Searching the BIFMO records can be done by entering search terms into the text boxes and making selections from the filter options on the left-hand side of the page.
1) Search Whole Record
The first type of search you can perform is one that looks for a word or phrase that appears anywhere in the records. The database will show you a list of records where your text appears in the information. Note that if you search for a name in this type of search, you will find records not only of individuals with that name, but also records where there is an incidental reference to that name (e.g. Joe Bloggs who has their own record will be matched, but so will any record where the individual biography mentions a Joe Bloggs in passing). You can find the term you searched for by using your browser's search tool (CTRL+F is the usual keyboard shortcut).
2) Name, Place, Occupation and Active Dates
These types of searches are more specific, and criteria you enter into these text boxes will be used to search particular elements of the records. The records in the database have been tagged with identifiable information relating to the subject individual of each record (as indicated in the image by the red box). Searching for a name in the Name box will only retrieve records of individuals with that name – it will not find records where that name is mentioned in the general text. Similarly, a search for ‘York’ in the Place box will only find individuals who are explicitly associated with York in the source – any record that mentions ‘York’ in the general biographical text will not be returned. Occupations and dates work in the same fashion. It is important therefore to be aware that depending upon what you are searching for, you will need to use either the Search Whole Record box or one or more of the specific search boxes. Note with date searching, both start and end dates are needed as criteria.
3) Filter Options
The filter options allow you to search for records where specific terms are used anywhere in the records: currently this feature of the database is a demonstration of what will become available in subsequent phases of the BIFMO project. You can currently use the filter options to search for types of furniture, or types of ornamentation. Simply select a term that you want to use to restrict your searches. Filter options become available once an initial search has been made using the text boxes.
4) Multiple Criteria
Any and all of the search boxes and filter options can be used in conjunction with each other. The more criteria you use the smaller the number of records that will be returned in the search results.
5) Variations in spelling and terminology
The BIFMO database currently reproduces the text of the Dictionary of English Furniture Makers 1660-1840 and the freedom and apprenticeship records of the Joiners’ Company. This means that any variation in spelling or terminology that exists in those sources will be present in the BIFMO records. To ensure that you find all of the records you might want to see, you may need to give some thought to the search term you are using. For example, searching for the occupation of ‘cabinet maker’ (which might appear in the records as ‘cabinet maker’, ‘cabinetmaker’ or ‘cabinet-maker’) would need to take all the possible variations into account: the criteria ‘cabinet’ would find all these terms.