Our databases are world-renowned, and constantly expanding, with over 16 million entries of vital records, naturalization and other genealogical records. And the best part – our core databases are free to the public!
These databases were created by many volunteers. If you would like to contribute time or resources to upcoming database projects, please contact Mario Toglia (church records) or Bill Manteria (civil records) for further information.
The databases are indexes to original records. In most cases, copies are available from the organization that holds these records. Instructions and forms for requesting copies of the records are included in the description of each database or on the search results page.
Here are a few techniques that may help you to get better results:
There are two wildcard characters that can be used in most search engines.
The first is the asterisk “*”. When used, the * will represent any one or more characters in a name. When searching for Meyer, M*r would result in Meyer, Mayer, Maier, and a few others. You have to be careful using the percent sign because the example above will also yield names from Maar through Mysior. Probably a lot more names than you want.
The second is an underscore “_” which is used to represent any single character in a name. When searching for a name like Smith, entering the name like Sm_th would result in Smith and Smyth. The percent sign and the underscore can also be used in combination with each other. Jo*s_n would yield any number of letters between the o and the s and any one letter between the s and the n.
The Soundex option will yield many more names, but the use of that feature can prove to be extremely useful.
Try switching the surname and the given name. This is especially important when a person has a name like George Joseph or any name that includes two common given names. Foreign names were also sometime difficult to determine which was the given and which was the surname.
Given Name Search
A search by only the given name can be accomplished by simply entering “_*” (Underscore Asterisk, without the quotes) in the Surname field.
Punctuation marks and spaces
Names that contain non-alphabetic characters should be searched with and without the character. Looking for O’Hara, try Ohara. Looking for D’Angelo, try Dangelo and Deangelo. Some names have a space in them – Del Vecchio, De La Campa, Van der Valk or Mac Nally. Try it with and without the space. Don’t overlook the Saint’s names. Sometimes they were spelled out as Saint Louis and others as St. Louis or St Louis. Van and Von were sometimes interchanged and sometimes omitted. Search for the name with and without the Van or Von.
Americanization of Names
It is not uncommon that a person Americanized his or her name. It may take a little ingenuity on your part to come up with the variations, but try them all. Johann became John, Fritz became Frank, Luigi became Louis, Giuseppe became Joseph, etc.
Last but not least, don’t forget titles. It could be that the document listed the person as a Jr. or Sr. Other titles like Mr. Mrs. Miss. Ms. were generally not used in the documents but do not rule them out if nothing else works.
Print the results of your search by clicking on the “Printer-friendly” button at the bottom of your search results. You can also copy and paste from the resulting Printer-friendly window into MS Excel or MS Word.