Search Tips

Search Tips

There are up to six databases, found on the left side of the search screen, which you can use to search for biographies:

1. Marquis Biographies Online - This is the default database that is active upon logging-into the web site, which includes over 1.5 million biographies of men and women in all fields of endeavor.

2. Who's Who in American History - This database consists of the most noteworthy and important people from our past - from Benjamin Franklin to Ronald Reagan. Also, because of the historical nature of these biographies, a custom Professional/Career search feature is available, that includes such occupations as "Colonists", "Craftsmen", and "Explorers & Adventurers". This database segment includes over 170,000 biographies, primarily Americans with world notables.

3. Who's Who in American Art - This database consists of the most noteworthy men and women in today's visual art world - including artists, critics, curators, administrators, librarians, historians, collectors, conservators, educators, and dealers. Search by name, profession, gender, birth information and keyword. By selecting the appropriate option, you have the choice to search only living or deceased biographies, or both by not checking either.

4. Who's Who in American Politics - This database features the most relevant and noteworthy figures in American politics today. Unique searches can be performed on the politics search screen, such as by "State" or "Affiliation". Also, a custom Profession/Career search field is available, that includes such political positions as governors, lieutenant governors, state attorney generals, ambassadors and US Court of Appeals judges. This database includes over 27,000 biographies of the many personalities that make up the current American political scene.

back to top
No Results Returned - If your search returned no results, change your strategy.

For example:

1. If your search is too specific, try changing some of the text selections to more broad terms.

2. If your search is too general, try adding specific criteria, such as City or State.

3. If you are unsure of an individual's first name, allow the default wildcard search to help you. For instance, searching for someone whose name might be Joe Smith, Joseph Smith or Joey Smith could be searched by entering: Last name = Smith First name = Jo
Be Specific - As you know, there are many similar attributes among biographies. Last names, first names, cities, states, etc. can be a match for more than one person. Whenever possible, include additional details to refine the scope of your search. For example, if you're looking for biographies of people living in Newark, NJ enter both Newark (in the City field) and NJ (in the state field). Otherwise you might get biographies living in Newark, DE.
Check Spelling - Remember if you type in Broklyn instead of Brooklyn, your search won't find any matches. Please verify the spelling of an entry if the search is not returning accurate results.
back to top
Wildcard Characters - Wildcards allow you to find a word or phrase using an asterisk (*) to represent any other character that may appear in the same place. They can be used to replace one or many alphabetic characters in the search. The asterisk (*), stands for any character or characters. For examples of Wildcard searches, please see below:

Search Criteria Result

Biog Last Name = 'Ni*' All names beginning with Ni like Nilsson, Nielson, Nicholson, etc
Biog Last Name = 'Dav*d' All last names starting with Dav and ending with d like David and Davis-Floyd

Boolean Searches in Keyword Fields -Boolean Searches indicate how search terms should be combined. This search engine uses AND, OR and Parenthesis () as valid Boolean search words that can only be used in Keyword Fields.

And - Will search for both terms. By adding AND between two words, your search results will include only records that contain both of these terms. For instance, searching for "Harvard and Yale" in the Keyword field will find people who have Harvard and Yale anywhere in their biography.

Or - Will search for either term. By adding OR between two words, your search results will include any records that contain either of these terms. For instance, if you search for "Harvard or Yale", in the keyword field, you will find all biographies that include either Harvard or Yale anywhere in their biography.

Capitalization - The search engine is NOT case sensitive. For example, the following City searches will return the same results:
New York
new york
NeW YoRk
back to top

First Name - There are some biographies that use nicknames as their primary name (e.g. Billy Bob Thornton) while others use the more formal name (e.g. William Jefferson Clinton). If you are not finding who you are looking for, try a more formal name like William instead of Billy, or a less formal name like Bob instead of Robert.

City - There are instances where cities with the same name will be located in multiple states. To refine your search, we suggest you search by city and state for the most accurate results.

Country - One or more choices can be selected from the Drop Down. Please note that while all the addresses of the biography are searched, only one address is displayed on the search results. Therefore, some of the people that show up may not look like they match your criteria but when you display the biography, you will see your selections in the address section.

Zip Code(s)/Postal Code(s) - You can search for a 5-digit zip code or foreign postal code.

Gender - Note that in some rare occasions, gender information is unavailable.

Birth Place - This field allows you to enter a city, state, country, etc. There are instances where cities with the same name will be located in multiple states. To refine your search, we suggest you search by city and state for the most accurate results.

Degrees - The "Search by Keyword" feature uses Boolean logic to find degree types. For more information, please see the Boolean description mentioned above. The degree types chosen by this field will combine with the College/University field. Thus if you choose "Harvard" from the College/University field and "BS" from the degree field you will find only biographies who got their BS from Harvard.

Political Affiliation - The Political Affiliation field features a Drop Down Box containing specific affiliations. If you cannot find the affiliation you are searching for on the list, please utilize the general keyword search.

Religion - The Religion field features a Drop Down Box containing specific religions. If you cannot find the religion you are searching for on the list, please utilize the general keyword search.

Note on Abbreviations and Synonyms - As many biographies use synonyms (such as attorney/lawyer) or abbreviations (such as rschr for researcher) please remember two options are available to assist you in your search. These include Boolean (example, Chief and Fin*) and Wildcards (example, photog* for photography). For further explanation, please see the examples below:

In addition to refining your search using the fields described above, you may expand a search with information located elsewhere in the biography, yet not evident as a field. For instance, zip codes, email addresses, home and office addresses, achievements, awards, career related activities, certifications, civic responsibilities, creative works, military service, and memberships are all possible search criteria. For examples on how to increase your search utilizing these examples, please see below:

Profession/Career - This section contains all data related to the individual's career, including organization, and position titles. For example, searchable criteria would include CEO, director editorial services, etc.

City, State/Province, Zip Code, Country - A search can be performed by entering an accurate zip code, email, home or office address in the Keyword field.

back to top
To find Delaware residents who have patents and work for Dupont:

Field Entry

Search by Keyword patent* and dupont
State/Province of Mailing Address Delaware

a. By using the Wildcard after patent, patents and patentee and other endings will be captured

Find people with MBAs who live in Arizona:

Field Entry

Degree Drop Down MBA
State/Province of Mailing address Arizona

Find people who have received Fulbright grants or scholarships:

Field Entry

Search by Keyword fulbright and (scholar or grant)
Occupation Keyword Government

Find people from Billings Montana:

Field Entry

City Billings
State/Province of Mailing Address Montana

back to top
Use the Clear button to initiate a new search.