How to Search

There are several options for searching our website, depending on your needs – standard search, Google custom search and within the index PDF.

The Standard Search Box

The standard search box in the header area will  search  all HAFS website pages, posts, tags, categories, products in our online store, and importantly, PDF files like our journals and index. (The exception is the older PDFs which are scanned images. ).

However, it does not do exact match searches for a phrase and doesn’t provide operators to exclude words.

By default,  it performs and AND search, then if it finds no results it does an OR.  For example, if you type Lucinda Norcott, you will get results containing Lucinda and Norcott (not necessarily adjacent to each other), then results with just Norcott or Lucinda.

Results are ranked using weightings we have set for titles, tags etc, and on the number of instances of the search terms in each item.

This search also performs a partial search by default, so you could put in a HAFS code like E.2 to find references to Robert Richard Hungerford and any of his ancestors, because they all have a HAFS code that begins with E.2.

The matching terms are highlighted if they occur in the excerpt in the results list, which can help.  When you go into the page or post, you can find the words using Ctrl-F. If you find no matches in the page, it is probably because the matches are in the embedded PDF. Press the tool button to download the PDF then use Ctrl-F in the PDF reader to search for the words you want.

The standard search  works well for specific words, but gives very loose results if you are searching for frequently occurring names like John Hungerford.

Google Custom Search

We’ve also provided a custom Google search box on it own page, found from the Explore menu. It will search all our pages, tags, categories etc, but not PDFs.

It’s main advantage is that it will perform an exact match (e.g. “Lucinda Norcott) or use other logical operators and wildcards (e.g. Lucinda -Norcott or Luc*).

The disadvantages are that it:

  • includes ads for sites other than HAFS at the top of the results.
  • does not search within our PDF files (our cumulative index and journals) and
  • doesn’t weight the different parts of our content, so tags appear in the results before an article.

Try Google custom search here.

Search the HAFS Cumulative Index Directly

The index is a carefully curated list of names and topics that occur in the HAFS journals and newsletter.  Newsletters are not online, so the index will help you find results not found with the search boxes.

The Index will appear in list of results if it contains a match, but it might appear at the end of the list of results, so you might find it easier to search the Index directly.

  1. Go the Explore menu and select Index to Journals and Newsletters. (If you have done this before, you could find it it in your Downloads folder and save it somewhere more handy.) or open the Index in a new tab now.
  2. Open the embedded PDF and search with Ctrl-F. Note the references to any journals or newsletters..
  3. If it is a journal, you can then use standard website search box to find it (e.g. by typing journal 2001 or journal 6-2),  or click on Journals in the Categories in the side bar, then find scroll to find the one you want. Open the embedded journal PDF to search or print it.

Your feedback about searching HAFS would be welcome. Perhaps you have suggestions or have found other interesting ways to search.