety of spellings, making my search just a little bit easier.
About Anne Gillespie Mitchell
Anne Gillespie Mitchell is a Senior Product Manager at Ancestry.com. She is an active blogger on Ancestry.com and writes the Ancestry Anne column. She has been chasing her ancestors through Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina for many years. Anne holds a certificate from Boston University's Online Genealogical Research Program, and is currently on the clock working towards certification from the Board for Certification of Genealogists. You can also find her on Twitter, Facebook and Finding Forgotten Stories.