Exploring Ancestry Dot Com
December 31st, 2011 | Back to Blog Listing


The cover to my grandfather's 1939 DeWitt Clinton high school yearbook
This is definitely NOT an endorsement for the website ancestry.com, namely because they traditionally spammed the hell out of people for business, however my dad recently signed up for their system and started building all sorts of artifacts pertinent to my grandparents. Suffices to say it has some pretty phenomenal digitized records available on it. While the hand-written census tract data is cool enough (it's all been scanned), they even had pages from my grandfather's yearbook at DeWitt Clinton High School and other similar types of documents. I don't know exactly where they get some of their data from and I'm guessing that one of the benefits to ancestral research is that the population was significantly smaller a century ago. That might not seem significant, but it makes fuzzy data matching much easier to do. Incidentally, they got his date of death wrong despite that fact that such records are readily available in this day in age. Again, I suspect it's due to having TOO MUCH data vs. the limited record-keeping we did a century ago.

Their overall UI/UX is lacking quite a bit for my personal taste (to non developers, this just means it's not especially convenient to navigate), but the information and records available for digital consumption are excellent. I will definitely be using their site to gather additional information for my own family philanthropy work and to anybody especially interested in this type of research, would at least recommend you check them out on a trial basis - if for no other reason than to grab the documents and images they've collected for you.