Cheat Sheet Cheat Sheet

Don't search for ancestors
in without this quick-reference sheet by your side. Quick Links
Account information
African-American records
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The Ancestry Insider (an unofficial blog from a employee) Search Tips and Techniques
Cyndi’s List:
The Genealogy Insider:
The Official Guide to, 2nd edition, by George G. Morgan (Ancestry, $24.95)

Hacks and Shortcuts

Hot Keys
Use these keyboard shortcuts at any time when you’re searching and viewing results.
•  r: refine the current search
•  n: start a new search
•  p: show first record preview
•  <: show previous record preview
•  >: show next record preview

Wildcard searches

These wildcards can be used after a minimum of three letters.
•  ? substitutes for one letter
•  * substitutes for zero or more letters

Key Search Strategies

•  Start with a broad search, then refine it by adding information and clicking Exact.
•  Refine your search methodically, changing one search term at a time and tracking your searches.
•  Search without the name (or some other detail, such as residence).
•  Try odd spellings and unusual nicknames.
•  Search within an individual database.
•  Browse records you think were filed with your ancestor’s.
•  Find the original records in a library or on microfilm.
•  See if the records are missing or don’t cover your ancestor’s lifetime or area.

Finding Free Databases makes its free content hard to find. Try going to the Card Catalog and typing free into the keyword search field. (You’ll still need a free registration to view the records.) But note that after a couple of pages of free databases, results show paid content for which free occurs in the database description (such as the Detroit Free Press historical newspapers).

Customer Support

Click here to search knowledgebase articles, browse FAQs, watch online demonstrations and e-mail Ancestry support; or call (800) 262-3787. 

You can get help from members by posting to the site’s message boards.

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