There have been many letters saying they cannot find any entries on the

census. In many cases I expect the user is unfamiliar with how to search a

database. Here are a few tips to help those who need it. (not trying to teach

my grandma to suck eggs)

You know that your grandpa was called William Joseph Johnson (or Johnstone)

and his family they could be in Warwickshire or any of the surrounding


The following method should enable you to find whole families

The idea is to search by gradually reducing the hits until you find the ones

you are interested in

First enter surname only (If it is possible that the name can have variable

endings the put an * where the variable starts eg with my name Ledbrook I

also want those with E on the end so I enter Ledbrook* Click search

This for me works as I only have 150 odd names selected over the whole of the


If you get message too many records or taking too long then refine the


Second refine to halve the results possible by entering the Gender Male

This worked for me when I was searching for Ladbrook* (too many otherwise)

Again if too many records or taking too long then

Third refine by Age


Enter 20 into the age box and 20 into the +- box still leaving the gender as

Male this should find all males up to 40 years old. If you get hits then find

the rest by putting 60 into the age box +-20.

If still too many or too long then further refining is required

In the Advanced search Enter Surname then relationship to Head select "Head"

this should find all heads of families Male or Female.

If still too many select Gender as Male and try again to get all male heads

No results then think about entering in the Administrative County Use a wild

card to find variations

Enter Warwick* this should find variations of Warwick Warwickshire

Warwicks repeat for Warks

Repeat for Surrounding Counties

By now you should start to see some results (Unless you are named Smith


Have you spotted him, if so copy the census place name into the Advanced

search and reset everything else to blank you should end up with a list of

the family within that census place. If you are out of luck there may be more

than one family with that name there. Find the family by hovering the mouse

over the underlined name and see what the number is t the end. Do the same

with the rest and you shoud see an incrementing number from the head through

the rest of the family.

At the worst case you will have to search for William Joseph Johnson (or

Johnstone) who could be Will Bill or any other variation. There may not be a

second intial or name recorded, or he may be entered as Joseph, Joe Joey. In

these cases try using the tickbox Synonyms which should give vfariations

though this doesn't seem to work very logically

Entering Ann does not find Annie, but entering Annie finds Ann Annie Anny and

Anita You need to experiment here

To sum up - Always search the broad base first, refining the search down to

lower levels if you get too many or too long message.don't be tempted to try

and find Joe Smith and then get message saying taking too long.

Finally doing a search on Birthplace is open to problems, Spelling errors are

multiple, town and county names are not standard the recollection of the

individual changes with increasing age or distance from the original

location. eg born in a village near a town, but census place it is a distance

away from the birthplace the nearest town be written down.

Entering in the Place Name field of the screen if you put more than name here

they are Anded together ie Christchurch Hants will find Christchurch in

Hants but not Christchurch in Hampshire (spelling and transcription errors

compound the problem)

If you are using Wild cards remember to use the _ underscore not the ? for

unknown characters and * for any number of characters

I hope the above helps --- Happy searching When it comes back

The web link below will point to Hints and tips for searching the census, a

copy of this is already loaded

Graham Ledbrook