If you are new to Ancestry.com or just signed up, here are some quick tips that should help you get started!
1.Be aware that Ancestry offers both free and subscription-based accounts.
When creating an account, you can set it up as free, free 14-day trial (after which point it converts to a paid subscription), or a paid subscription. What you can access will vary based on your subscription level.
If you opt for a paid version, consider where the bulk of your research is going to be. Are you just beginning to flesh out your family tree, and you know your first few generations (i.e. parents, grandparents, great-grandparents) were born and raised in the United States? You may only want the U.S. Discovery package. On the other hand, if Grandpa came from Italy and married a spunky Irish lass, World Explorer — which includes the resources from the U.S. Discovery level — might be your best starting point.
If you’re ready to tackle everything Ancestry has to offer, their All Access package will connect you with other resources, such as Newspapers.com and Fold3.com.,
in addition to the two previous packages
2. Don’t overlook other users’ family tree information – just watch out for sources (or lack thereof).
One of the best features of Ancestry.com is the ability to not only create, upload and share your family tree, but also to see what others have entered. Some of the biggest breakthroughs in family history come from discovering that someone in your tree’s “branches” has already figured out what Great-Uncle Fred did for a living, or that your mutual ancestor was born in Hjørring instead of Copenhagen.
However, before you copy another user’s family tree over to your own, there is a significant caveat: check to see what sources, if any, they have included to document their information. Ancestry makes it very simple to search their available records and attach them directly to the individuals in a family tree. Making sure that there are sources gives you an extra layer of confidence that the information offered by another user is as accurate as possible, before you copy any of it to your own tree.
3.If you hit a brick wall in your research, come back and check for updates.
Both new and experienced genealogy lovers can get to a point where it feels they are stuck, and there’s no apparent way to break through and get the information they’re looking for.
If this happens to you, and you feel like your Ancestry.com membership may need to go on the chopping block, try taking a short break. When your frustration has passed ☺, check to see what updates Ancestry has added since your last visit. With the surge in interest in family history, combined with the efforts of thousands of indexers worldwide, that missing information may have become available in the time you were away.
If you haven’t used Ancestry.com before and you interested in getting started, you can go here to sign up for the free trial.