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Ancestry Library Edition: Sample Searches

Ancestry® Library Edition, distributed exclusively by ProQuest and powered by, delivers billions of records in census data, vital records, directories, photos, and more from countries all over the world.

Sample Searches

Historical Records

1)      You are researching Emelie T. Clancy who was French but immigrated to America in the early 1900s, but that’s about all you know. You want to find any records you can about her.

From the Home Tab enter the following:  

First name: Emelie        Last name: Clancy

Life Event: Birth: Location = France  

Add Life Event Death: Location = United States


                  Results Page:

·         Select the hit from 1930 United States Federal Census (Englewood Cliffs, Bergen, New Jersey) to view the complete record, view the original image, etc.  Note the age, estimated year of birth, relation to head of house, her children’s names and ages, and the children’s occupations and their father’s birthplace. All these factors may provide clues for vetting results later in the search.  

·         Go back to the results page using the Return to Record link at the top left of the Image Viewer. Then click the All Results link at the top left to return all of the results. 

·         Review the results from the 1910 and 1900 United States Federal Census to ascertain Emelie’s husband’s name and the year she immigrated. Is that year different from the year her husband immigrated? 

·         Return to the Results Page.  Use the Edit Search button to add her husband’s first name (Thomas) to the Family Member > Spouse field for searching. Click the Search button. 

Note the narrowed set of results which display. 


2)      During the course of your research, you’ve discovered that your ancestor, Richard Martin, was a slave in the U.S. South and once freed he and his family, including wife Drusilla, moved west during the periods now known as Manifest Destiny, and included the Exoduster and the Great Migration movements.  These movements and migrations started as early as the 1870s and continued nationwide thru the 1970s.

Enter the following search terms in the expanded Search form: (Shown as More Options)

First Name: Richard        Last Name: Martin

Family Member: Spouse = Drucilla (do not mark the Exact Match box, because alternate spellings will be missed if it is checked) 

Keywords: slave and “westward expansion” 


Results page:


From the Results page, filter to Categories > Stories, Memoirs & Histories >

The first record is the best possible match to the information you entered but explore the results that follow it.  

·         The second record is a result from U.S., Interviews with Former Slaves, 1936-1938.  Use the Image Viewer to navigate through the pages of the transcription of the interview. Because Richard is mentioned during his wife’s interview, his name appears near the bottom of the page. 

·         Navigate back to the first page of the interview and forward thru the entire transcription to learn about Richard and his wife’s life as enslaved and emancipated persons.  

·         Note for whom Drucilla worked while they lived in St. Louis, Missouri. 

·         Note Richard and Drucilla’s ages at the top right of the first page of her interview. 

·         What other details does the interview reveal about both Richard and Drucilla? 

·         Navigate back the Results Page and explore the 1910 United States Federal Census to discover Richard’s occupation, if Drucilla bore any children and if there are any still living at the time of the census. 

·         Navigate back to the Results Page and Apply Filters for Census & Voter List > 1910 Census. 

·         Use the Edit Search button to change the search to Drucilla (w/ no last name) and only the Spouse name of Richard Martin as additional content. Click the Search button. 

·         This will yield slightly different results, Apply Filters for Birth, Marriage & Death records. The first record is from Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899-2011 and open the death record for Drucilla Martin.  Navigate back to All Results and scroll down to the 4th Result to locate U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s – Present.  Follow the link to access the Find A Grave Website and View an image or Drucilla along with links to information on burial site. 


3)      You discover that one of your ancestors fought during the American Civil War, specifically in the November 30, 1864 Battle of Franklin, thus you are interested in learning more about the battle from a variety of perspectives. Expand the Basic Search form and scroll to bottom of the search form and deselect Historical Records, Family Trees & Photos & Maps. Leave Stories & Publications selected.  Enter Keyword: “Battle of Franklin” 


Results page:  This will display each result and visualize the variety of biographies, accounts, images, and memoirs regarding the battle.


4)      You are tracing a relative called John O’Shea who you know immigrated to New York from Limerick, Ireland during the Great Irish Famine (a.k.a., the Irish Potato Famine or An Gorta Mor) which caused intense waves of emigration between 1845 and 1855. Your research tells you that John immigrated to the US when he was very young, possibly as an infant.  You want to find information confirmation of this and other details regarding his parents, etc.


From the Search page, scroll to the Explore by Location > Europe > Ireland section of the page in lower half of the screen.  Navigate to Ireland on the Interactive Map to Browse or Search 138 collections unique to Ireland. 


·         From the Expanded Advanced Search form, enter as much information as you know about your immigrant ancestor.  Enter John OShea (no apostrophe is necessary) in the First and Last name fields   Begin to enter Limerick into the Birth Location field and choose the suggestion of Limerick, Ireland. Birth Year: 1848   Arrival: New York, New York

Note that the Lived-In field will be pre-populated with Ireland.    

·         Click Search and select Immigration and Travel from the Narrow by category area. 

·         Choose the 1st Result from New York, Irish Immigrant Arrival Records, 1846-1851.

Hover over the Record to see Details.

·         Note the record has Arrival and Birth dates for a John OShea Arrival Date 28 May 1849 Birth Date 1848. 

·         Click View Record to review the details, and then click on the image icon to the right to review the brief but informative record which includes his parents’ names and ages.


5)      Your family roots lie in Mexico and since many members of your family immigrated to New Mexico after entering the United States, you would like to find images and maps regarding both Mexico and New Mexico to share with your family.   Hover the mouse over the Search Tab and click on Card Catalog (or Select New Collections from the legend) and enter:   Title: Mexico    


Results page:  

·         Filter by Location to find records specific to Mexico, Select Pictures > Mexico Historical Postcards, 1893-1963 (in Spanish)

·         Open the Search form for the Postcard collection and Enter La Quebrada into the Keyword field. 

·         Explore the black and white as well as the color images. 

·         Using your browser’s Back button to return to the Card Catalog and change the search from Title: Mexico to Keyword: Mexico.   

·         Notice how the list of results changes.  

·         Using the left-side Narrow by Category select Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers and locate the U.S. Map Collection, 1513-1990 (at the bottom of the Results list,) 

·         Using the Browse option on the right, choose Southwestern States and select the earliest year (1513) and investigate the map.  

·         Choose U.S. Map Collection, 1513-1990 at the top of the page to open the search form or browse to Southwestern States map for 1859 to see a color scan of a historic railroad survey map. Continue exploring this collection to see how boundaries changed over time.