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How to Search

There are several options for searching our website, depending on your needs.

The Standard Search Box

The standard search box in the header area will let you search across all HAFS website pages, posts, tags, categories, and the products in our online store. Importantly, it searches the contents of the journal and  Cumulative Index which are PDF files. (The exception is the older PDFs which are scanned images. These will be converted to readable text in due course).

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

By default, if you enter two or more words, 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 also 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, becasue 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.

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

Google Custom Search

To perform an exact match or use other logical operators, we’ve also provided a Google search bar. Google search will a phrase match and allow you to use wildcards and other operators.

This might give you better results sometimes, however bear in mind 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 present the categories and tags for a results and
  • we can’t adjust the weightings it gives to different parts of our content

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, but all the journals are.

The Index should 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 alone.

  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 journal month or volume number.
  3. Use the standard website search box to find a journal, by typing journal 2001 or journal 6-2, for example, or click on Journals in the Categories in the side bar then find the one you want. Open the journal as described above.

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