Documenting Your Ancestors On Ancestry Online Trees. I shared my Ancestry online tree with a fellow researcher recently and she was surprised how I documented my ancestors by using not just the source and media sections, but by using the description box. She then went off to do the same for all her ancestors on her tree. I took that as a compliment! I had assumed that many others used the description box the way I do after all it’s there for a a reason, but perhaps I’m wrong?! So for those who might not have been using this area of the Ancestry online trees here is what I do and perhaps you might find it helpful to copy my method.
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The reason behind me using the description box is because I am lazy!! I find it tedious to see an entry for say a census and not have the basic details immediately on the tree to see. You have to click through and bring up a copy of the document and then find the entry you are interested in on the page and then read it. Then if you are trying to fit someone into a family or reject them as not related then you have to possibly go through and look at other documents whilst remember what you have seen previously. All too complicated for me!
Here is what I do when I connect up a document to someone on my Ancestry online tree. I, of course, connect the record to the person, I make a copy of the document and save it to my computer hard drive before attaching a copy as a media file to the person. CLICK HERE to read the post on why it is important to do that.
I then cite my sources for the document in the sources section if this hasn’t already be done automatically by Ancestry. CLICK HERE to read my post on why that is also very important – that post is the most popular post of all time on the MadAboutGenealogy website!
Then I turn my attention to the description box. Here is an example of what I have put in the boxes for the various documents for my great Grandfather George Southwell
|Birth 1837||George's date of birth is written on a sheet of paper owned by a family member and was handed down to her by her Grandmother Emily Harriet Southwell|
|Baptism 1837||George son of John & Susannah Southwell of Commercial Road, leather japanner.|
|1841 Census||10 Queens Head Walk St Leonard's parish. George is living at home with his father John, a Leather Dresser, mother Hannah, sister Hannah & brother Henry. George is 5 years old and born in Middlesex.|
|1851 Census||16 Cundell Court Moleworth Sqr. George is living at home with his father John, a Leather Dresser, mother Ann & siblings Henry, Elizabeth & Charlotte. George is 13 years old & born Hoxton.|
|1861 & 1871 Census||entry not found|
|Marriage 1873||George Southwell, full age, bach, fruiter of 31 Hart Street, son of John Southwell, patent leather dresser & Eliza Grantham, full age, widow of 31 Hart Street, son of Isaac Matkin, painter. GS signed, EG made mark. Banns. Witnesses John Tilling & Emily Davis|
|1881 Census||6 Great St Andrew Street. George, a porter, is living at home with his wife Eliza & their children George & Henry. George is 32 years old & born in Hoxton.|
|Marriage 1884||George Southwell, 44 yrs, widower, porter of 6 Great St Andrew Street, son of John Southwell, farmer's labourer & Harriett Southwell, 38 yrs, widow of 6 Great St Andrew Street, daughter of Thomas Kemp (deceased), carpenter. Both signed. By banns.|
|Death 1888||George Southwell male 50 years Market Porter of 70 Webber Street Blackfriars Rd Phthisis Astheria Dyspnoea certified by Howard P Ward MRCS Informant T ( or J) Kemp, sister in law 5 Phoenix Cottages Albion Grove Barnsbury Registered 9 October 1888|
|Burial 1888||15 July 2018 - Deceased Online checked nil. FMP checked nil. Ancestry checked nil.|
I have also attached an image of his page in my Ancestry online tree as an illustration so you can see how it looks on Ancestry. As you can see I write out a short transcript of the information the documents hold. Even if I know some of the info is incorrect, such as age, I type in what the document is saying. This adds so much more detail to the front page and it is very handy to be able to compare one document to another. The only downside is I wish Ancestry would make the description box bigger!
Documenting Your Ancestors On Ancestry Online Trees – summary
I find using the description box in this way so helpful and a great time saver. We are all time poor these days and sometimes can only squeeze a few minutes of genealogy in our schedule so anything that can help is invaluable.
I do hope that you find this example of how I use the description box on Ancestry online trees useful. Perhaps you have a different method of keeping basis information easily accessible – if so I would love to hear about it. Genealogy is great as we all have something to contribute to each others knowledge and we are always learning.
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