Genealogy Research Tutorials

How To Run A Search

Follow these four simple steps to run a search on Archives.com:

  • From the Members Area homepage, click the Search tab.
  • Choose which type of search you would like to run (example: Vital Records, Census Records, Immigration Lists).  To search all databases select the Search All Records tab. 
  • Enter at least a first and last name of an ancestor. Click Advanced Search if you know more information like maiden name, birth, death, or marriage date. 
  • Press the Search button to begin your search.

The Records Summary page, will return all of the records we have matching your search criteria.  If you don't find what you're looking for read our Search Tips page for helpful pointers.

 

How To Add Records To Your Tree

There are three ways to add records to your Tree. You can: save records you find through search, manually add records, or upload existing GEDCOM files.

To save records you find through search:

  • Run a search (see How To Run A Search).
  • Browse the Results Summary page for records of your ancestor. 
  • Once you've found the record you would like to save, click View Original Record. From this page click the Save Record button.  In some cases, you can save records directly from the Results Summary.

Manually add records:

  • From the Members Area homepage, click the My Tree tab.
  • Click the Add icon. 
  • Have your notes handy. Add all the information you know about your ancestor and click Save.

To upload your GEDCOM file (compatible with all major Family Tree Software):

  • From the Members Area homepage, click the My Tree tab.
  • Click the Upload icon.
  • Locate the GEDCOM file on your computer, give it a name (example: Smith Family Tree), and click Upload.

Once you have saved your record it will be archived in My Tree. Refer back, edit or add to your saved records anytime.

 

How To Contribute & Connect Using the Forum

There are many ways for members to participate in the Community Forum. To get there from the Members Area homepage click the Community tab. We encourage users to:

  • Post new topics. Click on a category that interests you post a new topic for the community to discuss. To do this, click the Add Topic button.  Review genealogy tools, post your favorite free resources, or most exciting genealogical find.
  • Read and reply to others' posts.  To reply to any post in the Forum, click the Add Reply button under the post that interests you. 
  • Send and receive private messages. Connect directly with other members through this feature. To send a private message click on a member's Community Nickname, then click the "PM" (Private Message) button above their profile. 

You can receive private messages from others in your Community Inbox.  To check your Inbox from the Community tab, click the Inbox link at the top right corner of your screen. 

 

How To Run A Living People Search

Follow your family tree into the present with Living People Search. Our extensive database makes it easy to connect with distant cousins, old family friends, or long-lost relatives. To run a Living People Search:

  • From the Members Area homepage, click the Search tab.
  • For Search Type, choose Living People Search (the last search bar)
  • Enter at least a first and last name of an ancestor. Click Advanced Search if you know more information like maiden name, birth, death, or marriage date. 
  • Press the Search button to begin your search.

The Records Summary page will return all of the records we have matching your search criteria.  If you don't find what you're looking for read our Search Tips page for helpful pointers.


How To Use UK BMD Credits

Credits are required to view certain historical images, including birth, marriage, death and census records from the United Kingdom. Most memberships include 50 complementary UK BMD credits, and you can purchase additional credits at anytime for a low fee.  To use your UK BMD credits:

  • Run a Census or Vital Records search (see How To Run A Search). Specify United Kingdom in the location field.
  • Browse the Results Summary page for records of your ancestor.
  • Once you've found the record you're looking for click the View Original Image icon.
  • Confirm that you understand that this image view will deduct credits from your account. 
  • Open the PDF image to save to your computer or print.

Note: this is a one-time view. Viewing the original image again on our site will cause additional credits to be deducted from your account.  Therefore, we encourage you to save the PDF image to your home computer.

 

Why You Should Read The Expert Series

The Expert Series is a compilation of articles written by advanced or professional genealogists.  Draw on the extensive experience of these individuals by reading our bi-weekly publication, or search the archive for all Expert articles.  Recent topics have included: the use of technology to advance genealogical research, use of state censuses, overcoming misspelled and common names, and more.

To see the latest Expert Series article:

  • From the Members Area homepage click the Expert Series tab.
  • The article labeled Current Series is the most recent publication.

To see all articles in the Expert Series archive:

  • From the Expert Series tab, click the View All Articles link below the Current Series.
  • Browse through the articles to find a topic that sparks your interest.
  • Click the title to view the full article. 

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