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Malta Memorial Database: Effectively Searching The Database

Search on this database can be very powerful and useful. With a few simple techniques you will be able to extract information that you never thought you could find.

Creative researchers are likely to find golden threads to research through an imaginative use of the power and flexibility now offered. The data has always been there of course, but seeing the connections has hitherto been problematical: sometimes the needle gets hidden in the haystack. This facility changes that.

To get started, put a name in the Search box, for example Brown. (you don't have to capitalize names so brown will work the same way as Brown). The result is all the Browns in the database. This will include entries which have Brown anywhere within its contents, not just the Name column. From this first Search you can become familiar with the layout of the database which will enable you to conduct more complex Searches.

You can perform a Search for almost anything (3 characters or more) in any column. So now replace Brown with Natal and now you see all those from Natal in the database. You will normally read the Family column to find the results of this particular search. Now put Brown AND Natal in the Search box. This will find all records of Browns who were associated with Natal. (The AND is known as a Boolean operator, and tells our Search Engine you want to find entries that meet both specified criteria. (You don't have to capitalize AND incidentally: Brown and Natal will work just as well, as will brown and natal). Other than in the case of capitalization, however, spelling IS important.

You can have up to FIVE dependencies in a single search! For example Brown AND Natal AND Captain AND France would find all Browns who came from Natal and had the rank Captain.

If you are familiar with other Boolean operators, try those.

Brown and Natal = all entries that contain BOTH Brown and Natal. It will ignore any entry that only has Brown, ditto one that only has Natal. The entry must have both. Clever use of these dependencies can find fascinating discoveries.

Brown or Natal = all entries that contain EITHER Brown OR Natal.

(Brown or Smith) and Natal = entries that have Browns who came from Natal plus entries that have Smiths who came from Natal. The placement of brackets is important. Thus Brown or (Smith and Natal) will find all Browns entries plus all entries that contain BOTH Smith and Natal. Can you see the difference? The first one finds Browns from Natal plus Smiths from Natal, whereas the second finds Smiths from Natal PLUS Browns from anywhere.

There are some limitations.

You can't search for any single letter or number. You can't search for 7 for example, or B

You can't search for 2 letter or 2 number combos.

To search on squadron include Sqd in search, thus search for 26 Sqd and not just 26.

You CAN search for 3 letters or numbers, thus KIA and 300 both work.

Also, certain characters cannot be used in a search and if they are, they are ignored. The hyphen is one such character, thus a search on SE-5 will fail because the hyphen is ignored leaving you with a search on SE, which is less than 3 characters. In this case, search on SE5.

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We would like to hear from researchers who find interesting connections through our Search Engine. Caring is Sharing! Perhaps you would like to contribute a story based on your research? We'll be happy to publish you.



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