Washington NH Historical Society

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Tips for Searching this Site

Some tips about site searching and search terms:
  1. Don't give up if your first attempt doesn't return the information that you hoped to find. Using Captain Samuel Jones as an example –
    1. Entering Captain Samuel Jones will return records for any documents that contain the word Captain or the word Samuel or the word Jones. This will probably result in too many records being returned that have nothing at all to do with Captain Samuel Jones. A record will be returned if it contains the word Captain, but not the words Samuel and Jones. A record will be returned if it contains the word Samuel, but not the words Captain and Jones. A record will be returned if it contains the words Captain and Samuel, but not the word Jones. You get the picture. This broad manner of searching does help limit the possibility of missing something, but the tradeoff may be having to wade through a number of irrelevant records. This may not be of great concern on a small site like ours, where the number of possibly irrelevant records probably won't be too great. Just be aware of how this type of search works.
    2. Enclosing your search criteria in quotes is a way to ensure that only records that contain your exact sequence of words will be returned. For example, "Captain Samuel Jones" will only return records containing that exact sequence of those words. This may be too restrictive, as it doesn't account for the possible absence in a reference of a title like Captain, or the abbreviation of the words Captain (Capt, Capt., etc.) or Samuel (Sam, Saml, etc.), resulting in either no records being returned, or, some records being passed over.

      Here is an illustration from our site...

      There are 6 documents on the WHS site that contain one or more references to Captain Samuel Jones.

      A search using "Captain Samuel Jones" returns only two records, one each for the Spring 2014 and Spring 2017 newsletters. That's because the search terms are too specific – it is causing references that either do not contain the word Captain, or that contain the abbreviated word Capt. (or Capt) not to be returned. A search using "Samuel Jones" returns the same Spring 2014 and Spring 2017 newsletters as above that reference Captain Samuel Jones, plus 3 additional records...

      • A 1999 Calendar entry for a May 10 program that references Samuel Jones.
      • The Spring 2002 newsletter that contains two references for Samuel Jones and one for Samuel Jones Jr.
      • The Fall 2013 newsletter that contains three references to Capt. Samuel Jones, and one reference to Samuel Jones.

      Even with this broader search criteria, there is still one additional reference on our site that was not found – an entry for 'Jones Samuel (leg)' in the Volume 1 (A-K) index of Graves in Washington's Old Cemetery. The takeaway is to think carefully about the search criteria that you use. Does it contain titles, ranks, names, dates or other words that may be abbreviated, formatted differently or missing? Adjust your criteria accordingly, and seriously consider making multiple searches using creative variations of your criterion.

    3. Use page search functionality together with site search for a more powerful experience. When you open a record returned by the site search, you will be brought to the first page in the record. Your search criteria aren't highlighted, or even necessarily located on that first page (if you are opening a document with multiple pages). You can avoid having to search manually through an entire document for your target information by invoking standard web browser functionality that allows you to search for specific data on a webpage or within a document. Invoking page search functionality varies between a Windows pc and a Mac – but it both cases it will find and highlight your search criteria, tell you how many times your criteria occurs, and provide a way to jump directly from one occurrence to another.
      1. On a Windows PC, with your target webpage or document open in your browser, hold the Ctrl key down and press the letter F key.
      2. On a Mac, hold the Command key down and press letter F key.
      3. A search window opens somewhere on the page – typically either on the right or left at the top or bottom of the screen.
      4. Enter your search criteria in the page search window to identify all occurrences on the webpage or within a document.