Sometimes we forget we all come from a simpler time, when records weren’t so well kept, if they were kept at all. It all began when my wife found some information about both sides of her family and wanted to get it input in (She’s Canadian after all). So, knowing my mother had some information about her side as well, I decided we might as well pay for a month of Ancestry, and really get to work looking at the “hints.”

Now, I’ll confess, my mother’s information was very extensive and was compiled down to a family coming over in 1630 to Salem, Massachusetts, from England. My wife’s was even more impressive, dating back to France in the 16th century. However, the point isn’t just to input your information and be done with it, the point is to input everything you have, and let Ancestry do its magic. I’ll provide some tricks to get you “hints” quicker and make the sites crawlers get the data a bit easier.

How Ancestry Works

Ancestry uses public information that has been posted in certain locations they specify, like or in the US, Census records which may contain the names of people you have input. For example, you can find out someone’s father or mother by looking through the hints Ancestry gives you. Most times it will be in the town or city record of birth, depending on the country of course. The US and Canada are relatively easy to cross reference the deceased, but can become challenging when people have immigrated in the 16th and 17th century. There were records, but some were lost, or recorded improperly. This can be a certain roadblock, as unless someone else is also creating their family tree, and the crawlers manage to check it.

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Unfortunately, I’m quite a bit lost on my father’s side of my tree, since it seems the Trocchio’s records aren’t showing up on the Italy side. The same is true of my wife as she is missing a portion of where her father’s side came over and started a new life in New Brunswick. Someday we’ll go further in depth, attempting to get more information. But for now, it is certainly enjoyable to see the tombstones and the census records of where my family lived, and what they were doing in the 17th and 18th century.

Some Tips And Tricks

When you enter a person into your Ancestry tree, it is important to retain certain date information and in the correct format. I’ll provide a few examples.

If the person in question was born on November 16th, 1992, you would create the record in the format, 16 Nov 1992. This will get you more accurate records, as elsewhere in the world, they provide the day first, not the month. Also, if they were born in Boston, MA, you would record that as Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, USA. Again, Ancestry is worldwide, and not adding these items may be the difference between getting a hint and being at a roadblock. There are many more hints on the website, and information about how to dissect the hints to verify the correct information.

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Using other member’s public trees, you can cross reference information to see if folks are just clicking buttons, or actually have information about the family. When you see a husband and wife born after their first child, you can tell people are just clicking “yes to all” and moving on. So that is something to look out for.

My wife and I will continue our quest to discover more of our family’s tree and I hope you will join us in doing so. It certainly is a time vortex, as I’ve had the screen up while doing this article, and it’s taken me way too long to complete.


About the author

Jeff Trocchio

Apple IIe green screen is whence I came. Where I go, only technology knows. If its Automotive, Mobile, Gaming or Computer tech I'll try my best to give my thoughts on it.