I've got a repeatable example of the problem. Of course, as soon as i declare it repeatable and post it, it really won't be repeatable. :)
1. Do a global, exact search for surname sha*, Lived in Morgan County, Tennessee, USA. There is a wild card error.
2. Do a global, exact search for surname sha*, no other parameters. The search works.
3. Use the "r" hotkey to refine the search, leave the sha* alone as the surname, add Lived in Morgan County, Tennessee, USA. There is a wild card error.
A screen shot is included.
Here's some additional information. I was transcribing an affidavit from Civil War pension application from 1890 in Morgan County. One of the witnesses was W. R. Sha????, and it's hard to tell from the signature exactly how many letters at the end of the name are unintelligible. The "Sha" part of the signature is very clear. I was just after a list of possible "Sha????" names from Morgan County to help me with the transcription of the witness's signature.
After much due diligence, I determined that the signature was from William R. Shannon who had signed his name W. R. Shannon, but the "nnon" at the end was pretty unintelligible. Also, I determined that the only "Sha*" surnames in Morgan County were Shannon and Shaver. Both shan* and shav* work fine as wild cards, even when the Living in Morgan County, Tennessee, USA option is included. It's only when you go down to three letters as in sha* along with the place name that the wild card error occurs. Of course, I didn't start out knowing that Shannon and Shaver were the only "Sha*" surnames in Morgan County. That was the whole point of searching for sha*.