Correcting Mistakes and Learning More

Correcting Mistakes and Learning More

As we work on correcting the data for the O’Connell name in the different census’ we continue to learn more about the search functions on the different websites. My first error, I shared in the post I Made a Mistake. Recently I learned a bit about the search function on the National Archives of Ireland website as well.

What I learned on the National Archives Website:

The ‘Exact matches only’ does not work well. I put in OConnell as the search criteria and clicked on exact matches. The results where an overwhelming zero! Nothing, no OConnell’s listed. But, if I take away the ‘Exact matches only’ and hit enter, for the 1901 Census, I got back 6,125! Plus, in that 6,125 people enumerated it did list the OConnell name, just like I asked for with ‘Exact matches only’. 

So, my take away is this:

No matter what website you are using, play with the search functions before you record your data. If you use an apostrophe in your name, you better play with those searches for a long time so you know how they work.

1 thought on “Correcting Mistakes and Learning More”

  • Many searches also feature wildcards…

    The asterisk ‘*’ can return any number of any characters in that space. So *onnell will return both Connell and O’Connell, but also Donnell. Connel* will return Connell and Connelly, but *not* Connel, because *any* character isn’t the same as no character. Likewise, Co*ell will return Conell and Connell, but also Cornell, Collinswell… Any number of any characters can go there.

    The ? will return any *single* character… So ?onnell will return Connell and Donnell, but not O’Connell. Connel? will return Connell and Connely, but not Connel. O?Connell will return O Connell (space) and O’Connell, but not OConnell.

    I once was stuck with a name that had numerous spellings and variations, and I found that using both the ? and * wildcards in strategic places yeilded around 10x as many results, and what’s more, only around 10% weren’t matches.

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