Hidden Records on Ancestry – are you missing a trick? Did you know that not all the records on Ancestry are indexed? Did you know that Ancestry goes into archives and scans lots of books and printed material as well as the main documents such as parish registers and census? And did you know that a lot of these records even if they are searchable by name won’t come up on your searches or as a Green Shaky Leaf? And do you know where these genealogy gems are hidden on the website? Do I hear you say that no you didn’t know that? I thought you might not, which is why I am going to tell you all about them. I think of this part of Ancestry as a Genealogical Bermuda Triangle ! It is where great resources go and then seem to disappear and where no one ever finds them. Until now that is!
You might wish to print off a FREE Ancestry County Records Worksheet from the MadAboutGenealogy Resource Library to help you keep track of what you have searched. Click Here to access the Resource Library.
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This post has been re-written.
Hidden Records on Ancestry – how to find them
Let’s go through the process step by step…
1 Log into Ancestry.
2 Click on the Search tab at the top left hand side of the Home page.
3 A drop down menu appears – click on Search All Records.
4 You will see a normal Ancestry search form, now you are going to do what a lot of people don’t do! Work your way down the page until a map with the heading Explore By Location comes up.
5 Click on United Kingdom and then chose which part of the UK you wish to search.
6 A large map of the UK will appear with a list on the right hand side of all the databases that have records for the whole of the UK.
7 Click on the + sign on the top left hand side of the screen which will enlarge the map until you see small blue and white icons appear.
8 If you hover your mouse over an icon it will show you which county the icon represents and how many collections Ancestry has with information on that county.
9 Note these collections only have information on that county, they will not be on the list that was shown in step 6.
10 Click on the icon for your ancestors county and a list of databases for that county will appear on the right hand side.
11 Have a good look at all the databases and decide which one you wish to search first.
12 You will notice a column at the far right of the list of databases with figures in it. This indicates how many records are in the database, not how many names, but records. However some records have a 0. This indicates that the database has not been indexed and this is where some great genealogy treasure can be found.
13 When using these zero records you will probably find that they are printed books or pamphlets, if this is the case then go to the end of the book and see if there is a printed index there. Sometimes there is an index there and sometimes there isn’t, but it can be a great time saver if there is.
14 Keeping a record of which collections you have searched is important as you can then come back at a later date and check if any new databases have been added. I have noticed that Ancestry slips in the zero record databases without announcing them on their new records listings. So it is worth keeping a watch on your ancestral counties.
Hidden Records on Ancestry – Summary
Now you know about the hidden records on Ancestry I am sure you will find some family history gems in these little accessed databases, especially as they won’t appear as the shaky green leaves on your online Ancestry family tree or on a general search. Just work your way through my step by step instructions and you will soon be searching deep in the Ancestry Archives. Searching this way means you can be sure that you are making the most of your Ancestry subscription.
Happy Ancestor Hunting!
If you want to research these data-sets and you don’t have a subscription to Ancestry then do remember that Ancestry offers a Free 14 day try before you buy period – Click on the links below.
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