Advanced Search

There are two different search engines available on this site.  One is a full text search that searches all available text including names, personal details, place names and miscellaneous notes with one search action.  This is a very useful search method, but can sometimes return too many results.

The second search engine allows for a more focused search, and requires that people, places, notes and so on, be searched individually.

Each of the engines employs different search methods which are described in the "search Tips" section below.

Search Tips for Full Text Search

By default the search engine tries to locate pages which have exact matches for all of the words entered in your search query. If that fails, it then tries to locate pages which contain any words in your search query. If that happens a short message is displayed at the top of the search results indicating this has been done.

In addition, there are several ways to modify the default search behavior.

  1. Phrase Search
    The search engine supports three types of phrase search.
    • To match an exact phrase, use quotes around the phrase
      Example: "free search engine"
    • To match a near (within a couple of words) phrase, use square brackets [around the words]
      Example: [free search engine]
    • To match a far (within several words) phrase, use braces { around the words }
      Example: {free search engine}
  2. + and - Qualifiers
    If you prepend a word with + that word is required to be on the page.
    If you prepend a word with - that word is required to not be on the page.
    Example: +always -never
  3. * Wildcard
    If a query word ends with a * all words on a page which start the same way as that query word will match.
    Example: gift*
  4. ? Wildcard
    If a query word contains a ? any character will match that position.
    Example: b?g
  5. Boolean Search
    You can use the following boolean operators in your search: AND, OR, NOT. These operators MUST be in capital letters.
    Example: (contact AND us) OR (about AND us)

All of these techniques can be combined: +alway* -ne??r*

Search Tips for Focused Search

  1. No wildcards are allowed.

  2. Search on the stem of a word: the stem "Mal" returns Mallett, Malet, Mallott, etc.

  3. "Advanced Search" allows many filters to narrow down a search for a particular person.

  4. Not everyone in the database has a birth date assigned. Often, all that is known is their christening date. When using date filters for a known or approximate date of birth in Advanced Search, try both a christening date and a birth date as separate searches.