I posted a blog about the new pages in new search a few weeks ago. But there were so many changes that I think each one should have a dedicated post. The location of an Ancestor’s birth or residence greatly influenced their life story. By browsing by location, I found a book about Hopewell New Jersey where some of my Dansburys used to live. The stories in that book give a real flavor of the town people’s lives even if there is nothing specific about my Dansburys. So I encourage you to go forth and browse!
Map on search homepage
Start browsing by clicking on the map or a link below the map on the new search homepage (http://search.ancestry.com/search/). You can browse either the data collections that are unique to or related to specific places. There are thousands of new place pages for countries, states, territories, provinces and counties.
Collections by Place
Data collections are organized by category. On the collection tab for each place, you can see the data collections that are unique to each place.
To see all the data collections in a category, click the “view all” link at the bottom of a category. It will take you to a page that displays the data collections in a category that are unique to that place and those that are related to that place.
On the right side of the page, there is a feature to let you switch locations without having to return to the search homepage.
You can switch regions, countries, or narrow to a specific county. If you narrow to a county and decide to go back to a larger location, just use the breadcrumb (chain of links) at the top of the page.
US State Pages & UK Country Pages
For US states and UK countries you can find links to extra resources and a history of the important events that occurred in that place. Look for the “history” and “resource” buttons.
Understanding the history of a place can help you understand what happened in your ancestor’s lives, why they made certain choices, and what types of opportunities and obstacles they faced. Clicking on the history tab provides a brief set of basic milestones & statistics, a historical image, genealogy related facts, featured data collections, and some sample images of famous people from the place you are looking at. This tab is meant to help you get started on your place based research and not a comprehensive history of a place.
On the resources tab you can find links to public organizations outside of Ancestry. Most resource pages include background information on census research, vital records, and local resources such as local libraries, genealogical societies, or historical societies.
What about searching?
You can do that too. There is a search button at the top right corner of the place pages. When you click it, a form will pop-up to allow you to search with residence pre-populated with the location that corresponds to the place page. The search results are summarized by category rather than sorted by relevance. (This form will be changing in the future but the results will remain categorized.)
A few more tidbits
These pages are loaded with goodies. I haven’t mentioned them all. Here are a few more:
- On the main data collection page, there is a printer friendly link towards the top right side. You can print a list of all the collections we list for each place and check each one off as you browse through it.
- On the right side bar there are links to view a map, find related message boards, and search the member directory for people doing research or looking for help in a particular place.
- Finally there is a section to send us feedback about our place pages. It is at the last link on the right side bar. We would really like your help in maintaining and expanding these pages. The web addresses of local institutions change frequently, you may know about a great public resource that we have not listed, or have a great idea for a new feature. Giving us feedback through this survey will help make the places even better.
Many places restrict access to vital records but place based records abound. Although I think my Dansbury side came over to the United States in the late 1700s, I am hoping I can find a connection between a little town in New Jersey and Grosse Pointe Michigan to help me understand why my grandfather’s entire family moved in the early 1900s.
Good luck in all of your place-based research!