Using Ancestry.com

 

This page is http://www.rootdig.com/usingancestry.htm

 

There is the home edition of Ancestry.com and there is the Library edition. They are organized slightly differently. The Library Edition has the “old search” interface. The home edition has the “new and ‘improved’ search” interface. Today we will use the “old” search as that is what you can use in the library. The “library edition” does not have the scanned books that the “home edition” does.

 

It is best (at least usually) to search a database specifically, although most record types allow you to search the entire set of records (US Census records, US Passenger lists, County and Local Histories, etc.). Passenger lists are one database where it might be good to search more than one set of records, particularly if you are uncertain of the port of arrival.

 

 The links in this column are for the Library Edition (only accessible at the library and not at home):

 

Historical Records
  Census & Voter Lists
  - U.S. Federal Census
  - UK Census Collection
  - more...

  Birth, Marriage & Death
  - Social Security Death Index
  - UK & Ireland Parish & Probate
  - more...

  Immigration & Emigration
  - New York Passenger Lists
  - more...

  Military
  - WWI Draft Registration Cards
  - Civil War Service Records
  - more...

  Directories & Member Lists
  - New York City Directory, 1890
  - Early UK and U.S. Directories
  - more...

  Court, Land, Wills & Financial
  - Texas Land Title Abstracts
  - Middlesex, MA Probate Index
  - more...

  Dictionaries, Encyclopedias & Reference
  - Genealogical Library Master Index
  - more...

Stories & Publications
  Stories, Memories & Histories
  - AGBI
  - Slave Narratives
  - more...

  Newspapers & Periodicals
  - Virginia Genealogical Society Qtrly
  - Railway Gazetter Worldwide
  - more...

Photos & Maps
  Pictures
  - U.S. School Yearbooks

  Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers

Trees & Community
  - Ancestry World Tree
  - Message Boards

 

 

Michael’s Ancestry Quick Links for the Individual Subscription

Card Catalog      Search Page (and clickable map)

Census--US

 

 

1930

 

1920 

 

1910

 

1900 

 

1890 

 

1890Veteran's  

Newspapers and Periodicals

 

1880 

 Historical Newspaper Collection 

 

1870 

 Obituary Collection 

 

1860 

 Historical Newspapers, Birth, Marriage, & Death Announcements, 1850-2003

 

1860slave 

 Periodical Source Index

 

1850

 

 

Passenger List-Main Search page

1850 Slave

 

New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957

1840 

 Baltimore Passenger Lists, 1820-1948

1830 

 U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925

1820 

 Canadian Border Crossings, 1895-1956

1810 

 California Passenger and Crew Lists, 1893-1957

1800 

 New Orleans Passenger Lists, 1820-1945

1790

 Philadelphia Passenger Lists, 1800-1945

 

 Passenger & Immigration Lists Index, 1500s - 1900s

 

 

 

1901 England Census

 

 

1891 England Census

 

 

1881 England Census

 

 

1871 England Census

 

 

1861 England Census

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Freedman’s Bank Records

Passenger Lists 1795-1925

Southern Claims Commission Records

Quebec Vital and Church Records (the Droin Collection)

World War I Draft Cards

 

 

 

 

General Suggestions:

       Search Ancestry.com's card catalog for a specific database—we will demonstrate

       Consider searching specific databases instead of the whole site.

       Remember the scanned printed materials

       Indexers make mistakes

       Work from the present to the past

       Remember Ancestry does not have everything

       Don't assume a database won't be helpful.

 

Main databases we will look at:

       Passenger lists

       US and UK Census records

       Passport Applications

       State and Local Records

       County and Local Histories

       Online Submitted Trees

 

 

 

Get those spellings!

 

Write down all the variant spellings for your last names on a sheet of paper. Think about alternate forms for letters, how your ancestor likely pronounced his name, and phonetic variations and interpretations.

 

 

Get your soundex codes

Many sites allow soundex searches. Do you know WHAT names you are going to get when you perform a soundex search? Soundex searches do not require you to know the code, but it helps if you do.

 

Variant

Soundex

Variant

Soundex

Trautvetter

T631

Robidoux

R132

Troutvetter

T631

Robidou

R130

Trautfetter

T631

Rabedea

R130

Troutfetter

T631

 

 

Trantvetter

T653

 

 

 

Variant

Soundex

Neil

N400

Neill

N400

Neal

N400

O’Neil

O540

McNeil

M254

 

To find sites that provide soundex codes, go to www.google.com and search for “soundex converter”

 

Before searching any online database:

·     Detail the family structure at the time of the event—everyone who would be mentioned in the record

·     Determine exactly what names were put in the index

·     Compile list of spelling variants for last names

·     Determine nicknames and diminutives for all family members at event or who should be in database

·        If index is an every-name index, determine whose name is least likely to be spelled incorrectly

 


 

Determine Effective Wildcard Search Strategies

Note: the application of wildcards VARIES from one database and site to another—there are general tendencies, but ALWAYS READ READ READ the how to search page or experiment and KNOW KNOW KNOW how the wildcards work before using them

 

·      *   denotes any number of characters in place of the asterisk or percent

o    traut* will search for trautvetter, trautfetter, trautfelter, etc.

o    woo* will locate woowoo, woozy, wood, etc.

·      ? or usually denotes just ONE character in place of the ? or _

o    k?le will search for kile, kyle, kale, etc.

o    tra?tvetter will search for trautvetter, trantvetter, etc.

CANT USE THEM TIL YOU HAVE USED THREE CHARACTERS

 

 

Look for the commonalities in your variants before performing wildcard searches. It may be that one wildcard search cannot be created that will handle all your variants at once.

 

Finding Barbara Haase

·      born Germany, ca. 1825

·      in Hancock County, Illinois 1860-1900

·      husband Conrad (born 1820s, children: Conrad, Herman, Anna, Lena)

 

I generally only put in part of the first name, Bar* in this case. Haa*Ancestry.com requires three characters before the wildcard is used. I would start with the most recent and work my way back.  Better to enter in as little information as possible. Narrow the search if there are too many results to wade through.

 

Michael and Francis Trautvetter in 1880

·      Michael born in the late 1830s Germany

·      Francis born early 1850s Illinois

·      Not found using a Soundex search on Trautvetter

 

Searched for a person with name Mic* living with a spouse Fra* in Hancock County, Illinois. Found them!

 

It pays to think about the family structure—and sometimes to not enter in last names—especially if the location is already known or at least partially known.

 

You are better off NOT filling in all the blanks.