Wednesday, April 4, 2018 Has New Menus

I received an email from AmericanAncestors today saying that their website has new menus.  You can read the announcement at

I wanted to see for myself, so I went to the home page and saw:

There are buttons in blue across the top of the page for:

*  Search - Databases and special collections
*  Services - Consult or hire research experts
*  Learn - Improve your research skills
*  Library - Access our leading research center
*  Events - Lectures, tours, exhibits & more
*  News - Updates and latest publications
*  Bookstore - Books and products from NEHGS
*  Join/Renew

I am most interested in the online databases offered on the site, and clicked on the "Search" button and a popup box appeared on the left side of the screen (two screens below):

I have the choice to:

  • Search All Databases – the standard Advanced Search page to search across over 450 databases with 1.4 billion records
  • Category searches – the recently announced category specific search pages, are available for a tailored search experience to each category of databases; such as Vital Records
  • Browse Databases A to Z – previously on a separate menu, the database lets you find a specific database to use for your research
  • Special Interest Databases –the externally provided searchable databases, made available to NEGHS members
  • Articles Guides and Study projects – provides access to the ongoing study projects that are used to create unique searchable databases and publications
  • Library Catalog – lets you search through the entire NEHGS library catalog
  • Digital Book and Manuscript Collection – the place to search through our digital collections from the NEHGS Library and the Jewish Heritage Center.
I clicked on the "Search all databases" link and the page with a number of fields appeared:

This appears to be the same page I saw several days ago and for several years past.  I think that the "Help" and "Search by category" links on the right side of the screen above are new.

I entered "seaver" in the "Last name" field, and saw:

There are 1,927,739 matches in many databases to search through.  The top matches are for "Iowa Marriages, 1809-1992," followed by Worcester County Probate records, so there doesn't seem to be any real order to the listing.

I decided to sort the list by "Probate records" so I selected "Court, Land and Probate Records" from the Category list on the left-hand side of the screen above.

There are only 4701 records in this category.  I specifically want "New York: Abstracts of Wills, Admins, and Guardianships, 1787-1835:"

There are 790 records in this sub-category.  I clicked on the first one for Luther Seaver to see what it was:

The screen above is the summary page for the record for Luther Seaver in Queens County, New York.  There is a citation below the frame with the summary information and the link to view the record.  It provides a link to the summary page, but doesn't mention the record type, county, the name of the person or the year of the record.

I clicked on the link to "View" the record and saw:

It turns out that Luther Seaver was a witness to the will of a James Bennet.  Oh well. I wonder which Luther it was in my database?  That's a research question for another time.

I chose to search for only a surname - and this would be useful if I was mining a specific collection.  I usually search by first name, last name, and record type, often with a year range and general location in order to reduce the matches from non-useful years and places.

I don't know that this new Menu system will be more helpful to my research, but at least I'm aware of it.


Disclosure:  I have been a paying subscriber to the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) since 1992 (I think).  I have not received any compensation from NEHGS for writing about or using their products over the years.  I have found many very useful documents on their website.

Copyright (c) 2018, Randall J. Seaver

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