4 Tips for Using Ancestry.com Advanced Search

We’re all familiar with the basic functions of a normal Ancestry.com search. However, the pros go straight to Advanced Search when it comes to digging up records. Advanced Search gives you more control in setting your search parameters. It is also where you can opt to use exact matches. Use these tips to make your expeditions into the bowels of Ancestry.com more efficient and effective.

1) In the date area, it’s always best to fudge the year by +/-1 or +/-2. This brings you a broader range of results where a date is miscalculated or given incorrectly. So this is one example of where you can choose “exact” but broaden the scope beyond one date.


2) As you type in a location, options for place names appear. It’s a good idea to click on the appropriate match for your search. This allows you to produce the most matches based on how Ancestry.com has identified place names in its records. 


3) In addition to finessing an exact date by adding or subtracting a few years, you can also change the “exact” default settings for names by clicking on the link under each search box and choosing the settings that help your search. These options also appear when an exact match is unchecked. Use them judiciously.


4) After conducting an advanced search, on the upper left you will see a “Searching for …” box that provides you with a quick overview of your search criteria, as well as an “Edit Search” button if you want to further fiddle with your dates, places or relationships. Any time you want to adjust your search parameters, use this button. If you use your browser’s back button, you’ll automatically wipe out much of the search.

Become an Ancestry.com power user.

Ancestry.com is like a KitchenAid mixer: you know it has the capacity to make pasta, grind meat and juice a grapefruit, but you mostly just use it to beat cake batter. You might conduct basic Ancestry.com searches every day, but know little about the cool collections and databases available for browsing, exciting advanced search features, or the fun functions featured within Ancestry.com family trees. This course is certain to expand your knowledge of the world’s largest online resource for family history, so sign up and dig in.


In this course, you will learn:

  • Essential and Advanced search strategies for Ancestry.com
  • In-depth information on available records, including images, transcriptions, databases, catalogs and collections
  • Everything you need to know about Ancestry.com family trees, such as how to create one, strategies for analyzing matches and making corrections, using trees of other members and adding additional content
  • How search, records and family trees can work in unison to make your Ancestry.com research more efficient and effective
  • How to use Ancestry.com with family tree

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