How to Interpret Ancestry.com Search Results

Executing an Ancestry.com search is only half the battle. The next part is going through the search results to find useful information on your particular ancestor.

1

On the search results screen, take a look at the results in the right column.

If your search term matches a person in a family tree, that result appears first in the list. For example, you can see that a Uriah Helm with a close birth date and a spouse with the same name the search is found in a family tree.

In addition to the information similar to the search, you can also see additional details pulled from the family tree (if available), such as marriage date and place, death date and place, and parent names. Along with family tree results, you can see matching records from other sources, including public member photos and scanned documents.

If additional family trees contain information similar to your search, click the See More Like This link on the right side of the Matching Person heading.

2

Hover the cursor over the link containing the result name.

If the result is an Ancestry.com record, the Preview box appears. The Preview box shows key elements of the record and, possibly, a thumbnail of the record, if it's digitized.

3

Sort search results by clicking the Categories tab in the upper-right corner.

This view contains the general record categories followed by the top five sources within these categories.

To see all results for sources in a particular category, click the See All Results link at the bottom of the category.

4

To restrict search results to a particular type of record, click a category in the All Categories section in the left column of the page.

This view contains the general record categories followed by the top five sources within these categories.

For example, if you select the Census & Voter Lists category, the results screen is filtered to include only the matches to the search that fit that category. Notice there's a list of subcategories of the census listed by year beneath the category.

5

Click a record group in the right column that might contain records on you ancestor.

In this case, the 1850 United States Federal Census was clicked. A new page appears with names fitting the search criteria that are located in the record group.

For example, the figure shows a record for Mariah Helm indexed in the 1850 census. The record appears first in the results because it's the closest match to the search terms. Because this Mariah Helm has an alternate spelling of Uriah Helm, a close match to the birth date, and matches the residence and birthplace, it appears first.

6

Click View Record.

If there are other details about the record, you can see them on the Record view. In this case, the record for Mariah (Uriah) includes the names and ages of household members.

Note the box in the right column containing links to suggested records. These are records in other groups that meet the search criteria. This can be a shortcut to finding several records for the same individual without executing another search.

7

If the Record view contains a thumbnail image with an orange seal labeled View Original Record, click the thumbnail.

The resulting page launches a viewer to show the digitized image of the primary source. The figure shows the 1850 census record for Uriah Helm.

8

Click the Tools menu to control the image.

If you need to rotate, flip, or invert the color of the image, you can use the Tools menu.

If the handwriting is hard to read due to faded or smeared ink, sometimes you can read it easier by inverting the color of the image.

9

To print this image, click the Print button in the top-right corner of the screen.

The Print Options page appears. Click Continue to send the image to your printer.

10

To share the image, click the Facebook, Google+, or e-mail icons in the top-right corner of the screen.

Clicking any icon launches a new pop-over box with further instructions.

11

If you have an online family tree, click the Save button in the upper-right corner of the screen to add the image to your tree.

In the dialog box that opens, select the Attach This Record to Someone in My Tree option. The Attach Record to Someone in Your Tree pop-over box appears.

12

Select the tree and click the Select From a List of People link.

The Attach Record to Someone in Your Tree page appears with a list of individuals in your family tree.

13

Click the Select button to the left of the person you want to link the image to.

The Add New Information to Your Tree page appears with two columns. The left column contains information from the census record, and the right contains information from your family tree.

14

Select the check boxes with the information you would like to import into your online family tree and click the Save to Your Tree button.

The page for the individual to which you attached the record is displayed. You can click the Facts and Sources tab to see the information added from the record.

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