How to Search


Use the various browse features on the left to explore archival descriptions, people and organizations, places, subjects, and digital material (photographs). After selecting a browse by topic, it lists the top ten names, creators, subjects and places. An advanced search option is at the top of the results and allows you to filter and/or sort the results.

Basic Search

The search box located at the top is the easiest way to search. Simply type in your keyword and hit enter. Any responsive results will be displayed for your perusal. The search bar will also give suggestions as you type.

Keyword Searching

The search box also supports advanced keyword searching.

  • Try a broad range of terms when searching (i.e. Yarrows, HMC Dockyard, dockyard, shipyard)
  • Use quotation marks to search for exact phrases (i.e. "Esquimalt United Church")
  • Use boolean operators (AND, OR, AND NOT) to refine search or build complex queries (i.e. School AND NOT "Lampson" will deliver results with the word school, but not the word Lampson)
  • Use the asterisk character * to perform wildcard searches for words that may end multiple different ways (i.e. Lampson St* would return results about Lampson St, Lampson Street, Lampson Street School, etc)

Advanced Search

The advanced search option can also help you refine searches or build complex queries. It can be found near the top of search results, as in the below screenshot, or directly accessed here.

The advanced search options include:

  • Enter a keyword or phrase in the first search box (ie “Esquimalt Road”). You can either search all fields or specify a certain type of field. The example of "Esquimalt Road" is a place access point and could therefore be narrowed to that field.
  • To add an additional search term, click the “Add new criteria” button and it will prompt you with an "AND, OR and NOT dropdown menu. To continue the Esquimalt Road example, you could select "AND" and add a subject access point "Business," which would return results for businesses on Esquimalt Road.
  • If you wish to search in a specific collection (i.e. Maureen Duffus fonds), start typing the name of the collection and select it from the drop-down menu.
  • The results can also be filtered by whether or not there is a digital object or the level of collection. Note that as of 2022-05-02, Esquimalt has not added information for the Copyright Status, Finding Aid or General Material Designation.
  • You can also specify a date range using the YYYY-MM-DD format. Please keep in mind that many records on this website do not have an exact date. The default overlapping date option will produce the most results.


Use the clipboard feature to “pin” records of interest and to create a list of items that can be reviewed or printed. Pin a record to the clipboard by selecting the paper clip icon that appears on the left-hand side of certain pages. You can then access all the records you pinned to the clipboard by selecting “Go to clipboard” from the "Clipboard" drop-down menu located in the header bar. Note that pinned records will disappear when you navigate away from this website or close your internet browser. If you go to your "Clipboard," you can save or export your pinned records however and later reload that same list.

Download photos

  • Click on the image in a record's description to view the image. You can now save or download it to your computer.
  • Contact the Esquimalt Archives if a higher quality version of a photograph or other digital object is required.

If you have any further questions about searching, please contact the Archives at [email protected] or 250-412-8540.