Monday, July 15, 2013

San Diego Genealogical Society's July Speaker--Randy Seaver

July’s Speaker—Randy Seaver

Randy was the July speaker for the San Diego Genealogical Society and his topic for both presentations was Ancestry.com.  His first presentation was entitled “Search Ancestry.com Effectively”.  His fifty minute presentation was jam packed with a lot of very helpful information about using the Ancestry search function.  Accompanying his presentation was a very detailed four page handout. 

Ancestry recently announced that they are doing away with “old search”, in favor or “new search”.  Randy is a supporter of “new search” and demonstrated why he believes it provides everything provided by “old search”, plus more.  Randy pointed out that in “new search” there are two “hot buttons”, r and n, that enable you to revise (r) your search or to start a new (n) search by just hitting the respective key (although I tried it three times and couldn't get it to work).  Ancestry has also introduced a new viewer for looking at images of documents, such as census forms.  It is very helpful, in that it shows the titles for each column of the census form, even if you have scrolled to the bottom of the form and the column headings are no longer in view.   Randy cautioned users to remember that search filters and selections are “sticky”—that is the system remembers the settings and will use those settings until you change them intentionally.

Randy closed with a summary and his preferences for Ancestry Search Options.  They are: “New Search” vs. “Old Search”, Category view over Records view in “New Search” results, Exact Matches over Not Exact Matches, Use of wild cards for Names, and selecting specific databases versus searching “all”. 

In his second presentation, “Growing Your Ancestry Member Tree”, Randy discussed the pros and cons of uploading your family tree to Ancestry—the major advantage being the fact the tree serves as great “cousin bait” for finding new relatives and getting existing family involved.  He also discussed the three ways to place a tree on ancestry.  The 2012 version of Ancestry introduced the ability to synchronize a tree between your computer and the on-line tree. You cannot, however, also have it on a second computer and sync.  The “Stories” feature has been added by Ancestry and many people convert their notes to stories.  Stories can be seen by all viewers of your tree; but notes can only be seen by editors of the tree.  Randy discussed in detail how to navigate through the member tree and adding/deleting information from a tree.   Ancestry has an app for both Apple and Android mobile systems and you can sync them to the on line tree.


Randy’s presentations were well received by attendees and generated a lot of questions and discussion.