Second Site News #062

26 February 2014

In this issue:
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I am surprised when I visit sites that do not use the Second Site Search Form. I find it very useful when working with my own projects and I include it when publishing sites so visitors will have access to it.

If you are not familar with the Search Form, you can see an example on my Bezansons in North America site. To make your visit more educational, please try a couple exercises.

Exercise 1

Suppose you want to find someone based on a newspaper item, "Mrs. Bezanson is in town visiting her father Mr. George Melvin."

  1. Go to the Bezanson search page.
  2. Complete the Search Form input fields as follows:
    Key Bezanson in the "Surname" field in the Subject section
    Key George in the "First and Middle Name(s)" field in the Father section
    Key Melvin in the "Surname" field in the Father section
  3. Click the [Search] button or press the enter key.

The script will process more than 5,000 people and 7,600 names, but the results will appear nearly instantly. The results will show one close match followed by 109 loose matches (as of the date of this newsletter). The close match is Mary Jane Melvin, wife of James Bezanson and daughter of George Melvin. The search result for her includes her primary (maiden) name which is a link to her person page entry, and also links to her father, mother, and spouse. The search result also includes her married name.

Exercise 2

Suppose you have a historical letter that says, "Cousin Em came to visit with her husband Walter." Further suppose that you don't know who Em and Walter are, though you suspect they are in your TMG project. You could browse the cousins of the letter writer, looking for Emily or Emma, or you could try the Search Form:

  1. Go to the Bezanson search page.
  2. Click the [Reset] button to clear the form of any previous search terms.
  3. Complete the Search Form input fields as follows:
    Key Em* in the "First and Middle Name(s)" field in the Subject section
    Key Walter in the "First and Middle Name(s)" field in the Spouse section
  4. Click the [Search] button or press the enter key.

The search results (as of the date of this newsletter) will show one close match followed by 94 loose matches. The close match is Emma L. Bezanson who was married to Walter Gerrold.

I leave it to you to recall examples from your own research where you needed to find someone using wildcard seaches and the names of parents or spouses. I hope these examples demonstrate the power of the Search facility and prompt you to add the Search feature to your site.

Adding a Search Form

The Search Form is a Content Item. That means it does not make a page of its own and so it must be added to a Custom Page. Here's how to add one to your site.

  1. Start Second Site and open your SDF file.
  2. Select Add > Custom Page... from the menu.
  3. Key a title for the Custom Page. "Search" works well, but use any name you want. The title of the page is used in your site's menubar and it also appears on the page itself, so give it a meaningful name.
  4. Second Site will provide a default filename, but for the search form I recommend that you change the filename to "search".
  5. Click the [OK] button to close the Edit Custom Page window and save the changes.
  6. Click once on the new Custom Page item so that item is selected/highlighted in the list of User Items.
  7. Select Add > Content Item > Search Form from the menu.
  8. Key a title for the Search item. This title is only used to identify the Search item in the list of User Items. It is not used in your site. Give it a name that will remind you what it is. "Search" is fine.
  9. Click the [OK] button to close the Edit Search window and save the changes.
  10. Make the site and then open it in your browser. You'll see the Search page, and it will have the Search Form with the default options.

Review the Help page for information about the options available for the Search facility.

Adding Help Text

The Search Form User Item includes a text area where you can provide instructions for using the form. I have provided an example that you may use as the basis for your own instructions. See the Help Text section of the Help page.

Full Database Search

I exclude living people from the web sites I have published, and that is true of the Bezanson site linked above. I prefer the Second Site Search Form over the other methods of searching my TMG project, so I have an extra SDF file that includes everyone in my TMG project. That way, I can use the Second Site search facility to search for people who are not part of any of my published sites.


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