Ask Ancestry Anne: Search Tip #2: A Rose By Any Other Name Might be Rosey -- Name Filters Will Catch That
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If you find you are getting too many results when you do a search, its time to try out name filters when you do a search. We have over 13 Billion records and making sure you narrow your search results down to a reasonable amount, is probably a good idea. First you will need to be on advanced search.  It's in the upper right corner of the search form. image04 Underneath the name boxes on the form, you'll see Use Default Settings' which loosely translates into anything close or in the case of first names, if everything else matches, this doesn't have to. image08   First Name Filters If you click on "Use default settings" link under First & Middle Name(s) you will be presented with a list of options: image05 You can choose a variety of options here.
  • Restrict to exact : returns only records with what you've typed in. Be sure you are asking for what you want.
  • Phonetic : if it sounds the same or close, we will return it, such as Catherine and Katherine.
  • Similar meanings : William, Will, Bill, Billy and Wm all stand for some sort of William. This matches them all.
  • Initials : For those pesky records where the record keeper decided an initial was just enough.
Last Name Filters Last name filters have similar options: image07
  • Restrict to exact : returns only records with what you've typed in. Be sure you are asking for what you want.
  • Soundex: This is really in here for historical reasons. It is a algorithm used to compress last names to a series of similar sounds.  For more, you can read the Soundex entry on Wikipedia
  • Phonetic : if it sounds the same or close, we will return it like Smyth and Smith
  • Similar meanings : Schmidt and Smith
Happy Searching! Ancestry Anne