Unofficial Guide To by Nancy Hendrickson


Unofficial Guide to Ancestry

A few years ago, I got the ‘ancestry bug’, an overwhelming desire to find out more about my family tree.  Not knowing where to start, and too impatient to do much reading into the best ways to start a family tree, I signed up to

I’m still on there – though my initial energy for finding out more has died down a bit, mainly because there are so many records and so many hints being flagged for me, I feel overwhelmed.

The Unofficial Guide to promises to help people like me find their way around the site and get the most out of their searches, something I think I need if I’m every to finish my family tree. 

Having used the book while in the site, I have to say it lives up to it’s promise with step by step guides for each stage of the process from what to do before you sign up to how to search for people in your family tree.  There are lots of screen shots running alongside these guides, using the author’s own searches, and these are really helpful.

The only downside for me was the book was written for an American audience, not a UK one.  So, while the guides still stand and the searches work, the references make the book feel a less relevant than it is – I don’t have any ancestors that fought in the civil war, for example, and I’m not trying to find out when my relatives landed at Ellis Island.

This is a light niggle, however, and wouldn’t stop me recommending the book for anyone who wants to start researching their family history using

Emma x

About the book…

Discover the secrets to success! This book will help you get the most out of your subscription by showing you how to take advantage of what the world’s biggest genealogy website has to offer–and how to find answers to your family tree questions within its billions of records and massive network of family trees.

This newly updated guide reflects the site’s many changes, with screenshots that demonstrate how to create family trees, navigate the site, and use’s search engines. A new section on AncestryDNA will also help you dive deeper into your research, with detailed guides to interpreting test results and applying them to research.

What you’ll learn:Step-by-step strategies for structuring your searches to find what you’re looking for fasterDetails on each of’s historical record categories, including what you can expect to find in themTips for creating and managing your family tree on, as well as connecting your tree to others on the site.

Timesaving tricks to maximize your experience, including Hints (the “shaky leaf”), AncestryDNA, and the mobile app. Whether you’ve just begun dabbling in family history or you’re a longtime subscriber, this book will turn you into an power user!

Publisher: F&W Media
Publication Date: 29th May, 2018 (originally published 2014, this version is updated and extended)
Number of Pages: 256
Genre: Non-fiction, Instructional
Rating: 4 out of 5

Find on: Goodreads / Amazon UK / Amazon US

Note: I received a copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review.  All thoughts, feelings and opinions are my own.



  1. This is a really interesting book! I joined a couple of years ago and started to work on our family tree, but have not worked on it in some time. This whole thing can be quite overwhelming! I think I will check out this book. Thank you for bringing it to my attention and good luck with your family search 🙂


    • It really can be overwhelming. When I started I made so many wrong turns. I wish I’d had something like this at the beginning!


  2. It is a major undertaking – my mother has been working on this for some time, fortunately there are a couple of other very skilled folks in the family who had done a lot of research and were willing to share it. But this book sounds ideal:). Thank you for sharing, Emma.


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