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Help Using Ancestry.com

Ancestry Has Thousands of “Invisible” Records You Can’t Find With a Search

Many people are unaware of the fact that not all of Ancestry’s records show up in search. A surprising number of collections have not been indexed and are therefore virtually invisible to the everyday user of the site. These browse-only collections, as they are known, need to be purposely sought out if you want to take advantage of the records they contain. Some collections have been on Ancestry’s site for years and are still not searchable, while others are new collections that have not yet been indexed.

This May Be the Most Important Genealogy Research Trick You’ll Ever Learn

The first thing most family history researchers do when they encounter a genealogy website is to begin searching for their ancestors in the general (main) search form provided by the site – which is often located on the homepage or in another easily accessible area. All large genealogy research sites center around these main search forms which are designed, generally, to look for records in all searchable collections at one time.

General search forms that dig through millions, or even billions, of records are certainly handy. If you have never used a site before – or have not searched for a specific ancestor – these forms can be a great way to gather the low hanging family history fruit, so to speak. They provide a fast way to turn up easy-to-find records with little effort. But, despite this obvious convenience, they may often be stifling your efforts.

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