Saturday, June 29, 2013

Shortcuts to finding maiden names on

A few tricks I've found helpful in identifying maiden names quickly on - please note - it helps to have an extra monitor. 

Using a tabbed browser, view the list of all people in your tree - all people without maiden names should show up first:

Starting from the top, right click on each name and click "Open in a new tab":

Do this for each person missing a maiden name - I use firefox since it keeps tabs the same size, but allows scrolling when there are too many tabs to fit. 
Next - click on each tab and select "view her family tree" - 
Once you have selected this for all tabs, start with one person - looking at the tree, see if the husband or children have hint leaves popping up. I prefer starting with children for more accurate results, but husband works as well. Then right click on the leaf, and select "Open hints in new window". If you are using a separate monitor, you may have to pull the new window to the second monitor the first time you do this, but the next time, it will automatically go there.
Check to see if there are any hints that show the mother's maiden name. Be sure to check in any ignored hints. If you aren't having any luck, click on the person's name at the top to open up their profile. 

Then click "search records" - "family trees". Once you identify a tree showing the maiden name, scroll your mouse over the person in the original window, click "Quick Edit" and simply add the name!

One of the benefits I've found to doing this every few days, is that the "view family tree" option triggers hint searches within the site, so if you have added people recently through hints, but haven't viewed the tree, the system may not have searched for hints yet. Opening the tree solves this, leading to more of those wonderful green leaves. 

When I'm still not able to find the maiden name through the above steps, I edit the last name with an asterisk (*) - so that I know I've done the search. Doing this moves the person to a second group of people after those without maiden names when you are looking in the "view all people" collection, but doesn't trigger the site to think it's a last name (like "Unknown" does). I think consider the asterisked last names to be a longer term to-do list for deep dive researching.

Happy searching!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Filter your hints by database ID

**4/18/16 Update - The URL to filter hints has changed - see updated link below in blue!

Do you have an excessively big tree? Do you have enough hints to keep you busy for the rest of your life, and possibly your descendant's lives? Curious to see if you've missed any of those key older census records, or maybe you are just looking to search for birth/marriage/death records among the thousands you have? Here's the answer:

Each record database in the ancestry card catalogue has an identification number. Once you know that number, you can plug it into the following link: 

You can find your tree number by clicking on "All Hints":

Your family tree number is the number that shows up in your browser (circled in black):

To find the record database ID number, go to the card catalogue:

Roll your mouse over the record database your are looking for - in this example, the 1860 census record - then, without moving your mouse, look at the bottom of your browser window:

7667 would be your record database identification number.

You can do this with every single record database in the catalogue:

Since it's not easy to remember the links - I recommend using bookmarks - one for just the standard record database link (without the record number) -

Then another bookmark folder for all the census (or type of record database search you are interested in):

This can also be a good way to clear out the hints that fill up your "All Hints" list that you aren't as interested in.

Happy genealogy hunting!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

My Wishlist deserves an award for their constant innovation and improvement process on the site - here is a list of suggestions that I have no doubt they are already working on. Keep up the good work!

- Complete roll out of the "search all records in this collection" feature beyond the 1930 and 1940 census records. (In case you didn't know about this function - it is available when you open up the 1930 or 1940 census in the card catalogue).


- Ability to filter hints by key word (i.e. by township, county or state)

- Photo cropping from site (right now, if you want to crop a photo, you have to save it to your computer, crop it, then reload the new version and delete the prior). 

- A warning "pop-up" if you are saving a record that has already been saved to someone else in your tree (helps avoid adding duplicate people). Right now - you can only tell if you click on the record link to look at the details before adding. 

- Faster tree downloading - I am too addicted to stop working on my tree for as long as it takes currently, and then usually it has to start over! boo. 

- Place name standardization across record hints (i.e. USA vs United States vs. not listing country)

- Removal of "abt" in front of birth year when adding people via a record hint.  

- Faster processing of hint ignoring (it's super fast to ignore hints when in the "view all hints" of one person, but takes longer to ignore hints when not in the person view mode).