Search Help & Tips

Directory Search

Extracts from various directories for Nanaimo and Victoria for 1882, 1892, and 1902 have been transcribed and are available for searching here. The directories list both individual people and businesses.

Directories can be searched in several ways. There is an easy to use Basic search, a more complex Advanced search, and a "Fuzzy" search that lets you look up names when you are not sure of the exact spelling. There are also specialized searches for Occupations and Employers.

You can also use syntax tools called "wildcards" and "query operators" to carry out more complicated and/or nuanced searches. For more information about these tools, please read the notes under Search Syntax on the Search Tips page.

The Directory Search uses many of the features available on all of the searches on the viHistory site. Help is available on using these common search features.

How to Use the Basic Search

Straightforward and easy to use. This feature allows you to search for individuals or businesses by name, location, and other data. Simply enter the subject’s family name (last name) or other data and click the "Search" button. All of the search tools can be used in a Basic search.

How to Use the Advanced Search

Use this Search form to query the database using one or a combination of eighteen different fields. Most of the additional fields include pop-up windows accessible via the data list button. Select items by checking the box beside the item and clicking the "Select" button at the end of the pop-up table. The items you've selected will appear in the Search Form. All of the search tools can be used in an Advanced search.

How to Use the "Fuzzy" Search

Not sure on how to spell a name? You can use the Fuzzy Search feature, which searches the database phonetically and finds those names which sound like the one you're looking for. Enter a name in one of the fields, and click the Search button. You cannot use wild cards or search operators in a fuzzy search, so just enter the name. The results will include names that sound approximately like the name you entered. For example, if you search for "Smith" the results will include not only "Smith", but also "Smithe", "Smyth", "Schmidt" and other variations, some of which may seem a bit odd.

There are various methods available to be used in the fuzzy search; see the Fuzzy Search Methods page for more information on how this kind of search works.

The Search Results List

Any results from your search are displayed in the form of a table. Basic information (Name, Occupation, Employer and Location) is displayed initially. To view more information on the subject, click on the complete record symbol beside the subject’s name. This will display a drop-down window containing all available information.

The data in the table columns can be sorted by clicking one of the arrows in the Sort ascending symbol found in each column title. The column that the data is currently sorted on will have one of the arrows in red.

To see all available information on a person or business on a single page, click the name in the list.

If you have additional information about a person or business, click on the annotate symbol at the right of each line. A page will appear where you can submit your information; the information will appear on this site. If the line also has a annotate symbol, that record already has annotations; click the symbol to view them.

If a links symbol appears at the right of the line, the record has links to other records. Click the symbol to see a list of these links.

Search by Occupation

A specialized search gives you a list of occupations as listed in the directories. For more information, see Directory Occupation Search Tips.

Search by Employer

A specialized search gives you a list of employers as listed in the directories. For more information, see Directory Employer Search Tips.

Search Tips

The database can be searched in different ways - by a person's name, address, occupation, or employer. To search for occupations, use the terms identified in the dynamic occupations list described above. Or use search "wildcards," as described in the Search Syntax notes for this site. To search for employers, consult the dynamic employers list described above.

To search the business and residence address fields, simply enter the name of the street, surrounded by wildcard characters. For example, enter " *Kane* " — without quotation marks around the name — and not "Kane Street" or "Kane St" to display details for all householders and businesses located on that street.

The database will also display the names of individuals who "boarded" in lodging houses or who occupied "rooms" in hotels. To search for these occurences, enter the abbreviations "bds" or "rms" — without quotation marks around the terms — in the residence address field. A search using the term "cabin" in the residence address field will return records of persons (mainly working men) who resided in those very humble dwellings. In both cases, surrounding the search term with wildcard characters may improve the results.