Regrettably, our database does not have a consistent approach to name giving, especially with names before ~1500. The reason is that we use information from a multitude of sources in various languages. For example, you won't find "Jacoba van Beijeren" in our database, because she has been entered as "Jacqueline, Countess of Hinaut". We have "William of Orange Nassau" (in English) , but his father is listed as "Wilhelm von Nassau Dillenburg" (in German). Maybe we'll modify and streamline it more in the future, but since there are some 10,000 names in our database we have to live with it for now. Therefore, you should try different names alternatives in your searches.
The obvious place to start is the "Site Search" button. However, if the name in our database is spelled only slightly differently, then the search engine won't identify it. A better approach then might be to "Browse Last Names" and then dig deeper into the resulting possibilities.
We have set our search system to not put prefixes before a last name (surname). It is arranged like Dutch and German telephone books. If you are looking for a van den Berg then you must look under the B in the "Browse Last Names" section.
Also, under "Search Notes" is a wealth of information on related persons in deeds or documents, who might not have been entered in our cataloged names database. To further find the name you are looking for in the resulting pages from "Search Notes", use your browser's "Find" option to locate the specific name in the page(s).
The "Find Places" button only lists places of cities, where: birth, marriage or death was recorded.
If you want to browse the names of the cities on a map, you can use the "Heat Map" button there. Zoom deeper into an area, which you are interested in to explore the results.
Another good option to find places is to use the "Search Notes" button for more information.
The 1200-1600 Documents and the 1600-present Documents are another good source of information on many relevant topics. Our file of Charters describing deeds of the v. Ossenbruch ancestors from 1200 to 1700, mostly copied from the Landesarchiv NRW Abteilung Westfalen, is 85 pages long. Use your browser's "Find" option to search for specific words.