Remember the Ancestry Toolbar? It was an add-on for Internet Explorer and Firefox that allowed easy linking of a web page to a person in your Ancestry tree. Last November, Ancestry.com deactivated the service. I was sorry to see it go. I loved that thing.
Now a company has introduced a similar tool for attaching a web source to a person in your FamilySearch tree. RecordSeek a browser add in (bookmarklet) that adds the address of a webpage, record, or document as a source in the FamilySearch Family Tree source box.
Installation is a drag… er, I mean easy. Go to www.recordseek.com. Drag the Tree Connect button to your bookmark bar. (After installation it changes from a big green button, to a regular looking bookmark.)
To create a source from a web page, visit the webpage. Highlight any text you wish to appear in the source notes. Click the bookmark. A window pops up that allows you to login to FamilySearch. Tree connect then creates a source and fills in the title, citation, and description. Select a source box folder, click Save and you’re ready to attach the source from your source box to someone in your tree.
In the notes (record description) is a Tree Connection advertisement. It is safe to delete it and enter a description of your own.
I have a concern about the citation. This is more than a nitpick. The URL is enclosed in angle brackets (< and >). Because these symbols have a special meaning on the web, they can cause problems in some situations and their use in a citation has been discontinued by the Chicago Manual of Style. Evidence Style also discourages their use. If it were me, I’d delete them. I could nitpick on the rest of the citation, but I won’t.
OK. Maybe I will nit a little bit. I encourage the use of Evidence Style for genealogists. Say what you will but it is the only citation style that addresses derivative sources, that cites both online derivative and offline original, and that characterizes the strength of the source. In Evidence Style, cite webpages like a book. (See “Citation Principles: Websites are Like a Book.”) OK. Enough said.
Now about saving Ancestry.com records…
Citing a subscription website as a source is problematic; there is no way around it. People without a subscription won’t be able to see it. Tough. Just cite it. Of course, if a record is available on a free website as well, it might be worth the extra effort to cite the free source. After all, the day may come when you yourself won’t have access.
If you are at the Family History Library or a participating library it may be possible to take an Ancestry.com URL someone saved in a source and view it without a subscription. Look near the beginning of the address, the part just before the .com. Change it as follows to indicate where you are trying to view the record:
- .ancestry.com – for viewing with a subscription
- .ancestryinstitution.com – for viewing at the Family History Library (or FHC, once properly connected)
- .ancestrylibrary.com – for viewing at a participating library or institution.
An Ancestry.com web address of a record can also be shortened quite a bit. Save the record to your shoebox. Click on the record in the shoebox. Now the URL is much shorter.
For example, http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?ti=0&indiv=try&db=nypl&h=4025251781 is the shortened form of
Do this before using RecordSeek or copying the address to paste into another tree program.
RecordSeek is a definite addition to my toolbox. Go out and give it (and FamilySearch Family Tree) a try.