It seems like now is a good time to update some of my favorite search tips.
Let’s start with my favorite search filter. Sure it may never have occurred to you to have a favorite, but I find this one incredibly useful.
When you are in search form and you start typing in a location, you will see our type ahead suggest a list of places for you.
Choose from this list. This allows us to quickly identify everything we know about that place.
If you choose “Restrict to this place exactly” the place you’ve identified must match exactly. So if you entered, Chicago, Cook, Illinois, USA, and checked Restrict to this place exactly, you will not get matches for just Cook County, Illinois, USA.
If you choose County, then you will get matches for both the city and just the county, as well as other cities in that county. And if you don’t find your person in those locations, you might try expanding to county/adjacent counties. You don’t need to know what they are or if they crossed state lines, we know, and we will search them.
If you just choose state and have Chicago, Cook, Illinois as your location, we will match those locations that are in Chicago first, but as long as the state is Illinois is in the location, it matches.
Give this one a spin. By adjusting this you can expand and contract your searches easily to locate those elusive records.
And if you got about 5 minutes, check out this short YouTube video where I do a quick demo for you — Five Minute Find: Location, Location, Location.
About Anne Gillespie Mitchell
Anne Gillespie Mitchell is a Senior Product Manager at Ancestry.com. She is an active blogger on Ancestry.com and writes the Ancestry Anne column. She has been chasing her ancestors through Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina for many years. Anne holds a certificate from Boston University's Online Genealogical Research Program, and is currently on the clock working towards certification from the Board for Certification of Genealogists. You can also find her on Twitter, Facebook and Finding Forgotten Stories.