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Search Tips

Besides a normal keyword search you can get more in depth results by using more advanced terms.


Elizabeth OR Grayson
This search finds articles that discuss either Elizabeth or Grayson.
OR always broadens a search.

Elizabeth AND Grayson
This search finds articles that compare Elizabeth and Grayson.
AND always narrows a search.

Elizabeth NOT Grayson
This search finds articles that are exclusively about Elizabeth.
NOT always excludes records with the specified term.

Close Search Tip
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There are different ways of searching the archives records. Each of them is located on the left of the home screen, as shown to the left of this text.

The most flexible way to search the archives is to use the Search Collection option, which allows you to refine your search more precisely.

Indexing of these documents is an ongoing process, and many documents are still to be indexed.

Documents are indexed by name and location only. Names and spellings are as listed in the original document.

Clicking on 300 Maps or 750 Indentures to the left of this text will take you directly to those documents.

An asterisk is used to denote the same name appearing more than once in a document. This does not necessarily mean it is the same person.

Search Collection

Begin your search by typing the name or place you are looking for in the box to the left of the Search button, below where it says Search Collection to the left on the home page.

Clicking on the Search button will result in any documents which include that name appearing to the right of the screen.

The following example is for William or Wm.

Clicking on an image, or an image number, will bring up the details of that particular image. Hovering your mouse pointer over the image will allow you to zoom in to read the document more easily. You can also download a larger copy of the image by clicking on Download large image below the image.

To narrow your search and limit the number of results use the drop down box marked >select one< to choose from the list of categories, e.g. Bastardy Bonds, Indentures, Maps, etc.

Some of these categories will have sub-categories where you can narrow your search further, for example the category Bastardy Bonds has sub-categories including Warrants, Orders, Accounts, and so on.

You may wish to use a conditional search, such as the following three examples;

William AND Wm (this will display images where both versions of the name are shown).

Thos OR Mary AND Grayson (this will display images where Thos or Mary Grayson are shown).

Thos NOT Mary AND Grayson (this will display images where Thos Grayson but not Mary Grayson are shown.

The results you obtain will also include alternative spellings of a name where these have been indexed, such as for the surname Grayson below.

To view the documents which contain the spelling of the name as �Greyson�, simply click on the name �Greyson� highlighted in blue where it says �Did you mean: Greyson? and these documents will appear.

Names have been indexed as they appear in the original documents. As names were not standardised in the past there may be alternative spellings due to them being misspelt or written as they sounded, so you will need to take this into account when searching. For example, if the surname you are looking for is Gillott, this can also be spelt Gillot, Gilott, Gillatt, etc. Only variations that actually appear in the indexes will be suggested by the soundex system. Abbreviations of names have also been indexed as they appear in the original documents, so it is useful to know some of the most common abbreviations of first names. For example, Thomas is often written as �Thos� and William as �Wm�. Referring to the list of most common abbreviations on these help pages will give you some help with these names.

List of most common abbreviations of names:

  • Abraham = Abm
  • Benjamin = Benj Benj: Benjn
  • Catherine = Cathe
  • Charles = Chas
  • Daniel = Danl
  • Edward = Ed Edwd
  • Elizabeth = Elizth
  • George = Geo Geo: Geoe
  • Hannah = Hanh
  • Henry = Hy Hy
  • James = Jas
  • Jeremiah = Jerh
  • John = Jno
  • Jonathan = Jonn
  • Joseph = Jos Jos: Josh (This last example is Joseph, not Joshua.)
  • Matthew = Math Mattw
  • Richard = Ricd Richd
  • Robert = Robt
  • Samuel = Saml
  • Thomas = Thos
  • William = Wm Willm Will:

You may also find abbreviations of titles, and of places in the Bradfield documents:

  • Master/Mister = Mr
  • Reverend = Rev Revd
  • Widow = Widw Wid:
  • Esquire = Esq Esqe Esqre
  • Junior = Junr Jnr
  • Senior = Senr Snr
  • Sheffield = Sheffd

It is not possible for us to list all the abbreviations you may come across, but knowing the forms used can help you to identify others.

It can sometimes be a challenge to read the handwriting in some of these old documents. You will come across other unfamiliar abbreviations and tricky letters. Some capital letters can be easily confused as they look similar in certain types of script, such as S and T or I and J. The best way to tackle these is to compare them with words in the document you already know. If in doubt, come back to them later, as sometimes when looking afresh, the word suddenly becomes clear. As you become more familiar with the handwriting it will be easier to read.

Some practical help is available at:


Other websites you may be interested in:

We welcome your comments on The Bradfield Archives website. Please get in touch with us and let us know what you think of the website, the documents and also these help pages!