Review: Unofficial Ancestry.com Workbook

Genealogy educator Thomas MacEntee reviews the Unofficial Ancestry.com Workbook – a “must have” reference for every Ancestry subscriber!

Review: Unofficial Ancestry.com Workbook – A How-to Manual for Tracing Your Family Tree on the #1 Genealogy Website

[Editor’s Note: Unofficial Ancestry.com Workbook – A How-to Manual for Tracing Your Family Tree on the #1 Genealogy Website is available in print (click here) as well as in e-book format (click here). PLUS if you use promo code SFTTHOMAS17 at checkout, you’ll save 10%!]

Hendrickson, Nancy. Unofficial Ancestry.com Workbook – A How-to Manual for Tracing Your Family Tree on the #1 Genealogy Website, Cincinnati: F+W Media, Inc., 2017, 192 pages.

As genealogists, many of us seem to have a “love-hate relationship” with the #1 genealogy website, Ancestry.com. I’ve been an Ancestry subscriber for many years and as a genealogy educator I know for certain the cause of such angst: lack of education on how to effectively use the Ancestry website. This is why the Unofficial Ancestry.com Workbook by Nancy Hendrickson should be required reading for all Ancestry users.

Mastering Ancestry.com’s Search Function

In my opinion the best chapter in Unofficial Ancestry.com Workbook is the first chapter and it covers all the aspects of Ancestry’s search functions. I know how important it is for Ancestry users to master all the features of General Search. Too many times have I heard exasperated users complain that they can’t find anything on their ancestors, mainly due to improper searching.

And hurray for the author covering in detail the Ancestry Card Catalog! As an experienced researcher, I know that the best way to find anything on Ancestry is to go directly to a record set. The Card Catalog is often neglected as a search resource by users and the author deftly explains how to unlock its powerful features.

Useful Exercises for Skill Building

Another great feature of Unofficial Ancestry.com Workbook is the exercises listed after each chapter. Example: the Finding a Photo exercise challenges the reader to start using these Ancestry Search skills to locate photos.

Teaching This Old Dog New Tricks

How do you know what you don’t know? Especially when it comes to being more productive at the Ancestry.com website . . . that is why the Unofficial Ancestry.com Workbook is useful, even for an “experienced” user like me.

For example: Ancestry Quick Links. How did I not know about this? Quick Links are like bookmarks or favorites for Ancestry. You can build a quick “research toolbox” by using this powerful feature. And who knew that Ancestry had shortcut keys? Well the author does and she wants to make sure you take advantage of them!

Records and More at Ancestry.com

Hendrickson does a great job at covering other aspects of the Ancestry.com website including US Federal Census Records, Birth/Marriage/Death Records, Military Records, Immigration Records, as well as Social History and Ancestry DNA. However, there are some useful Ancestry.com features that are NOT covered in this workbook and I’m not certain why they’ve been omitted: the Ancestry Message Boards, as well as the Trees posted by Ancestry.com members.

There are several appendices at the end of the workbook, the most useful being a series of worksheets and templates:

  • Ancestry.com Search Worksheet
  • Five-Generation Ancestor Chart
  • Family Group Sheet
  • Research Checklist for US Ancestors (as well as Canadian and UK Ancestors)
  • Records Checklist – Birth Information
  • Records Checklist – Marriage Information
  • Records Checklist – Death Information
  • Census Abstract Forms for each US Federal Census

What’s Inside

The Unofficial Ancestry.com Workbook features:

  • Introductions on how to use the seven most important record groups on Ancestry.com, plus how to navigate AncestryDNA and use test results in your research
  • Detailed step-by-step case studies showing how to use Ancestry.com to find ancestors and solve research problems
  • Fillable worksheets and forms that let you apply the book’s techniques to your own research

Excerpt: Sample Tips

Here are some tips you’ll find in the Unofficial Ancestry.com Workbook[i]:

  • Identify specific record collections that you want to search. With more than a billion records organized into tens of thousands of collections, Ancestry.com can be overwhelming to navigate, and using the general search form can sometimes give you too many results to sort through. Use the Card Catalog to find specific collections that cover the appropriate time and place (as well as the kind of record you’re looking for) to give yourself the best chance of finding a specific record.
  • Play with search options. Ancestry.com’s search forms and Card Catalog have a number of filters you can use to narrow down your results. Different combinations of titles, keywords, record types and date ranges will yield different results. Learn what each option does, and make careful use of them in your search.
  • Prioritize close DNA matches. DNA testing is an amazing new research technique, but it can provide you with an overwhelming amount of data. When reviewing your DNA matches, begin by searching only those who are projected to be third cousins or closer, as estimates or more distant relationships tend to be less accurate (and thus studying them is probably a less efficient use of your research time).

Conclusion

Even if you consider yourself a pretty savvy Ancestry.com user, you will find many ways to improve your productivity on the site and get the most out of your Ancestry subscription. Hendrickson has put together an extremely useful manual for the most popular genealogy website and I’m certain that I’ll be referring to the workbook quite often. I highly recommend any genealogist, from beginner to expert, to add the Unofficial Ancestry.com Workbook to their library.

About The Author: Nancy Hendrickson

Nancy Hendrickson is a genealogy author, blogger and instructor at Ancestor News, a site dedicated to finding and preserving family stories. A contributing editor at Family Tree Magazine, Nancy writes almost exclusively about Internet genealogy, research and American history. She’s a member of Western Writers of America and a long-time photography buff. Nancy is active on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Her e-mail is genealogyteach@gmail.com.

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Disclosure statement: I have material connections with various vendors and organizations. To review the material connections I have in the genealogy industry, please see Disclosure Statement.

©2017, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.

[i] Unofficial Ancestry.com Workbook product description, Shop Family Tree (http://www.shopfamilytree.com/unofficial-ancestry-workbook, accessed 15 January 2017), used by permission of F&W Media.

Contest: Win a Copy of the Unofficial Ancestry.com Workbook

Win a copy of Unofficial Ancestry.com Workbook from Shop Family Tree

Unofficial Ancestry.com Workbook Contest at GeneaBloggers!

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

This week we are celebrating the publication of Nancy Hendrickson’s new book, Unofficial Ancestry.com Workbook by F&W Media, publishers of Family Tree Magazine.

Unofficial Ancestry.com Workbook by Nancy Hendrickson

“Ancestry.com keeps growing, and the site has numerous ways of helping you expand your family tree. But where do you start researching, and how do you get around the huge and ever-changing site? In this workbook, an essential companion to the Unofficial Guide to Ancestry.com, you’ll learn how to use Ancestry.com and its resources to your full advantage, with helpful guides to Ancestry’s digitized records and services like AncestryDNA. Each section briefly discusses how to search Ancestry.com for a particular type of record (including census records, vital records and historical publications), then shares detailed step-by-step case studies that put those strategies into practice. Helpful screenshots illustrate how to navigate the site’s resources, guiding you from your first search for census records through deep research in the old country. And with worksheets and fillable genealogy forms in each section, you can easily plan your own Ancestry.com searches and apply what you’ve learned to your family history research.”

With expert advice, fillable worksheets and real-life search scenarios, this workbook will give you the hands-on knowledge you need to mine Ancestry.com for your family’s records.

Excerpt: Sample Tips

Here are some tips you’ll find in the Unofficial Ancestry.com Workbook:

  • Identify specific record collections that you want to search. With more than a billion records organized into tens of thousands of collections, Ancestry.com can be overwhelming to navigate, and using the general search form can sometimes give you too many results to sort through. Use the Card Catalog to find specific collections that cover the appropriate time and place (as well as the kind of record you’re looking for) to give yourself the best chance of finding a specific record.
  • Play with search options. Ancestry.com’s search forms and Card Catalog have a number of filters you can use to narrow down your results. Different combinations of titles, keywords, record types and date ranges will yield different results. Learn what each option does, and make careful use of them in your search.
  • Prioritize close DNA matches. DNA testing is an amazing new research technique, but it can provide you with an overwhelming amount of data. When reviewing your DNA matches, begin by searching only those who are projected to be third cousins or closer, as estimates or more distant relationships tend to be less accurate (and thus studying them is probably a less efficient use of your research time).

* * *

Enter the Unofficial Ancestry.com Workbook Contest this week and you could win a FREE copy of this amazing book. We’ll select three (3) winners and each winner can choose the paperback or e-book version.

This is a $21.99 value and you could win if you enter by 11:50 pm CST on Sunday January 22, 2017. Click here to enter!

©2017, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.

Genealogy Bargains for Thursday 19 January 2017

Save 40% on German Genealogy Book Bundle at Shop Family Tree - regularly $46.98, now just $27.99 PLUS FREE SHIPPING

UPDATED GENEALOGY BARGAINS for Thursday, January 19, 2017

INDEX of Genealogy Bargains

Click link to jump to that section . . .

NEW Genealogy Bargains

Win a copy of Unofficial Ancestry.com Workbook from Shop Family Tree

  • NEW! Win a Copy of the Unofficial Ancestry.com Workbook from Shop Family Tree – “Ancestry.com keeps growing, and the site has numerous ways of helping you expand your family tree. But where do you start researching, and how do you get around the huge and ever-changing site? In this workbook, an essential companion to the Unofficial Guide to Ancestry.com, you’ll learn how to use Ancestry.com and its resources to your full advantage, with helpful guides to Ancestry’s digitized records and services like AncestryDNA.”  Click here to enter – via Shop Family Tree

Click here to return to list of sales

 

Save 40% on German Genealogy Book Bundle at Shop Family Tree - regularly $46.98, now just $27.99 PLUS FREE SHIPPING

  • NEW! Save 40% on German Genealogy Book Bundle at Shop Family Tree – regularly $46.98, now just $27.99 PLUS FREE SHIPPING! – “Take your German genealogy research to the next level! In this bundle, you learn as much as possible about your German ancestors with maps, timelines, and sample records. You will also have worksheets to log your research progress! Whether your ancestors came from Bavaria, Baden, Prussia, or Hesse, this bundle will help you find your German ancestors on the Internet.” Click here to save – via Shop Family Tree

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NEW! Save 40% on Fold3 during 10th Anniversary Sale - regularly $79.95, now just $47.95 for a one year subscription.

NEW! Save 40% on Fold3 during 10th Anniversary Sale – regularly $79.95, now just $47.95 for a one year subscription. Get access to everything on Fold3, including many military records you won’t find elsewhere online:

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Plus many more! Offer expires January 31st. Click here for more info – via Fold3.

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ONGOING Genealogy Bargains

FREE WEBINAR Create a Free Google Earth Historic Map Collection for Your Research presented by Lisa Louise Cooke, Wednesday, January 18, 1:00 pm Central - “Learn how to find free digital maps for your ancestral locations, add them as permanent overlays to Google Earth, and then organize them into your personal map reference collection. You’ll learn best practices for keeping them organized and enriching your research.” Click here to register - via Legacy Family Tree Webinars

  • FREE WEBINAR Create a Free Google Earth Historic Map Collection for Your Research presented by Lisa Louise Cooke, Wednesday, January 18, 1:00 pm Central – “Learn how to find free digital maps for your ancestral locations, add them as permanent overlays to Google Earth, and then organize them into your personal map reference collection. You’ll learn best practices for keeping them organized and enriching your research.” Click here to register – via Legacy Family Tree Webinars

Click here to return to list of sales

Save 56% on Ancestry Power User Collection at Shop Family Tree - includes the brand new Unofficial Ancestry.com Workbook by Nancy Hendrickson - regularly $136.95, now just $59.99 - “Expand your knowledge of the world's largest online resource for family history and become an Ancestry.com power user. If you are familiar with basic Ancestry.com searches but know little about the incredible databases and collection available for browsing, robust advanced search features, or the fun functions featured within Ancestry.com family trees, this collection is for you! You will learn essential and advanced search strategies to help you become a successful Ancestry.com user.” Click here to save - via Shop Family Tree

  • Save 56% on Ancestry Power User Collection at Shop Family Tree – includes the brand new Unofficial Ancestry.com Workbook by Nancy Hendrickson – regularly $136.95, now just $59.99 – “Expand your knowledge of the world’s largest online resource for family history and become an Ancestry.com power user. If you are familiar with basic Ancestry.com searches but know little about the incredible databases and collection available for browsing, robust advanced search features, or the fun functions featured within Ancestry.com family trees, this collection is for you! You will learn essential and advanced search strategies to help you become a successful Ancestry.com user.” Click here to save – via Shop Family Tree

Click here to return to list of sales

The latest bargains and freebies related to genealogy and family history from MyHeritage, Family Tree Magazine and more - new listings for Thurs 12 March 2015!

  • SPECIAL DISCOUNT on Evidentia Software – use promo code FRUGALGEN2017 at check out and get 20% off the list price – you pay $23.99 instead of $29.99 – “Evidentia not only solves the problems facing the genealogy community, but also simplifies the process of analyzing evidence and creating proof arguments while still following the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS).” There is also a FREE 14-day trial available! If you haven’t checked out this amazing software, you really it owe to yourself and your genealogy research to do so!  Click here to save! Via Evidentia.

Click here to return to list of sales

Disclaimer

All prices and offers are subject to change. Some items may be sold out and have limited inventory. Also check to see if you have automated purchase settings enabled, such as Amazon Buy with 1-Click: it is your responsibility to make sure you are getting the correct price for an item before you check out and finalize the transaction.

Disclosure statement: I have material connections with various vendors and organizations. To review the material connections I have in the genealogy industry, please see Disclosure Statement.

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©2017, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.