The search criteria screen includes captions and boxes for each searchable database field. You may enter a single field or a combination of fields to search for. All the data entered must match according to the following rules in order to find a record.
Best Practices for Successful Searches
All fields entered on the criteria screen must match for a document to be included in the list of matching documents. So, if you enter a date, a document type and a name but the document type is different on the document you are searching for, then your document will not be found.
Therefore, keep your searches simple as follows:
What I know What should enter for search criteria? Grantor, Grantee, File Number, File Date and Instrument Type File Number only. File Numbers are typically unique and will take you directly to your document. Subdivision, Block and Lot and Grantor If the name is a common name (i.e. Smith) then search for the Subdivision, Block and Lot only. Otherwise, search for the Grantor only. If that results in too many matches, try the Subdivision, Block and Lot plus the last name of the Grantor. Section, Township, Range and Book and Page Book and Page only. Book/Page is typically unique and will take you directly to your document. Section, Township, Range and Grantor and Grantee Try searching the Section, Township, Range plus the last name of the Grantor. A name but I do not know if it is a Grantor or a Grantee If a search box labeled "Grantor or Grantee" is provided, enter your name in there. If not, then search for the name as a Grantor only. If you do not find your document, then search for Grantee only. (Note: if you enter the name in both the Grantor box and the Grantee box, then matching documents must have the name recorded as BOTH the Grantor AND the Grantee.
Rules for Matching Data to the Search Criteria
Text FieldsIf a field is a text field, you have the option of performing the search that 'begins with,' 'exactly matches,' or 'contains' the given criteria. Use the drop down box to select the search type.
'Begins with' means that the data in the database must begin with the criteria you enter. Typically, names are entered in 'Last name', 'First name' form. So, if you search for 'Jones,' you may find 'Jones, Tom' and 'Jones, Harriet.'
'Exacly matches' means that the data in the database must be exactly what you have entered for the criteria. So if you search for 'Jones, Tom' you will not find 'Jones, Tom Jr.'.
'Contains' means that the given criteria must exist somewhere in the field. So, if you search for 'Jones' you may get 'Jones, Tom,' 'Jones, Harriet' as well as 'Tom Jones Construction Company.' Note that this search type is slower than the other because the entire database is searched, record by record. With the other search types, an index is available for fast retrieval.
If a field is a numeric field, you are presented with a starting value and an ending value box. If you wish to find documents equal to a single value, you need only enter that value in the first box. If you wish to perform a range search, then enter the starting value in the first box and the ending value in the second box. The matching records will include the values you entered.
If a field is a date field, you are presented with a starting date and an ending date box. If you wish to find documents for a single date, you need only enter that date in the first box. If you wish to perform a date range search, then enter the starting date in the first box and the ending date in the second box. The matching records will include the dates you put in. Dates should be entered in mm/dd/yyyy format.
Table fields automatically are loaded into a drop down box. You can press the first letter of the item to jump to that item. For example, if the box held a table of states, pressing the letter 'T' would jump to 'Tennessee.' The 'none' item at the top of the list is used to indicate that this field is not searched. A table consists of a code (such as 'TX') and a description (such as 'Texas'). Only the description is included in the drop down box but the search is really performed using the related code. To the right of the drop down box is a button that will show the codes and descriptions that may be helpful.
Search SpeedThe amount of time that it takes to perform you search is dependent on:
- The size of the database - the larger the database, the longer it will take.
- The number of records found matching the criteria - the record must be formatted as a web page and then returned. Your browser must then load the page. So, finding 10 records will be much faster than finding 100 records.
Data PresentationThe option shown below and at the top of the Search Criteria page defines how the data is presented to you.
check here to return all rows for matching documents (slower)
If this box is unchecked, the records that match the criteria are shown but when there is multiple data elements for a document only the first element is shown. For instance, if you search for Grantors having a last name of 'Patterson,' and a document includes Grantors of 'Patterson John' and 'Patterson Mary' and Grantees of 'Smith Tom' and 'Smith Carol' then the hit list will not show 'Smith Carol.' This is done to save load time and, in many cases, will significantly speed up the time it takes to display the hit list.
If this box is checked, then all the detail information for the document will be displayed. If you are performing a search that will return a lot of records, you should avoid this option.
Click the BACK button on your browser to return to the Search Criteria Screen