Intro to


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A quick overview of for beginning genealogy researchers.

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Intro to

  1. 1. What is Ancestry? • It is a commercial (for profit) privately owned company which offers many genealogically and historically significant databases.
  2. 2. What kinds of records? • A lot, over 30,00 databases varying from military, census, immigration and vital statistics, to newspaper articles, maps and photographs, border crossings, naturalization records. It even has a card catalog which lists individual databases. • You can perform basic or advanced searches and historical journals).
  3. 3. Don't’ forget these - • The Social Security Death Index, state birth, marriage, divorce and death records, links to headstones and Find A Grave, searchable probate records, some obituaries, war records from the Revolution, War of 1812, the Civil War, WW I and II related records • (You can pause and catch your breath here)
  4. 4. What else does it have? • Has charts and forms • A learning wiki • A quick way to browse what kinds of records are available for a certain place
  5. 5. And there’s a free way as well: _genealogy.shtml
  6. 6. How big is it? • At the end of 2013, figures were available which mention that it offered over 12 billion records and had over 2 million subscribers.
  7. 7. What services? •, ProGenealogists,,,,, and They also sell Family Tree Maker software. • It also has version in other countries, especially in Europe.
  8. 8. Then again…as of 6/4/14: • Online genealogy company will "retire" five of its products and services as of Sept. 5, 2014:, (subscriptions and member accounts will be discontinued, but the site will stay online), MyCanvas, Mundia, and Y-DNA and mitochondrial DNA testing.
  9. 9. Other facts • From 2007 to 2010, Ancestry was not available for free at the Family History Centers. It is available there now for free. Members of the Church of LDS will be getting free access as individuals, while non members can use it for free at FHC’s and in libraries which subscribe.
  10. 10. • Are you using Ancestry Library Edition, or a personal subscription?
  11. 11. What is the difference between and the Ancestry Library Edition? • is designed for the individual so there is a lot of personalized functionality and there are personalized options available to individual subscribers that are not available on our institutional sites. These include: Family Trees Tab; Collaborate Tab; and the Member Directory.
  12. 12. •Additionally, there are certain databases that are available on, that are NOT available on Ancestry Library Edition (ALE): • Historical Newspaper Collection • Family and Local History Collection • Obituary Collection • Filby's Passenger and Immigration Lists Index (PILI) • Biography & Genealogy Master Index (BGMI) • Freedman's Bank Records
  13. 13. Here’s a deal - Until about March 2015, AARP members can get 30 per cent off an personal subscription
  14. 14. So, what can you do? • Search censuses, using truncations and wild cards. • Search military records • Search immigration records • Search vital records • Search contributed family trees (use caution!)
  15. 15. There are advantages to both Ancestry subscriptions and to using the free version at libraries and FHC’s
  16. 16. How do you search censuses? • Hint: Creatively! • Just because you spell the name one way doesn’t mean that it has always been spelled tat way. And consider also census takers who talked to neighbors, workers who weren't very literate themselves, or did not speak the language of the people they were interviewing.
  17. 17. Remember also that names can be flipped first to last, people wrote what they heard, and might not have even gotten everyone in the area. And what about censuses being mis-copied? Or lost before filming?
  18. 18. • Use tricks that you can find in the help section. Do not just search always for the exact name(s) which you seek. Consider neighbors and married daughters.
  19. 19. Oh, boy
  20. 20. And worse…
  21. 21. Why are these bad? • They actually were William Eydler, an his wife, Margaret Ahlbrandt. Their baby daughter Bertha was 3 months old and is not shown at all!
  22. 22. Whose fault? Stuff happens!
  23. 23. • Fine tune your search. • Use names, places, time periods, other relatives or neighbors, even places of origin. • Use advanced search boxes. • Put a little information in and gradually expand it - do NOT put full names and exact dates in to start. • Difference between * and ?
  24. 24. Look at what the sources says about what is in the collection.
  25. 25. Check the learning center
  26. 26. Use the card catalog
  27. 27. Check the message boards
  28. 28. Check the contributed trees
  29. 29. If you have access to them, check out the hints.
  30. 30. How does Ancestry display things? • In family trees, profile mode family group sheets), results.
  31. 31. Sample -
  32. 32. A family group
  33. 33. A family tree
  34. 34. A pedigree chart
  35. 35. Remember to fine tune your results • Do you search exact? Or by sounds-like? Lived in? • Born in (watch for extreme misspellings and variations in this one!)
  36. 36. Examine the previews, and the hints.
  37. 37. The new results page
  38. 38. And more
  39. 39. Links to outside sites
  40. 40. • You can zoom the display; save it to a computer or flash drive; print it; or email it to yourself or to someone else. • And you can attach to your records if you have a tree on Ancestry.
  41. 41. No, Granddad wasn’t gassed in France…
  42. 42. Sample of an add
  43. 43. Here’s a book:
  44. 44. And a blog: