You’ll see a variants box under some of the text fields in the search form. Ticking this option will include variations of your search term in the results you’re given. This can help when names are misspelt, if initials have been used instead of names, etc.
The spellings of names and places can change over the years, and occasionally (when the original handwriting is poor, for example) they can be transcribed incorrectly. The person you’re searching for may have used a nickname, or their name could have been misspelt in the census. In these cases, using a wildcard can help you find the results you’re looking for.
Use a ‘?’ where a single character is wrong or missing, or a ‘*’ where you believe several letters, or even words may be incorrect.
Searching for “Re?d” would give results for “Reed”, “Read”, “Reid”
Searching for “T*y” would give results for “Tommy”, “Tammy”, “Timmy”, “Toby”
When searching a location, put commas between the places e.g. Wells, Indiana, USA rather than Wells Indiana USA.
We hope this information helps you find the results you’re looking for!