Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Finding and Using the Ancestry Database Card Catalog

One of my readers wondered how she could find one specific database in the list of over 28,000 databases on Her problem was to find, say, the Sioux City Journal newspaper without scrolling through hundreds of pages in the All Databases list.

The key to resolving her problem is to find the Ancestry Database Card Catalog. From the Ancestry home page in Old Search, there appears to be no direct link. Once I found it, I put it in my Quick Link section in the top right area of my home page - see below: really should put a link to the Ancestry Database Card Catalog in a conspicuous place on the home page using Old Search - it can't be that hard to do! It is on the "Search" page at the top of the right sidebar - see

In New Search, there is a link to the Ancestry Database Card Catalog on the Ancestry Home Page - at the bottom of the list of database types on the left sidebar.

When I clicked on the Ancestry Database Card Catalog link (using Old Search), I got the first 100 items in the Card Catalog:

Okay, how do I search this? The answer is to scroll all the way to the bottom of the page - or use your "End" keyboard key - where there is a search box (in Old Search):

I put the words "sioux city" in the "Keyword" field of the Search box, and the results obtained were:

And there is the Sioux City Sunday Journal listed - the fifth item down the list.

In New Search, the "Keywords" field is right at the top of the database list on the first results page, so it was easy to input "sioux city" into the search box and get the same eight database listings.

Unfortunately for my reader, the only issue appears to be the 16 August 1964 edition.

Another way to find this particular newspaper, or any specific database, in Old Search is to click on the Advanced Search link on the Ancestry home page, and enter the words in the "Keywords" field. When I did this with "sioux city," I got 1,027 databases. I'm sure that the Sioux City Sunday Journal is included in this list - I didn't bother looking for it!

Using the Ancestry Database Card Catalog is very quick - but you have to be able to find the darn thing, especially in Old Search!

To sum up, there is a different link for the Ancestry Database Card Catalog in Old Search than in New Search. I wonder why?


Brenda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brenda said...

Well, I went to home and top right where I been going for quite some time and it was not there. I went to search and found it at the bottom of that page. Randy is right as always. Just wy must some companies make us work so hard to use the money we pay for a subscription... thanks Randy

Geolover said...


You are quite right that Ancestry does not make it easy to find the "Card Catalog", otherwise known as list of "Genealogy Databases."

Your example makes it clear. What you arrived at this way "When I clicked on the Ancestry Database Card Catalog link (using Old Search), I got the first 100 items in the Card Catalog:"

is not the place I go for the Card Catalog. I use this:

However, there is a bit of a glitch in the search page. Sometimes when I enter the name of a title in the top line, it returns an error message saying the search engine could not find "Database".

The 'Home Page' is intended for ad 'hits' rather than real usability. Depending on one's browser, one must wait for load-time before seeing one's own links.

This is why it is much more practical to bookmark frequently-used areas. This gives quick access with no load-time waiting and no necessity to use the Home Page gateway whose primary purpose is advertising 'hits'.