Genealogy Tips

Tuesday’s Tips – Other options for searching names

Reverse name order

In searching for my uncle on FamilySearch, I couldn’t find an entry for him, but I knew I had already found his entry on BillionGraves, so his entry should’ve come up on FamliySearch, since they have indexes to BillionGraves memorials.  And then I remembered why I couldn’t find it – because the entry on BillionGraves had the surname first, instead of last.  By reversing his name, and putting Whimpey as his given name, and Alan as his surname, I was now able to find his entry on FamilySearch, and to access his memorial on BillionGraves.

If you are finding that you are unable to find a record for an ancestor, try reversing the name order, and put the first name in the surname field, and the surname in the first name field.

Use initials

Not all records are indexed by the full name.  My uncle, John Harrie Whimpey, has a memorial on BillionGraves, but only his initials have been used, as the grave marker only shows his initials.  This record would have been particularly harder to find, since he was cremated at Fawkner Crematorium, and his grave marker is at the Springvale Botanical Cemetery.

Search by first name only

The record may only show an initial for a middle name, or it may even not include a middle initial.  If you can’t find a record using the full name, try using just their first name.  You can even try leaving off the surname, but when you do this, you will need to include more information, such as a birth year and location, a residence, or other members in the household in order to keep the number of results manageable.