Case Study, Family Search, Finding Records, Genealogy Records Online, Getting Started in Family History

A Case Study in Getting Started in Family History Part 2

As mentioned in Part One of this case study, I found a news clipping and the 1940 Census for Ann Johnson Earnest, I now know that

Ann Johnson Earnest, the daughter of Malcolm Johnson, was born about 1903 in Connecticut.  Her husband, Albert Earnest, was born about 1902 in Connecticut and he’s a machinist in an ammunition factory.

I googled ammunition factory and the place they lived and I find a Remington Arms factory.  Right now, I’m not going to follow up on that clue…but it is a clue that I can follow up on so I make a note on the information sheet.  But my goal is to find out how my Aunts are related.

Since I have the most information on Ann Johnson Earnest, I now want to find her on a census as a child with her father, Malcolm.  She was in Connecticut in 1940, and she was born in Connecticut in 1903…so I’m going to check the 1910 Connecticut census.  She should be about 7 and hopefully living with her father, Malcolm.

So I go to the main search page for the 1910 Census on FamilySearch and put in all known information.


I hit enter and…


The first one looks like a perfect match.  Now…looks like a perfect match and is the same person are two different things.  Because we’re talking 1900s America, I should be able to information which matches and corroborates the results.  Ann’s birth, marriage and death certificates (you’ll see that written BMD on many genealogy sites) will help me know if this census is an exact match.  But for now, we’re going with this as the match.

We’ll learn more about Ann’s parents on the next searching4ancestors…

Family Search, Finding Records, Online Family History

Finding Records for Your Region

Another thing I love about FamilySearch is it allows you to immediately narrow your search by region.

One of my family names is Lantzy.  They settled in Pennsylvania after arriving from Wallbach, Canton Aargau, Switzerland in 1816.  Since I have a surname and a state, I can go straight to FamilySearch’s Search Page and scroll down to the map.


When you click on a region, it will highlight and show you the subdivisions.  So for the US, I’ll see states.  For Canada, I’ll see provinces.  For Europe, I’ll see countries.


When I click Pennsylvania, I see that there are 131 MILLION searchable names just for the state of Pennsylvania.  Amazing!  After I click, I go to a page specifically for that location.


As you can see, not only do I get a search window specifically for Pennsylvania records, but on the right, I also get Learning Center videos to help me learn to research records in Pennsylvania.

Using the map to narrow down my search works the same way internationally as it does for the US.  If I click Canada, I see provinces.  If I click Europe, I see countries.

The Learning Center is an amazing resource, whether you’re brand new to family history or are looking to take your skills to the next level.


You can search the Learning Center by country or by topic.  There are amazing resources to help you be more successful searching4ancestors.

Best of luck searching4ancestors!

Family Search, Finding Records

Searching the US Census

Recently, someone asked for my help finding an ancestor on a US Census.

She had great luck with this method I suggested, so I thought I’d share…

The Question:
Sharon, I am trying to look for someone on the US census and I do not know the Enumeration District. He was born in Scotland in 1890 and died in California 1968.
Any tips? Thanks!

My Reply:
Can you tell me what year or years are you searching?  That will help me be more specific on my suggestion.

In general, on, you can

Go to the main search page

Enter the information you know in the top few boxes
Then go a little lower (scroll down) where it says “Restrict Records”
Click Location and put in United States
Click Type and select Census
Then hit search

You also *may* be able to track him backward from his death records to try to find locations which may narrow your census search

You can try searching for death information on this California Search page:

Also, if he was in America during WWI or WWII, those draft cards are currently being indexed and many are available. They are a treasure trove. And, draft cards tend to be dated near a census, so if you can find a draft card, you can bounce off the information there to find the census (or visa versa).

WWI draft card index:

WWII draft card index:

Your ancestors may not be from California, so here’s a link to the FamilySearch search page.  Just scroll down, click the map of the US, and then select your state from the pop-up menu.

Best of luck searching4ancestors!

Family Search, Finding Records


Since is my go-to research site, it seems like a good first blog.

Although there are lots of great research sites out there, many of them are pay sites.  That is why is the site I use most for family history.  It is a free site and new records are added all the time.

Even though FamilySearch is free, you do need to register for an account to have full access to the information provided.

The homepage has several useful features.  In the upper right, you’ll see the button for a “Free Account”


There is also a sign in and a get help button up there.

Two words about “Get Help” from FamilySearch…it’s incredible.  There is a quick start video, a learning center with research videos, and a research Wiki which covers pretty much every topic you can imagine.


There are also numerous “Contact Us” options.  I’ve used them all.  =)  They can help with pretty much everything…from how to get started to technical questions to how to find resources to help you with research.  If you’re more comfortable conversing in a language other than English, just let the FamilySearch representative know.  They can link you up with someone who speaks your language.

If you’ve never tried FamilySearch, I’d really encourage you to give it a whirl.  You can search for records without an account.

Happy searching4ancestors…