GOOD NEWS!!! -- You can now search on Ancestry.com without having to put in three characters for the name. Up until now, if you entered a partial first name or a partial last name, you had to enter at least three characters plus a wildcard character.
Steve Morse has written some new code that gets around this limitation by searching on all combinations of the letters that you left out.
For example, suppose you want to search for all people with first initial J and last name Smith. Steve's software will automatically search for all Smiths with first names starting with Jaa, then Jab, then Jac, etc. up to Jzz.
It might take as much as 5 minutes to get all the results, but it's automatic -- you submit one search and Steve does 676 searches for you. If you search for all Smiths with first name starting with Ja, Steve can do that faster (less than ten seconds) because he only has to do 26 searches in that case.
To use this feature, go to Steve's website at http://stevemorse.organd select any of his search forms that search on Ancestry.com (e.g., any of his passenger search forms other than Ellis Island, and his census search-by-name form for any census year).
Then enter less than three characters for either the first or last name, and Steve's new software will kick in, doing repeated searches on your behalf.