Search Options

Names appear often with the surname first. More search tips, tools, and how to find words on long pages or PDFs.

Each of the three search options below are unique and each must be used to thoroughly search all the data on this website.

1. FreeFind search tool

Finds words in PDFs, the Quarterly surname index, and text on all pages.  Use with Search No. 3 too!

search engine courtesy of / by

2. WordPress search tool

PDF files are not searched, just text on the web pages. Please read search tips.

3. Search the Belleville Daily Advocate here

This independent and unique database indexes vital statistics (births, marriages, and deaths) and articles published 1927–1954 in the Belleville Daily Advocate newspaper. Many articles mention earlier birthdates. Please use the SCCGS Research order form for photocopies of these articles.


Search results – the “hit” list

Keep the search “hit list” available while exploring each hit

  • Hover the mouse over a ‘hit’ then right click a choice, for example, Open in new tab, or Open in new window.

FreeFind search (No. 1)

  • A search for Walnut Brenner finds all Walnut Hill webpages with Brenner on it.
  • Narrow your search with these specific searches
  • PDFs are searched with FreeFind. Scroll down for tips how to search for words on a PDF once opened for reading.
  • Hits found are numbered. The total hits number is displayed upper left.
  • Please ignore advertising on the hit page, it is a reciprocal agreement for allowing the Society free use of this search tool.

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WordPress search (No. 2)

  • Total pages found are numbered at the bottom of the hit list. Follow the prompts to work your way through all the hits!
  • The “description” under the hit title might not be relevant (we are working on this).

WordPress search limitations:

  • Boolean searches are NOT supported, avoid using quotes, brackets, AND, OR, NOT.
  • Will NOT find words in PDFs (portable document files). Use the FreeFind search tool instead.
  • Will NOT find words in standalone databases, i.e., Daily Advocate (search No. 3 above). 
  • Will NOT find pairs of words in tables using quotes, e.g., “Maddox Gillis” will not be found. Here is a table example.
    • Workarounds: 1) Use FreeFind’s Advance search link. 2) Try searches with and without quotes. 3) Try the surname alone. 4) Choose a specific Collection from the main menu and search each resource shown there.

WordPress will find:

  • John May [no quotes] on all pages with John only, with May or Mayer only, and pages with John and May (but not necessarily next to each other). 


  • Words in a Tab or Toggle* (illustrated below), will be found, however, a closed tab or toggle must be opened to find the word. We apologize if tabs or toggles are inconvenient.
    • This site limits tabs and toggles to pages with lengthy introductions or general information, not ancestral data pages per se. For example, the word integrity is part of the Code of Ethics, yet the site search ‘hit’ lands on the About Membership page. Each tab there must be opened (click/tap) to locate the word integrity.

*This is a Toggle:

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How to find words on long pages

A browser’s Find feature will navigate quickly to words sought on very long webpages:

  • With Windows, press and hold the Control key while clicking the F (Find) key, release.  Another way: on your browser’s tool bar, look for and click/tap Find or Find on this page.
  • As illustrated, a box will appear near the top of the page. As a word is typed in the box, the browser highlights the word on the page.
  • Note that 1/52 in the box tells how many instances of that word are on the page. Click the up and down arrows to navigate through the matches. Note also that thin colored lines in the right margin (usually yellow) mark each location of that word on the page.
  • Some page use toggles (see example above) which must be expanded for a browser to find a word within.

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Search a PDF

PDF is a portable document file, each of which opens with this free Adobe Reader . Most modern browsers come with this tool installed.

Search each PDF file individually:

  • Click the PDF link to open it.
  • On your keyboard press and hold the Control key while tapping the F (Find) key; release both keys.
  • A “Find box” appears near the top of the webpage. Type all or part of a word and tap the Enter key on the keyboard.
  • To navigate to the next word on the page, either tap the Enter key, or click the Previous or Next buttons in the Find box.
  • Close the PDF when finished.
  • Tip: many of this site’s PDFs may be downloaded, please read our Privacy and Terms before incorporating data from this website in personal files.

St. Clair County Genealogical Society, PO Box 431, Belleville, IL 62222-0431.
E-mail:  Privacy policy and Use Agreement.
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Information may be linked to but not copied. Authorized by SCCGS Board of Directors. Contact Us.