Banks and Bankers Database - How to use Bank Search

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Figure 1. Banks & Bankers Database Home page

After logging into the Banks & Bankers Database from the Bank Note History Project Home page on the SPMC.org website, you will be at the Database Search Home page, where you have two 'quick & easy' Bank Search methods: Search by Charter and Search by Town or County (See Figure 1).


National Bank Search by Charter Number

  • To use Search by Charter, simply type in the Bank's charter number. Then click on Find Bank and the Bank Information page for that bank will be displayed.

National Bank Search by Town or County

  • To use Seach by Town or County, type in the Town or County name. Then click on List Banks for this Town or County and a list of the National Banks for that Town/County in All States will be listed (See Figure 2). Click on the Bank Title of the bank you are looking for, and the Bank Information page for that bank will be displayed (See Figures 3 & 4). When you return to the Home page, it will still be displaying the list of banks from your previous Town/County search results, so you can view other banks in the list.
Note: For ‘Search by Town or County’, you must enter a Town or County name, but if you leave State blank, it will search All States for that Town/County to build the search results bank list. If that list is too long, you can enter the State for the Bank(s) you are looking for, click on 'List Banks', and the list will only show the banks for that State.
Figure 2. Search results for 'Gary' Town search


Bank Information page

Information shown for each National Bank includes:

  • Official Bank Title(s) with Title change dates based on the Huntoon data.
  • Bank Officer Pairs showing the Cashier-President pairs with years served.
This list is helpful for identifying Bankers that have signed a bank note, since this would be the normal pairing of signing officers. It also helps narrow down the year that the note was actually issued by the bank.
  • Bank Note Types Issued showing the Van Belkum Issuance Data (Series/Types & Serial#s Issued).
  • Bank History Summary based on the VanBelkum/Huntoon data, including any Notations written on the Organization Report or Duplicate Charter in the National Archives.
  • The Bank History Summary will also include links (if available) to the Bank Note History Wiki for the Bank History page, County Home page, and State Home page.
  • Bank Balance Summaries and OCC Bank Balances By Year (TotalResources & Circulation) based on the Pollock data.


The following images show the Bank Information page for Charter 9393, the FNB of Gary, SD:

Figure 3. (Partial) Bank Information page - Part 1
Figure 4. (Partial) Bank Information page - Part 2

Town/County Search Options

Bank Search By Town or County has several search options that you can use to control how the search should work.

Only list 'Note Issuing Banks' option

  • The 'Note Issuing Banks' Only checkbox controls whether No Issue banks should also be included in the search results. The Note Issuing banks will always be included in the search results, since those are the primary banks we are interested in. But sometimes you may be interested in also seeing the banks that did not issue notes in the list. The default is to have that checkbox checked, which means Town/County searches will include ONLY those banks that issued bank notes, and any No Issue banks will NOT be included in the search results. (Note: No Issue banks will have (No Issue) included in the bank name to indicate that bank did not issue bank notes).

In Figure 5 below, with the 'Note Issuing Banks Only' option Not checked, you can see that the search results include 5 Note Issuing banks, and also 2 No Issue banks.

Figure 5. Search Results for Pipestone County with the 'Note Issuing Banks Only' option NOT checked, so it shows both Note Issuing Banks and No Issue Banks.

Exact and 'Fuzzy' search options

The Exact checkbox next to the Town and County search boxes control whether the search routines do an Exact search or a 'Fuzzy' search using the Town (or County) value entered.

  • An Exact search means the results will only include banks with that Exact Town (or County) name. (Note: These searches are Not Case-Sensitive, meaning upper/lower case doesn't matter).
  • A Fuzzy search means the results will include banks that have the search value anywhere in the Town (or County) name.

As an example of a Fuzzy search, suppose you are thinking of starting a collection of National Bank Notes with 'Cloud' in the Town name. To find out which National Banks would be included in that collection, you would:

  • Type 'cloud' in the Town search box.
  • UnCheck the Exact option checkbox next to the Town search box.
  • Make sure the Note Issuing Banks Only checkbox is Checked (so the search results will only include those banks that issued bank notes).
  • Click on the List Banks for this Town or County button, and it will return the list of banks shown in Figure 6.
As you can see, the search results include banks from the towns of McCloud, St. Cloud, Saint Cloud, Red Cloud and McLoud in various States, all of which include 'cloud' in the Town name.
Figure 6. Search Results for a 'Fuzzy' (Not Exact) search on Town names that include 'cloud'.

Multi-Town/County search options

You can also include multiple town (or county) names in a Town/County Search.

  • For example, Pittsburgh, PA had 2 spellings (Pittsburgh & Pittsburg) during its history. Most of their banks used the Pittsburgh spelling, but 5 banks used the Pittsburg spelling.
  • To include both town spellings in the search results, you would:
    • Type 'pittsburgh,pittsburg' (separated by a comma) in the Town search box
    • Make sure the Exact search option is checked
    • Type 'pa' in the State search box
    • Make sure the Note Issuing Banks only search option is checked
    • Click on List Banks for this Town or County to list the 51 Note Issuing banks with a Town name of either Pittsburgh Or Pittsburg, in the State of Pennsylvania. (See Figure 7)

NOTE: Notice in Figure 7 how the Town search routine searches All Titles for a Multi-Title bank. So if a bank moved to a different location, or the town name changed (or the town was annexed by a neighboring city as was the case with Allegheny/Pittsburgh), the Town search will still find that bank and include it in the search results for that Town.

Figure 7. Search Results for a multi-Town search for 'Pittsburgh,pittsburg'.

Bank Search Tips & Tricks

  • Some banks used abbreviations in their town name or bank titles (such as St. for Saint). For some towns with multiple banks, this resulted in both the abbreviation and full word being used on their bank notes. To avoid confusion, and missing banks in the search results, always use the full word instead of the abbreviation for your search term, and the search results will automatically include banks based on both the full word and abbreviation. 3 specific examples are automatically handled by the search routines: St./Saint, Mt./Mount and Ft./Fort.
  • For ‘Search by Town or County’, you must enter a Town or County name, but if you leave State blank, it will search All States for that Town/County to build the search results bank list. If that list is too long, you can enter the State for the Bank(s) you are looking for, click on 'List Banks', and the list will only show the banks for that State.
  • The Home page and the Bank Search pages were designed so they should work well on most smart phones, however the Bank Officer Search page is not 'phone-friendly', since it displays so much information. So you're better off using the Bank Officer Search on a device with a larger screen, such as an iPad or laptop computer.