Web Search, one of the concepts from Ancestry.com’s Ancestry Labs site, is becoming part of the main Ancestry.com search. (Here’s our original post, from last fall, about Ancestry Labs and Web Search.)
For Web Search, Ancestry.com will index other genealogy web sites. When you do a search on Ancestry.com, if there’s a relevant match in a record on a site that’s been indexed, that match will be included in your search results along with the historical records on Ancestry.com. Web Search will be a free service.
Here’s what a Web Search result looks like (image, arrows and callouts are Ancestry.com’s).
So you can tell which records in your search results are from Ancestry.com and which are from another site, you’ll see an icon and the word “Web” in front of the name of the collection.
The Web Search results include the essential information from the other site (theoretically, enough to help you decide whether the record refers to your ancestor) and a link to visit the website.
“In the same way you should always check the image when you look at an index, make sure you go to the web site to see what other information is there,” advises Ancestry.com in its announcement. “You will usually find additional information.”
You also can click to save the information to your tree.
You don’t have to subscribe or have a guest account with Ancestry.com to use Web Search or get to the source website. But if you want to save the web record to your online tree, you’ll of course need at least a guest account.
Webmasters who don’t want their genealogy websites indexed in Web Records will be able to contact Ancestry.com and opt out.
Many genealogists see Web Search as Ancestry.com’s shot at a do-over of its Internet Biographical Collection, which was pulled down shortly after its introduction in August 2007 amid negative feedback over copyright and other concerns. More on that in this post.