Either a "word(s)" search or a "character string" search can be run on the database using the dropdown selector. A word search will return records that contain any of the words entered in the search field. For example, if you search for John Barnett, the results will list all the records that contain either John or Barnett or both words. It will only return results that contain the complete word. For instance, if you did a word search on Barne, it would not return records containing Barnett. You can use a + and - modifier if you want to filter your word search. For example, if you searched for +John -Barnett, the the search would retrieve all the records that contain the word John but that do not contain the word Barnett. Remember the word search does not consider the words Barnett to be the same as Barnette so you will get records that contain the word Barnette. In addition, you can use quotation marks to search for an exact series of words. For example, searching for "John Barnett" will return only records where those two words are exactly adjacent. As you can surmise, using quotation marks will not return records containing Barnett, John.
CHARACTER STRING SEARCH:
Now, if you want to get all records containing a specific string of characters, then you should use the character string search. For example, if you search for Barne, the character string search will return all records that contain that string such as the names Barney, Barnes, Barnett, Barnette, etc. The string can also be contained within words. As an example, a character string search for shingt will retrieve records containing words such as Washington. Also, spaces are valid characters in a character string search. For instance, a character string search for John Barnett will return only records where those two words are exactly adjacent. It is equivalent to a word search using quotation marks (e.g., "John Barnett") except, unlike the word search, the character string search will also return records containing John Barnette.
Search terms must be at least 4 characters long and the maximum number of search results is capped at 4,000 returns. If your search hits this limit you need to refine your search terms to reduce the number of returns. To get the most comprehensive results, it is recommended that you use a word search and then a character string search on each of your queries.