Digging for Your Roots 2012: Ancestry Library Edition Database


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Updated version of 2008 presentation on how to access and search in ALE. The 2012 version takes into account the changes to the ALE's interface of 2011

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  • Interface of ALE changed in 2011 – more streamlined approach with an emphasis on the historical records; took away the tabs for “Stories & Publications” and “Photos & Maps” because we was too confusing for researchers not to mention, most of the content in those sections pertained mostly to the US Search feature on the home page is a federated search of all the data sets in ALE. Generally speaking, if you utilize this search option, make sure you click on either “Add Life Events” or “Add Family Members” to help fine-tune your search parameters. CAUTION: Beginners should not use this option unless you have an ancestor with a very uncommon name and you are curious to see what types of information are available through ALE.
  • 5 main search categories: - Census & Voter Lists - BMDS - Military - Immigration & Travel - Newspapers & Publications (note: mostly US focused) NOTE: these record categories are NOT country/region specific. It pertains to all record types classified under that category. They key thing about doing a search in these categories is that you want to put in as many relevant detail as possible. **last category is the CARD CATALOG – enables users to view all 8000+ data sets; similar to the “All Databases” option on the page **Really handy feature is the “Recent” link on the page that takes you to all of the recently updated or added data sets within ALE
  • Approximately 5-8 data sets are added/updated on a weekly basis - if a data set is indicated with a red mark, it just means that the data set was updated as opposed to a new data set being added for the first time Generally speaking, whatever Ancestry adds to its website is often added to ALE with perhaps a slight delay - Easiest way to see what Ancestry is adding or updating, go to the website, hit the search tab and select “Card Catalog”. You can then choose to sort results by “Date Updated” or “Date Added”
  • Explore by Location Feature - enables users to find records for a particular geographic area - records are broken down by main record groups such as census and voter lists, BMDs, etc. **A great way to help beginners to target their research by seeing what information is available through ALE (especially important to see the overall date ranges for each of the data set) Circled area indicates what is newly added/updated for that specific region
  • Several ways to access the 1940 US federal Census but perhaps the easiest way is to click on the quick link from the home page 1940 US census records were released by NARA in April 2012. Massive indexing project taken on by several groups, including Ancestry & FamilySearch. All of the states and territories, with the exception of the Philippines, have been completely indexed Note: the Browse the collection box on the right hand side of the screen. If you wanted to know who lived in specific neighborhood in a specific community & state, this feature takes you directly to the digitized images. A really quick way to get “historical view” of a community **Really important tool is the “Show Advanced” link. Once you click on it, the search interface changes and it provides you with more options to refine your search.
  • The advanced search enables you limit some of your search terms. Especially useful when it comes to searching for names. One of the things that ALE has improved upon is options for searching both first and family names. In the advanced, both fields enables users to search phonetically, by initials (first name), soundex (surname) and by similar relevance (e.g. Catherine and Katherine OR Smith and Smyth). Clicking on the radio button is also a way to force the search engine to focus specifically on the terms you entered. Especially useful if you have a relative with a very common name and you are getting way too many results. Eleanor Roosevelt deliberately misspelled Eleanor ROSAVELT so you can see the different search options available. If you don’t click on the “Show Advanced” button to get your various search options, the database defaults to EXACT MATCH (not quite exact though) Also note that I listed a location (Washington) for her to help narrow down the results
  • Search results – based on relevancy Note that Eleanor Roosevelt living in Washington, D.C. and wife to Franklin shows up middle of the list. Why is that? Phonetic spelling of ROOSEVELT – used ROSAVELT instead of ROOSEVELT Even if I had spelled ROOSEVELT properly, the results would have listed THE Eleanor 2 nd . Why? Because Ancestry places more relevancy on the name than the location. Keep this in mind when you are searching for family members and you are getting “false hits”
  • Handy Tip #1: Print this results page for your records; not only does it give you a more legible copy of the main categories and who lived in the household, the page has the added advantage of providing you with the actual record source! In the case of the 1940 US federal census, each district is hyperlinked to a map that users can take a look at Also handy are the blank form for the 1940 US federal census which lists the categories. These categories are not easy to read when you print off the original. Off to the right hand side of the screen, are additional records that may or may not pertain to your individual. Worth checking out but only if you have certain details in hand. Otherwise, it can be overwhelming for the beginning genealogist.
  • Ancestry Image Viewer – automatically the database sets you up in their own specially-designed viewer than operates on ADOBE flash (software) – makes it easier for the user to zoom in & out and change viewing options A new feature is the “Ancestry Index” located at the bottom of the screen – you can turn this option off but it’s nice to see a “cleaner” version of the document before you Similar to the older version of ALE, this version’s main navigational tools are locating above the image itself. This is where the buttons are located for printing, saving and emailing the image To save the image, hit the print button and instead of printing the page, you right click with the mouse and save the jpeg image to your flash drive; depending on how Ancestry uploads the file, you can also just simply right click with your mouse on this page and then save it that way You can also email a link to the record to yourself or a friend (multiple email addresses separated by comma). Link is valid for 14 days and you can only send a total of 5 records to a single email address. **NOT REALLY RECOMMENDED if you are doing quite a bit of searching. We recommend a combination of printing and saving records to a flash drive
  • - print option – DON’T USE the PRINT Function on your browser – you end up printing only a portion of the page - image only OR image & citation - wait for the image to download and then ALT+F to get to print options (change orientation to landscape and margin settings) ***NOTE: You CANNOT print out a portion of the page unless you download it to a flash drive and “manipulate” with some photo-editing software
  • Image 1 – exact match – result took us directly to the 1906 Prairie Census record where Daniel SCHMIDT living in Saskatchewan is listed. On the left hand side of the screen are some useful tools – upper left corner is a list of the search terms used to generate the results; bottom left is the “hot keys” or keyboard short-cuts – really handy feature if you are doing quite a bit of searching and don’t want to use the back button on the browser to get back to the search screen (n=new search; r=refine search) Image 2 – while looking at the summary of the 1906 Prairie Census record for Daniel SCHMIDT, notice the right hand column where Ancestry lists suggested records; why do you think Ancestry recommended a 1911 Canadian Census record for a Daniel SMITH???
  • SCHMIDT=SMITH; both of the surnames soundex code is S530 Look at the circled information – does it match up with what we found out about Daniel SCHMIDT from the 1906 Prairie Census records? Some slight variations on spelling of names and a year off on some of the details like birth year or immigration year but for the most part Daniel SCHMIDT is Daniel SMITH in 1911.
  • Olga SCHMIDT (exact & Soundex) Birth year – 1910 (information based on 1911 census – remember that 10/12 listed on the 1911 census indicated that Olga SMITH was 10 months at the time of the 1911 census meaning that her birth year was in 1910!) Location – Saltcoats, Saskatchewan (information based on 1911 census; chances are they would not have moved from the area) Does this seem to match up with what we know about Daniel Schmidt and his family members???? Notice that in the 1916 census, Daniel is now going by IAN.
  • There is a 2009 version of this book but the search tips pointed out in the 2007 book are still relevant. The book can be borrowed from RPL for a 3 week loan period and is renewable
  • Consistently ranked as one of the best Genealogy blogs by FamilyTree Magazine – Best of 2012 Really great insider views on what is potentially coming our way on both of these websites
  • You can keep up with Ancestry by subscribing to their newsletters. Free to join. You can check out their archives on the left hand side screen.
  • Digging for Your Roots 2012: Ancestry Library Edition Database

    1. 1. Digging for Your Roots Genealogy Series May P. Chan Prairie History Room Regina Public Library Presented October 20, 2012 ©2008, updated 2012
    2. 2. Outline Brief Introduction  ALE vs Ancestry.com Main resources found in ALE ALE’s revamped home page 2 case studies – developing search strategies  1940 US federal census  Schmidt (Sitz) family – Canadian census collection Additional Resources
    3. 3. What is it?Ancestry Library Edition (ALE) is anenhanced library database versionof Ancestry.com, the largest and mostpopular genealogy website on themarket.
    4. 4. How do the two sites differ? Ancestry.com or .ca Ancestry Library Edition (ALE) available to individuals  available to institutions via and organizations for an Proquest subscription annual subscription  Offers genealogical records Offers genealogical but without of the records as well as the “interactive” features ability to upload your family trees, to chat with other researchers, purchase genealogical books
    5. 5. Accessibility Ancestry Library Edition (ALE) is now available at all Regina Public Library branch terminals (both public internet and CatPlus). The database is in-house database use only meaning you cannot log in from home to access it. All of our computer terminals allow you to print, save and email files from the database.
    6. 6. Main Resources found in ALECanada  1851-1911 federal Census returns  1906 and 1916 Prairie Census returns  Canada Parliamentary Marriage and Divorces, 1867-1919  Ontario Birth, Marriage and Death records, 1857-1934  Quebec Vital & Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967  British Columbia Birth, Marriage and Death records, 1872-1990
    7. 7. Main Resources – continued…Canada…  Nova Scotia Birth, Marriage and Death records, 1763-1960  Canadian Passenger Lists, 1865-1935  Border Crossings: From US to Canada, 1908- 1935  Canadian Soldiers of World War I, 1914-1918  Old United Empire Loyalists List, 1885
    8. 8. Main Resources - continued…United States  federal Census records, 1790-1940  New York State Census records, 1892, 1915 & 1925  California Births, Marriages and Death records, 1905-1997  California Divorce index, 1966-1984  Border Crossings: From Canada to US, 1895- 1956  New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957  U.S. Passport Applications, 1820-1925  U.S. Naturalization Records, 1795-1972
    9. 9. Main Resources - continued…United States…  Civil War Service Records  World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918  World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938- 1946  U.S. General Land Office Records, 1796-1907  Daughters of the American Revolution Lineage (over 150 volumes)  American Genealogical Biographical Index (over 200 volumes)
    10. 10. Main Resources – continued…England, Scotland & Wales  English & Welsh census records, 1841-1911  Scottish census records, 1841-1901  Free BMD indexes, 1837-1915  England & Wales – Births, Marriages and Death indexes, 1916-2002  Gretna Green, Scotland – Marriage Registers, 1794-1895  England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills & Administrations), 1858-1966
    11. 11. Main Resources – continued…United Kingdom & Ireland…  UK Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960  British Army WWI Service Records, 1914-1920  British Commonwealth War Graves Registers, 1914-1918  UK, City & County Directories, 1600s-1900s  England & Wales, Criminal Registers, 1791-1892  Ireland, Civil Registrations – Birth, Marriage and Death indexes, 1864-1958  Ireland, Births and Baptisms, 1620-1911
    12. 12. Main Resources - continued…Europe  Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934  Baden, Germany Emigration Index, 1866-1911  German Phone Directories, 1915-1981  Mecklenburg-Schwerin Census, 1819, 1867, 1890 and 1900 (in German)  Denmark Births, Christenings & Marriages, 1631- 190ss (in Danish)
    13. 13. Main Resources - continued…Europe…  Norway Births, Christenings & Marriages, 1600s- 1800s (in Norwegian)  Sweden, Church Records, 1500-1941 (in Swedish)  Netherlands, Genelias – Baptismal & Death indexes, 1811-1960 (in Dutch)  Poland, Jewish Records – Birth, Marriages and Death indexes, 1550-1993
    14. 14. Main Resources - continued…Australia and New Zealand  Australia Births, Marriages and Death indices, 1788-1985  Australian Electoral Rolls, 1903-1980  Australian Convict Transportation Registers, 1787-1868  New Zealand Electoral Rolls, 1853-1981  New Zealand Naturalisations, 1843-1981  New Zealand, City and Area Directories, 1866- 1955
    15. 15. Resources Not Carried in Ancestry Library Edition(Note: most of these resources are available through Proquest’s HeritageQuest Online database which is also available through Regina Public Library) Biography & Genealogy Master Index (BGMI) Family & Local Histories collection (primarily U.S.) (*HeritageQuest Online) Freedman’s Bank Records (*HeritageQuest Online) Historical Newspaper Collection Passenger & Immigration List Index (PILI) (note: PHR has the print copies) Periodical Source Index (PERSI) (*HeritageQuest Online)
    16. 16. How Do I Log In to the Database?1. Log in to any public internet terminal at any computer terminal with your Regina Public Library card and PIN number (4 digits).2. Click on either the Internet Explorer or Firefox icon on the desktop or within the “Internet folder” under “All Programs”
    17. 17. 3. Type in the url for the “Databases by Subject” page www.reginalibrary.ca/reference/central/ (note: this page is the home page for on the computers in the Prairie History Room) and click on the Genealogy category.
    18. 18. Home Page of Ancestry Library Edition
    19. 19. Main Navigation Bar – Search Categories
    20. 20. Recent Genealogy Databases
    21. 21. Explore by Location Feature
    22. 22. Case Studies Objective: to learn more about the data sets in Ancestry and to develop more effective search strategies 2 case studies  1940 US federal census  Eleanor Roosevelt (wife to President Franklin D. Roosevelt)  Canadian Census collection  Daniel Schmidt and family, who settled in Saskatchewan, ca. 1902.
    23. 23. Case Study #11940 US Federal Census
    24. 24. 1940 US Federal Census cont’d…
    25. 25. Search Tips - Surnames When searching for a surname and you are unsure of its spelling, try using these options:  Exact – no variations; exactly how you have spelled the name  Phonetic – spelling what you hear; a letter/symbol to represent a particular sound  Soundex - coding system used to group together surnames that sound alike, but have variant spellings  Similar Variations - There are alternates and spelling variations that are commonly used  E.g. HASHE = HASH
    26. 26. Search Tips - Surnames Using wildcard/truncation symbols – basically it’s using symbols to search by using only a portion of the word 2 most common symbols  Asterick * (replaces multiple letters) – eg. JOHNSON/JOHNSTON/JOHANSON could be searched as JOH*SON  Question mark ? (replaces 1 letter) – eg. SMITH/SMYTH would be searched as SM?TH These symbols only work in EXACT MATCH!!! If you select Phonetic/Soundex, both wildcard & truncation symbols are ignored
    27. 27. 1940 US Federal Census cont’d…
    28. 28. 1940 US Federal Census cont’d…
    29. 29. 1940 US Federal Census cont’d…
    30. 30. Printing a Record from ALE
    31. 31. Case Study # 2 Canadian Census Collection Daniel SCHMIDT immigrated to Canada from the Ukraine ca. 1901. He was born in Russia ca. 1883 and married Caroline Hepting in 1901. The couple settled in Saskatchewan, somewhere around the Melville area and had a total of 11 children, including Elizabeth, Martha, Henry and Olga.
    32. 32. Canadian Census Collection
    33. 33. Canadian Census Collection
    34. 34. 1911 Canadian Census RecordIs this really Daniel SCHMIDT?
    35. 35. 1916 “Brick Wall” Tried searching various combinations of Daniel/Dan and SCHMIDT/SMITH to locate the family in the 1916 Prairie Census without any luck. What would you do? HINT: Tried looking for either the wife or the children in the census. In this case, I chose Olga because the name is not as common and does not offer as many variations as Karolina (e.g. Carol, Caroline, etc.) or Elizabeth (e.g. Elisabeth, Liza, Ellie, etc.)
    36. 36. Breaking Through the 1916 “Brick Wall”
    37. 37. Additional Resources - # 1 ALE’s Find Answers http://tinyurl.com/alefaqs
    38. 38. Additional Resources - # 2 Morgan, George C. The Official Guide to Ancestry.com. Provo, Utah : Ancestry Pub., c2007. ISBN: 9781593313043 or 1593313047 025.069291 MORGA
    39. 39. Additional Resources - # 3 Ancestry Insider Blog (http://ancestryinsider.blogspot.com) – unauthorized reviews of Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org websites
    40. 40. Additional Resources - # 4 RootsWeb & Ancestry Weekly newsletters - http://newsletters.rootsweb.ancestry.com/
    41. 41. The EndQuestions or for a PDF copy of the powerpoint: maychan@reginalibrary.ca