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Tips for Searching the Online Data Library

General Tips

  • When you search the Online Data Library, you are searching the following:
    • Genealogy Library
    • World Family Tree
    • U.S. Census
    • International & Passenger Records
    • Family & Local Histories
    • Internet pages related to genealogy
    • Data on CD-ROM
  • A surname is the only required information when you search the Online Data Library. If you choose to fill out additional fields, all matches will contain the last name, but may not include additional information that you enter.
  • If you are searching on a very common surname, such as Smith, you should enter a first name as well to reduce the time it takes to search.
  • Wildcards, such as * and ? are not allowed.
  • Be sure to look at matches that are ranked with fewer stars. Those with more stars often contain more data and therefore allow us to be more sure of the match. Those with fewer stars often contain less data, so we are less certain of the match, but may be the key to finding your ancestor!
  • Genealogy Library subscribers may also search Family Books only.

Searching on Locations

  • For U.S. states, you can use abbreviations, such as "IL" for "Illinois". Be sure to capitalize both letters when you use abbreviations.
  • When you include a U.S. state in your search, matches will include records from cities and counties in that state. For example, if you type "IL", your matches would also include records from Chicago, Illinois and Cook County, Illinois. If you include a county in your search, matches will include records from cities in that county.

Too Many or Too Few Matches

  • If you receive too many matches, try filling in additional fields to eliminate some of the possible matches. If a Family Archive does not contain the additional fields that you fill in, matches from that Family Archive will not be excluded.
  • If you receive too few matches, try searching on fewer fields, such as only the last name.

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