Ancestry.com is easily the best genealogy research site available in our time. If you really want to find out who you are and where you come from, this is the place to start! On this page, I'll show you how to access its powerful resources for tracing your genealogy, and I'll share with you some of the deeply meaningful experiences I've had in using it myself.
If you're new to genealogy Ancestry is a really good place to start. It's search functions and hints are intuitive enough that you'll probably figure a lot out on your own as you explore your family history and experiment with the features.
If you are concerned about doing something incorrectly, then let me show you some of the things I had to learn by trial and error. Let me save you some time and frustration by showing you some of the things I learned from my own mistakes when I was first getting started.
Let's start by setting up your Ancestry account.
If you've had an account before, you'll need to remember what email address was associated with it. That email address is your username, and it's the email they'll send a reset password to for recovery purposes.
If you are a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, before following any further steps on this page, I would highly recommend you see the quick start tutorial on my ward family history web page to set up your Ancestry account to work with FamilySearch. There, you'll also find instructions for importing up to four generations of your FamilySearch tree into Ancestry.
If this is your first encounter with Ancestry, then click here set up your free 14-day trial.
Here, you'll supply Ancestry with your preferred email address as a username, and you'll select a password and preferred language. Once you set your preferred language, you will not have the option to change it.
If you have already set up your account, scroll past the setup instructions to start learning more about search techniques and other things you'll need to know.
Once your Ancestry account is set up, you'll get a screen that looks like this:
Yours will likely have your name and birth year in it, instead of "Add new person" like mine does here. I'm actually starting a new tree on my account, just to get some screen shots and show you how this is done. Click on your name, or, if you're starting a new tree on an existing account, click 'Add new person'.
Fill out any personal information that's missing and click 'Continue'.
Now, click on 'Add Father' and enter personal any personal information you can gather about your father. Do the same for 'Add Mother'.
Next, you'll have to do some talking with living relatives in order to gather birth, marriage, and if applicable, death information for your grandparents.
Once you have entered a deceased person into your family tree, you are in a position to begin using Ancestry's powerful tools for learning things about your family history that can be discovered in no other way!
Ancestry & FamilySearch
Latter-Day Saints will want to see the quick start tutorials on my ward family history web page to cover this material in a more faith-based way that includes instructions for sharing data with FamilySearch and for reserving and managing temple ordinances.
To protect your work, I strongly suggest doing all your research in Ancestry, then export it into FamilySearch only when you have everything fully documented.
Learn about Ancestry DNA Testing for Genealogy - see the results of my DNA test!
Watch my video (opens in a new tab): How to Add Notes on Ancestry.com
* I'll go to other areas as well. I charge $0.95/mile (round trip) plus $15 per hour onsite for document pickup, copies, and taking pictures.