Starting with search
Once youve filled in your search criteria, click the blue Search button. After a brief whirling-pinwheel logo while Archives.com searches, youll be presented with a results page. Your search selections now run down the left-hand side, making it easy to refine or broaden your criteria and search again. The right-hand two-thirds of the screen reports your results, by database, and provides some helpful links to sites such as RootsWeb <rootsweb.ancestry.com> and FamilySearch, where you might find resources. (Itd be nice if these links took you to pages with your search already filled in, but no such luck.)
Clicking on each type of record with the number of hitssuch as Census Records (4)takes you to details of those hits. In addition to your Archives.com search results, you may get a bonus list of finds on FamilySearch. Clicking to view those four census records, for example, could reveal 27 additional census recordswhich, despite the separate results listing, nonetheless open in an Archives.com window, even when you view an image of an original record from FamilySearch. These bonus results dont necessarily come from the same types of records as the Archives.com results: Birth records results, for instance, may be accompanied by a link to additional death records or census hits on FamilySearch.
Busting brick walls
Once youve set up an Ancestor Alert, Archives.com will run an initial search for your kin in its current databases. Then, as new collections are added, it will automatically check for your ancestor and e-mail you an alert if any matches are found. To see the collections list and what collections are in the works or recently added, go to <www.archives.com/member/default.aspx?_act=collections>. From this page, you can e-mail a request for a data set you especially long to have added.
Planting your tree
To add a person to your tree, click the plus-sign options in the tree view for adding a spouse, parent or child. You also can add a spouse, child or sibling when youve clicked on an individual ancestor and are viewing his or her details. Click Edit to change an ancestors basic data, such as birth date and place, or Profile to view and add other details. Each profile view has a few options:
- The Timeline tab is where you input genealogical data by clicking Add Event; as the label suggests, events appear neatly ordered by date.
- The Scrapbook tab lets you upload up to 20 images per ancestor by clicking Add Item. When you add an image, you have the option to check Set as profile picture, which makes this item display beside the persons name in the family tree and profile.
- The Historical Records tab is where you can access Archives.com records youve previously saved. These records may be attached to a different person, but here you can link them to this ancestor, as well. A handy Search button fires up a new search for information about this ancestor.
- The Notes tab offers a free-form option for other information about this person. Click Add Note, enter a title and description, and click Add Note again to save your entry.
Learning and doing more
Owner: Inflection <inflection.com>, a technology firm in Silicon Valley; 101 University Ave., Suite 320, Palo Alto, CA 94301, (888) 896-4442
Fees: $39.95 a year; seven-day free trial
Registered members: Not disclosed, but the site passed 2 million unique monthly visitors in February 2010
- 1.2 billion total records in 119 collections to date
- state vital records indexes with online ordering
- census records from Footnote and FamilySearch
January 2010 | Relaunches as Archives.com to emphasize broad range of records
March 2010 | Archives.com adds online family tree-building tools
April 2010 | On-site record retrieval, enabling members to hire a court runner to retrieve a county record, is introduced