Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ancestry favorite resource, tool and database

Crista Cowan of the Ancestry Aces has given an interesting blog prompt: What is your favorite resource on Ancestry.com? Do you have one database that you use more than others? A favorite tool, tip or trick you use when searching? 

My favorite resource on Ancestry.  Well I guess that would depend on what I was looking for.  If I was researching an area, then my favorite resource would be the card catalog.  I find it to be a good jumping off spot.   If I know that there are databases for Cook County Illinois voting records for specific years, I can check for ancestor names and misspellings for that particular family during that time period.  I also like to take a specific database and run all of the ancestors I believe to be in area through it.  For example the Chicago voting records should include both my grandfather, both my maternal great grandfathers, and several great uncles.  Even though they have different surnames I can complete the search for all of them on the database and call it done.  Of course then you need to track the findings or non findings of the search.  I note the search of the database in my research log located in my genealogy software, the negative or positive results, and then the date of the search. The card catalog will also advise you if the database has recently been updated.  If it has been updated I can check to see the date of when I searched and then be able to tell if I needed to perform the search again.  

The database that I use most often changes. Currently I am obsessed with locating my relatives in the 1940's Census (correcting incorrect transcriptions as I find them) and exploring the results from my DNA test.

Favorite tool, tip or trick - I have two tools I utilize. One is the Ancestry Wiki.  There have been updates made online to the Red Book and I appreciate the updated sources for my research.  The other is the Ancestry Android App for my phone.  I thought it was kinda of silly to load on my phone but it has come in handy!  First I was near the University of Arizona and realized I had some extra time.  I popped into the library and looked up some books that I wanted to search.  I had the family information with me so no need to go home.  The app is a great tool!

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