POTTS Database Search Hints

Or, how to improve your search success.

Last Revised:  October 11, 2008

General Hints

This is a large database and therefore there will be literally hundreds of common names like Ann (and its variations), Elizabeth, George, Henry, Margaret, Martha, Mary, James, John, Joseph, Rebecca, Robert, Samuel, Sarah, Thomas, William, etc., included in it. In order to minimize the search time, and limit the results to reasonable expectations, when searching common names be sure to add other search criteria (such as Birth Date) to help distinguish your individual from all the other similar ones in the database.

Using The Wildcard Character, %.

Let's suppose you are looking for a Harrison Potts. If you enter "Harrison" (don't enter the quotes) in the Given Name(s) search entry box then the result will include only those Harrison individuals who are listed with just that given name. However, if you enter Harrison% in the Given Name(s) search entry box then the result will include all Harrison individuals in the database. But it may miss your intended target if the individual you seek was using his middle name of Harrison. If you enter %Harrison% as the search criteria then you will find all Harrison Potts and all Potts men who had Harrison as a middle name. It is not at all unusual to find that men, or women, with common first names went by, and were known by, their middle names. This is especially possible where father and son, or mother and daughter, had the same given names.


The above technique will work quite well for uncommon names. However, were you to try this with John, or Mary, or some other common name, you would end up with literally hundreds of individuals in the results list, and it would take you a very long time to examine each and every one to find your individual. In this case you need to specify additional search criteria such as the father's name (first name%), and/or the mother's name (maiden%), and/or the birth year (%YYYY%). The wild card symbol placement is because: the father's name is stored as first name, middle name; the mother's name is stored as maiden name, given name; and the birth year is stored as YYYY MM DD or Ca. YYYY (circa YYYY).

Different Spellings

You must also be mindful of the different spelling of even common names (Ann, Anna, Anne, Annie for example) and the given names which are given to both boys and girls (Jesse/Jessie, Lee, Marion/Marian, Lynn, Francis/Frances for example), and nicknames (Jack for John, Patsy for Margaret, Polly for Mary and Mary Ann, Betsy for Elizabeth, Sally or Sallie for Sarah for example). Finally, it might be that your John D. Potts didn't give his full name for whatever purpose it was to be recorded. So be sure to search for J.% to find all those individuals named J....... who are only known by their initials. Many old marriage records have initials only.

Name Variation Search Hints

Abigail or Abigale - search for Abig%
Abraham - search also for Abram
Abram - search also for Abraham
Addie, Adaline or Adeline - search for each independently
Alex or Alexander - search for Alex%
Alan, Allan or Allen - search for each independently
Ann, Anne, Annie or Anna - search for each independently, Ann% will generate a huge result list
Bell, Bella or Belle - search for Bell%
Betsy or Betsey - search for Elizabeth/B%
Bill or Billy - search both Bill and William
Catherine - search also Catharine, Katharine and Katherine
Christina or Christine - search both, also Christiana or Christi%
Danny or Dannie - search also Daniel
Debby or Debbie - search also Deborah
Delia - search also Delila and Delilah
Eliza - check Lizzie and Lizzy also
Elizabeth - check Lizzie, Lizzy and Elisabeth (German spelling) also
Emaline - search for Emeline
Emmaline or Emmeline - search for Emm%
Evaline or Eveline - search for both
Frances - search for Francis also - often misspelled
Francis - search for Frances also - often misspelled
Frank or Franklin - search for each independently or Frank%
Fred - search for Fred% which wll include Frederick
Hanna or Hannah - search for Hanna%
Isabel and variations - search for Isab% to find all variations
Jack - search for Jack% to include Jackson
Jennie or Jenny - search for each independently
Jerry - search also Jerome
Jesse or Jessie - search for both separately, Jess% will result in a big list
Joann - search also Joanna and Johanna

Joe - search for Joe and Joseph independently
Jonathon - search for Jonathan as well
Judy - search also for Judith
Julia, Julie - search also for Juliana and Julianna
Kate - search for separately
Katie - search also Katharine, Katherine and Kathryn - Catharine, Catherine
Larry - search also for Lawrence
Lavina - search also for Lavinia
Louisa - check Louise also
Louise - check Louisa also
Lucy - check Lucinda also
Mabel - check Mable also
Mable - check Mabel also
Maggie - check Margaret also
Margaret - check Maggie also

Mary Ann - search for Mary Ann% to include Anna and Anne
Nathan or Nathaniel - search for Nathan% to include both
Pamela - check also Pamelia
Patsy or Patsey - search for Martha/Patsy, Martha/Patsey or Martha
Peggy - search for Margaret/P%
Polly - search for Mary/Polly or Mary or Mary Ann
Phebe or Phoebe - search for both independently
Rachel or Rachael - search for Rach% to include both
Ray or Raymond - search for Ray% to include both
Rebecca, Rebeccah, Rebekka - search for all variations or Reb%
Richard - check Dick also
Rueben - search for Reuben and Reubin
Sally, Sallie - check Sara and Sarah also
Sarah - check Sara, Sally and Sallie also
Susan - search for Susan% to include Susannah, also check Susie
Tom or Tommy - search for separately
Will - search also for William
William - search also for Bill and Will
Willie - search for Will and William also
Zack - search for Zachary and Zachariah also

Good Luck !

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