Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Tuesday's Tip: Use Ancestry.com Card Catalog to Find Records and Publications for a Specific Locality

This week's Tuesday's Tip is:  Use the Ancestry.com Card Catalog to find records and publications for a specific locality.

The Ancestry.com Card Catalog is at http://search.ancestry.com/search/CardCatalog.aspx. There are currently 32,259 databases on the website, in a number of "collections" (e.g., Birth, Marriage & Death, Census & Voter Lists, etc.).

However, not all of them are every-name indexed, and so researchers who only search with names, and don't browse, won't find some useful databases.  Here is the top of the Card Catalog page:

The user can sort this list (using the dropdown menu in the upper right, as shown above) by Popularity, Database Title, Date Updated, Date Added, or Record Count.

A user can "filter" their search by using the different filters (on the left-hand side of the web page), which include:

*  Filter by Collection
*  Filter by Location
*  Filter by Dates
*  Filter by Languages

 A user can search the entire catalog, or a selected collection or location, using the "Title and "Keyword(s)" fields in the upper left-hand corner of the screen.

I wanted to find databases that have Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania in their title.  I put [ Westmoreland Pennsylvania] in the "Title" search box and saw:

There were 14 matches for my search, all with Westmoreland and Pennsylvania in the title.  The search terms do not have to be in any order but they all have to be in the title.  Note that the number of database in the Collection filter has changed to reflect the search.

What about a search for [ westmoreland PA]?  Here are the results:

There are two more databases that have those terms.

The Keyword search is similar.  If I put the search terms [ westmoreland pennsylvania] in the "Keyword(s)" field, I get:

There are 38 databases found when I use the Keywords, but some of them do not apply to Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania (because "westmoreland" and "pennsylvania" are in a title separately).  The Keyword search does find newspapers published in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, even without the exact keywords in the title, presumably because they have been associated with the County.

Evidently, using the "Keywords" search field may be preferable to using the "Title" search field.

Ancestry.com has a wealth of indexed databases that most users search to find records of their ancestors and relatives.  However, there may be some real genealogy gems for users hiding in the databases further down the "Record Count" list.

The URL for this post is:  http://www.geneamusings.com/2014/06/tuesdays-tip-use-ancestrycom-card.html

Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

1 comment:

Judy Webster said...

Thanks for sharing this good advice.