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Sunday, 11 May 2014

What to do with those Ancestry suggested records

Sometimes when I'm working in Ancestry I only have a limited amount of time and this is usually when Ancestry provide me with lots of potential leads for someone I'm looking for. If you don't use Ancestry then what happens is that I look up one record e.g. an 1861 census entry for David Boxall and they produce a whole list of other potential record matches down the side (in the green circle below.

Part of me then wants to click through all of them straight away, see what they are, have I got them already..... etc but often this sort of thing happens at 3pm when I've got to head off to pick the children up from school.

But this is where my research log spreadsheet and "copy and paste" skills come into use.

Step 1 is to highlight the title of the first selected record.

Then copy it - I press the CTRL and C buttons to copy whatever I've highlighted with my mouse. This is standard windows functionality and means that the text is now added to my computers clipboard.

Then I head over to my research log in Excel and start a new line. I add todays date, describe the question as a link for future info or similar and then in the Record/Action Name column I paste the information. I usually select the cell and then put my cursor in the editing box at the top then press the CTRL and V button to paste the information.

The next step is to actually click through the ancestry link but making sure that I open it in another tab. I do this by right clicking and selecting "Open in new Tab" or I use my firefox addon that automatically opens links in new tabs.

In the new tab I highlight the Ancestry transcription and copy it as before.

Then I paste it into the Transcript Extract column of my spreadsheet.

The final step is to copy the web address from my browser.

Then I paste this into my spreadsheet as before in the Link column. Then I select the cell and press CTRL and K to bring up the hyperlink box. Then I use CTRL and V again to paste the web address into the hyperlink box then press return. This means that in the future I can click on the web address in my spreadsheet and it will open up the web page in my browser for me.

On average this takes me about 30 seconds per link and I've got a record of where to look next when I come back to this family. It really helps me to stay on track with the record I'm actually analysing at the time and stops me going off at a tangent!

How do you keep track of the records Ancestry suggests?

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