Project 1: Get Started
Set up an account and start
your Ancestry tree.
Goal 1: Choose an Ancestry account and start your tree.
A Create an Ancestry account and start your family tree.
Note : This Choice helps you set up a Free Trial account. If you are using a paid account, skip ahead to Choice B below. If you are using an LDS Partner account, skip ahead to Choice C below.
- Go to the Ancestry Free Trial offer and click Start Free Trial.
- Fill in the account fields on the screen and click Continue.
- Finish the rest of the screens to set up your Free Trial account. Remember that your Free Trial will convert to the paid membership you chose unless you cancel within 14 days.
- For help with starting your tree, refer to this article.
AC—Getting Started, Lesson 1: Starting Your Tree
B Use a GEDCOM file to populate your tree.
A GEDCOM (Genealogical Data Communication) file is a text file with basic information about people in a family tree. It can be created (exported) from an existing family tree, and then imported to a new tree to populate that tree.
- Click Trees and select Create and manage trees.
- Click "Upload a GEDCOM file".
- Click Choose file, browse to your GEDCOM file and select it, and click Open.
- Type a name for your new tree.
- If you want to restrict others from seeing the tree, clear the "Allow others ..." checkbox.
- If desired, type a description for your tree.
- Select the "I accept the Submission Agreement" link.
- Click Upload to create the tree. While the tree is being loaded, keep the browser page open. When the tree is created, it appears in the Trees menu.
- This article provides an overview of GEDCOM files.
AB—Genealogy GEDCOM 101
If you have a GEDCOM file (a collection of ancestor information created with a software program), you can copy its data to your Ancestry tree.
C Create a free LDS Partner account.
- Go to the Partner Access page on FamilySearch.
- Click Join for Free below the Ancestry logo.
- Sign in to FamilySearch.
- Click "Create Your Free Ancestry Account".
- In the Account Creation page, fill out fields (including email and password) and click Register.
- For help with creating an LDS Partner account, refer to this article.
AC—FamilySearch Integration on Ancestry
- For help with starting your tree, refer to this article.
AC—Getting Started, Lesson 1: Starting Your Tree
Goal 2: Customize your profile and site settings.
A Change your profile settings as needed.
- In your profile, change your name, display name, location, or photo.
- Update your personal information.
- Contact other Ancestry members.
- In the Home screen, click your name (upper right) and select Your Profile.
- To update your name and location, a) Click Edit Name and Location (upper right); b) Choose your display name (real name or username); c) Type your location and select it from the drop-down list; d) Type a brief note about yourself; and e) Click Save. The updated info appears in the upper-left corner of your profile page.
- To change the photo used in your profile page, a) Click the "Change photo" link (upper left); b) Click Choose File; c) Navigate to the photo you want to upload and double-click it; and d) Click Save.
- If you would like to help other Ancestry members with their research, a) Click Edit in the "Can you help other members?" box; b) Check the box; and c) Click Save.
- To add one or more research interests, a) Click "Add a research interest now"; b) Click "Add a new interest"; Fill in the info for last name, location, date range, and comments; and d) Click Save. This info will appear on your profile for other Ancestry members to see (unless you clear the "Share this information" checkbox). Then click "Return to profile (upper left).
- To update information about yourself, a) Click Edit in the About section; b) Make choices in the drop-down menus for Gender, Age, Education, Employment, Occupation, Languages, Lineage, and Religion (for Languages and Lineages you must also click Add); and c) Click Save.
- To update your family history experience level, a) Click Edit next to the "Family History Experience" box; b) Select values for Family History Experience, Researching Since (year), and How Often; and c) Click Save.
- To add website information, a) Click Edit next to the "Websites" box; b) Add names and URLs for your home page and favorite websites; and c) Click Save. The websites you add become clickable links in your Profile page.
- To search the Ancestry member directory, click Search Now in the "Search Member Directory" box. If you want to find a specific member, type the person's name and click Search. If you want a list of members who are researching a name of interest, fill in the name, place, and year fields and click Search. Results are shown in a separate page, and you can click a member's name to see his or her profile.
- To change your account settings, see Choice B below.
B Change your account settings as needed.
- In the Home screen, click your name (upper right) and select Your Account.
- To upgrade your subscription to Ancestry, choose a membership option and click Upgrade, and then follow the prompts. You can also learn about the subscriptions by clicking Compare.
- In the Personal Information box, click "Update name, username, or password" to change any of the following:
- Name—a) Click Edit next to Name; b) Type your new first name or last name; and c) Click Update Name.
- Username—a) Click Edit next to Username; b) Type a new username; and c) Click Update Username.
- Email address—a) Click Edit next to Email; b) In the security dialog, type your current password and click Continue; c) Type the new email address; and d) Click Update Email.
- Password—a) Click Edit next to Password; b) In the security dialog, type your current password and click Continue; c) Type the new password; and d) Click Update Password.
- To sign out of Ancestry, click your name (upper right) and select Sign Out. To sign in again, click Sign In (upper right) in the opening screen and then click the Sign In button.
C Change your site preferences as needed.
- In the Home screen, click your name (upper right) and select Site Preferences.
- In Hint Preferences, if there any preferences you want to change, clear them and click Save.
- In Community Preferences, select how you want to be contacted by other Ancestry members and click Save.
- In Tree Color Preferences, choose a color scheme for the tree and profiles and click Save.
For more info, watch this video.
AC—How to Change the Header Color—0:54
- To update your Activity Preferences (what others can see about your activities), a) Click "Update your personal settings"; b) Keep or clear the checkmarks for posting and personal research (you can read more about the settings at the bottom of the page); and c) Click Update Your Settings.
- To update your Public Profile Preferences., a) Click "Update these settings"; b) Keep or clear the checkmarks for public family history information and message board information (you can read more about the settings at the right of the page); and c) Click Update Preferences.
- To update your Username & Location (what others can see about your activities), a) Click "Change" for Current Username and follow the prompts; or b) Click "Change" for Current Location and follow the prompts.
- To enable Facebook Connect (signing in to Ancestry from Facebook), click Connect with Facebook.
D Change your email and alert preferences as needed.
- In the Home screen, click your name (upper right) and select Email Preferences.
- Select any of the newsletter options of interest and click Update Preferences.
- In the Home screen, click your name (upper right) and select Your Alerts.
- To explore Ancestry Message Boards, click "Visit the message boards homepage".
- To get notifications about DNA matches and profiles, check the box in the DNA Alert area.
E Read and send email in Ancestry.
- In the Home screen, click the envelope icon (upper right). A list of messages appears.
- To see a list of all your email messages, click "See all messages"; or click a message to open it.
- To reply to an open message, type a reply and click Send.
- To compose a new message, a) Click New (next to messages); b) Fill in the To, Subject, and Message fields; and c) Click Send.
- To delete a message, click the trash icon at the right.
- To scroll to additional messages, click the arrow buttons below the list of messages. You can also select the number of messages to display per page (10, 25, or 50).
- To return to the Inbox, click the Inbox link at the top.
- To create a folder for messages, a) Click New (next to Folders); b) Type the name of the folder; and c) Click Save.
- You may also see messages in your Sent and Deleted folders.
- For additional help with email, click the question mark icon.
F Change your tree settings as needed.
- Change your tree name or description.
- Export your tree as a GEDCOM.
- Remove your tree if it is no longer needed.
- In the Tree view, click your tree name (upper left) and select Tree Settings.
- If you want to change your tree name or description, type the new information at the left and click Save. For information about building stories, see Project 3: Stories and Photos.
- To set the home person to someone other than yourself, a) Find the "Your home person in this tree" box and click "change"; b) Type the name of the new home person and select it from the drop-down list (you can also browse a list of everyone in your tree to find the name you want); and c) Click Select.
- To help Ancestry send you relevant research information, a) Find the "Who you are in this tree" box and click "choose"; b) Type your name and select it from the drop-down list (you can also browse a list of everyone in your tree to find the name you want); and c) Click Select.
- To export your tree as a GEDCOM file, a) Click Export Tree; b) When the load process is finished, click Download Your GEDCOM File. You can keep this file as a backup or send it to others to re-create your tree.
- If you are sure you no longer need your tree, you can click "Delete your tree" (lower right). Then click Delete. (If you have a GEDCOM backup, you can resore the deleted tree (minus any changes you made to it since the GEDCOM was created.) See Goal 1, Choice D above for details.
- For more info deleting a tree, read this article.
AC—Deleting a Family Tree
- To change the privacy settings for your tree, a) Click the Privacy Settings tab; b) Select "Private tree" or "Also prevent your tree from being found in searches"; and c) Click Save Changes. Be sure to read the explanations of how privacy settings affect your interactions with other Ancestry users.
- For more info on privacy settings, read this article.
AC—Family Tree Privacy
- For help with managing your tree, read this article.
AC—Managing a Family Tree
G Invite others to see your tree.
- Click your tree name and select Sharing.
- To invite others by email, a) Click Email; b) In the Email field, type the email address of the person to invite; c) Choose a role for the person (click the Info button to see role details); d) To invite additional people, click Add Another Email and specify the email address and role; e) Type an optional personal message; and f) Click Send Invites.
- To invite others by username, a) Click Username; b) In the Username field, type the username of the person to invite; c) Choose a role for the person (click the Info button to see role details); d) To invite additional people, click Add Another User and specify the email address and role; e) Type an optional personal message; and f) Click Send Invites.
- You can also select "Invite members you've invited to other trees". Then select their names from the drop-down list and click Share Tree. Or, you can share your tree by selecting Sharing from your tree name menu.
- For more info on sharing a family tree, read this article.
AC—Sharing a Family Tree
Goal 3: Customize your homepage.
A Add or remove custom items (widgets) on your homepage.
- On the homepage, click Customize Your homepage. A list of available widget items appears.
- Select any widget item from the left: Getting Started with Ancestry, Recent Member Connect Activity, Record Collections, Jewish Name Variations, Jewish Community Locator, or Message Board Favorites. A description and preview are shown for your selection.
- Click Add to Your Homepage to add the item as a widget in your homepage.
- To remove any widget, click its trash icon.
- To restore a widget you deleted, click Undo in the info box that appears, or add the widget again in Customize your homepage.
- To close the widget, click Exit.
B Explore products and services on the homepage.
- In the Product and Services box, the following items are free:
- Learn about AncestryDNA
- Download Our Mobile Apps
- Visit Ancestry Academy
C Add or remove Quick Links for your homepage.
- In the My Quick Links box, a) Click Add a Link; b) Type or paste the URL of the link you want to save as a Quick Link; c) Type a name for the Quick Link; and d) Click Save to add it to the list.
- To remove a Quick Link, including any of the defaults. click the trash icon for the link and click OK.