Birth, Marriage, Death

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Post by DavidWW » Sat May 26, 2007 2:26 pm

If you aren't used to the concept, wildcards can take some getting used to :!:

But it's well worth persisting with learning the use of wildcards, since so many "missing" records are just "hiding" behind a spelling variant that may not be so obvious, and might only be picked up by using the wildcard facility that's available on www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk .

(There's quite a few folk out there who believe in the [alien] theory regarding such missing records, but I tend not to go with that theory [5 cups] )

See elsewhere here on TalkingScot for fuller details about how to use wildcards, - http://talkingscot.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6826 .

Many other sites offer a similar wildcard facility, but always but always check for the local rules; as minor differences can have a significant effect on the outcome.

Most sites don't allow a leading wildcard, i.e. a wildcard at the very beginning of the surname, e.g. ?EBSTER, or *BSTER, but SP does allow such a leading wildcard, in combination with other wildcards as well, if appropriate, it should be noted; but that may cause problems in terms of the results from SP, - if the number of hits is above a certain number (1,000?), there will be a notice to that effect, so that you then have to go back and adjust the search term in order to produce fewer hits.

Rather obviously, the shorter the surname involved, the greater the risk that there could be a problem with the number of hits. Restricting the year range and location searched can often help, as can the year of birth for death records, - remember that this can be specified on up to a ± 10 year basis.

This leading wildcard facility is valuable as it capital letters that more often lead to misinterpretation on the part of indexers. See http://talkingscot.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6997 for some known confusions that exist, and the full thread. (If you know of others, PM me and I'll add them to the list.)

This is a list of some such known confusions, -

L/S and the reverse
D/P and the reverse
I/J and the reverse
M/N/T and the reverse
H/K/F and the reverse
U/V and the reverse
M/W and the reverse
R/P and the reverse
Q/L and the reverse
I as G
P as G
G as Cr or Ci
As or Ar as Ch
Ag as Cl
Cl as A
St as H
H as Th

My post today is as result of such an initial letter misindexing, very neatly picked up by JustJean, - the surname HIRD turning up in the index as THIRD. Knowing how "flowery" an initial "H" can be, its turning up as "Th" doesn't suprise me in the least :shock:

Soooo..... once you've exhausted the possibilities in terms of spelling variations in the body of the surname, try a leading wildcard to see if the [alien] theory can be disproved :wink:


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Post by LesleyB » Wed Jul 18, 2007 11:17 pm

A really useful article David. Thanks.
SP is one of the few sites which is very generous in its acceptance of wildcards. We are rather spoilt! :lol:

Best wishes

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