You may remember that at our most recent genealogy program at our library on the evening of February 10, 2015, our guest speaker spent some time making us aware of the “card catalog” feature that exists both in a personal subscription to Ancestry.com as well as in the Library edition of that product.
At the Ancestry.com home page, click on the “search” box on the right which will take you to the search page. Do not start searching immediately! Hover your cursor over the “Search”Tab at the top of the page. You will see a drop down menu. The “card catalog” is the last item in the list.
The card catalog does what it implies. It is a database that contains all of the Ancestry.com genealogy databases. It can be searched by your keywords so you can discover what databases might exist for your own research needs. If you were interested in what databases might exist that could help your Polish research, you could do a search of the card catalog maybe using search terms such as “Poland” or “Polish” to see what exists at a high level for the country.
I also like finding a database of interest and then selecting it individually to do your searching. This can allow you to get “hits” in numbers that are not overwhelming because the hits are limited to just that database. Sometimes this may seem meaningless to search in this manner but your hits are only in a specific database of interest.
You can also view the components of the card catalog by using other filters. You can view the contents of the card catalog by:
- Popularity (default)
- By Title of the Database
- By Date Updated
- By Date Added
- By Record Count
You can easily determine which databases have recently been added by viewing them by “Date Added”; you can see which databases have been recently updated by viewing them by “Date Updated”; you can the databases presented in alphabetical order by “Title of the Database”; you can see the databases in order of number of records contained within the databases from highest count to lowest by “Record Count”.
Knowing what has been added and what has been updated is a good way to make your research searches more meaningful rather than just using the basic search template over and over and expecting different results. Know that a database has been added that connects to your own research is important. Know that a database you have previously used has been updated is important to know because there may be more records in it that now apply to your research. Knowing that a database contains only 500 records when using the “By Record Count” filter can help you understand that your chances of discovering something on your ancestors might be limited simply because the base number is so small.
I also noticed that there is a nice YouTube video on the Ancestry.com YouTube channel that speaks to the very issue of the card catalog. I feel knowing about the Ancestry card catalog is important because it can make your searching more productive. I think you will like this 31 minute video.
You can view this video right here:
I am so glad that our recent speaker made note of this Ancestry.com feature at our program via her PowerPoint slide. I too believe it is important for genealogy researchers to know that this feature not only exists in Ancestry.com but to know how to use it to their research advantage.
Enjoy the above nice Ancestry.com teaching video on their Card Catalog.
Schaumburg Township District Library