A common question for researchers to ask is for Lincoln's caseload during a particular year. To see cases in which Lincoln was involved in 1850, you must do a multiple condition search using both the Begin Date and the End Date in the General Section of the search screen. For Begin Date, type "00" in the Month text box, type "1850" in the Year text box and choose ">=" from the drop-down menu. Then, for End Date, type "12" in the Month text box, type "1850" in the Year text box, and chose "<=" from the drop down menu. Click on the Add To Query button. Using this example, you will get cases and activities that meet at least one of the following criteria:
began in 1850 and ended in 1850
began in 1850 and ended after 1850
began before 1850 and ended in 1850
began before 1850 and ended after 1850, but was active during 1850
Note: Do not leave blanks in the date fields, or you will get unexpected search results.
If you use this search characteristic with others, make sure that there are parentheses around the entire date statement.
You can also create a query to identify cases and activities that began and ended in 1850. You must again do a multiple condition search using both Begin Date and End Date. In the Begin Date dialog box, leave 00 in the Month text box, type 1850 in the Year text box, and click on the button next to On or After. Click OK to close that window. then in the End Date dialog box, type 12 in the month text box, type 1850 in the Year text box, and click on the button next to On or Before. Click on OK to close that window, and then click on the Add to Query button.
Reminder:The beginning date of a case is defined as the court term when it first appeared on a court docket. The court term date of the final judgment of a case by a judge or jury is considered the ending date, even if the judgment was not satisfied until later.
Date searching in the Document section requires an exact date. You will get unexpected search results if any of the three date text boxes is left empty, or if you attempt to use a wildcard. You can, however, seek documents written during a specific period by using multiple conditions. To see all documents written during 1850, follow these steps:
1. For Beginning Date, choose ">" from the drop-down menu and enter "12/31/1849" in the text boxes.
2. For Ending Date, choose "<" from the drop-down menu and enter "01/01/1851" in the text boxes.
3. Click the Add To Query button.
When you search for more than one characteristic at a time, you must also decide whether you want to search for this AND that or this OR that. A search using AND to join two characteristics decreases the number of cases that will be selected because it means that a case must have BOTH characteristics. A search using OR to join two characteristics increases the number of cases selected because it means that a case must have ONE but not necessarily BOTH characteristics. For more information, see Boolean Search Primer.
To use AND, select one or more characteristics before clicking on the Add to Query button.
To use OR, click on the Add to Query button after selecting each characteristic.
You may also manually type AND, OR, or AND NOT into the Query window.
Example 1: Cases involving women as litigants tried in the Sangamon County Circuit Court.
1. In the Main Subject text box, select Women as Litigants.
2. In the Court Name text box, select Sangamon County Circuit Court.
3. Click on the Add to Query button.
Example 2: Cases and nonlitigation activities containing documents written or signed by Lincoln.
1. Under the Document section, select Lincoln, Abraham from the Author/Signer drop-down list, and Author from the Capacity drop-down list.
2. Click on Add to Query.
3. Again, select Lincoln, Abraham from the Author/Signer drop-down list, then select Endorser from the Capacity drop-down list.
4. Click on Add to Query.
5. Again, select Lincoln, Abraham from the Author/Signer drop-down list, then select Signer from the Capacity drop-down list.
6. Click on Add to Query.
The asterisk (*) and question mark (?) can be used as wildcard characters when entering a characteristic directly into a text box. The asterisk matches any number of characters; the question mark matches any single character.
S?llinger finds Sullinger, Sallinger, Sellinger
Davis* finds Davis, S.C.; Davis, David; Davison, William
Note: Because the search program uses asterisks to allow searching for multiple characteristics within the same category, you may receive unexpected results when you use an asterisk within a text string. For example, if you search for S*llinger within the participant text box, you normally would expect to see Sullinger and Schillinger. Because all participant names are stored together in the same field, however, you may also get Ballinger and Wollinger.
See How Data are Stored for more information.
Searching Fielded Data
The database in this edition is composed of information arranged by fields in several data files. Unlike full-text searching like you commonly use on the Internet, you must not only specify WHAT you are searching for but also specify WHERE to look. The WHERE to look is automatically generated by which text box you select in which to enter data. The WHAT is generated by the data you select from the drop-down lists (or type in).
See How Data is Stored for more information.
A search term gives the name of the file, then the name of the field in which to search, and then the value to search for. For example, to search in the file Cases, in the Court field, for records where the value in that field is Sangamon County Circuit Court, the search term will look like this: AllVenues like "Sangamon County Circuit Court". When you select Sangamon County Circuit Court from the drop-down list in Court Name, and click on Add to the Query, this search term is automatically entered into the Query window for you.
Search terms are compared to records in the database, and if a record matches the search term, it is termed true and added to the search results (a hit). Records that do not match the search term are false and are not included in the search results.
Searching with Two Search Terms
A simple search utilizes only one search term. When building a search statement (query) with more than one search term, however, you must follow specific rules or you will not get what you expect.
Two or more search terms must each be joined with a connector: AND, OR, or AND NOT.
1. Terms joined with AND result in hits where both terms are true. For example, AllVenues like "Sangamon County Circuit Court" AND Division like "criminal" will result only in cases that appeared in the criminal division of the Sangamon County Circuit Court. A graphic display of this search statement with the results shaded is shown in the figure below.
2. Terms joined with OR result in hits where one or the other term is true, but not necessarily both. Use of the OR connector will result in many more hits than the same statement using the AND connector. The graphic display below shows the same search statement as above, using the OR connector.
3. Terms joined with AND NOT result in hits where one term is true and the other term is not true. Using the example AllVenues like "Sangamon County Circuit Court" AND NOT Division like "criminal" will exclude all of those cases heard in the Sangamon County Circuit Court in the criminal division. All cases heard in the Sangamon County Circuit Court common law division and chancery division, however, will be included. Note in the graphic below that the area where the two circles overlap is excluded from the search results, which is shaded.
Searching with More than Two Search Terms
When more than two search terms are used, the statement is evaluated reading from left to right−unless you indicate otherwise through the use of parentheses. Using parentheses around two or more search terms will cause them to be evaluated together, and then evaluated with another term or terms.
For example, to search for all cases in the criminal division in Sangamon County Circuit Court or Menard County Circuit Court, the basic search statement is as follows:
Division like "criminal" AND AllVenues like "Sangamon County Circuit Court" OR AllVenues like "Menard County Circuit Court"
Without the use of parentheses, this statement will be evaluated from left to right, and result in the following (incorrect) results:
all criminal cases in Sangamon County AND
all cases in Menard County
To get the correct results, add parentheses around the second two search terms, as follows:
Division like "criminal" AND (AllVenues like "Sangamon County Circuit Court" OR AllVenues like "Menard County Circuit Court")
This statement will be evaluated correctly, with the AllVenues like "Sangamon County Circuit Court" OR AllVenues like = "Menard County Circuit Court" evaluated first, and then only those cases where Division like "criminal" added to the search results.
Search terms in parentheses can be nested to create very specific search statements. The search statement in the innermost set of parentheses is evaluated first, then the next innermost, and so forth until finally the search statement in the outermost set of parentheses is evaluated. If there are two sets of search statements in parentheses that are not nested, the one on the left will be evaluated first.
Two tables (data files) are used to store the data in this edition. The original database on which this edition is built consisted of nine tables, but they were collapsed into two tables to optimize search speed. The following lists describe the attributes (fields) of each table and describe how data are stored in each one.
|FileID (located in the Direct area of the search screen)||Alphanumeric string--one character followed by five numbers. Case records begin with L, nonlitigation activity records begin with N||L03079|
|LevelName||The name of the case at a particular level of court. This name may or may not be the same as the CaseName||
Smith v. Jones
|CaseName||The name given to a case to identify it through all of its levels of appeal. This is generally the name of the case at its last appearance or its highest level of appeal||Jones v. Smith|
|DivisionID||Divisions of court through which a case progressed||common law|
|CourtID||Court name at which a case ended at a particular level||Sangamon County Circuit Court|
|CourtofOriginID||Court name at which a case began at a particular level||Sangamon County Circuit Court|
|JudgmentID||Judgment of a case at a particular level||decided for plaintiff/petitioner|
|BeginDate||The beginning date of a case or activity at a particular level||06/1845|
|EndDate||The end date of a case or activity at a particular level||11/1845|
|Actions||Action upon which a case was tried at a particular level||assumpsit|
|Participants||The name and specific role of all participants at a particular level||Lincoln, Abraham - Plaintiff Attorney|
|Brief||Description of case or nonlitigation activity||Jones gave Smith a promissory note for $50 but failed to pay. Smith retained Lincoln and sued Jones in an action of assumpsit to recover the debt. Jones failed to appear, and the court ruled for Smith and awarded $85 in damages.|
|DocumentID||Maximum of six-digit number that uniquely identifies a document||96391|
|CreationDate||The date that a document was created. Square brackets indicate that the date was inferred from another source||08/09/1841|
|FileDate||The date that a document was filed with a court. Square brackets indicate that the date was inferred from another source||08/10/1841|
|InxDate||The date that a document was filed (or created in the
absence of a file date). The user interface uses this date in searches
|PageCount||The number of pages of writing in a document||4|
|DocumentType||The name of a document in a case||declaration|
|Description||Document description abbreviation. See document description abbreviations for more information||ADS|
|OriginalLocation||Repository or county court abbreviation in which the original document is located. See repository abbreviations for more information||IHi|
|Collection||Manuscript collection in which original or copy of document is located. See See repository abbreviations for more information||David Davis|
|CopyLocation||Repository abbreviation in which a copy of a document is located. See repository abbreviations for more information.||DLC|
|Author/Signer||Names of persons associated with documents and their capacities||Lincoln, Abraham - Author|