Ancestry.com is among one of the top known genealogy websites. Many users use the website to build their family tree and look for records of their ancestors. The website itself is user-friendly, however, there are still some must know tips when it comes to using ancestry.com. Check out my top 5 below.
Tip 1: Do Not Accept Every Leaf Hint
Leaf hints on your ancestor’s profile can be very rewarding or have you climbing the wrong family tree in no time flat. Leaf hints can be found on the main overview of your tree, a quick profile glance of your ancestor, or on the full profile of your ancestor under hints.
When a hint shows up review the document carefully to make sure this hint applies to your ancestor. Let’s look at an example below.
As you can see I have 3 hints for my 2nd Great Grandmother Amelia. The first is a picture. I do know this is her, but since I already have the picture saved to my gallery I am going to ignore that hint. The next hint is for a 1930 Census record. The first thing I noticed was the name listed for the record, Minnie, is not a name I have seen or heard when referring to Amelia. Second, I already have a 1930 census source for Amelia, living with her Husband John in New Jersey. I can now ignore this hint. The last hint is for a Civil War Pension Index. This record, I have to research more to make a determination as it places my 2nd great grandfather in South Dakota during his service. A majority of the hints I come across I always review the document and read over it carefully even if I am fairly sure it does not belong to my ancestor. I would rather take the time then have to undo a mess I created later or miss an important piece of information.
2. Download Your Sources
When I first began using Ancestry.com I did not know the importance of downloading a document or picture. Actually, I don’t think I even knew you could download. At the time I was using a free trial of their services, but when that ended I could no longer view the record. Thankfully when I restarted my membership I had access again, however it was too time-consuming to go back and download each image. So let me save you the headache and show you how you can easily save a record. Once your record or image is open click the icon that looks like a hammer and wrench. Then select download. Name the file, click save and you’re done.
3. Attach Your DNA To Your Family Tree
If you have done an ancestry DNA test, I highly suggest attaching your family tree to your test. By attaching your tree you are not only helping yourself connect with matches, but helping matches connect with you. With a tree connected to your results, you will be able to utilize ancestry’s
4. Not Every Tree Is Correct
Sometimes when I am researching one of my ancestors, I run into a users tree that contains the same ancestor. When I first started out I would add the information from the users tree, pat myself on the back for a great find and move on. As I began to become more interested in my research I quickly realized I was adding misinformation. Not every tree is correct. Now if I come across another users tree, the first thing I look for is weather or not the tree contains any sources that I can cross reference. Next I look for any information that may be different from the information I have already found. Then, I check for sources on that information. If I am able to find sources and through looked at what the users tree had to offer to me, I usually attach it as a source to my own tree. If I notice right away the tree contains no sources or information that differs significantly from my own, I discard the hint and move on.
5. Upload Documents And Photos You May Have
Now, I DO NOT mean upload your documents or those of living people. However, if you have documents, photos or old family bibles of a family member who is deceased upload those. Ancestry.com does not have every document ever created, however, you may hold the key to answers someone has spent years looking for. Personally, I enjoy coming across ancestors who have pictures. Spending countless hours researching their life, you begin to feel a connection with this individual. There is no better feeling to me than to be able to see their face and feel that connection deeper. Here are a few examples of items I have uploaded.
I hope these tips help you in your research. If you have any questions of need any help, please reach out to me here.