This page will help guide you through using the search function to search for a specific person. You will learn to:
Whether you have logging into a personal or institutional account, your screen will look similar to this:
To search for a specific person, click on the search button, and then "All categories" or choose "Begin searching The page you come to will look like this. If you want to show more options, choose the "Show more options" button. However, you are not required to do that. Input as much information as you have. The more information, the easier it will be to locate the exact person you are searching for. Location is particularly important when searching.
This is an example of results for a search for Lucretia Mott, Quaker abolitionist and women's rights activist, using only her first and last names. Notice how there are 1.3 million records. Even if all of those records are relevant, you won't be able to read all of them!
To find fewer, more relevant results, click "Edit Search" in the top of the left hand column. Here you can enter more information, such as birth and death dates, baptism dates, family members, marriage or divorce dates, locations of these events, and more. The more common the name you are looking at (see: John Smith") the more information will be helpful to refine your search.
Now you can see what happens when we used Mott's birth and death dates -- now a little over 110,000 records, approximately 11% of what came up before.
At this stage you can choose to browse your results, or you can further facet, or refine, your results by selecting one of the links in the left-hand sidebar, like "Schools, Directories & Church Histories."
As you are browsing the records, if you scroll over the title of an item, you can preview information for what that record contains, and potentially. more. This is information has been transcribed by workers for Ancestry.com .
When you click on a record, you can see all of this information, a preview of the original document, the citation for the document, and suggestions for other similar records.
Clicking "View" on the preview of the image leads you to the part of the page where the person's name shows up. You will still have to read for the name you are looking for. I have highlighted Lucretia's name here:
At the bottom of the page you will find a number of icons. When clicked, the filmstrip icon brings up the page you are looking at in its context in the folder or item you are looking in.