How to use the Hebridean Connections system
The 40,000 records on this site are interlinked through family connections, locations, events, themes and images, and you may find that simply jumping in to a photograph on the home page will set you off on a fascinating trail. Blue hyperlinks within the text or in the list of records at the bottom of a page will take you to further records; thumbnail pictures or sound icons on a record will open media files. However, the database also supports complex searches.
Typing a name or other word in the search box on the home page will search all record titles and descriptions for that word. Soundex is used, so that Mary McKenzie will also find Mairi Mackenzie.
The results will appear to the right, in closed folders, organised by record type: Boats, Business, Crofts, Historical Events, People and Stories, all including that name or word. The number in parentheses tells you how many records exist in that folder. Clicking on the "+" will open the folder to reveal the records, in alphabetical order.
The results list can be regrouped in many different ways. Instead of viewing the list by record type (People, Locations), you may wish to organise it by, for instance, occupation. Use the drop down menu (which defaults to Type of Record) at the top of the page to choose how the results list is organised. The same list of results will be regrouped by occupation, where that information exists.
If you have searched for Mary Mackenzie and open the People folder, you will find that not all the records are Mary Mackenzie. However each one will be linked to a Mary Mackenzie, typically as a parent, child or spouse. Mary Mackenzie herself will be easily found in the alphabetical list. Clicking on her name (or photograph, if available) will open her record.
The database can be searched more precisely if detailed information is known. Choose advanced search, and specify the type of record you require. The main text box will search only the title of the record (if a person, the name) while the second box will search associated records. Further fields will appear, which can be filled in according to your information. In this way it would be possible to search for a John Macdonald who was married to a Mary and who was born between certain dates.
All location, building and monument records, and some stories, are linked to a map; the map can be accessed via the Show on Map button on a record. To access the record from the map itself, choose Map Search and use the zoom tools to focus on the area of interest. The Show Info tool will allow you to choose a single icon on the map, or to draw a box around a cluster and bring up the records.
Collections of records on particular themes can be called up and text-searched.
The Visited Pages tab will give a list of all recently visited records, in order, to allow for easy backtracking.
Some points to remember:
The database is a work in progress and new information is added, or corrected, every day. Some links are not yet live as all records are subject to checking before publication, but these should be available soon.
While the intent is to included every person who has lived in our parishes since records began, it is possible that some people have slipped through the net, or that their village or family records have yet to be digitised. Their records may appear in due course, and meanwhile an enquiry to the relevant Comunn Eachdraidh may prove fruitful.
Gaelic was and to a large extent still is the language of the community; however records were kept in English and therefore names are mostly given here in English, especially in earlier records. Some equivalents are given below:
|Margaret||Mairead, Maggie, Peggy, Peigi|
|Henrietta||Oighrig, Henny, Effie|
|Christina||Ciorstag, Chirsty, Kirsty|
|Catherine||Catriona, Kate, Ceit|
In past centuries a limited number of names were used in these communities, and there will be literally hundreds of Donald Macdonalds or John Macleods on the database. This can be frustrating to researchers and it is hoped that the supplementary information – dates, family links,
addresses and occupations – will help to narrow the field.
In case of difficulty please contact us using the feedback page or at the Hebridean Connections office in Uig, Isle of Lewis on (44) 01851 672301.