Get More From A Website’s ‘Fuzzy’ Logic
To help you with your search, most of the main subscription websites have developed algorithms that aim to cast the net wider. This approach is called ‘fuzzy logic’, and means that the search engine will not reject a ‘Harry Thomson’ just because you were looking for ‘Harold Thompson’. If you’ve had no luck with known different spellings, try adjusting the options offered by the site. For example, thegenealogist.co.uk lets you pick ‘Phonetic’, ‘Standard’ or ‘Exact’, as well as ‘Include Nicknames’ for first names, while findmypast.co.uk just has a box you can tick to include ‘Name variants’, and ancestry.co.uk lets you choose ‘Exact’ or add ‘Sounds like’, ‘Similar’ or ‘Soundex’. Try ticking some or all of the boxes and see what the search engine throws up.