Thursday, April 14, 2016 has Added "North America, Family Histories, 1500-2000" Database

I noticed that I was receiving a lot of Ancestry Hints for the relatively new "North America, Family Histories, 1500-2000" database.  This database is described as:

"This collection contains genealogical research privately published in nearly one thousand family history books. The primary focus is on North American families from the 18th and 19th centuries, especially those with Revolutionary War and Colonial ties. Some European family histories are also included, with emphasis on connections to nobility.

"The following details, when available, have been indexed from the books in this collection.  Additional information may be found by viewing the images of the published books.

Indexed Details
Birth date and place
Baptism date and place
Marriage date and place
Death date and place
Burial date and place
Names of parents and spouses."

One of my ancestors, randomly chosen for this research, is Caleb Carr (1616-1695), a former Governor of Rhode Island.  Could I find an article or a book about Caleb Carr in this database?

Here is my search screen in the database:

I received 100 matches - there were several books with information about persons with this name:

I clicked on one of the matches on the list above, and saw the record summary:

This told me that the digitized work was (this is Ancestry's source citation):

"Book Title: The Carr family records : embracing [sic] the record of the first families who settled in America and their descendants, with many branches who came to this country at a later date
Source Information North America, Family Histories, 1500-2000 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2016."

Here is the first image for this book:

I paged through the book and found my Caleb Carr on page 15 (image 14):

This particular book provides summary information about each Carr family.  In the case of Caleb Carr, it provides his transcribed will.

While these books are Derivative Sources, they are still very useful.  They provide a summary of what one or more other researchers have found, and the names, dates, places, events, sources and notes can be used to find the Original Source material.  In this case, I now have a reference to the Newport town probate records for the actual will (assuming it still exists - we'll see!).

I did searches for many more ancestral names that I know are in published books, and did not see many of the known books in this collection.  So it is not "every" genealogy book out of copyright, but it appears to be "many" family history books.

Where did obtain these books?  I read somewhere that they are from the Internet Archive (  However, a search for Caleb Carr did not provide this particular work.  I searched Google Books ( and it is there.

The database description for this collection does not indicate how many books are included in the collection, nor if the collection is complete.  That would be nice to know.

The important thing to me is that Ancestry is providing Record Hints for the persons in my Ancestry Member Tree from this collection.  There may be clues to some of my ancestral families in this database that I don't have.


The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2016, Randall J. Seaver

Please comment on this post on the website by clicking the URL above and then the "Comments" link at the bottom of each post.  Share it on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or Pinterest using the icons below.  Or contact me by email at


Elizabeth Handler said...

I noticed the same things a week or two ago.

Interestingly, has had many digitized family histories on their site for awhile. As an example, one of my more unusual surnames is Adsit. The book "Descendants of John Adsit of Lyme, Connecticut" has been digitized at Ancestry since 2004, though now it's also in this new "North America, Family Histories" database.

Another thing that newer researchers have to be aware of is how to cite this source - my preference would be to cite the book, or the individual database, not the "North America, Family Histories" database.

T said...

This isn't the good news you think it is. In my particular case, there is a published Bailey family pedigree and family history. There is quite a bit of misinformation in it about my branch. My gggrandmother was switched with her sister so the two women are "married" to the wrong men. If this book is available at ancestry it will be a disaster for my family. There are too many people who accept the family tree hints from other trees and click to add without ever checking the documentation on that tree. There must be 20 trees that are wrong at ancestry and 3 that are right. Who will they copy from?

Bonnie said...

T - is your tree public so that people can find the correct information? Have you added a comment to each woman's profile referencing the correction?

William Lapeer said...

I have seen this and been trying to use it but have ran into a hiccup. I have noticed same dates that appear from other sources and I have used conflict. One can not rely on a birth cert for everyone will be provide but you'd think references from SSA, tombstones on find a grave or marriage cert etc will be right. Where does the information from this reference come from?? And does the hint reference that source besides just North America, Family Histories, 1500-2000?