At the time of this post, Ancestry.com has 23,775 databases available to search. With a collection this large, sometimes it can be tough to figure out exactly what is available for a particular area. Ancestry.com has created a new tool to help you find the information you need with the Ancestry Card Catalog. The Card Catalog is a free tool that allows you to search by keyword or title and narrow that search by date or location.
This database should come with a warning though. (Warning: This database will occupy you for extended periods of time. Do not attempt to use it if you hope to accomplish anything but family history research for the next several hours.) This brief announcement took me hours to write, due to the fact that I kept running across new databases that I hadnâ€™t seen before!Â A couple tips I picked up:
- Use the keyword search. It seems to pick up more than the title and location search. I tried a search for Brooklyn New York and got 125 hits with those terms in the keyword search, and only fourteen in the title search. This is due to the fact that the keyword search searches more fields, including the full description as it is set out in the database. The title search will only search that field.Â
- Try surname searches. Although this is primarily a search of databases, and not the names contained within them, donâ€™t overlook searches using a surname. The Family & Local History Collection includes a lot of family histories and biographical materials that you may have missed.Â
- Even if you think youâ€™re familiar with the offerings at Ancestry.com, be sure to check this database out. Because of my work with the newsletter, I have been looking at Ancestry.com postings daily for around eight years. I thought I knew exactly what was available for my areas of interest, but I ended up spending hours browsing through databases I had previously overlooked. (Hence the above warning!)
You can find the Card Catalog by clicking on the Search Tab and then clicking on the Card Catalog link on the right hand side of the page under the section â€œSearch Resourcesâ€ or directly through this link. http://www.ancestry.com/s20918/t7637/e/rd.ashxÂ Â Â
Good luck with your searches!