The search function at WeRelate is quite powerful. You can use most of the functionality by filling in the fields on the search form, but read below for some advanced search tips that can come in handy in certain situations.

Pages are indexed within an hour or two of being edited. Your edits that have not been indexed yet show up on the left side of the screen under Recent Edits.


How to search

There are three places where you can search:

  • Search box at the top of every page: If you enter an exact title (case-sensitive) here you'll be taken directly to that page; otherwise it's the same as keyword search below. Note: If you want to go to an article, you need to enter "Article:" and the title of the article.
  • WeRelate search: Click on Search in the upper left menu bar and select your namespace from the drop down.

Names, dates, places, and watchlists

  • Names Enter the names to search.
  • Dates Enter a specific date (e.g., "22 July 1908"), a month (e.g., "July 1908"), or just a year (e.g., "1908"). If you enter a year, you can also specify a year range (e.g., plus or minus two years).
  • Places Enter a specific town (e.g., "Fort Wayne, Indiana", a county/district (e.g., ("Allen, Indiana"), or just a state (e.g., "Indiana" or country. Note that entering just a town or county name all by itself isn't very useful - you need to include the state or country that it's in as shown by the examples. Also, be sure to separate place levels by commas (note the comma between Wayne and Indiana).
  • Watchlists If you want to search only pages on your watchlist, check the Watched checkbox. I you want to search only pages not on your watchlist, check the Unwatched checkbox.

Tip: If you want to see what pages others have contributed for the surnames you are interested in, enter the surname and check the Unwatched checkbox.

Search fields

Below is a complete list of all the fields you can search at WeRelate. You can search most of these fields by filling out the appropriate blanks in the search form.

Tip: You can search on any of the fields below by entering the field into the "Keywords" blank on the search form. Enter the field name (case-sensitive), followed by a colon, followed by the search value. For example, to search for pages with the word Wiki in the title, you would enter Title:Wiki in the Keywords field on the search form.

All/Most pages

The following fields work for any page:

  • Title: the page title
  • Namespace: the type of page (e.g., Image, Person, Family). Note that talk pages are listed under their corresponding primary namespace; e.g., a page entitled "Person talk:John Roberts (11)" would be searched under the "Person" namespace. Also, articles are listed under an "Article" namespace.
  • User: the users who are watching the page. Note that this user name is case-sensitive. If the user name has a space in it, you must surround it with quotations. For example, if I wanted to search pages that user "Jane Doe" was watching, I would enter User:"Jane Doe".
  • Tree: the trees that a page is in. It consists of the user name, followed by a forward-slash(/), followed by the name of the tree. This field is case-sensitive as well, and you must surround it with quotations if the user name or tree name contains spaces. For example, if I wanted to search pages in a tree named "My Tree" belonging to user "Jane Doe", I would enter Tree:"Jane Doe/My Tree".
  • Category: the categories that a page belongs to.
  • Keywords: this field searches the title and text of the page, but does not search the "metadata". That is, it searches the text that you enter into the big "text" field of the wiki pages, but not the other (name, date, place) fields.

The following fields work for most pages:

  • Givenname: searches the primary and alternate given names on Person pages, the husband and wife given names on Family pages, the given names of people and families listed on Image pages, and titles of Givenname pages.
  • Surname: searches the primary and alternate surnames on Person pages, the husband and wife surnames on Family pages, the surnames of people and families listed on Image pages, surnames listed in the "Surnames" field of Articles, User, Source, MySource, and Image pages, and titles of Surname pages.
  • Place: searches all event places on Person and Family pages, places listed in the "Place" field of Articles, User, Source, MySource, Image, and Repository pages, and titles of Place pages.

Person pages

  • PersonSurname:
  • PersonGivenname:
  • PersonBirthDate:
  • PersonBirthPlace:
  • PersonDeathDate:
  • PersonDeathPlace:
  • FatherGivenname:
  • FatherSurname:
  • MotherGivenname:
  • MotherSurname:
  • SpouseGivenname:
  • SpouseSurname:

Family pages

  • HusbandGivenname:
  • HusbandSurname:
  • WifeGivenname:
  • WifeSurname:
  • MarriageDate:
  • MarriagePlace:

Source pages

  • Title: the title of a Source page is not the page title; it's the source title and subtitle fields.
  • Author: author of the source
  • SourceSubject: subject of the source (case-sensitive)

Place pages

  • PlaceName: the name of the place itself; e.g., Fort Wayne. Searches the primary name (the name in the title) and the alternate names listed on the Place page.
  • LocatedInPlace: the name of the place that this place is located in; e.g., Allen, Indiana. Searches the primary located-in place (appearing as part of the title) and the also-located-in places listed on the Place page.

Tip: When you do a "best match" search (the default -- see below) on places, the name that you enter for PlaceName is expanded to search for similarly-spelled place names. Suppose you can't find a town in Germany because you're not sure exactly how it's spelled. Enter your best guess of how it's spelled into the PlaceName field, enter Germany into the LocatedInPlace field, and see what comes up in the search results.

Search modifiers

Required or prohibited

When you enter a search field in the Keywords blank on the search form, you can precede the search field with a plus(+) to say that all results must have this field, or a minus(-) to say that search results must not have this field. For example, +User:"Jane Doe" says that all search results must be watched by Jane Doe; -User:"Jane Doe" says that search results must not be watched by Jane Doe.


To search for an exact phrase, surround the phrase with quotations. Note that phrases don't apply to name, date, or place fields. Surrounding multiple names by quotations in a name field results in both names being searched for, but not in that particular order.


You can add an asterix(*) to the end of a word to search for all words that start with what you've entered. Note that the word must have at least three letters in it. For example, to search for anyone named Anderson, Andersson, or Andersen, you could enter Anders* in the Surname field. Note that wildcards don't apply to dates (use a date range instead) or places (search a higher-level place instead).

Year ranges

To search for a year range, enter [year TO year]. Note that the word TO must be capitalized. The year range must not be more than 10 years. For example, PersonBirthDate:[1880 TO 1890].

Search modes


Check the Exact matches only checkbox to require that all search criteria appear in the search results returned.

Best Match

If Exact matches only isn't checked, then results are ranked by how well they match the search criteria. Each of the search criteria matched is worth (approximately) one point. In addition, search criteria can be "partially matched" (see below). Partially-matched search criteria are worth less than a point. Search results are ranked by the total number of points, and the number of points is represented by the number of lit stars.

Partial matches

  • Names Given names and surnames can be partially-matched by names that appear in the "Related names" section on the Givenname or Surname page, or by rare names with the same soundex code.
  • Places Places can be partially-matched by places that match at less-specific levels. For example, if you search on "Fort Wayne, Allen, Indiana", events listed in "Allen, Indiana" or just "Indiana" will partially-match.
  • Dates Dates can be partially-matched by dates that match just the month or year. For example, if you search on "22 July 1908", events listed as "July 1908" or "1908" will partially-match.

Sorting search results

If you check Exact matches only, you can sort search results by title or by date last modified.

Tip: Sorting search results by date last modified is a great way to find pages that have been added or changed since the last time you performed the search, since recently-edited pages will sort to the top. It's also a great way to find pages you've edited recently by checking the Watched checkbox.