ProQuest® Congressional Help - Finding Proper Names
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Finding Proper Names

Follow the guidelines below to obtain the best results when you are searching for a proper name within ProQuest® Congressional:

(first name OR first initial NEAR/3 last name)

To find documents referring to Mary Jones, use this search:

(mary OR m NEAR/3 jones)


This method ensures comprehensive results and includes variations such as Mary J. Jones; M. J. Jones; Mary Jane Jones; Jones, Mary J.; and Jones, M. J.

Some names searched using this pattern will yield irrelevant references in the search results. When this happens, you may add additional search terms to decrease the likelihood of irrelevant results. For example, if Mary Jones is a CPA, you could use this search:

(Mary OR M NEAR/3 Jones AND CPA OR C.P.A. OR accountant)

  • The order of last name and first name may differ. For example, to find documents that contain "R Smith" and "Smith, R", use a proximity connector like NEAR/n.

    smith NEAR/2 r

  • The presentation of multiple initials may differ. For example:

    rj smith

    would find RJ Smith but not R.J. Smith (with periods) or R J Smith (with spaces). To find all possibilities, use an OR connector:

    (rj OR r j OR r.j NEAR/3 smith)


    The product interprets the periods in initials as blank spaces.
  • A name may be given with or without middle initials.

    To find articles by Raymond Smith, Raymond J. Smith and Raymond J. A. Smith, use a proximity connector like NEAR/n:

    (raymond NEAR/3 smith)

  • To account for all the possible combinations of name presentation, we recommend a combination of techniques. To find all of the above examples, you could use:

    (smith NEAR/3 ray! OR r)

The Advanced Search form offers an option that assists users in searching for witness names. Select "witness" from the drop-down list and two boxes will display: Last Name and First Name. The search will automatically process the first and last names entered in the separate boxes as a "name NEAR/3 name" search.

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