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A Guide to Using when choosing to discover your family history.

Delving into your family history can be an incredibly rewarding journey. It connects you to your past and helps you understand the lives and experiences of your ancestors. is one of the most popular tools for genealogical research, offering a vast array of resources to help you uncover your roots. Here’s a comprehensive guide to using effectively.

Here below are 8 tips for successfully using

1. Getting Started: Building Your Family Tree

Your journey begins with what you already know. Start by creating an account on and begin building your family tree. Enter your own details, then move on to your parents, grandparents, and so on. Include names, dates of birth, marriage, and death, and places of residence. The more information you provide, the better can assist you in finding relevant records and connections.

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Shop: “Unofficial Guide to” by Nancy Hendrickson

2. Exploring Records: Census, Birth, Marriage, and Death hosts an extensive collection of records from all over the world. Census records can provide a snapshot of your ancestors’ lives, including their addresses, occupations, and family members. Birth, marriage, and death records are vital for verifying dates and relationships. Start with these basic records to establish a timeline and confirm family connections.

3. Using Hints and Matches

As you add information to your family tree, will generate hints—indicated by green leaf icons—suggesting potential records and connections. These hints can lead you to valuable documents such as military records, immigration papers, and more. Review these hints carefully and validate the information before adding it to your tree. This feature can save you time and open up new avenues for research.

4. Searching Historical Newspapers and Immigration Records

Historical newspapers can offer fascinating insights into your ancestors’ lives, providing context to their personal stories.’s newspaper collection can help you find obituaries, marriage announcements, and news stories involving your family. Additionally, immigration records can reveal your ancestors’ journeys, shedding light on when and how they arrived in new countries.

5. Connecting with the Ancestry Community

One of the strengths of is its community. You can connect with other members who are researching the same family lines or geographic areas. Collaborating with others can provide new information and perspectives. You can also join surname or locality-specific groups to further your research and gain support from fellow genealogists.

6. Taking a DNA Test

For a deeper understanding of your heritage, consider taking an AncestryDNA (amazon) test. This can provide insights into your ethnic background and connect you with relatives you might not have known existed. The DNA results can also help verify and expand your family tree, breaking down brick walls in your research.

7. Organizing and Verifying Your Research

As you gather information, it’s crucial to stay organized. Document your sources meticulously to keep track of where each piece of information came from. This practice ensures the credibility of your family tree and helps avoid duplication of effort. Always cross-reference information from multiple sources to verify its accuracy.

8. Preserving Your Findings

Once you’ve built a substantial family tree, consider preserving your research by creating a family history book or website. offers tools to help you print charts and reports, making it easy to share your findings with family members. Preserving your research ensures that future generations can benefit from your hard work and continue the journey of discovery.

In Conclusion is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in genealogy. By leveraging its extensive records, community support, and advanced tools, you can uncover the stories of your ancestors and build a rich, accurate family tree. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced researcher, offers endless opportunities to connect with your past. Happy exploring!

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guide to using - 8 tips for family history

So are you excited about joining me on my A to Z Challenge through Family History?

I’d highly recommend trying a 14 day FREE trial of Ancestry (but be sure to mark the 13th day on your calendar so you have the option of cancelling your membership if it doesn’t fit your needs) and downloading the Ancestry app from the Apple App Store.

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Please leave in the comments below a name of an ancestor you’re excited to learn more about.