We have made it our mission to bring as many records online as possible, and now have over 30,000 collections for you to peruse when researching your family history. Censuses, vital records, city directories and the like are among the most commonly searched databases on our site, which makes sense as these records have the type of information genealogists need to grow their tree.
What about all of those other databases?
Having over 30,000 databases means that there are many that are not used or searched as often as others. Why is that? Well, many of them are not indexed and therefore, do not show up in a standard search query. Note: When you click “Search” on the navigation bar and enter all of the criteria for your ancestor, we return results on our indexed collections like the census and city directories, but don’t return results on collections that have not been indexed. The same is also true of our hints. Our hints generator does not generate hints to collections that have not yet been indexed.
When you do come across these collections, you can only view these records like you would a real-life book. You can flip through the pages and even skip to a particular section, but you cannot search for a specific name on a specific page.
What does that mean for you and your research? That means that there may be collections on our site that have information you are looking for that you haven’t tapped into.
How do I explore these databases?
The best way to explore our databases is through the Card Catalog. Just like the card catalog of a library, ours shows you the full list of databases available through Ancestry. Of course, you shouldn’t go through page by page reading the list of our databases, rather use the left-hand sidebar to help you filter by a variety of fields.
The Card Catalog is a great way to discover what records we have available for various criteria. Need to know if we have birth records for the state of Idaho? Narrow down the criteria and discover what we have available. (TIP: Remember you can also use our Family History Wiki to find out if records in a particular location and time period exist!).
Also use the Card Catalog to find the collections that might not be a vital or census record, but that might help you break through the research problem you are facing. We have an extensive collection of Maps, Atlases and Gazetteers, which can help you have a deeper knowledge of the geography you are searching in. Having intimate knowledge of the location you are attempting to find records can be they key to tracking your ancestors.
Using these databases to tell a story
Although most of us are always after that elusive record that will get you to the next step in your research, Ancestry.com has many databases that can help you understand more about what their life was like and what kind of world they lived in. Having knowledge of the time, place and society that your ancestor lived through not only gives you historical context, but can give you some clues as to why your ancestors made the choices that they did.
Here are a few databases that could help you tell the story of your:
This is just a handful of what is available on Ancestry.com for you to browse – there are many more for you to peruse using our Card Catalog and there’s no telling what you might find that’s interesting.
Here you will find informational, and sometimes fun, posts from the folks behind the scenes here at Ancestry.com. We hope you’ll notice just how passionate we are about family history and about the products we’re building to help connect families over distance and time.Visit Ancestry.com