Try these 7 tips to get the most from this search engine.
1. Search last name only.
Don't limit your search to one person. Cast a wide net. Begin by searching the last name only, leaving the First Name box empty (if the last name you are researching isn't too common).
2. Try alternate spellings.
The last name (and sometimes first name) you are searching may have been recorded differently than how you spell it now. Be sure to try all possible spelling variations.
3. Search part of the last name only.
Names that have been spelled or recorded with a variety of spellings may be found by searching only key letters of the name. For example, your SCHMIDT ancestor may have also been recorded as SCHMITT, SCHMIT, etc. Enter the letters "schmi" in the Last Name Box since those letters do not change. The Search Engine will list results for all surnames containing the letters "schmi." Search through the results to find your people.
4. Search first initial only.
Many historic records used abbreviations or initials for first names instead of spelling out the whole name. For example, "William" was often recorded as "W.," "Wm.," or "Will." Search using the first initial only or you may miss records.
5. Know what you are searching.
This site contains several indexes and abstracts of resources from our research library. Not everything is indexed. Just because you cannot find something on this website doesn't mean it doesn't exist. To learn more about these indexes, such as what exactly is indexed, years covered, etc., click on "click here to learn more about these indexes" in the Search Results.
6. Search the Photo Collection.
With over 6000 historic images posted on this website, it's worth searching your ancestor's last name in the Historic Image & Photo Archive. Even if you do not find a picture of your ancestor, you can search for images of the churches, schools, and villages associated with your ancestors to include in your family history.
7. Contact us.
If you can't find the obituaries or vital records you're looking for, email us with a list of wants. This online index is a work in progress and our volunteers are indexing more items daily. Email us if you can't find what you are looking for using this website.