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Search Tips: Use Only Your Ancestor's First Name

Have you hit a brick wall in your family history research? Have you tried finding information about a particular ancestor, searching a variety of ways, yet still unable to find the records you're hoping to find?

Try this genealogy search tip: search for your ancestor using only his or her first name.

Search using only the FIRST name?

Yes—try it. If you're not finding your ancestor using a surname search, try searching by only using your ancestor's first name. This search technique is especially effective when the name of your ancestor is unusual or a less common name.

A first-name search can be made more effective by narrowing the results you get back. For example, limit the search to a specific newspaper or state. You may also limit the search by year or range of years.

This even works if you're searching for a Tom, Dick or Harry.

Try it to see if that genealogy search tip helps you find the information you need.