The New Ancestry Site: New Features, Mixed Reviews

Ancestry new site screenshotAncestry’s new site is now available to all U.S. users–across browsers, mobile devices, and the PC/Mac divide. It’s more than just a cosmetic or branding overhaul. The way Ancestry explains it, many changes boil down to helping users find family stories and improving their mobile experience. And while using the new site is still optional (see below), there are good reasons to start using it now. Mostly because the old site will be going away–possibly along with data you enter in it from this point forward. Many users adapt without much thought; for others, these changes are painful.

Ancestry logo new site“The new Ancestry experience was based on extensive research of problems our users are facing and their current needs,” states an FAQ on Ancestry. “We surveyed and interviewed thousands of users and found that new and long-time users wanted to be able to find and write their family stories. Based on this information we decided to provide more powerful storytelling features (LifeStory), coupled with tools to make research easier (updated Facts view) as well as organize media efficiently (Gallery)….Also, “the new experience was designed to work better across all mobile devices. You’ll be able to see the media gallery, Historical Insights, and LifeStory, too. More improvements for the mobile experience are planned.”

If you’ve been using Story View, the news is mixed. The new LifeStory feature is the next generation of Story View and “is better integrated into the overall profile page.” But Story View is going away–and as of June 1, “if you edit a Story View, the information will not be changed in the new LifeStory.” Also, the current FAQ says that Ancestry still hasn’t decided whether to transfer data from the Story View to the LifeStory.

Ancestry expert Crista Cowan explains the updated Facts view in the new Ancestry site: “Just like before, you will find the facts you’ve discovered and entered about the life of a person in your tree running down the page like a timeline. You will also find that the parents, spouse and children of the person are on the right-hand side of the page just where they have always been. The big change you will discover is that the sources that support those facts and relationships are now front and center.” Read more from her blog post here. The comments on that post and on the original announcement are great places to read the mixed opinions about the new site.

Below is Ancestry’s video about the new site:

Users can currently opt in or out of the new site (click Classic Site or New Ancestry on the username drop-down menu), but that option will go away soon. If you’re still on the fence about using the new site, read Ancestry’s FAQs about the changes, especially those that affect what changes you make from this point forward. Here’s a detailed list of the planned feature roll-outs, along with the estimated dates for them.

Ancestry for saleHave you backed up your Ancestry tree lately? It’s a good idea to do it regularly. We found ourselves reminding people how to do this recently in the wake of news that Ancestry may go up for auction. Read our how-to post here.

 

How to Use Evernote for Genealogy: The Ultimate Education

organize genealogy with EvernoteUsing Evernote for genealogy will make you a more efficient and effective researcher.

Genealogists all over the world are harnessing the power of Evernote to organize their family history researchThis free software (and website application) can bring all your research materials (text notes, photos and images from mobile devices, video, audio interviews, web content and URLs) together in one place.

Then it goes even further by making all the text items keyword-searchable. So you can much more easily locate that one little piece of information you recall only as “that bit about the fire station he worked for.”

Better yet, Evernote goes with you. With the Evernote software and companion app, your genealogy notes will be accessible from and fully-synced across all your computing devices. Sigh! It’s wonderful!

Here’s how to get started

1. Download the free Evernote software here.

2. Create your free or premium Evernote account. (Click here to learn more about Evernote account options.)

3. Go to your Account page and make note of your unique Evernote email address. (Help>Go to My Account Page>Account Summary and scroll down to “Email Notes to.”)

4. Download the free Evernote web clipper for your web browser.

5. Download the free Evernote app from the App Store or Google Play and sign in to your account.

Now you’re ready to use Evernote to collect your research content and source citation information!

Here are 5 ways to add content to Evernote

1. The Web Clipper: Pull data from websites with the handy web clipper and Evernote will often automatically capture information about the site you got it from.

2. Drag and Drop: Images, scanned  documents and other multimedia content can be dropped right into new or existing notes.

3. Smartphone and Tablet: Snap a photo of a record, tombstone or any other genealogical item. (I like to do a quick photo “Edit” cleanup to get it in the best shape possible). Tap the Share button and send it to Evernote.

4. Email Content: Use your unique Evernote email address to send content from anywhere to your account.

5. Good Old Typing: Click “New Note” and start typing. You can always add other content including merging notes together.

Resources for Success

There’s so much demand for learning to use Evernote for genealogy that I’ve created a variety of helpful resources in video, audio, print and online formats (because everyone learns differently!).

FREE YouTube Video Series: Evernote for Genealogy

I’ve posted two videos so far on my free YouTube series:

Evernote for Genealogy Quick Reference Guide

Evernote for Genealogy Quick Reference GuideMy laminated reference guide is super handy for every day support! This guide includes:

  • A Getting Started Checklist
  • Quick Keystrokes
  • Getting the Most Out of Clipping
  • Maneuvering the Desktop Client
  • Genealogical Organization
  • Little-Known Search Strategies
  • Specialized Genealogy Focused Techniques
  • Comparison of Evernote Pricing Tiers

The guide is available for both Windows and Mac users, in both print and digital download format. Click below to view:

The Ultimate Evernote for Genealogy Education

Ultimate Evernote Education abbreviatedGenealogy Gems website Premium members have a full-year’s access to my popular in-depth video classes, which include The Ultimate Evernote for Genealogy Education video series. This series includes the following full-length and mini-series classes:

Evernote genealogy family history organizeKeep up on all my latest Evernote news and Q&As!

Click here to read my Evernote blog posts.

Sign up for my free email newsletter (that sign-up comes with a free bonus e-book!).

Who else do you know who would benefit from getting organized? I hope you’ll share this page with your friends, relatives, family history buddies and fellow gen society members using the share icons below. Thanks!

4 Fabulous Ways to Use the Library of Congress for Genealogy

The Library of Congress (LOC) is a dream destination for many U.S. genealogy researchers, but most of us can’t get there in person. Here are 4 ways–all online–to access the mega-resources of the Library of Congress for genealogy.

library of congress genealogy

 

 

digital archive, world digital library

1. World Digital Library: for the bigger picture

The Library of Congress is home to the World Digital Library, “a collaborative international project led by the Library of Congress. It now includes more than 10,000 manuscripts, maps and atlases, books, prints and photographs, films, sound recordings, and other cultural treasures.

What can be useful to genealogists? The World Digital Library’s Timelines of U.S. History and World History work together with interactive maps on the same topics. The worldwide and historically deep scope of digital content can help you explore your deep cultural roots in another place. The History and Geography Section offers great visuals and includes (small but growing) sections on biography and genealogy.

 

2. Chronicling America: for finding ancestors in the news

The Chronicling America newspaper site, hosted by the Library of Congress, catalogs U.S. newspapers and provides free access to more than six million digital newspaper pages (1836-1922) in multiple languages. Run searches on the people, places and events that shaped your ancestors’ lives. Results may include:

  • Advertising: classifieds, companies your ancestor worked for or owned, store ads, runaway slaves searches and rewards and ship arrivals or departures.
  • Births & deaths: birth announcements, cards of thanks printed by the family, obituaries and death notices, funeral notices, reporting of events that led to the death, etc.
  • Legal notices and public announcements: auctions, bankruptcies, city council meetings, divorce filings, estate sales, executions and punishments, lawsuits, marriage licenses, probate notices, tax seizures, sheriff’s sale lists.
  • Lists: disaster victims, hotel registrations, juror’s and judicial reporting, letters left in the post office, military lists, newly naturalized citizens, passenger lists (immigrants and travelers), unclaimed mail notices.
  • News articles: accidents, fires, etc. featuring your ancestor; front page (for the big picture); industry news (related to occupations); natural disasters in the area; shipping news; social history articles.
  • Community and social events like school graduations, honor rolls, sporting and theater events; social news like anniversaries, church events, clubs, engagements, family reunions, visiting relatives, parties, travel, gossip columns, illnesses, weddings and marriage announcements.

With Chronicling America, you can also buy medicine online china subscribe to receive “old news” on many of your favorite historical topics. Sign up for weekly notifications that highlight interesting and newly-added content on topics that were widely covered in the U.S. press at the time. (Click here to see a list of topics.) To subscribe, just use the icons at the bottom of the Chronicling America home page.

3. Flickr Creative Commons  – Library of Congress Photostream for old pictures

LOC ElectionFlickr Creative Commons describes itself as part of a “worldwide movement for sharing historical and out-of-copyright images.” Groups and individuals alike upload old images, tag and source them, and make them available to others. The (U.S.) Library of Congress photostream has thousands of photos and a growing collection of front pages of newspapers.

Tip: The Library of Congress isn’t the only library posting cool images on Flickr Creative Commons. Look for photostreams from your other favorite libraries and historical societies. (Use the main search box with words like “Ohio library” and limit results to groups. You’ll see who’s posting images you care about and you can even follow them!)

4. Preserving Your History video for archiving your family history

LOC scrapbook videoThe Library of Congress has a FREE video about how to create and properly preserve digital or print archival scrapbooks.

It’s a 72-minute video by various experts with a downloadable transcript on these topics:

  • Basic preservation measures one can do at home for long-lasting albums and scrapbooks
  • Pros and cons of dismantling old scrapbooks and albums in poor condition
  • How to address condition problems
  • Preservation considerations for digital scrapbooks and albums
  • How to participate in the Library’s Veterans History Project.

Also check this out: the Preserving Your Family Treasures webpage on working with originals at the Library of Congress website.

More Resources

The Library of Congress is Your Library, a four-minute video introduces the Library of Congress and gives a brief history.

VIDEO: Exploring LOC.gov, a three-minute video highlighting the Library’s online collections and providing searching techniques.

How to Find Stuff at the Largest Library in the World, a 5-minute introductory video showing how to use subject headings, research databases and other helpful tools to find books, photos, sheet music, manuscripts and more at the Library of Congress or other locations.

Share Hearts

Do you know someone who would enjoy this article? It’s easy to share by using the social media share buttons on this page.

Pin It on Pinterest

MENU