Categories: WikiTree Help
Click here to search WikiTree. The following are tips for usage.
Searching for People
A first name and last name are generally required for searches. If you just enter a last name, with no other search criteria, it will jump you to the surname index page for that last name (the same as section 2 on the search page).
Entering or selecting anything other than a name is optional. Here are more details on those options.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 you can opt to just search the profiles on your Watchlist. You could also exclude profiles on your Watchlist.
Other Search Tools
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.
Search for a Surname
The second option on the search page simply jumps you to the surname index page.
Search for Ancestor Matches (FindMatches)
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.
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.
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 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.
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:
- Proper First Name
- Preferred First Name
- Middle Name
- Current Last Name
- Last Name at Birth
- 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.
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.
This page was last modified 20:20, 17 October 2018. This page has been accessed 16,329 times.