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County maintainers are encouraged to read these user notes too! After all, even they will at some point be using this search facility for the first time. There is a separate page of notes containing information that only county maintainers are likely to be interested in.

Notes for Users

This page of notes is, in reality, a duplicate of the live search page with additional commentary to try to explain the options more clearly for first-time users. Additional Search buttons have been added to make it easier to just set an option and press Search. If you don't like the results you get from your search, use the back feature on your browser to return to this page and try something different.

This form lets you you search the contents of all the GENUKI pages and more(*). So rather than just looking in the places where you expect to find the information, you can cast your net more widely.
(*) The search database includes the PRO, SoG, FFHS and GoONS web sites. It also includes all the Family History Society and County Surname Interest List sites linked from GENUKI.

Search for words:

For very simple use, put a single word in this box and then press the Search button. This will cause the database to be searched for all occurrences of that word.

That will probably generate far too many results - too many to want to bother looking through them all! Realistically, boredom sets in after looking through maybe 30 or 40 of the results. It is worth thinking very carefully about the word(s) you search for to try to give you a manageable number of results.

Note that the letter case of the words you are searching for does not matter. Note too that small words of just one or two characters will be ignored, as will numbers.

The current version of the software we are using does not allow phrase searches so you cannot find references to Joe Bloggs by putting the quoted string "joe bloggs" into the Search for words box. That will be treated just as it would without the quotation marks, as two words to be searched for.


Search method:

So, you have put two words into the search box, now you need to decide how they are to be acted upon in combination.

The default action is to search for all of the words and return references only to documents which contain both words. Alternatively you can search for any of the words and get returned documents that contain either word, as well as documents containing both.

Of course, you don't have to stop at just two words!

The third option allows you to construct a simple Boolean expression for the word search. The words 'and', 'or' and 'not' will be treated as Boolean operators rather than search words.

The default option simply behaves as if the 'and' operator had been inserted between words and the second option behaves as if the 'or' operator had been inserted.

'Not' actually behaves as a Boolean 'and not' so that to find documents containing the word 'science' but not containing the word 'maths' you would put 'science not maths' into the Search for words box. Do not type 'and not' into a Boolean expression, it will generate a syntax error report!

Parentheses ( and ) may be used to clarify Boolean expressions. For example 'science not maths or physics' would probably not give the results being sought. It is treated as '(science not maths) or physics' rather than the more probable 'science not (maths or physics)' which would deliver documents containing the word 'science' as long as they contained neither 'maths' nor 'physics'.

Some search engines also allow a 'near' operator in their expressions. This seach facility does not support 'near', neither does it support operators '+' and '-'.


Search results:

The third selection box on the search form allows you to choose between the default short-form results page which just shows the title of each document or the longer form which shows an extract from the document around one of the search words.

Note that the document extract may not be available if the search word was found towards the end of a very large document.

The results page will also give each document a star rating (from one to 5 stars but the rating system is beyond the scope of this introductory guide) and at the foot of the page links are provided to allow you to step through the first 10 pages of search results. You cannot get beyond the tenth pages of results, instead increas the number of results on each page (see below).


No results/page:  Sorted by 

These final two boxes allow you to select how many search results are displayed on each page and the order in which they are displayed. They need little explanation! Remember, however, that asking for a large number of results may delay the response from the search engine and will result in a large results page to download to your browser.


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