Help:Search Tips

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For more information on searching for articles in the FamilySearch Research Wiki, see Basic Searches and Advanced Searches

Help-content.png This help article will guide you in using the Research Wiki.

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Basic Searches[edit | edit source]

Type Keywords. For a Basic Search, simply type search terms in the Search box on any page of the site and click Search Icon or press Enter. Example: London Cemeteries

Type the Title of an Article. Try typing the title of an article. Example: Finding Information in the Davis County, Utah Public Records

Basic Search Tips[edit | edit source]

  1. Searching for a specific article in the FamilySearch Wiki is simple if you know the exact title. If you don't know the exact title, search for words that appear in the title or body of the article.
  2. If you don't know the title of a wiki article, search for a topic or category.
    (a) At the bottom of every article there should be a category. Click the category name to see a list of all articles in that category.
    (b) Search the list of articles in the category for similar or related articles.

Advanced Search Tips[edit | edit source]

  1. Use terms AND, OR, and NOT to help define a search (this is called a boolean search).
  2. Parenthesis control word order in searches.
  3. Asterisks can fill in missing or unknown characters.
  4. Quotation marks group words or phrases together.

Search Strategies[edit | edit source]

Help-content.png Questions?
Visit the Get Help to receive help with contributing to the Wiki.

  1. What do you want to find out about an ancestor? Think about word variations that may be used to describe that type of record. For example, if you want to locate a birth record, this may also appear under the headings "Vital Records" or "Civil Registration."
  2. Second, consider the location where that event may have happened. If you don't have a specific locality, start big. Even searching under "United States Birth" may give you hints on trying to narrow down your search.
  3. If the search results do not help you locate what you need to learn about an ancestor, think about other records that may possibly contain the information you want to learn. For example, a death record may contain an ancestor's birth date and place to make it easier to locate the ancestor's parents or other helpful information.
  4. In general, it is easier to begin looking for records that were created later in an ancestor's life and work backward rather than the other way around. For example, before searching for a birth or marriage record, first try to locate a death record, obituary, or census records that list an ancestor.
  5. There should be many records available that contain information about an ancestor. Think about the record trail that you leave behind, and use that as a guide to help you imagine records that may exist for an ancestor. For example: you were born, attended school, competed in a science fair and had your picture added in the newspaper, appear three times in the yearbook, went to college, signed up for a phone and appeared in the phone book, got a traffic ticket while taking your final exams, got engaged, posted the engagement in the newspaper, broke off the engagement, joined an organization or club, ran in a 5K, bought a house, voted, bought insurance, went to the hospital with a sprained wrist, paid income taxes, had jury duty for a court case, appeared as a witness to a wedding, created a home business and had to pay personal property taxes, lost a family member to death and spoke at the funeral or appeared as a pall bearer in the funeral program, attended a city council meeting to request a change in the speed limit in front of your house . . . Each of these events create a record. Ancestors also interacted with the community around them, and created records throughout their lives.

Note: Basic Search supports Boolean operators.