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HIST 3870: Gender & Migration, a Global Perspective

Prof. José Moya, Fall 2020

Using Ancestry Library Edition

About Ancestry Library Edition

Searching Ancestry

By Individual

Ancestry's is primarily geared toward searching for individuals. Is generally advised when building a tree to begin with relatives closest to your own generation and work further into the past. However, you can begin at any point in a tree so long as you have some key pieces of information about an individual. Birth and death dates, where a person lived at a particular period in time, the names of others in their household, or the names of parents, are all details that can help you narrow down your search.

Some things to know: 

  • Individual names may appear misspelled or may be transcribed incorrectly. Try searching without selecting "exact" first.
  • Clicking on "exact" brings a menu of other ways to search names; including "sounds like," "similar" and "initials."
  • You can use an asterisk "*" to truncate a spelling, or create a wildcard for letters you are unsure about. Example: Sm*th could be Smith or Smyth. Gold* could be Goldberg or Goldman, etc. 
  • Life dates (birth and death dates) are not always accurate either. 
By US Enumeration District

In order to find the pages of the census that correspond to a given area in the United States, you need to find the area’s enumeration district (ED). An enumeration district does not correspond to neighborhood boundaries. Rather, it is an area covered by a single census taker in one census period. Enumeration districts vary in size from several city blocks in densely populated urban areas to an entire county in sparsely populated rural areas.Map of lower manhattan showing the boundries of the Lower East Side and a single enumeration district

To find a US enumeration district use Steve P. Morse’s Unified Census ED Finder.

  • Select the census year in the dropdown menu at the top of the page
  • Search by address 
  • Add the cross street boundaries
  • Click on the ED link at the bottom (ex: “New York- 180”)
  • Click “Free Display”
  • Census pages are arranged by street and building address
By Collection

Ancestry also allows you the option of browsing collections using their map feature as well as through the "Card Catalog" link in the search menu. Click "Begin Searching" to access the map feature. You can also select "Card Catalog" from the dropdown menu under "Search."

  • Card Catalog: Allows you to browse collections using various filters on the left navigation including Collection Type, Location, Date and Language.
  • Map Feature: Allows you to zoom into location on the world map. The further you zoom in the more local the collections become. 

Genealogical Research Databases

Resources for Genealogical Research