Search Help & Tips

Global Name Search

The Global Name Search lets you look for family and given names in all of the Census, Directory and Tax Assessment data available on this site. You do not need to know in which set of data the person is recorded. In addition, you can use "fuzzy" searching to look for names that you are not sure how to spell.

For normal (not fuzzy) searches you can also use syntax tools called "wildcards" and "query operators" to carry out more complicated and/or nuanced searches. For more information about these tools, please read the notes under Search Syntax on the Search Tips page.

The Global Name Search uses many of the features available on all of the searches on the viHistory site. Help is available on using these common search features.

How to Use the Global Name Search

Enter a family name and/or given name, using wild cards and search operators if necessary. If you want to find an exact match for the name, select the "Normal search" option in the Options box. If you are not sure how to spell the name, select one of the fuzzy search methods instead. You cannot use wild cards or search operators in a fuzzy search, so just enter the name. The results will include names that sound approximately like the name you entered. For example, if you search for "Smith" the results will include not only "Smith", but also "Smithe", "Smyth", "Schmidt" and other variations, some of which may seem a bit odd. Click the Search button to perform the search and display any results.

The Search Results List

Any results from your search are displayed in the form of a table. The person's name (family and given) is shown, along with an indicator of the type of record (Census, Directory or Tax) the name was found in. If the name was found in multiple records, a row will be shown for each record. The Year column shows the year the data was collected.

The data in the table columns can be sorted by clicking one of the arrows in the Sort ascending symbol found in each column title. The column that the data is currently sorted on will have one of the arrows in red.

The person's name is a link. Clicking it will perform an automatic search for that person, using the search method that is appropriate for the record the data came from. From the results of that search, you can get more information on the person or on the property the person owned.