Thursday, May 27, 2010

Some hints for using Ancestry

This all may be common knowledge for some, but I recently learned some hints for doing Ancestry searches more effectively. Thought I'd throw them out there for others.
--When doing even basic searches, you can put as many names as you want in the search boxes. For example, I have a gggrandfather who used many names and combinations of names over his lifetime. I did a recent search filling in all his names at once and got a great response. In the first name box I wrote Jacob Josiah Joseph (without commas) and came up with all kinds of new things. I think this works especially well with women's names. You can put both maiden and married last name together. Jane Amanda Jennie then Cross Harshman. Try it!
--Ancestry has also improved their wild card selection. You can use the * for zero-unlimited letters and can use it more than once within a word. So Joh*s* can be searching for Johnsons/Johansons. You cannot have the * at both the beginning and the end of a name. Also the ? is used when you are searching for one letter only. So * is often better if 0 letters are possible such as Joh*n for John or Johann which one of my ggrandfathers used interchangeably.

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