Norfolk Family
History Society

Frequently Asked Questions 3 -
Searching the NORS database

•Q1:    Can you give me an overview on searching the database ?
•Q2:    Can I find out which baptisms / burials / banns / marriages have been added to the NORS database ?
•Q3:    I've performed a search but receive a message saying 'No Results Were Found in Datasets'. Why ?
•Q4:    I am not a Member. How can I view the actual data ?
•Q5:    How does a 'Quick Search' work ?
•Q6:    Is the search criteria case sensitive ?
•Q7:    How does a 'Person Search' work ?
•Q8:    Can I use a wild card in the Person Search ?
•Q9:    Does a Person Search allow for variants on a Surname ?
•Q10:  Can I search for variants of a First Name ?
•Q11:  What's the difference between a 'Default Search' and searches using the 'Exact Matches Only' or 'Include Variants' option ?
•Q12:  I am convinced the person I am searching for is in a parish covered by your transcripts but a search does not locate the record. What can I do ?
•Q13:  Can I view all records for a Parish ?
•Q14:  Can I restrict a Person Search to a specific Parish or Place ?
•Q15:  What does the 'Find Source' search feature do ?
•Q16:  Can I find out which parishes have been added to the NORS database ?
•Q17:  I've found one partner to a marriage / banns entry. How do I find related entries for the bride / groom / witnesses ?
•Q18:  I've found an entry for a person I'm interested in. How do I find other transcripts for the same Surname ?

Q1: Can you give me an overview on searching the database ?
A:  Yes, there are several ways to search records. For an overview on searching the database please refer to the 'User Guide' page.

Q2: Can I find out which baptisms / burials / banns / marriages have been added to the NORS database ?
A: Yes, for details of parish registers available in NORS either refer to What's On This Site or see the guide on Browsing Records index.

Q3: I've performed a Search but receive a Message but receive a message saying 'No Results Were Found in Datasets'. Why ?
A: Check to ensure you are logged in (your User Name will be displayed in the Login box). If you are logged in then either your search criteria is too specific or there are no matching records in the database. Try widening your search criteria.

Q4: I am not a Member. How can I view the actual data ?
A: The only way to view transcripts is as a member of the Society. Details on how to join the Norfolk Family History Society can be found on the Members & Membership page.

Q5: How does a 'Quick Search' work ?
A: A Quick Search will search both Record Classifications and Surnames. That is, details of matching Parishes and Registration Districts (the Record Classifications) will be displayed in search results as well as datasets containing matching Surnames. The Quick Search defaults to an EXACT search so only records which are identical to the name you have entered will be displayed. To search for Surname variants use the 'Find a Person' option from the menu.

Q6: Is the search criteria case sensitive ?
A: No, the search criteria is not case sensitive so there is no need to worry about the case when entering data is a search field.

Q7: How does a 'Person Search' work ?
A: In order to search the NORS database for an individual it is necessary to enter details of the Surname being researched. So, while the Person Search screen contains other optional fields, such as First Name, Place and Year Range, in order to perform a search a Surname must be entered. The Surname must contain a minimum of 3 letters. Other fields, such as First Name and Year Range can be used to narrow a search on a specific Surname but the Surname is mandatory. Place and Country options must NOT be used as they will cause the search to fail.

Q8: Can I use a wild card in the Person Search ?
A: Yes, you can. The search function uses the % (percentage) character to represent any character. The wild card character can be used at any point within a word. For example '%MIT%' will return any word with the characters MIT in it, such as SMITH. The wild card character can be used in any field (Surname, Forename, etc.).

Q9: Does the Person Search allow for variants of a Surname ?
A: Yes, it uses Soundex as the basis for that search. In order to perform a Soundex search on a Surname the 'Include Variants' option should be selected from the Drop-Down box that appears below the Surname field. 

Q10: Can I search for variants of a First Name ?
A: No, the Soundex facility only works with the Surname field. However, by default the search facility returns all First Names starting with the search term. So, entering "J" in the First Name field will return Jn, John, Jonathan, James, etc.

Q11: What's the difference between a 'Default Search' and searches using the 'Exact Matches Only' or 'Include Variants' option ?
A: A Default Search returns all Surnames starting with the search term. So, entering "THO" in the Surname field of a Person Search will return Tho., Thomas, Thompson, etc. Exact Matches only would display only those Surnames entered in the database as "THO" while using the Include Variants option would return TODD, TATE, TWYTE, etc. 

Q12: I am convinced the person I am searching for is in a parish covered by your transcripts but a search does not locate the record. What can I do ?
A: There are some transcripts where it is not possible to read the details and these records have usually been entered as 'BLANK' or 'BLANK?'  Re-do your search using BLANK in the Surname field and select 'Include Variants'.

Q13: Can I view all records for a Parish ?
A: No, in order to prevent wholesale copying of parish transcripts the Search facility is restricted to searching by Surname plus, optionally, First Name and Dates. 

Q14: Can I restrict a Person Search to a specific Parish or Place ?
No, regretably the 'Place' and 'Country' search fields do not work at present. It is hoped that in future the functionality can be fixed to enable searches to be restricted to a specific parish.

Q15: What does the 'Find Source'  search feature do ?
A: The data stored in the NORS database is organised accordingly to a Classification hierarchy. At the top level are details of all Norfolk Parishes. The records are then subdivided between Registers covering Baptisms, Burials, Banns and Marriages. The 'Find Source' option allows you to search the Record Classifications both for Norfolk Parishes and Norfolk Registration Districts and for types of Register (i.e. Baptisms, Burials, Banns, Marriages and Memorial Inscriptions). 

Q16: Can I find out which parishes have been added to the NORS database ?
A: Yes, for details either refer to What's On This Site or see the guide on Browsing Records.

Q17: I've found one partner to a marriage / banns entry. How do I find related entries for the bride / groom / witnesses ?
A: Clicking on the Search icon against the Date will bring up all marriage or banns records on that date for that Parish, including those for related bride, groom and witnesses (marriages only). Clicking on the Search icon will return the full transcript for that person. Refer to the Advanced Search section of the User Guide for further details on locating related marriage or banns entries. 

Q18: I've found an entry for a person I'm interested in. How do I find other transcripts for the same Surname ?
A: Clicking on the Search icon against the Surname will bring up all transcripts with the same surname in the same Parish. Clicking on the Search icon will show the details of that person. The search is restricted to the current parish. Therefore, to search for the same ancestral surname in a different parish you will need to perform a new Advanced Search or Quick Search. 

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