In This Episode
- News from the Blogosphere: “Long Lost Family”
- Top Tips & 101 Best Websites – Websites for tracing family history & Ancestry.com
- Family Tree University Crash Course – How to Maximize Ancestry.com
- Publisher’s Desk: Unofficial Guide to Ancestry.com
Your Host: Lisa Louise Cooke
News from the Blogosphere with Diane Haddad
101 Best Websites and Top Tips
Lisa chats with David Fryxell, author of the 101 Best Websites for Tracing Your Family History, about Ancestry’s role in the list, and some easy tips for using Ancestry.
- Instead of just following hints, take the time to formulate a real research question and then search based on that.
- Search specific collections rather than always doing a global search
- You can lose out on finds by casting too wide of a net.
- Use wild cards when searching (The questions mark (?) Can take the place of a character. Asterisk (*) can be used at the end of a name or partial name such as JOHN* will retrieve Johnson, Johnstone, etc.
- Sometimes, search for a place or a date and leave the name field blank. This can work on very targeted searching or a portion of a database
- Search using the Keyword field (such as searching for maiden names, names of ships, occupations, etc.)
- Search by relationship
- There’s no down side to trying different strategies
- Play one database off another.
Family Tree University Crash Course
Vanessa Weiland, Dean of Family Tree University, shares tips from the upcoming workshop called How to Maximize Ancestry.com.
Plan your approach
It’s important to take a strategic, organized approach to searching the database. Plugging in a name, date and location can turn up a lot of information – and it’s a great start – but it’s not necessarily going to give you the most relevant results, especially when there’s just so many.
First, narrow down what you want to search for in this particular session – a specific question, such as, ‘what’s my great-grandmother’s date of birth?’ or “When did so-and-so immigrate?”
Narrowing it down is a great way to keep from getting overwhelmed by the sheer amount of results. Believe it or not, the biggest search tip I’ve found to cut down on the overwhelming results is to keep my tree on Ancestry.com.
Search from your ancestor’s timeline.
It’s tempting to search straight from the home page, but even going to your ancestor’s profile and clicking on the Search on Ancestry button under the sources column can bring more targeted results – and highlights the records already in your tree for that person as well.
Create your strategy
Mastering hints and creating a smart strategy for making them work for you. Understanding how they’re generated can help you build an online tree that is designed to bring you more successful hints.
The various collections, including census, international, and wills, probates, land, tax and criminal records.
Workshop runs April 30th with Nancy Hendrickson, the author of the Unofficial Guide to Ancestry.com and workbook. Focuses on the search tools and record collections – how to find your ancestors in the vast database.
The Publisher’s Desk with Allison Dolan
Allison discusses Family Tree’s newly updated book, the Unofficial Guide to Ancestry.com!