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Research: U.S. Records Using Ancestry including DNA Strategies
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An overview of the five essential groups of records to jumpstart your genealogy!

NOTE: Access to Ancestry is a requirement by the student to be able to complete this course.

The use of proper search techniques and Ancestry databases will assist you in obtaining your research goals. This course will introduce very important groups of records to the genealogist:

  • Census Records
  • Vital Records
  • Military Records
  • Newspaper & Publication Records
  • Immigration Records

    Each module will provide a brief description of the record group, describing how to search for the record, what information is contained within the document, recording the information and its genealogical importance. The last module will consist of three case studies, with exercises following a family through the various record groups.

    During your genealogical research project, no record group should stand alone! Although the modules can stand alone as learning tools, at the completion of this course, the researcher will be able to better understand how the various groups of records work together to provide the answers to your research quest. It is normal when researching that one record group leads you to another. The combination of the two record groups will then lead you to the third group of records, and so on. By reading the course materials, and completing the exercises and assignments, this course will teach you the importance of combining the vast amount of information available in various groups of records to develop a much more interesting family history.

    Remember, this course is only an introduction to census, vital, military, newspaper and immigration records that are available on Ancestry. Additional courses are available for a more in-depth study of each of these record groups. Online virtual meetings are also provided, enabling you to ask questions of your instructor.

    Ancestry has many tools that will assist the researcher in developing and recording their family history. You should have a good understanding of the tools prior to starting this course.

    Course Content

    Module 1
    Census Records
    Census Schedules
    • Federal Census
    What to Expect...
    Starting At The Beginning
    Comparing and Analyzing Census Schedules
    • Census Worksheet Method
    • Another Possibility
    • What To Look For?
    Census Searching at Ancestry
    • Getting to the United States Census Screen
    Source Citation
    Evaluating the Schedules
    • Clues for Further Research
    When The Search Becomes a Little More Difficult
    • The Name
    • Year of Birth
    • Gender and Race
    • Too Many Results
    • Browse
    Items to Remember and Review
    • Other Census Subjects
    Resources and References

    Module 2
    Vital Records
    Availability of Vital Records
    Evaluating the Document
    The Death Certificate
    Marriage Records
    Birth Records
    • Delayed Birth Certificate
    Using Indexes
    Searching on Ancestry
    • Ordering from the State of Oregon
    • Ordering through VitalChek
    More Resources at Ancestry
    • Social Security Death Index
    • The Process
    • United States Obituary Collection
    • Cemetery Indexes
    Resources and References

    Module 3
    Military Records
    Did They Serve?
    • Working with Family Stories and Traditions
    • Census Schedules
    • Other Resources to Find Clues to Military Service
    Using Military Records in Family History Research
    • Pension and Bounty Land Application Files
    • Searching for Pension Files at Ancestry
    • Draft Registration
    Adding to Family History Research
    More and More Resources
    • Military Family History Books, Stories, and Information
    • Other Conflicts
    References and Resources

    Module 4
    Small Town Newspapers Verses Large City Newspapers
    Adding to the Family History
    Looking for an Obituary
    Adding More To Family History Research...Working from the Newspapers
    Searching the Newspaper Database at Ancestry
    • The Search Results
    • The Refined Search of the Oakland Tribune
    • The Strategy
    • What to Do with the Image
    Other Publications
    References and Resources

    Module 5
    Immigration & Emigration Records
    Ship Passenger Lists (Immigration Records)
    Using Ancestry Helps
    Before you begin...
    Finding the Gollnick Immigration - Using Family Stories & Census Schedules
    Finding Elizabeth Lee’s Immigration Records
    Before 1820...
    Border Crossings
    Mexican Border Crossings 1903-1957
    Emigration Records
    Naturalization Records
    Finding the Records...
    U.S. Passport Records
    References and Resources

    Module 6
    The Ancestry Family of Websites
    • Searching at
    • Browse Records

    • Viewing Images
    Find a Grave
    • AncestryDNA
    • Corrections and Collaboration
    • Research Helps and Hints
    • Ancestry Academy

    Module 7
    Researching Using Ancestry: Case Studies
    How This Module Will Work...
    Case Study #1
    Case Study #2
    Case Study #3
    Final Comments

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