Thanks for the reply. I also prefer searching for surname only in most cases, for the reason you gave in what you said about census records -- you don't know whether the first name is spelled out or initials are used or the name is misspelled or whatever. But my complaint is that there seems to be no way to narrow the search when using genealogy.com. I want to be able to search for all Stanleys in Mississippi, for example, not all Stanleys in the whole country. Putting Mississippi in either the birth or death box in the so-called "advanced search" doesn't help. Maybe putting a specific date in one of those boxes would help, but I might not know the specific date. (And I have no reason to believe that it would narrow the search anyway, given that adding a middle name when doing a search for a specific name doesn't seem to make any difference -- doesn't narrow the search. Iow, some of those boxes on the genealogy.com search screen seem to be there for decoration, not to serve any purpose. Why have the box there for middle name if filling it in doesn't make any difference? Why have the box for place of death if filling it in doesn't make any difference?)
If I search for Stanley in Mississippi on ancestry.com, I get a nice, neat list of types of records that name was found in and can click on a type of record that I might be interested in. E.g., I can click on "marriage records" and then look at a nice, neat list of sources for marriages in Mississippi, click on one of those sources and see a nice, neat list of Stanley marriages in Mississippi, and click on ones that look relevant to my research. That kind of orderly searching appears to be impossible on genealogy.com.
-- Natalie Maynor
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