Best Practices: Ancestry Profiles, pt. 2

We now return to the fun that is Being a Good Citizen on Ancestry. We left off on the top of the page marked Member Profile. We’ll pick up from there.

One of the greatest contributions you can make to the Ancestry community is to let people know what you’d be willing to do for them and who, overall, you are.

Scrolling further down the Member Profile screen from where we left off in the last post, you’ll see the giant orange button to click so that you can edit your profile. When you click on it, you get this view.

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Each section has its own grey EDIT button. We’ll go section by section.

Click on the edit button in the box directly below the orange SWITCH TO PUBLIC VIEW button. It opens the section called Help Other Ancestry Members. Indicate here whether you feel comfortable helping others with their research. This isn’t necessarily about building trees with names – the options include:

  • Retrieve a record from a local repository (government, church, society, etc.)
  • Look up and copy a document from a local library
  • Take pictures of tombstones from a local cemetery
  • Take pictures of local buildings or other landmarks
  • Offer advice about research
  • Translate a document or offer other translation help

Tick the boxes for all of the things you can do for others. Remember, genealogy is a cooperative endeavor, and any help you can give others will come back to you. When you’ve indicated what (if any) you can do for others, hit SAVE.

Next, hit EDIT on the area titled About. You’ll get a pop-up window with three tab options.

Tab 1 is Personal Info. It’s pretty self-explanatory. Add everything from the drop-down menus that will be of help to others. If you don’t want to reveal much about yourself, that’s fine. The options include:

  • Gender
  • Age Group
  • Education
  • Employment
  • Occupation
  • Languages
  • Lineage
  • Religion

The most important for other researchers is Languages and Lineage, but all are helpful. Hit save and re-open the About section.

Click over to the next tab inside the pop-up window, marked Family History Experience. These are judgment calls, and they really do help other researchers decide whether or not to connect with you. They include:

  • Family History Experience (choose Beginner through Professional Genealogist)
  • Researching since (fill in the year you started your genealogical research, even if it was
  • How often? (indicate how often you visit to work on your tree, check mail, etc)

Hit save. Re-open the About section and click on the last tab, Websites. Here you can add your own genealogy blog or website, and all of your favorite research sites, like Find-a-Grave, the Library of Congress, etc.

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The last really important section is the Research Interests section. This is where you can tell others what you’re interested in finding, what you’re working on at the moment, or what your biggest challenges are.

Click on the grey EDIT button and you will receive a screen that allows you to make an initial entry. Here are the options:

  • Last Name (the last name you are researching, like Smith or Johnson)
  • Location (in the form “Chicago, Illinois, USA”)
  • Date Range (enter the date range you are researching, starting year to ending year)
  • Please include any other useful information (add things in this field about the family you’re seeking, or possible locations – whatever you may already know)
  • Share this Information? (check yes here if you want people to be able to see on your profile who and what you’re seeking).

Hit save when you’ve completed the fields. You can add as many research interests as you’d like. Once they’re added, you can edit them by clicking on the little pencil at the end of each line, or delete lines by clicking on the red X at the end of each line. When you’re done, return to the Member Profile with the link on the upper left.

Those are the major points about self-identification that are minimum necessities of good etiquette on Ancestry. There are more best practices to come, but those are for another day.

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