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Biographical Search

You can search for individuals based on one or all of the following characteristics (see Biographical Search Fields for definitions of the search fields):

To begin searching, select the Biographical Search link from any of the pages. Select a search criterium and enter a search term into the corresponding entry box. You can also enter search terms in different search fields to combine different search terms.

Combination of search terms

The logical operators AND, OR, NOT are available to combine search terms. When multiple search terms are entered into the same search field, these are automatically combined with AND.

Example: The entry Washington George searches for all entries containing the terms Washington AND George, eg "Abbott, George Washington", "Read, George Washington", "Washington, George" etc.

If you want to use a different operator, please keep in mind that the operator has to be entered in capital letters and in English, or it will be considered part of the search criteria.

To combine search terms in different search fields, select AND, OR, NOT from the drop down menus in front of the search fields. Preset is the operator AND.

Phrase searching

By using quotation marks you can carry out a phrase search. This means that the result has to correspond exactly to the phrase entered into the search field.

Example: Searching for the phrase "Washington, George" in the search field Name finds all biographical entries on "Washington, George", "Washington, George Corbin" etc, but not entries on "Abbott, George Washington", "Read, George Washington" etc.


If you are uncertain if a search term is available in the database and how it is spelled, you may select the Index link available for most search fields. Selecting this function allows you to view the index of a certain search category. You may choose one or more terms from the index list and paste them into the search form. See Index Lists for help on selecting terms from the index lists.

Searching for dates and date ranges

When searching for dates, you may enter a specific date in the search fields Year (all), Year of Birth, Year of Death or Year Cited. Dates which are before Christ (BC) may be entered with a preceding minus sign. Example: For the year 33 before Christ you search by entering -33.

Date ranges can be searched by combining the two dates from the range with a colon. Example: Entering 1550:1650 in the search field Year All will search for persons who were born, died or were cited during the period of 1550 and 1650.

Date ranges can also be searched by using the characters < (less than), > (greater than), <= (less or equal than), >= (greater or equal than). Example: To find persons born after 1800, enter >1800 in the search field Year of Birth. To find persons born in the year 1800 or after, enter >=1800 in the search field Year of Birth.

Please note: Within the search fields for dates it is not possible to use the Boolean search operators. To perform a combined search of different dates with the operators AND, OR, NOT, please use different entry fields of the search form, select the respective search category and connect the lines with the search operator from the scroll box at the beginning of a line.

Example: To perform a search for the Year of Birth 1801 or 1802 enter the following in the search form:

Year of Birth = 1801
Year of Birth = 1802

Select " Search" and you will receive a results list. From the results list you can view the biographical entries. Access to digitized biographical articles is available through a link in the biographical entry.

If no results are found based on your search criteria or your search criteria are too narrow, you will receive the following message: Sorry. There were no documents found that matched your search criteria. Please change your criteria and try again. Try broadening your search and see if you get the intended results.

All searches conducted from the Biographical Search form are captured in the list of Previous Searches. For information on using this search history select the chapter Previous Searches.

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