Ancestry Searching: Overview Searches the index, not the images. Index = a human-made partial transcription of the census information. Errors created at any point may hinder your search: informant errors, enumerator errors, transcription errors, illegibility issues, or deterioration of original pages. Errors may occur in name spelling, age, birth place, even sex! Location: Enter state, town if known; county not necessary. Ancestry will find town/city w/in a state, even if your entry is misspelled or obsolete; county name is not required. If an exact search fails: DON’T constrain your search too much by age DO Use WILDCARDS [for names] .
Entering Information NAME box: search for first, last, or both names Any part of name can be incorrect or irregular in index MUCH of your search strategizing will be to compensate for name spelling issues BIRTH box: focuses but does not constrain results BUT If +/- is used, it will constrain results BIRTHPLACE: can focus results, doesn’t constrain LOCATION: state and city/town: county not nec. Ancestry compensates for small deviances in your input of location; within a state, it will find a location even if a misspelled, unofficial, or informal designation for the place is entered
Typical Search: Less can be more Do use NAME & LOCATION Don’t constrain search too much by age
Typical* Results: *every search is different! Search Results order Found full name in specified location Found full name elsewhere in state Found similar names in specified location Found last name elsewhere in state (Search rules appear to vary according to name, census year, and other parameters)
Evaluating Results: Hover over “View Record” on left to see preview Hover cursor hover Get Preview Decide whether to look at image
Get all the info on your target: Examine the image Click on the image icon on the right
What’s On Ancestry’s image page Ancestry header: Always the same Census page header: Different every census year
What’s on Ancestry’s Image Page Header Ancestry organizes the images by its own system, not by the National Archives (NARA) system: This “image number” is relevant only within Ancestry Details of location Back to Preview page < Move to prev or next page Change image size for readability
Census Sheet Header Example: 1880 Name of census taker (Enumerator) Page No. (“Sheet”) By Enumerator Census-specific location Town, County, State Stamped Ledger Page No. + Letter (added later) Date of census visit Either A & B or A & B, C & D ~ As in 264 A; B ; 265 C; D  (No stamped number on page? Look at the page before.)
Census Sheet Header Example: 1900 Each census year has a somewhat different header. State & County “Incorporated” city or town name Ward Stamped No. + Letter Date of visit Name of enumerator “Sheet No.” written in by enumerator In Ancestry, when city = county, the “town” is the ward number: “Wd. 33”– Not necessary to know the ward unless browsing Census specific location details: Enumeration District (E.D.)
Examine and interpret all the data for the family and nearbyfamilies Looking for Simon Ennis family in Sullivan County NY - 1880 1880
Examine Results Simon Ennis found . . . . last household on page . . . So look at the nextpage too!
. . . Next page . . . More Ennis family members!
“Every-census”Imagedetails (shown on 1880 form) Line number After 1880: Street Name & house no. Relationship to Head of Household “Tick” means “yes” Dwelling no. “Ditto” sign Blanks mean “No” Family no.
Save the image to your laptop or flash drive! Don’t use “save” Use PRINT (Printer icon)
Finish Saving (U.D. computers) Click on “Pdf995” Give the document a name you will recognize: Such as Surname + Census Yr + Location, for example: Mackey1870Pok Choose your flash drive from “My Computer”
What’s On Ancestry’s Preview Page Not much more info than on pop-up preview Source citation components (Does not point to specific person or family) Source information Detailed description of the census year database