Daily Archives: February 9, 2012

Tips and Tricks for Searching Ancestry.com

I have to say that between the new “Pennsylvania Church and Town Records, 1708-1985″ Collection on Ancestry.com and the “Pennsylvania County Marriages, 1885-1950″ on FamilySearch.org I have been filling in so many “blanks” that I’ve lost count! I’ve been finding exact birth, marriage and death dates, names of parents and maiden names of spouses! I’ll probably blog about some of my specific finds soon, but for now I wanted to post a quick tip on searching the Church and Town Collection on Ancestry.

So, I started out doing a search for “Daniel Ecker.” The following is a screen shot of a portion of the results that were returned: (hint: if a screen shot is too small to read, click on it to see a larger view)

Search Results

I then click on the top result and view the image. It turns out to be Daniel’s marriage record in the church register of Christ Episcopal Church in Pottstown, Montgomery Co, PA. Now I’m thinking I want to see what else I can find in that particular church register. Unfortunately, there’s no direct way to search just that register – the best you can do is limit the search to the entire “Pennsylvania Church and Town” collection. But there is a way to get almost what you want by setting the search parameters appropriately.

First, limit the search to the “PA Church and Town” collection. You can do this through the card catalog feature, but I find it a lot easier to do by clicking on the banner as shown in the image below.

Now you will get the following search box:

The key thing here is to use the advanced search, then on the “Any Event” option, set the location of the church and “restrict to exact.” You could also set the year and range and click “Exact only” to further limit the scope of the query. As I have the query set up, Ancestry will only return results from Pottstown, PA.  This limits the number of churches to only those in Pottstown and greatly increases the chance that the results returned will be relevant.

Open Thursday Thread: What Did You Think of RootsTech?

Thomas MacEntee posted the following on his Geneabloggers blog:

“Last week’s RootsTech was an outstanding success on many levels based on blog posts, social media chatter and other feedback circulating on the Internets.

Whether you attended in person, watched the live streaming from home, followed the blog posts and tweets, or just downloaded videos and syllabus material, what did you think of RootsTech?  If possible, let us know your thoughts about:”

So here are my responses, interspersed with the quetions:

1. Did RootsTech live up to your expectations or the hype, especially if you were a first time attendee (in person or online)?

I was a first time at-home attendee. Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was impressed by many of the online presentations. It is encouraging to see people with both vision and technological expertise driving the industry forward.

2. If you “played along at home” via the RootsTech website, how was the quality of the content? Were there any technical problems in watching the live stream?  Are video clips and handouts easy to find?

RootsTech did a superb job with the streaming videos. No lag time, no glitches watching with my FiOS connection. I thought the video was easy to find and was pleased that the conference syllabus was available to all.

3. What about the mix of genealogy and technology?  Was it too “techie” or perhaps not enough tech?

Personally, I would have liked to delve a little deeper into the technology, but given the diverse background of the at-home audience, I think they picked a good level.

4. If you attended in person, anything about the logistics or the facilities that you would change? Does RootsTech need a larger section of the Salt Palace Convention Center next year?

Not applicable.

5. If you were King or Queen of RootsTech and planning for 2013, what would you do differently?

This is a tough one. It might be nice to add a couple of webinars for the “home” attendees. With kids in school, it’s a hard time of year for some of us to travel. Webinars would allow a minimal amount of interaction with viewers being able to potentially ask questions.

6. What would your elevator speech be for RootsTech if someone unfamiliar with the event were to ask you “What’s RootsTech?”

Another tough one. I guess I would say that it’s the place to go to interact with the people who are driving the technology that makes it easier, faster and more convenient for genealogy researchers.

Click here to go to the original post on Geneabloggers [link].