Searching the Online Version of the London Gazette - Tips and Tricks (Continued)

Note - This is one of a series of pages on how to search the On-Line London Gazette. It is highly recommended that you start at the index to the series and work through the lessons in the correct order.

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 Problems with words at the beginning of a line

It has been shown that the search engine has difficulty finding a word at the end of a line. However it has much more of a problem when it is asked to find a word at the begining of a line. This beginning-of-line problem is much more serious, as there often isn't a solution.

For an example of the beginning-of-line problem, go to Gazette Issue 28981, published on the 20 November 1914, Page 20 of 128. Half-way down the page in the right-hand column are the following entries:

The undermentioned to be Second Lieutenants
(on probation) : —
Dated 21st November, 1914 (unless otherwise
Richard Arthur Joseph Corballis, 3rd
Battalion, Dorset Regiment.
Harold Walter Edmund Crouchley, 3rd
Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers.
Ronald Andrew Douglas, 3rd Battalion,
Royal Highlanders.
Reginald Leyland Heney, 4th Battalion,
South Staffordshire Regiment. Dated 3rd
October, 1914.
Charles Curetou Herbert Jones, 3rd Battalion,
Royal Warwick Regiment.

This is a list of men who have been granted a commission in the Army as Second Lieutenants. These lists are very useful, as they often give forenames and a clue about the officer's former employment.

Go to the initial search page and see if you can find one of these officers. If you do a search for reginald leyland heney, you'll only get one hit (Issue 28928, 6-October-1914) and not the November issue that we are looking for.

Why can't we find him? Because the search engine has combined the last word of the previous line with his first forename. It treats the name as "Highlanders.Reginald Leyland Heney".

Now do a search for Highlanders.Reginald Leyland Heney. You'll find him!

Also, because Leyland is not at the start of the line, and Heney is not at the end, searching for leyland heney works too, and this is the poor work-around.

The above example shows that it can be very difficult to find occurrences of the first word on a line, unless we know the last word on the preceding line. Not only does this mean that we are often unable to find a forename like Reginald, it also means that we are often unable to find surnames, if they appear as the first word in a line. The following example shows how it can be impossible to find surnames:

Go to Gazette Issue 30086 published on the 22 May 1917, Page 1 of 14. This is a list of officers and men of the Grenadier Guards who have been Mentioned in Despatches.

Imagine that you are researching the surname Duquenoy. Go to the initial search page and search for duquenoy. It works, and brings up five issues of the London Gazette, however none of them are for 22nd May 1917.

Why hasn't the search engine found Lt Duquenoy's Mention in Despatches in the 22 May 1917 edition? Because the search engine has combined the last word (in this case the initial "J.") of the previous line with his surname. It thinks that he is called "J.Duquenoy".

Although we are looking for Lt M Duquenoy, search for j.duquenoy. We get one result - for the 22nd May 1917, which is the edition we are wanting. It has found Lt Duquenoy, but only because we knew what appeared immediately before his surname on the line above.

This beginning-of-line problem is serious, because many entries in the London Gazette have a forename or surname at the beginning of the line. The beginning-of-line problem makes it exceptionally difficult to find these names.

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