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Ask Ancestry Anne: Search Tip #5 - Surname Histories

These are a bit more rare to find on the site, though you will find in various places on the web and in libraries.

Just like you did for Local Histories, you can type the surname you are looking for into the Keyword(s) field:

You can also add a state in to try and limit the possibilities.  A search for Wallace Virginia will require both the words to be in the description or title.

Look for Search Tip #6: City Directories, or review: Search Tip #4 : Local Histories

Happy Searching!

Ancestry Anne

Ask Ancestry Anne: Search Tip #3 - Card Catalog

It’s easy enough to lose yourself in the Census and Vital records, but with 30,000+ data collections out there, you are most likely missing some great bits of information.

The Ancestry.com Card Catalog is a great place to start discovering those hidden treasures.

If you mouse over the Search tab in the header, you’ll see a list of options with Card Catalog at the bottom:

On the top left, you’ll find the Title and Keyword(s) search boxes.  Typing a word into the Title box searches just the title, which is what you will see in our listings. If you enter a word into the Keyword(s) box, we will search both the Title and the Description.  Note: You can use wildcards in your searches.  You might try using Passenger* to match both Passenger and Passengers.

Below the search boxes, you’ll see the filters.

You can filter by collection type, location, dates and language and you can use them in any combination.

If you choose North Carolina as a location, we will show you any data collection that includes records for North Carolina.  This is different than the listing on the North Carolina Place Page which lists data collections which have data ONLY about North Carolina.  A different way to slice and dice.

You can also sort data collections:

The sorts are:

  • Popularity: How often this collection is used by the Ancestry.com membership
  • Database Title: Alphabetical listing
  • Date Updated: the last day we added or changed the data collection
  • Date Added: the day we added this data collection to the list, most recent first
  • Record Count: the number of records in the data collection

So if I wanted to know what was most recently added for North Carolina, I would set my location filter to North Carolina and I would set the sort order to Date Added:

And to see the actual dates that data collections were added and updated I need to mouse over the title:

Look for Search Tip #4: Finding Local Histories, or review Search Tip #2 : Place Pages

Happy Searching!

Ancestry Anne

Ask Ancestry Anne: Favorite Search Tip #2 - Place Pages

When you start researching a new area, or if you are just trying to find something new and different for a place you are familiar with, Place Pages is a great place to start looking.

Go to our Search Home Page and go down to the bottom of the page.  You’ll see the map which is where you begin.

Click on the link of whatever state you are interested in.  Or if you are not interested in the United States, look at one of the country tabs to change your focus.

I’m going to focus on my maternal side, so I click on North Carolina.

You’ll notice that we’ve broken the data collections up by categories:

This can help you identify if we specific census enumerations specific to that state, and will lay out what Vitals we have.  And if you are in the mood to document those military careers you’ll know where to start.

Stories, Memories and Histories may help you discover some colorful tales about what was like in the era your ancestors live.

We didn’t stop at the state level.  If you look at the area on the right under the map, you will see the list of counties that we have information on as well.

If I click on Lincoln, I’ll see the 28 collections Ancestry.com has on Lincoln County:

You just never know where your going to find that piece of information that will help you break down the brick wall!

Look for Search Tip #3: Card Catalog, or review: Search Tip #1 : Shaky Leaves

Happy Searching!

Ancestry Anne

Ask-Ancestry-Anne: Favorite Search Tip #1 - Shaky Leaves

Search Tip #1: Have Ancestry.com do the work for you

Ancestry.com won’t find everything that’s out there, but if someone can deliver records about ancestors to you, why not take advantage of it?  That leaves you more time to understand the record and then find more!

In the header, you’ll see the hint notification leaf:

If you click on it, we will show your most recent hints:

You can determine which trees you see in hint preferences (it’s in the blue area):

In your hint preferences you can determine which trees you want to see hints from as well as if you want to see Member Tree hints:

If you click on the See all at the bottom, this will take you to the all hints page for a specific tree and you can pick and choose what hint you want to start with.


And as usual, you can find your shaky leaves on your tree.

Next:  Search Tip #2: Place Pages.

Note: This tips are also discovered in my livestream presentation Searching Successfully to Reveal Your Ancestor’s Story, Part1 


Happy Searching!

Ancestry Anne