I don't quite follow the description. Are you saying that you have 2,900 unique values in the nationality field? That seems an extremely large list of different values for this.
Perhaps a step by step example of what you want to do will clear up your description.
Sorry I am not explaining myself here. I transcribed 3,500 enrolment forms, under where it said Nationality the men wrote, those who could write, a list which included, British, Britisher, Welshman, Scote, Scottish, Scotland etc.. I transcribed these into my database as was written.
What I would like to do now is to make a new field within the datebase and put for example all the British, Britisher, Welshman etc together under the title British, where the original field has Amercian Jew, Amercian Free man, America etc the new field would be American..
Now I could go through all of the 3,500 records one at a time and entry in the new field British, or American etc. If I 'find' British, Britisher etc to comes to 2,900 records, is there a way to auto-entry the new field for just thoses 2,900?.. then when I do a 'find' for all type that would fit an Amercian in the new field, some 350 I would like to be able to entry (Auto) just thoses fields..
Am I making any sense here?
Ok, that makes sense.
I'd set up a table, National Groups, with two fields:
NationalityAsEntered, National Group
Set the Unique Values, always validate options on the NationalityAsEntered field. Then import all the data from your enrollment forms, but just specify that Nationality field you've described above be matched to Nationality as entered. The validation rule will eliminate all duplications so that you will have just one record for each nationality that the soldier indicated when they joined up. Then it will be up to you to enter in the text you want to use as a substitute value in National Group. You can speed the chore up by performing a find for a key word or portion thereof (Find all records with "Americ", for example) and then use Replace Field Contents to enter the text you want into the National Group field for all these records.
Once that chore is done, you can link this table by the NationalityasEntered field to your original table and then place the National Groups::National Group field on that layout to show the desired text for that enrollment record.