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Database Search Tools

Using the Search Tools


You are strongly advised to print off this section for use with the Search Tools.


Database search tools are not easy to design and often irritating to use. These may be no exception, but they are based on those used by the editors for some years when compiling and checking the ledger database. Six main options are offered: search by name of Account Holder, Participant, Transaction Type, Coinage, Commodity and Place Name. Clicking on one of these brings up the search screen already set for the appropriate area of the database for the particular type of search chosen. Alternatively, it is possible to click on any of the headings and then select the area to be searched by selecting the one of four options from the dropdown at the top left hand Search box. These are: Account Holders, Participants, Folio Accounts and Folio Narrative.

            The basic search techniques can best be demonstrated by using two worked examples using the Account Holder option, either from the main page or from the Search box dropdown.


Example A

If the family or surname of the person or company whose accounts you wish to view has already been selected from the Index of Account Holders, then enter it in the blank ‘search’ box on the top right of the screen to the left of ‘GO’. For current purposes, type in ‘Bardi’ and click on ‘GO’. The full name of the client, ‘Bardi, Ubertino de’ and co., of Bruges’ then appears in the ‘Name’ box on the left-hand side of the screen. Click on the shaded box beside the name and ALL the entries in ALL the company’s accounts in Bruges for the year 1438 will appear in the main grid or box. They are shown as they would be in a modern bank statement, with debit and credit entries appearing in one column and not on either side of the folio. Reading across a line will give you the following information: date of the entry; transaction type; value in £ flemish; side (Debit or Credit); ledger entry, with folio cross-reference to the cross entry; folio in the ledger where the account is to be found. All the information shown on the grid can be transferred to an MS Excel spreadsheet by clicking on the shaded box ‘Folio Items’ at the bottom of the grid.  To do this, follow the instructions as they appear on the page. The spreadsheet can then be saved on the user’s own p.c. in the usual way, or it can simply be printed off. Clicking on ‘Accounts ’ brings up the full name of the account holder on an MS Excel spreadsheet. If you wish to see the Original Entry in the images of the folios in ABIB libro mastro no. 8, first click on the entry as shown in the grid box. Then click on IMAGE directly above the grid box. This will take you to the images of the relevant folio in the ledger, dare and avere. Click on the side you wish to see, and then use the magnifying tool to increase the size of the image so that it can be read. Locate the entry on the page first by finding the account according to its place on the folio, that is, 45.1, 45.2, 45.3, etc. Then locate the transaction by the date of entry and its value. 


Example B

Go to the search grid by clicking on ‘Account Holders Index’. Leave the ‘search’ box clear. Click on ‘GO’. The complete list of account holders will now appear in the ‘NAME’ box. Select the person or company whose accounts you wish to view by clicking on the box to the left of the name. The relevant account will then appear in the main grid box. Follow the procedures given above to transfer the data to an MS Excel spreadsheet and save or print it.



Using either of these procedures will bring up ALL the entries in ALL the accounts that a client kept with the bank in 1438. In some cases, where there is only one account, this poses no problems. Where a client had multiple accounts or where an account was carried over from one folio to a late folio, then the accounts as shown in the grid will contain all sums carried over or carried forward (Transaction Codes OCFW, OCVR). If you  wish to arrive at an accurate value for the account, these must be eliminated from your calculations. If you wish to see the separate accounts of any account holder, follow the search procedures given below under Folio Account Search.


Participant Search

Follow the same procedures as given directly above, Account Holder search.


Folio Account Search

Click on either Account Holders Index or Participants Index on the main page. Click on the dropdown on the ‘Search’ box at the top left of the search grid that then appears. Change to ‘Folio Accounts’ and then click on ‘GO, leaving the box to the left clear. A full list of account holders will then appear in the ‘Account’ box. Click on the name of the account you wish to see. If the account holder has only one account with the bank, then that will automatically appear in the grid. If he or she has multiple accounts, they appear in the list, and clicking on the one you wish to view brings it up in the grid. Taking the Bardi again as an example, the company had one current account, spread over three folios, 23.1, 52.1 and 105.1, and two conti a parte . Clicking under the main entry for the Bardi brings up the main account which is spread over several pages, as indicated at the top of the grid. 


Transaction Type, Coinages/Currencies, Commodities and Place Names

These can best be searched when the search tools are set for ‘Folio Narrative’. This happens automatically if any one of the appropriate entries on the main page is selected or if this heading is chosen from the Search dropdown on the tools page. You are then invited to select the Transaction Type, Coinage, Commodity or Place Name you wish to view. If, under Transaction Type you select Bills of Exchange, for example, and click on ‘GO’, then a list of all the accounts containing bills of exchange will appear in the left-hand box. Select any one of these accounts to view the bills in it. Follow a similar procedure for the other categories. It is also possible to combine some of the searches: entering Bills of Exchange under ‘Transaction Type’ and Venice under Place Names will bring up all the accounts where Venice appears in a bill of exchange; participants or account holders from a specific place can be located by combining the information from the dropdowns for Account Holders, Participants and Place Names .

The dropdown lists are not exhaustive, although every attempt has been made to make them as complete as possible. They also apply to the databases of both the Bruges and the London ledger, and the latter is still under construction and the latter is being continuously updated. If there is a ‘nil’ return on a search, it may be because the item appears in one of the ledgers but not the other. Consequently, it is always worth trying a simple ‘Word Search’ by entering the name of a person, place, commodity or coinage in the blank ‘search’ box and clicking ‘GO’. For this type of search, the setting in the main Search box on the top left-hand side of the grid must always be ‘Folio Narrative’.




        Use Search Tools