Updated 6 February 2015: It appears my source of information about the Ancestry free access day was misinformed. The free access appears to be for records in the UK, not access to all Ancestry records. I edited the post to reflect this change.
This weekend Ancestry is offering free access to their UK records. I know quite a few of you are involved in the Genealogy Do-Over and the free access is a Bright Shiny Object (#BSO) that could suck away your weekend in no time. For me it is a BSO because I have given up my Ancestry membership temporarily while I work on getting my files in order and I will not be resisting the temptation of free access. I plan to take advantage of it. Fortunately I won’t have unlimited Internet access until Sunday afternoon so I cannot get sucked into a weekend-long, follow-every-rabbit-trail, download-until-I-am-cross-eyed marathon. I have taken advantage of the free access to UK and Canadian records in the past and used OneNote to aid me in the process.
This is a post about how I use OneNote when the free access to Ancestry’s records is offered without letting it becoming a Really Big and Beautiful BSO that sucks me in not only for the weekend but possibly even longer. I could enter the record images I am downloading onto a Research Log. However it takes time and thought to be sure I am putting information in the log correctly and on the correct log. (I have a separate one for each surname.) I also have a tendency to get sidetracked looking at people’s trees and using the search function to fall down rabbit holes. I want to keep as focused as I can and I want a quick and easy way to download the records and cite the sources. I will go back at a later date and analyze the records, record everything in my Research Plan and on my Research Log and then write up my written conclusion before I enter anything into my genealogy software—steps 8 through 13 of my workflow.
If you want to use my method for quickly capturing records, there are a couple of things you need to do before you start.
1. Make a new folder on your hard drive just for the record images you are going to be downloading during the free access.
Because I am participating in the Genealogy Do-Over, all my files are in a HOLD folder. I created a new folder called Ancestry Free Day for this weekend’s downloads. You can see that I also have a folder for a Canada Free Day and a UK Ireland Free Day that were previously held.
2. Be sure to install the Clip to OneNote app for your web browser. Here is the link for the OneNote Clipper: https://www.onenote.com/Clipper/OneNote
I use FireFox as my web browser so the OneNote Clipper app web page gives me the instructions on how to install the clipper for FireFox. The page should display whatever instructions you need to install the clipper in your web browser.
Now once the free access begins, you are going to start downloading record images to the folder you created. Some of the images you are going to know that, yes, this is my person and some you are not going to be sure. Download them anyway. Trust me. Just do it. If I find five Ray Williamsons in the the 1930 Rochester Census, I am going to download all the images. If I find three baptism records for William Williamson in Lancashire England, I am going to download all of them. You are going to download now and analyze their usefulness later. I figure if a record turns out to be useless or a duplicate, I can delete it later. It does help your focus if you have some research goals already in mind though! My focus for this free access weekend is going to be on my direct lines from England and the Isle of Man.
As you are downloading and naming the saved records, number them in chronological order. This will help you later with the Source Citations you are going to copy as well.
I number them 01, 02, 03, etc. with Surname_FirstName_Initial_b####_recordtype. The b#### is for a birth year—even if it is approximate—as it helps me distinguish between family members with the same name. Along with the record type, I may make personal observations like ‘most likely’ or a place name or something else pertinent to the record image.
I am going to digress here a bit to explain why it is helpful to download records that come up in searches or shaky leaf hints other than those that you know for certain are for your specific ancestor. My great-great grandfather, Wm Henry Williamson was born about 1825 in England. The birth year is guesstimated from a ship’s manifest, censuses and cemetery interment records. His parents are Thomas and Margaret Williamson both born about 1803 in England. There are at least three different Thomas and Margaret Williamson couples that have been linked as possible parents in baptism records to my great-great grandfather on Ancestry and FamilySearch. One Thomas is a farmer in Cheshire, another is a weaver in Lancashire and the third is a tollgate keeper also from Lancashire. So which one is the right couple? Or are any of the linked baptism records the right one for my great-great grandfather?
If I am applying the Genealogical Proof Standard to my research, I should have copies of as many baptisms of the children from these couples as I can find to prove or disprove my written conclusion on whether the farmer, the weaver or the tollgate keeper is Wm Henry Williamson’s father and that a particular baptism record is indeed the correct record for him, right? So I am going to download pretty much every baptism record I can find for any child with parents Thomas and Margaret Williamson in Cheshire and Lancashire.
There are three ways to get the source citation information from Ancestry into OneNote. I realize that the source citation information from Ancestry might not always be in the correct format as outlined by Elizabeth Shown Mills in Evidence Explained nor contain all the information you need to properly cite a source in your genealogy software. Three things I try to consistently do as I am copying citations from Ancestry is to (1)Identify the source citation in such a way that it is clear which record image the citation belongs to (the chronological numbering), (2)Provide myself with the date I accessed the record online and (3)Add the page link in case I need to go back to the record later.
The simplest way to capture the source information for a record image you have downloaded is to use the Clip to OneNote app for your web browser. Anything you clip from the web with the app goes to the Quick Notes Section of the first notebook that was created when you installed OneNote. Even if you renamed that section, your clips from the web should end up there. It takes a few seconds for the record to show up in the Quick Notes Section; but as soon as it does, I add the chronological number in front of the title so this source matches my downloaded record image.
Two things to note—At the bottom of this image is the link to the web page that the image was clipped from. It is inserted automatically on my OneNote page but I didn’t want to make the graphic even smaller to show it. You’ll also note that all my source citation pages that were created during the UK Ireland free access day have been moved from the Quick Notes Section to the Inbox of my Williamson Notebook. That is the drawback to using the Clip to OneNote app—you cannot tell it where to put the clip so you have to go back later and move them.
The second way to capture the source information is to use the Screen Clipping Tool in the Send to OneNote app.
You can clip just the portion of the web page that is relevant to the record image you downloaded. After you have clipped the source citation information, you are asked where you want to send the clip. I send it to the Inbox of the appropriate Surname Notebook.
When the clip gets to your Surname Notebook Inbox, you will have to add the title. I use the same number and file name I used when I saved the record image. The drawback to this method is that the web link is not automatically added at the bottom of the page so you have to remember to go back and add it.
The third method involves a bit more copying and pasting but in the long run it sets you up nicely for inputting information into your Research Log when the time comes to start working with the records and analyzing what you have saved. In your Quick Notes Section or the Inbox of one of your Surname Notebooks, create a new page. Because the folder I created to hold the record images is called Ancestry Free Day, I named the new page Ancestry Free Day Citations.
At the top right of OneNote, there is a little icon that looks like a split screen. When you click it, your blank page should shrink and dock itself to the right side of your computer screen. If Quick Notes doesn’t dock to the right of your screen, click on the down arrow under the linked chains and choose Linked Note Options. Under Display, be sure the box next to Dock new Quick Note windows to the side of the desktop is checked. Now you can have your web browser opened and the Quick Notes window at the same time. (You can smoosh the Quick Notes window up a bit if you want to make your browser window just a bit wider.)
The first record I saved is a marriage record for my 4th great grandmother. In Quick Notes, I have copied and pasted the name I used for the downloaded record image, the information about the record image from Ancestry and I have copied but not yet pasted the source citation information. A link back to this web page will also be inserted into Quick Notes. After I am done with that record, I will move on to the Suggested Records links that Ancestry shows me on the current record page (if there are any) and repeat the process.
To undock the Quick Notes window, click on the arrow icon. My Ancestry Free Day Citations page will look something like this after I have added all my record image citations. You can see how copying the source citation information this way will lend itself to easy copying and pasting directly into a Research Plan or Record Log at a later date.
Cite This Page:
Erin Williamson Klein, “Downloading record images to save for a rainy day.” My Family History Files, 5 February 2015 (: [access date]).
Please do not copy without attribution and link back to this page.
Margaret Hausauer and her first husband, Henry Buisch are my great great grandparents. They are the parents of Henry George Buisch [52 Ancestors #1] according to his death certificate. The were both complete brick walls for me back when searching was more difficult and required waiting for microfilm to be ordered, delivered and then searched at the local Family History Library. Now with online indexes and records, searching is so much easier! And it helped me finally find Margaret. [Margaret’s life with Henry is still a bit of a mystery but I’ll detail that in a later post.]
Other Hausauer researchers on Ancestry.com that connected to the line that I suspected my Margaret was part of had no additional information on her other than her place and year of birth. What little I knew about Margaret when I began searching in earnest recently was what I had been able to gather from online trees and records at Ancestry. It included when and where she was born, when she arrived in America, her parents names, two places of residence for her parents and two places of residence for Henry Buisch’s possible parents. I took that information and did some creative searching.
- Margaret Hausauer, born 1826
- Parents: Michael Hausauer and Margaret Zittel
- Immigration: 1833 from Alsace, France
- Parents’ residences: Sheldon, Wyoming, New York  and Wales Center, Erie, New York 
- Henry’s parents: George Buisch and Barbara LNU
- Immigration: 1834 from Alsace, France
- Henry’s parents’ residences: Sheldon, Wyoming, New York  and Buffalo, Erie, New York 
My preference for searching is at FamilySearch.org although I do use the search feature at Ancestry.com in tandem with what I uncover at FamilySearch.org. I just prefer the interface there over the one at Ancestry. Here is how I searched and found Margaret step-by-step.
On the main search page at FamilySearch.org [shown above] I left the Name fields blank. [Yes, you can do that.] I restricted records to United States and New York because my direct lines never left New York. [Or if they did leave, they returned later.] Then I put Birthplace > France and Birth Year (Range) > 1825 – 1827 and clicked Search. The number of records found was 17,735. Time to drill down the results into something more manageable.
As shown above, in the search parameters on the left I added Search with a life event > Residence Place > Erie County, New York. That narrowed the search down to 3,769 people. Still a little high.
Further down in the search parameters there is a filter for gender. I used the gender filter for female and narrowed down the search results to 1,678. Then I went back up to the top and added Refine your search > First Name > Margaret. [shown below]
That narrowed down the results to 127. Much more to my liking. Oh, and look, there’s Margaret (Hausauer) Buisch Bamberg in the #1 search result. Voila! And genealogy happy-dancing commenced. [In my head anyway.] In a later post, I will explain how I knew this was my Margaret and what else I have been able to find out about her since then.
The following Ancestry.com Desktop Education videos were very helpful to me in learning how to do more effective searches at both Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org. Maybe you will find them helpful as well.
- This post was last updated/edited on 14 March 2014.
- If you have questions about or corrections to anything posted here, please post a comment or contact me using the form on my Contact Me page.
Cite This Page:
Erin Williamson Klein, “52 Ancestors #4 How I Finally Found Margaret (Margaret Hausauer Buisch Bamberg).” My Family History Files, 26 February 2014 (http://myfamilyhistoryfiles.com/buisch/hausauer/52-ancestors-4-how-i-finally-found-margaret/: [access date]).
Please do not copy without attribution and link back to this page.
Juliana Smith writes on the Ancestry.com blog about 6 Resolutions to Get Your Family History on Track for 2014. I don’t make resolutions but I like to make a list of things I want to accomplish in the upcoming year. My list is supposed to keep me focused. [Anyone who knows me personally is now laughing hysterically…]
Having an unnatural love for list-making, I like to spend the first week of a new year making lists of things to do. It doesn’t matter that I don’t accomplish half of what I list and I don’t even dwell on that fact. For some reason, it soothes my soul to look forward to doing new things rather than lamenting all that lies unaccomplished. This parallels my thinking in my other obsession [quilting], where at the start of a new project — the designing and planning stages and finally beginning the project — is much more exciting than the finishing-up stage. [Don’t ask me how many quilting projects I have currently underway. Hehehe.]
I have just gotten back to my family history after a 10 year break so I want to focus, focus, focus. Trying to re-enter old work and documenting new discoveries has me running in circles. Which explains the reason why I feel the need for a list, I think. Using Juliana’s 6 Resolutions and her comments about them, I came up with a list of goals for my family history research for 2014. Here’s a summary of Juliana’s resolutions:
- #1. Make it a priority
- #2. Meet with my ancestors
- #3. Learn, learn, learn
- #4. Organize file – electronic and otherwise
- #5. Read history
- #6. Preserve stories and share them
Making my research a priority is not a problem–keeping it from being an obsession is probably a better goal for me. I cancelled my Ancestry membership temporarily to get a handle on the obsession thing. I need to make it a priority to get everything entered from my old files before I continue adding in new. My ancestors aren’t going anywhere, right?
- #1 Finish entering information from old family group sheets, Duthie history, and McEvoy booklet into Family Tree Maker[FTM].
As I enter the old information into FTM, I need to review and inventory all the materials I’ve gathered for each person. I may need to print new family group sheets. I want to make sure I have sources cited and take notes on what information is missing on sources previously searched.
- #2 Refile old documents and add new information and documents.
I want to use some sort of timeline-chart format for each direct line family to see where vital information is missing or not sourced properly. By doing this, I will also be able to form some new conclusions based on new information and connections and see new avenues to follow to form new research plans.
- #3 Take notes, form timelines and make new research plans.
I use OneNote to keep track of my life and lists. I have notebooks set up for my family history but have not completely worked out a way to use them cohesively with FTM. I need to work on that. Part of the reason I am having to re-enter all my data and notes is that my old FTM files were on 3.5″ floppies. Yes, ancient technology… When using OneNote everything can be stored on SkyDrive, as well as USB, so maybe a similar situation can be avoided in the future. [I can only hope.]
- #4 Work out a plan to store documents electronically with OneNote.
- #5 Organize scanned documents on hard drive into OneNote notebooks.
About eight weeks ago I made a task list in FTM of people in my direct line who needed names, immigration and death dates found for them. Recently Ancestry was offering free access to records in the UK, I added a few more names to my lines and completed a few tasks. A new task list is in order, I think.
- #6 Compile a new task list in FTM for my direct lines and use it along with the timeline charts to form some concrete research plans.
- #7 STAY FOCUSED!
When Ancestry.com offered the free access to UK resources, I took advantage of it. [I only had access to US resources at the time.] I was able to add the parents of my original Williamson immigrant ancestor including the female surname. I am hoping to be able verify her parents names next. I searched records for the Isle of Man and added to my Cormode line as well. This brings me to Juliana’s third resolution–learn. Now that I’ve taken those two lines back over the pond, I will need to learn about research and obtaining documents in Lancashire, England and Lezayre, Isle of Man. Which leads to my next goal:
- #8 Learn more about resources and documents available in England and the Isle of Man starting with the free Ancestry Research Guides and videos and then other online sources and books.
Moving on to my last two goals… just for personal satisfaction:
- #9 Connect and correspond with distant cousins.
And finally, again, as a constant reminder:
- #10 STAY FOCUSED!