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What is Megadex™?

Megadex™ helps you find richer information about your ancestors that may have eluded you in the past.

If you are familiar with genealogy research you probably already know that spelling variations present one of the top challenges. Suppose you're researching your Williamson family heritage. In order to find information about your ancestors, you may also need to search for Williemson, Williamsen and Williamsohn, to mention but a few. Why? Because most last names evolve over the centuries; they were written differently in different countries and cultures, over different periods. Also, who knows what kind of errors crept in when information about your ancestors was handwritten, transcribed, transliterated and typed in? As Murphy said, if something can go wrong, it will - and this certainly applies to the spelling of names!

There are existing solutions like Soundex that run your query and return everything that "sounds like" what you're looking for. But not all genealogy databases support Soundex, and even those that do, are guaranteed to return masses of false positives -- irrelevant results that waste your time. And while wasting your time, they surely miss critical matches like Villiamson or Wilhelmson that are perfect synonyms of your name but current technologies are incapable of associating them correctly with your search.

Sounds tough? Don't despair! Megadex™ was invented by to overcome the challenges posed by spelling variations. Megadex™ first comes to your aid by pointing out the most commonly used spelling variations of the last name you are researching. Then it allows you to search for a subset of these variations in a single, powerful Research query. Your Megadex™ search will cover all major genealogy databases on the Web (even those that don't support any 'sounds like' features). It will not return the typical Soundex false positives, and it will not miss out so many good matches like Soundex. And the good news get better because you can do it all at once! That's right, you can search all the world's top genealogy resources at once for the top spelling variations of the name you are researching, in a single click of a button!

How do I use it?

To run a Megadex™ search, start by going to the New Search page in Research. Type in the name of an ancestor, even just a last name, choose "Megadex™" from the Spelling pull-down options, and click "Search" to begin the search.

As a preliminary step, Megadex™ will present you with a list of the best possible spelling variants of the last name you entered. At the top of this list will be the last name as you typed it, already checked to be included in the search. Together with this name, many spelling variants will be suggested. A score will be listed for each variant, indicating its proximity to the last name you entered. Names that scored less than 95% will not be listed as they are deemed irrelevant to your search. At this point you may want to print out the spelling suggestions as they could be very useful for any future genealogy research on that name.

From the list of spelling variants, you need to select up to 5 names that best fit your research. You can select any name individually, or automatically select the most relevant ones by clicking "Select the 5 best matching variants". Then click "Start this search". Research will then query all applicable genealogy databases for each of the spelling variants you selected. Since this query is very powerful, it may take a few minutes for it to conclude, but note that you can start accessing results the moment they appear without waiting for the entire search to complete. If you also entered a first name, or other search criteria, Research will include them in your Megadex™ query.

Megadex™ results Research displays the results of your search in one long table. Each row in the table shows one database in which matches were found, the Megadex™ spelling variant for which the matches were found, and the number of matches. You can then decide which matches you want to view by clicking the 'View' action. Genealogy databases that did not return any matches will not be displayed.

We recommend clicking 'Save Search' to save your search results, if you intend to review the results in detail. This will allow you to revisit these results at any time by clicking 'My searches' in the menu without having to run the search again, saving you time. You will also be able to annotate your search results with research notes, and schedule your search to recur automatically, and get notified about new results. This is extremely useful because new genealogy databases are added to Research frequently.