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Using Ancestry Library Edition: Sample Searches

For use in library only.

Sample Searches

1)     You are researching Emelie T. Clancy who was French but immigrated to America in the early 1900s, but that’s about all you know. You want to find any records you can about her.

From the Home Tab enter the following:           

First name: Emelie       Last name: Clancy

Life Event: Birth: Location = France 

Click +Add Life Event

Death: Location = United States

Results page:

  • At the top right corner of the Results Page, ensure that the View option is set to Sorted by relevance.
  • Select the hit from 1930 United States Federal Census (Englewood Cliffs, Bergen, New Jersey) to view the complete record, view the original image, etc.  Note the age, estimated year of birth, relation to head of house, her children’s names and ages, and the children’s occupations and their father’s birthplace. All these factors may provide clues for vetting results later in the search.
  • Go back to the results page using the Return to Record link at the top left of the Image Viewer. Then click the All Results link at the top left to return all of the results.
  • Review the results from the 1910 and 1900 United States Federal Census to ascertain Emelie’s husband’s name and the year she immigrated. Is that year different from the year her husband immigrated?
  • Return to the Results Page.
  • Use the Edit Search button to add her husband’s first name (Thomas) to the Family Member > Spouse field for searching. Click the Search button.
  • Note the narrowed set of results which display.


              2)     You discover that one of your ancestors fought during the American Civil War, specifically in the November 30, 1864 Battle of Franklin, thus you are interested in learning more about the battle from a variety of perspectives.

              Click the Search tab and scroll to the Stories & Publications on the right and select Stories, Memories & Histories and enter:

              Keyword: “Battle of Franklin”

              Results page: Make sure that the View section is set to Sorted by relevance. This will display each result and visualize the variety of biographies, accounts, images, and memoirs regarding the battle.


              3)     You are tracing a relative called John O’Shea who you know immigrated to New York from Limerick, Ireland during the Great Irish Famine (a.k.a., the Irish Potato Famine or An Gorta Mor) which caused intense waves of emigration between 1845 and 1855. Your research tells you that John immigrated to the US when he was very young, possibly as an infant. You want to find information confirmation of this and other details regarding his parents, etc.

              From the Search page, scroll to the Explore by location area in lower half of the screen and click on U.K. & Ireland tab, then click on the country of Ireland on the map or the Ireland link in the list above the map.

              Results page: Here you will find a list of every dataset that contains information regarding Irish historical records, stories and publications, and photos and maps.

              • Click the Search button to the right. This will display all available fields for searching the records listed for this location.
              • Enter John OShea (no apostrophe is necessary) in the First and Last name fields
              • Begin to enter Limerick into the Birth Location field and choose the suggestion of Limerick, Ireland. Note that the Lived In field will be pre-populated with Ireland.
              • Click Search and select Immigration and Travel from the Narrow by category area.
              • Choose the New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 from the results list.
              • Look for records with Arrival and Birth dates that are very similar to one another, locating the record for a John OShea Arrival Date 28 May 1849 Birth Date 1848.
              • Click View Record to review the details, and then click on the image icon to the right to review the brief but informative record which includes his parents’ names and ages.


              4)     During the course of your research, you’ve discovered that your ancestor, Richard Martin, was a slave in the U.S. South and once freed he and his family, including wife Drusilla, moved west during the periods now known as Manifest Destiny, and included the Exoduster and the Great Migration movements.  These movements and migrations started as early as the 1870s and continued nationwide thru the 1970s.

              Enter the following search terms in the Search Tab> Advanced Search page:

              First Name: Richard     Last Name: Martin

              Family Member: Spouse = Drucilla (do not mark the Exact Match box, because alternate spellings will be missed if it is checked)

                          Keywords: slave and “westward expansion”

              Results page: The first record is the best possible match to the information you entered, but do explore the results that follow it.

              • The first record is a result from U.S., Interviews with Former Slaves, 1936-1938. Click the View Image link to read the transcription of the interview. Because Richard is mentioned during his wife’s interview, his name appears near the bottom of the page.
              • Use the circular Forward / Back arrow buttons at the top right of the Image Viewer to navigate back 2 pages to the first page of the interview and forward thru the entire transcription to learn about Richard and his wife’s life as enslaved and emancipated persons.
              • Note for whom Drucilla worked while they lived in St. Louis, Missouri.
              • Note Richard and Drucilla’s ages at the top right of the first page of her interview.

              What other details does the interview reveal about both Richard and Drucilla?

              • Navigate back the Results Page and explore the 1910 United States Federal Census to discover Richard’s occupation, if Drucilla bore any children and if there are any still living at the time of the census.
              • Navigate back to the Results Page and Use the Edit Search button to change the search to Drucilla (w/ no last name) and only the Spouse name of Richard Martin as additional content. Click the Search button.
              • This will yield slightly different results, including two hits for Missouri Marriage Records. Review these and see if you can determine if these are relevant to the couple you’ve been investigating.


              5)     Your family roots lie in Mexico and since many members of your family immigrated to New Mexico after entering the United States, you would like to find images and maps regarding both Mexico and New Mexico to share with your family.

              Hover the mouse over the Search Tab and click on Card Catalog and enter:

              Title: Mexico

              Results page

              • Review the listed collections and select Mexico Historical Postcards (in Spanish)
              • This will refresh the page to display the search fields relevant to that collection.
              • Enter La Quebrada into the Keyword field.
              • Explore the black and white as well as the color images.
              • Using your browser’s Back button to return to the Card Catalog and change the search from Title: Mexico to Keyword: Mexico.
              • Notice how the list of results changes.
              • Using the left-side Filter by collection select Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers and locate the U.S. Map Collection, 1513-1990
              • Using the Browse option the right, choose Southwestern States and select the earliest year (1513) and investigate the map.

              Use the Return to Browsing link at the top left corner of the page and select to view the Southwestern States map for 1859 to see a color scan of this historic railroad survey map. Continue exploring this collection to see how boundaries changed over time.