Tips for Searching Valley Databases

Tips for Searching with the Wildcard Characters (* and ?)

There are two available wildcard characters: the question mark, '?', can be used to match on a single character, and the asterisk, '*', can be used to match on one or more characters., Either can be used in searches where you are unsure of the correct spelling of a name, occupation, or location, but they cannot be at the front of a search term. These wildcards are available for use in all text fields.

Example of using the wildcard at the end of a word: If you were unsure whether a last name was spelled 'Waddell' or 'Waddel' you could enter the search

into the Last Name field, and entries for both names would be returned.

Example of using the one-or-more wildcard in the middle of a word: If you were unsure whether a woman's first name was Biddy or Betsy, you could enter

into the search box for First Name. This search would return records for anyone with the first name 'Biddy' or 'Betsy' as well as 'Betty', 'Barney', or 'Bobby'.

Using the wildcard in the middle of a word can also help if you are unsure whether a given letter in a name is single or double. For example, the search

would return entries containing both 'Reily' and 'Reilly'. This type of search can also help if you are unsure of a vowel in a word. For example, the search jens%n would return records containing the names Jensan, Jensen, and Jenson.

Tips for Searching Numeric Fields

When searching numeric fields, 4 options are available. You can search using >, =, <, and <>. The <> option allows you search for values that are NOT the term you indicate. For example, in the Slave Owner's Census, a search of Total Number of Slaves <> 10 would return all slave owners who owned did not own exactly 10 slaves.

Tips for Searching Text Fields

All text fields are case-insensitive. Therefore, a search of Last Name: Smith would return the same results as Last Name: smith.

Complex search queries may not return any results: try starting with a simple query and return to the search page and refine your search by adding more query terms and/or ranges.

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