- Don’t Depend on Soundex: It picks up alternate spellings but it is better to try variant spellings. Some databases use phonetics, which is extremely valuable for certain languages.
- Search Surname Variants: This will pick up incorrect transcriptions. FamilyTreeDNA has lists of alternate surnames.
- Use Nicknames and Initials, also Hebrew names and names they may have used in the old country.
- Consider Alternate Surnames: Some immigrants had double surnames when entering the country but Americanized to one name or altered the spelling.
- Try putting the last name in the first name field or vice versa. Or try using a first initial of the first name instead of the whole name.
- Use Wildcard Search: Often an advanced search will allow a wildcard search that will pick up variant surnames (Smith, Smithe)
- Combine Search Fields : If allowed, try searching using other information, like siblings, or the name of a parent.
- Eliminate Search Criteria One Field at a Time: This will help in databases where different info is asked in different places.
- Search for Family Members: Try searching for siblings, cousins and other relatives, often your relative is nearby.
- Search by Database: Sites like sephardicgen.com offer a global database so you know which databases to search on the site.