How to use this site:

The following will briefly discuss text recognition, include some recommendations on researching the collections, and help explain the functionality of using the search box.

Optical Character Recognition (OCR)

All documents have been processed through Adobe Acrobat’s Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software during digitization, which means that all the text has been converted to searchable characters. Processing text – especially older text that has been produced by a typewriter – through OCR rarely offers anything above 60-70% accuracy. The spacing of the text, gaps between sentences, or especially in the case of the Skyline Drive collections, the tables and templates on the documents, can all confuse the OCR software. It is probably a safe estimate to state that our documents are operating at about 50% text recognition.

Keyword Search

Despite operating at less than 100% text recognition, we still highly recommend that you utilize this function by entering keywords into the search box. If you are interested in a particular family or individual, then we encourage you to go directly to the Skyline Drive Condemnation Cases or use the Families Tree by clicking here. Our Skyline Drive Miscellaneous Documents collection contains a variety of legal records that may not fit into an individual condemnation case, but still offers a rich assortment of interesting material so we encourage you to scroll through and see if any file piques your interest.

When keyword searching, we recommend you use the search box in the upper right corner of the site and not the "Advanced Search (Items Only)," because this search only examines the item's metadata and NOT the content of the documents themselves.

For more precise directions on how to search for keywords please follow our step-by-step process below:

  1. Enter a keyword into the Search Box (see image above).
  2. Choose an item or file of interest from the results and click the corresponding link or thumbnail.
  3. On the new page click on the image of the document to open it. The document is a PDF file.
  4. In your PDF viewer, open the search function ( often this works by pressing ‘Command + F’ or ‘Control + F’) and re-enter your original keyword.
  5. After typing in the keyword it will automatically take you to the first instance it found of that word. If there are multiple instances you can go to each in successive order by pressing enter or return on the keyboard.


You will notice that many of the items have "tags." We encourage you to use these as part of your search methods as well. These "tags" refer to the surname of individuals mentioned in the primary source being viewed, however, they link to surnames across collections. Meaning, if you are viewing an indenture of apprenticeship with a "tag" of Shifflett, when clicked, the tag will take you to other records that mention the last name Shifflett. This feature provides the opportunity to view family history across time.