Web Guide: Cheat Sheet Web Guide: Cheat Sheet

Get quick links, search hints and hacks for Quick Links

Hacks and Shortcuts

  • Because you can’t use wildcards, toggling the Exact checkbox is the only way to narrow or widen your search results.
  • You can further fine-tune your search locale by using the optional county and city fields. You can fill in one or the other or both, and both fields also offer the Exact option.
  • Even if you’re fairly sure of a birth date, use the plus-or-minus option to find someone in the census. Birth years are estimated based on census data and the enumeration year. For instance, in the 1870 census, a person born in September 1835 would show up as being born in 1836, since he or she would not yet have turned 35 at the time of enumeration.
  • Non-Footnote members can plumb that site’s data via without having to subscribe. Be aware, though, that if you view a lot of images at $2.95 or more a pop, it will add up.
  • Some of’s coverage can be spotty as its collections grow, so you may get the most bang for your buck by, say, searching all records within a given state for an ancestor’s surname.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the page showing your family tree for a snapshot of statistics: how many individuals are in your tree, how many stories and events you’ve entered about these ancestors, and counts of scrapbook items and records.
  • Since’s trees don’t have a separate source feature, use the Notes tab within an ancestor’s profile to record all your sources for genealogical data about that person.


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