Ancestry.com is unfortunately expensive, but it has a huge collection of information. The data-finding and data-sharing capabilities are amazing, but at the same time it can be almost impossibly difficult to find your way through so many of the resources that could be helpful in doing genealogical research. Ancestry is a real mixed blessing.
But thoughts on Ancestry aside, here is a very brief introduction to using it.
I have been working on constructing a family tree since it is a useful way to find vital records about the ancestor. Here is a bit of my family tree:
It is a standard family tree, and allows a picture for each ancestor. The little leaf by a name means that the ancestor has "hints." When you click on the leaf, Ancestry brings up a list of possible leads that it has found from other family trees. Here is the list of hints that Ancestry provided for Richard Litson:
I have connected to family trees from three other people, added entries from the Utah Cemetery Inventory and Salt Lake City Cemetery Records, added an entry from a large database (the Family Data Collection) and added Litson's 1851 Welsh census entry. I chose not to add several unsourced family trees, and that shows up as an "Ignored Hint."
Since the Litson family database in RootsWeb showed his 1841 census entry, I also found that and added it to his Ancestry record.
This census record is very interesting. It shows a 21-year-old Richard Litson working as a manservant at the Rectory in St. Andrew's Parish outside Cardiff, Wales. What brought him to the Cardiff area? It doesn't seem to have been the railroad, as I mentioned in the last post.
And here is the 1851 Welsh record, showing Richard married to Frances Ann Mathews, with two young daughters and a job as a railway laborer. They lived in a place called North Llandaff Yard in Cardiff.
So here is Richard Litson's Ancestry entry so far:
And that was a very brief introduction to using Ancestry.
If you have access to Ancestry (sometimes it's available at the public library or at Family History Centers) look through the information for your pioneer family.