Queensland Family History Society Inc


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Hints on Searching - About QFHSdatasearch

QFHSdatasearch, the software that powers our indexes, is a sophisticated tool. You can use it to control how to sort and search for and combine sets of data.


You can carry out a search using the Keyword Search or by filling out one or more search fields – or a combination of both. Please note that searches are not case sensitive, so Smith, smith, and SMITH will give the same result.

The Keyword Search (above the line) will search across all the fields in the database to locate records which include all the keywords you enter. You may have one or more keywords – they must be separated by a space if you enter more than one. You cannot use wildcards in Keyword searches.

The Field Search (below the line) allows you to enter data in the various search fields. Initially the fewer fields you fill out the better. If you try to complete all fields, your search may not be successful. Note that each search field can be modified by selecting one of the options under Match:  Whole Field, Start of Field, Anywhere in Field.

Use of Wildcards

You can include wildcards in your Field searches but not in Keyword searches.

Wildcard Symbol

Used in place of


* (asterisk)

one or more characters (or no characters)

S*th (in the Surname field) gives results including Smith, Samworth, Schneekloth.

? (question mark) 

used in place of a single character

Sm?th (in the Surname field) gives results  including Smith, Smyth.

Wildcards can be used in combination and at the start or end of your search term. They can be used in any field and in multiple fields simultaneously.

Example: Sm*th* (in the Surname field) and J??n in the Given Names field gives results including John Smith, John Smurthwaite, Jean Smyth.


Diacritic is the term given to foreign characters and diphthongs such as Æ, ð, ñ, ß and Ü.  These correspond to the English alphabet character. Hence a search for MULLER would also yield any entries for MÜLLER. Note that terms containing diacritics will sort to the end of your results. 


Your results are sorted initially by two columns, preset to Surname and Given Names. Your results can be then be sorted by other columns by changing the Sort By/2nd Sort settings or by clicking on a column header.

To reverse the sort order, click on the column header a second time.

To further sort by another column, hold the <SHIFT> key when you click on its column header. You could for example sort ascending by Surname and descending by Given Names.

Extra Information

In some fields, extra information may be available. This can occur when 

  • the information in the field is too long to be displayed
  • it is the link to the transcript or publication that is the source of the data and held in the QFHS Family History Research Centre*
  • there is data in a hidden field.

As you hover over certain fields and are notified that extra information is available, click on the 'tool tip' to show the additional information.

*Please note: You will need to visit the QFHS Family History Research Centre to consult the publication or transcript. If you cannot visit the Family History Research Centre, the QFHS Research Service may be able to assist.

More Help

For more help, visit QFHS on YouTube