How To Use Ancestry.com

Last updated: May 15, 2017 - 6:37pm EDT

There's a whole world of history and mystery just waiting to be discovered on Ancestry!  To get started, go to www.ancestry.com in your web browser.  Click Sign In in the top-right corner, click in each of the two boxes that appear and type in your name/email address and password, respectively, and then click the SIGN IN button.

Once you're on your home page, there are several different tools that you can use to trace your genealogy.

Family Tree Maker

This is one of the most powerful and popular Ancestry tools.  With it, you can enter as much information as you know about your family.  Based on what you entered, Ancestry will automatically search its databases to give you "Hints", which are links to records that might have something to do with one of your ancestors.  If those don't get you anywhere, you can always just search manually, or even share your tree with another user to see if they can help!

See our family tree tutorial for more detailed instructions on how to use this feature.

Records Search

Sometimes, to do something right, you have to do it yourself.  Ancestry has millions of records in databases both on the website itself and on other websites that it owns.  Search birth, death, and marriage records, census data, voter lists, border crossings, passports, and more!  Search for a member of your family based on their name, their gender, where they live(d), a life event, a related family member, or even what they did for a living!

See our Ancestry search tutorial for tips on how to use the Ancestry's internal search engine.

Community Collaboration

You don't have to go it alone when it comes to hunting down clues about your heritage.  Let other members help you out!  Jump on the online support community forum if you have some general questions about how to use the website, or visit the message boards if you have questions related to searching for ancestors in a certain area or via certain types of records.

Learning Center

Are you totally lost when it comes to genealogy research?  Head over to the Ancestry Learning Center and read some of the articles there.  You'll get information on all of the tools at your disposal, tips to help your research run smoothly, and ways to troubleshoot when you run into dead ends with your leads.  There are also guides on how to read certain types of records, translation guides to help with records in different languages, and even printouts and mobile applications that can help you when you shift your research back to the real world.  If you need even more help, visit the Ancestry blog, or check out their social media pages!

Shop Ancestry.com

Need even more resources?  Ancestry offers special products to help you dig even deeper into your past, such as D.N.A. testing kits and versions of their Family Tree Maker software for home computers.  If you feel like being creative with your heritage, you can also purchase things such as custom family albums, posters, and calendars to show off your lineage to everyone.  And if there's a history buff in your life who would love Ancestry, you can even buy them a gift subscription!

 

Those are some of the many ways that you can use Ancestry.com!  We'll be going over a few of them in detail in later tutorials, so stay tuned!

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