How to search smarter on Ancestry


25 August 2023
We take a closer look at Ancestry’s search to show you how best to use the tools to help find the ancestor details you’re seeking.

Let’s take it from the top and begin the search at Ancestry.

You’ll note that from here you may choose to search across:

‘All Collections’ (or select an individual country or ethnicity);

• In addition, it is here that you can choose to include search results from any or all of ‘Historical Records’, ‘Stories & Publications’, ‘Family Trees’, and ‘Photos & Maps’.

Searching widely provides an extensive and comprehensive list of search results. From here, you can edit and revise your search, in order to home in on those results of most relevance to you. We’ll cover some of the steps and tactics to help you search smarter.

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Refining your search

• Starting with what you know: Use the ‘Quick Fill Suggestions’ to populate the search fields with ancestor details already included in your Ancestry family tree.

• Search from your family tree:

Alternatively search from an ancestor’s profile in your Ancestry family tree.

Being ‘Exact’... or not

As family historians we know the research challenges we face. Our ancestors may have provided incorrect details (accidentally or with intent); in the past spelling wasn’t as consistent as it is today; and, in addition, many years later the handwriting may be difficult to decipher.

Such are the obstacles we know we have to work around – thus by experimenting with the search fields we are likely to have more successful results.

Extract from a full-length article in the October 2023 issue of Family Tree magazine. Get your copy here.

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