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Helpful Boolean Search Terms

The following is an addendum to the November 2015 Archivist article on using the Old Fulton Postcards website.

Boolean—Boolean is a computer language that allows the computer to narrow the search terms by adding some simple code to the search terms. While it may sound daunting, learning a few Boolean terms will help you get more out of sites like Old Fulton, and works with most search engines, such as Google!

Continuing with our example of “Reverend John Doe.” Experiment with adding the following terms to your search and see what happens. With Boolean, you can learn a few basic commands and combine them to get ever more specific with what you are looking for.

Note: Make sure to select “Boolean” from the drop-down menu before hitting “Search.”

BOOLEAN EXAMPLEWHAT DOES IT RETURN?
ANDJohn AND DoeResults that have “John” and “Doe” on the same page, note that these terms may not have any relationship to each other.
AND NOTJohn AND NOT JonathanResults that only have John, excluding any result with Jonathan.
ORJohn OR DoeResults that have “John” or “Doe” on the same page, note that these terms may not have any relationship to each other.
John Doe (minus sign before Doe)Will find documents that have a “John” on the page but no “Doe” on the same page.
“ ”“Reverend John Doe
(whole search phrase in quotes)
Results that either have only the whole name “Reverend John Doe” on the page. But if the page contains “Rev. John Doe” or “Rev. Doe,” it will not make a match. (Same as “Exact Phrasing, above.)
PROXIMITY SEARCHING
w#WITHIN Operator: John w2 Doe

NEAR Operator: John n10 Doe
WITHIN Operator: Inserting w and a number (in this case 2) will find results that have “John” and “Doe” within two words of each other. This can be helpful if a middle name is used, e.g., “Jane Liz Doe,” as it will just look for the two words within two words of each other and ignore what is between them.

NEAR Operator: Inserting n and a number (in this case 10) will find will find results that have “John” and “Doe” near each other, separated by no more than 10 other characters.
(OR) w#(John OR Jane) w2 DoeWill find a “John” or a “Jane” within two words of “Doe” = “John Doe” or “Jane Doe”
( )
(John w2 Doe) AND (Jane w2 Doe)Will find documents that have BOTH “John Doe” and “Jane Doe” on the same page
WILD-CARDSWHAT DO THEY DO?
*Rev* J*n DoeThe insertion of an asterisk allows any number of characters to be replaced as wild-cards. In this example it will return “Rev” or Reverend” and “Jonathan,” “John,” or “Jan.”
?J??n Doe
(Insert multiple question-marks, to allow for more variables.)
The insertion of a question-mark, specifies how many characters can be replaced with wild-cards. In this example, inserting two question-marks will allow it to replace two characters, “John,” “Jahn,” etc.
RANGES
~1890 ~1900Inserting a tilde will define a range of dates to search. (Note that on Old Fulton, it may look for the dates of the scans, not titles. In addition, some newspapers printed the date of publication on every page while others did not.)
COMPLEX BOOLEAN STRINGS — You can also create strings of Boolean terms, creating ever more specific search parameters.
(Filename Contains (NJ))Will return files only with NJ in the title. (Note that the search term is placed within parenthesis, and then within another set of parenthesis along with the command.)
(Rev OR Reverend) AND (John OR Jan) w2 D?Will return either Rev or Reverend and John or Jan within two words of D?e
e.g., “Rev. John Doe,” or “Reverend John Dae,” or “Rev. Jan Peter Doe.” The possibilities are endless.

GSBC, RPL, and Other Events of Note

Oct
1
Sat
2:00 pm A Window on American Stained Glass @ Ridgewood Public Library
A Window on American Stained Glass @ Ridgewood Public Library
Oct 1 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
A Window on American Stained Glass Guest speaker Donald Samick from J&R Lamb Studios In-Person, Ridgewood Public Library Auditorium, Ridgewood, NJ Saturday October 1 @ 2pm Registration required Registration required: http://engagedpatrons.org/EventsExtended.cfm?SiteID=5615&EventID=465600 Through a slide presentation,[...]
Oct
10
Mon
2:00 pm Four Unfamiliar Bergen County Re...
Four Unfamiliar Bergen County Re...
Oct 10 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Four Unfamiliar Bergen County Resources (Online)
GSBC Extra! (Online) Four Unfamiliar Bergen County Resources Presentation by Peggy W. Norris, MS, MLIS, Monday, 10 October 2022 @ 2pm Eastern Online and open to all, but space is limited! Registration required. Registration link:[...]
Oct
18
Tue
12:30 pm Registration Now Open! DNA 101: ...
Registration Now Open! DNA 101: ...
Oct 18 @ 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm
Registration Now Open! DNA 101: Researching Your Family
Bergen Community College, Institute for Learning in Retirement (55+), 4-Week Course ($) DNA 101: Researching Your Family [Tree IR-724] Tuesdays, Online: 18 October, 25 October, 1 November, and 15 November Time: 12:30–2:30 p.m. Instructor: Fred J. Voss[...]
Oct
24
Mon
7:00 pm New Milford, “The Birthplace” of... @ Ridgewood Public Library Auditorium
New Milford, “The Birthplace” of... @ Ridgewood Public Library Auditorium
Oct 24 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
New Milford, “The Birthplace” of Bergen County (Hybrid—online and in-person) @ Ridgewood Public Library Auditorium
GSBC General Meeting (Hybrid—online and in-person) New Milford, “The Birthplace” of Bergen County Presentation by Nancy Varettoni Monday, 24 October 2022 @ 7pm Eastern Online and open to all, but space is limited! Registration required[...]
Oct
25
Tue
12:30 pm Registration Now Open! DNA 101: ...
Registration Now Open! DNA 101: ...
Oct 25 @ 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm
Registration Now Open! DNA 101: Researching Your Family
Bergen Community College, Institute for Learning in Retirement (55+), 4-Week Course ($) DNA 101: Researching Your Family [Tree IR-724] Tuesdays, Online: 18 October, 25 October, 1 November, and 15 November Time: 12:30–2:30 p.m. Instructor: Fred J. Voss[...]
Nov
1
Tue
12:30 pm Registration Now Open! DNA 101: ...
Registration Now Open! DNA 101: ...
Nov 1 @ 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm
Registration Now Open! DNA 101: Researching Your Family
Bergen Community College, Institute for Learning in Retirement (55+), 4-Week Course ($) DNA 101: Researching Your Family [Tree IR-724] Tuesdays, Online: 18 October, 25 October, 1 November, and 15 November Time: 12:30–2:30 p.m. Instructor: Fred J. Voss[...]
Nov
14
Mon
2:00 pm How to WATO: Using DNAPainter.co...
How to WATO: Using DNAPainter.co...
Nov 14 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
How to WATO: Using DNAPainter.com’s What Are the Odds Tool
GSBC Extra! How to WATO: Using DNAPainter.com’s What Are the Odds Tool Presentation by Fred J. Voss Monday, 14 November 2022 @ 2pm Eastern Online and open to all! Registration required. Register for this free[...]
Nov
15
Tue
12:30 pm Registration Now Open! DNA 101: ...
Registration Now Open! DNA 101: ...
Nov 15 @ 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm
Registration Now Open! DNA 101: Researching Your Family
Bergen Community College, Institute for Learning in Retirement (55+), 4-Week Course ($) DNA 101: Researching Your Family [Tree IR-724] Tuesdays, Online: 18 October, 25 October, 1 November, and 15 November Time: 12:30–2:30 p.m. Instructor: Fred J. Voss[...]
Nov
28
Mon
7:00 pm Creative Strategies in Exploring...
Creative Strategies in Exploring...
Nov 28 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Creative Strategies in Exploring Family Stories: Sam Pollak’s Drowning at the Jersey Shore in the 1880s and His Surprising Family (Online and In-person)
GSBC General Meeting — Hybrid (Online and In-person) Creative Strategies in Exploring Family Stories: Sam Pollak’s Drowning at the Jersey Shore in the 1880s and His Surprising Family Presentation by Dr. Carol P. McCoy Monday,[...]

GSBC Genealogy Consultants

The GSBC is continuing to offer free consultant slots, via online conference call, to those looking for help with their family research.

Please email gsbc.queries@gmail.com for more information about available time slots.