Sharon Tate Moody has published an article in the Tampa Bay Online web site that should be required reading for all beginning genealogists. She writes:
Genealogy is all about names. We find most records through surnames, and then narrow the search with given names. But too many of us search only for the perfect match. Close counts not only in horseshoes but also in heritage hunting.
You can read the entire article at: http://www2.tbo.com/content/2009/jan/04/tr-close-spellings-count-toward-matches.