Help:Search

Search WikiTree's help pages:

Categories: WikiTree Help

Click here to search WikiTree. The following are tips for usage.

There are recent improvements. See this and this G2G post. -- Whitten-1 21:50, 7 November 2018 (UTC)

Contents

Searching for People

The main tool on the search page searches person profiles on WikiTree.

Searching for just a last name

If you just enter a last name, with no other search criteria, you will be sent to the surname index page (the same as section 2 on the search page).

Wildcards

Our search engine supports two "wildcard" characters, i.e. placeholders for unknown characters.

A question mark (?) can be used in place of any single character. For example, "J?nsen" will match "Jensen" and "Jansen".

An asterisk (*) can be used in place of any number of characters. For example, "Jan*" will match "Jansen", "Janzen", "Jansson", etc.

These wildcards can be used anywhere in a search term: beginning, middle, or end.

They can be used in location keywords and parents' first names as well as the main first and last name fields.

You can do a search with just one character and a wildcard, e.g. "J*". However, this puts a heavy burden on server resources and should be done very sparingly.

Locations

You can include keywords for birth and/or death location. These are keyword matches, so, for example, "USA" will not match with United States, US, America, etc.

Including a location will exclude all living people from the search because birth locations are always private for living people. This is true for searches in your Watchlist as well.

Parents' names

You can include a first and/or last name for the father and/or mother.

Like with the birth location, these options are privacy controlled. Only people with public family trees will appear in searches that include parents' names and if a parent does not have a public family tree their name will not appear in searches for their children.

Surname variants

Our search engine includes alternate last names from the variant names project. For example, a search for Smith will include results with the last name Smyth, Smythe, Smit, Smits, etc.

The "surname variants" option can be turned off.

Married/current last names

By default our searches include married/current last names instead of just last names at birth. This can result in many unwanted matches. For example, if you search for Mary Smith the results will include women with Smith as a married name.

You can opt to turn this off and only see results with matching last names at birth. Or, if you are entering a married name, you can opt to see only results with matching current last names.

Date range

The default is to match years, e.g. if you enter 20 Aug 1920 as a birth date it will include all matches born in 1920. If you select "match exact date" it will only match with others born on 20 Aug 1920.

You can expand the matches to plus or minus two years, e.g. 1920 will match with anyone born between 1918 and 1922. There are also options for plus or minus 12 years and plus or minus 30 years.

Note that date status indicators on profiles are not taken into account. For example, about 1920, before 1920, and after 1920 are all just treated as 1920.

Matches without dates

The default it to include matches without dates. For example, if you're searching for John Smith, born 1920, the search results will include John Smiths who have no birth date on WikiTree.

The "include matches without dates" option can be turned off.

Search your Watchlist

Rather than searching all the profiles on WikiTree, the main search tool includes an option to just search the profiles on your Watchlist. You could also exclude profiles on your Watchlist.

'Name on Watchlist' Quick Finder

There is also a special tool for quickly jumping to any profile on your Watchlist. At the top of every page members will see a search box that says "Name on Watchlist."

When you first click this you may see a message that says "One moment ...". When your Watchlist is fully loaded it will say "Ready to Search Watchlist." (If you have a large Watchlist it may take longer to load, and if your Watchlist exceeds the recommended 5,000-profile limit it may not work at all.)

Type any first or last name on your Watchlist. As you type, suggestions will appear. Clicking a name will send you to their profile.

Matching will work for Short Names even though you will see people's Long Names with Dates. Therefore, for example, you may be able to enter "Mike" to find "Michael", etc.

Matching will also work for birth and death years, e.g. you can enter "1819" to see people on your Watchlist who were born or died in 1819. It will not work for birth or death locations. For this and any other advanced search functionality, use the main search engine and use the option to limit the search to your Watchlist.


Other Search Tools

AutoMatches: Automatic Suggestions

When you are adding a new person to WikiTree we will do an automatic search to see if that person might already have a profile here.

This search uses the first name, last name, birth date and/or death date, and gender you have entered. The Last Name at Birth is only matched against Last Names at Birth, and if you enter a Current Last Name it is only matched against Current Last Names.

Parents are not considered, nor is the birth or death location.

Search for a Surname

The second option on the search page simply jumps you to the surname index page.

FindMatches: Search for Ancestor Matches

The third section on the search page only works for logged-in members. This takes you to our FindMatches tool that searches for matches for everyone in your Watchlist without you having to enter the names and dates manually.

Optionally, you can limit this to one person in your Watchlist or one surname in your Watchlist, e.g. you could search for matches for everyone in your Watchlist named Smith.

Most of the search options from the main search engine are available.

Settings that are not options:

  • If the search subject and the search object both have two parents, one of the parents' names must match.
  • Gender must match or be blank.

Full-Text Search

The four section on the search page is a full-text search using Google. It's the same as going to Google.com and including "site:wikitree.com" in your search so that results are limited to pages on WikiTree.com.

There are options for limiting this to Categories, Help Pages, or images on WikiTree. These use Google as well.

Search WikiTree Help Pages

Every help page has a keyword search form. It's a full-text Google Custom Search like the ones mentioned above.

RootsSearch

RootsSearch is a convenient tool for searching other genealogy websites for a person on WikiTree. Like with FindMatches, it saves you the effort of entering their names and dates and relationships on the other sites. See RootsSearch.

GEDCOMpare

When you upload a GEDCOM we will search WikiTree for every person in your file.

There are no search options here. These are the settings we use. They are strict because we want there to be fewer false positives, i.e. we want to eliminate most bad matches, even at the risk of missing a few good matches. GEDCOMs usually contain many people in family groups so chances are that if one family member's match is not found another one's will be.

  • If the search subject and the search object both have two parents, one of the parents' names must match.
  • Gender must match or be blank.
  • Last Names at Birth (LNABs) are only compared with LNABs and Current Last Names (CLNs) are only compared with CLNs, if a CLN exists in the GEDCOM. If there is only one last name it is assumed to be an LNAB.

See Help:GEDCOMpare.


Notes for Advanced Users

Delay for new profiles

When you add a new profile to WikiTree it will not appear in search results immediately. We use what's called a "search index" to speed up searches. The index is fully updated once a day.

What is searched

All these name fields are indexed:

  1. Prefix
  2. Proper First Name
  3. Preferred First Name
  4. Middle Name
  5. Nicknames
  6. Current Last Name
  7. Last Name at Birth
  8. Other Last Names

However, in order to return better matches, we have a two-stage search system. Essentially, some potential matches based on the fields above are eliminated before you see them.

Century typos

Until August 2018 we had an option to ignore the century in dates. For example, 1 June 1801 would match with 1 June 1701 or 1 June 1901. This option was removed because Data Doctors now clean up most of these typos.


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This page was last modified 14:27, 6 December 2018. This page has been accessed 18,544 times.