Search Tips for the Obituary Database

Man assisting two women on computer

Doing a Basic Obituary Search

Click on the Obituaries tab; it will open at the Search page. From here, you may search in one or as many categories as you wish, depending on the information you have in hand.


Enter the full or partial search term or terms, from whatever information you have, in the appropriate field.

Example: Your information is John Johns, born 1927. You can enter all of the information in the appropriate fields, or just part of it, such as Johns in the Name field and 1927 in the Birth Date or Keyword field. You can also search each field separately.


When searching Birth or Death Dates, you can use month, day or year.

Example: If you have a death date of July 7, 1936, you can search July 7 1936, Jul 7, or 1936. You can also use a wildcard search (see below), such as Jul *7 193* if you are not sure of the exact date.


For general keyword searching, you may enter any additional term or terms that may be listed in the obituary, such as maiden name, children’s names, organizations of which the individual was a member (DAR, VFW, UDC, etc.) or, if they served during wartime, enter the war: WWI, WWII, Iraq, etc.

Example: You either have a partial name or no name, but you know the man had a wife named Margaret and that he served in the Korean War. If you enter the keywords Margaret Korea, you will get back the record for Adolph “Bob” Barcak, Jr., who had a wife named Margaret and who served in Korea. 

When you have entered the search term or terms, click on the red Search button.

To Make Your Search More Precise

You do have other options to increase the precision of your search. Remember that the more information you enter and the more precise your information is, the smaller your list of search results will be. When you have entered the search term or terms, click on the red Search button.

Wildcard search

You can search for items using a "wildcard" symbol or a truncation symbol. This is useful if you do not know the exact term for which you want to search; for example, you may not know the correct spelling of the search subject’s name. The wildcard symbol represents a group of unknown characters in addition to those in your search criteria, and you use the asterisk ( * ) for the wildcard.

Example: If you only have a partial name, such as the name Johns, you can search Johns, Johnson, or Johnston separately, or you can enter Johns* and search for all three, as well as any other names that start with Johns, all at the same time.

This will apply to other types of partial information as well, such as birth or death dates.

Double quotation marks search

You may use double quotation marks (“ “) to search for two or more words as a phrase, in the order in which they were entered.

Example: You can type in “Smith, Thomas” and you will retrieve all records in which those names appear in this order.

Question-mark search

The question mark (?) represents a single character anywhere in the word or number.

Example: If you are missing a letter in a name, such as the name S_mpson, you can enter S?mpson and you will receive records with the names Sampson and Simpson. For multiple missing letters, such as ????son you will retrieve the above names along with others like Jackson, Addison, Allison, Emerson and more. Remember that each question mark represents one character, so use the appropriate number of question marks.

Boolean search

You can also use Boolean search terms to refine your results. The Boolean operators AND, OR, NOT, and ( ) define the relationships between words or groups of words.

AND: Narrows the search and retrieves records containing all of the words entered.

Example: Jane AND Doe will return records containing both names, including Jane Doe Smith, Zack Doe married Suzi Jane Mann, Jane Williams Doe, etc.

OR: Broadens the search and retrieves records containing any of the words entered.

Example: Johnson OR Jensen will return records containing either name, including Sarah H. Jenson, Johnson Cemetery, etc.

NOT: Narrows the search and retrieves records that do NOT contain the term following it.

Example: Smith NOT Smyth will return James Smith, but not James Smyth, etc.

(): Beginning and ending parentheses will group words or phrases together.

Example: 1805 and (John Doe) will return records such as John Doe born 1805, John Doe Fisher married Jenny Smith in 1805, etc.

Alphabetical Browse Option

Enter a full or partial last name (Bowers or Bo) in order to browse an alphabetical list of names and to see various spellings of similar names.

Cemetery List Option

Fort Bend County cemeteries are listed in alphabetical order, along with the number of known or listed graves in each cemetery. Click on the name of the cemetery to see the names of individuals interred there. Please note that the list may not be complete.

If you have any problems or questions, please contact the Fort Bend County Genealogy and Local History Department at 281-341-2608 or email us

Good searching!