Find Out What Online Databases From Your State and County Are Available on Ancestry

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Do you get stuck because you always do global searches on ancestry.com? A better way is to search in specific collections. Below we show you how to see what collections are available for a specific geographic area, such as a state or county.

There are 3 or 4 ways to accomplish this and below are the two easiest and best ways (in my opinion). Choose to watch a short (very) video tutorial or read on.

Never fear – there is a way to find out how to do all of this – and it is easy peasy.

Check out this one minute video to find out how – yes one minute! You have a minute to spare don’t you? You don’t? Then take more than a minute and read through the descriptive tutorial below. Your choice!


Don’t get stuck in global search “hell”. Focus in on specific collections.

Here are the steps to find state and county-based collections, and the same techniques can be used for any geographic location worldwide:

Option 1 – Use the Card Catalog:

Step 1 – Log in to ancestry.com and go to the Search Tab and select the Card Catalog option. You then should see this:

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Step 2 – As an example – click on “USA” and you will be provided with all of the United States collections, presented in “state alphabetical order”
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Step 3 – Select a state. As an example – click on “California” and you will be presented with all of the California collections.
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You can then select a County (in this case “Alameda”) and see what collections are available for just that county. If you have an ancestor that resided in that county you now have refined your search to records just for that county. This is especially important if your ancestor had a very common name.

Option 2 – Use the Map feature (my preferred option):

Step 1 – Log in to ancestry.com and go to the Search Tab and select the “Search All Records” option. Scroll to the bottom and then you should see this:

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Step 2 – Select a state – in this example, select “California” from the map or the list below the map and you will this:
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Step 3 – You now will be presented with all the California collections.  Personally I like the display and organization of the collections here rather than in the example used in Option 1 above. You now can select a county if you wish – in this case we select “San Francisco” and are presented with the results for that county as follows:
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That’s all there is to it. You can see what collections by state and or county are available for searching. You can now search more specifically instead of generally and have a better chance of honing on records for your ancestor in question.

Good luck and happy hunting!

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