Clicking on the Webtrees Search icon in the main menu displays a drop-down menu with links to a general, phonetic, and advanced search, or a link to a search and replace facility. It is likely the search and replace facility will only be visible to managers or administrators.
General Webtrees Search
Clicking the General Search link displays a single search box in which you can type anything at all, a name, a place, a church; anything. If you were foolish enough to search for the main family tree surname, the search result may display every page of your family tree, so you need to be selective and you need some way of filtering the results.
The results can be filtered with the options immediately below the search box, which allow you to filter the results to individual records, family records, sources, repositories or shared notes. If you want to try this out on a real website you can do so by following this link and clicking on the search icon at the top of the page.
The Phonetic Search box allows you to search phonetically for any first name, last name, or place name.
An example of how this is useful. There is a person named ‘Octavious‘ on my family tree, but on some records, his first name was spelt incorrectly as ‘Octavius‘ (without the second ‘o’). Using the phonetic search for either of these first names displays a list which includes both spellings.
Advanced Webtrees Search
The advanced webtrees search has all the options you could possibly need to find someone elusive. The first option allows you to search for a first name, either exactly as you type it, or beginning with the letters you type, or containing the letters you type, or sounding like the letters you type.
There are similar options if you search for a last name (exact, starts with, contains, sounds like).
The date of birth option includes an exact date, or within two, five or ten years of the date given.
There are similar options for many of the search boxes, and as well as searching for the first name, last name, or date of birth, there are boxes allowing you to search for a place of birth, date or place of marriage, date or place of death, and the first names or surnames of the person’s mother or father.
If all the above is not enough, there is an ‘Add more fields‘ box with a drop-down list of over fifty other options.
Search and Replace
The search and replace option may not be visible to you, as it’s use will almost certainly be restricted to editors, managers, or administrators. It comprises two boxes. The word or phrase you want to search for, and replace, is placed in the top box, and the word or phrase you want to replace it with is placed in the second box.
For example: If you have incorrectly given someone the last name of ‘Smith’ and you then discover the correct spelling is ‘Smythe’, you can change one to the other.
WARNING: The search and replace changes are done without any further warning. When using the search and replace facility in a word processor, each word is usually highlighted and you are given the option of changing every word, or only changing some of them. This is NOT the way the search and replace option works in Webtrees. There is no chance to review changes before they take place, and clicking the ‘Replace’ button immediately makes all the changes.