Welcome to the Ancestry Academy…

September is here and children all over the country are heading back to school. It’s the perfect time to dig out your pencil case and do some learning of your own – in the Ancestry Academy! Whether you’re a new starter or a top set whiz kid, this week’s lessons will help you develop your family history skills and make brand new discoveries.

Monday, First Period, Design & Technology

Family trees: Building your bridge to the past

Your family tree is the bridge that connects you with your ancestors throughout history. If you construct each section with care, you’ll find it far easier to cross the rivers of time, and visit the various periods in your family’s past.

Too easy? Join the Top Set
Take the advanced lesson

Top set

If you’ve been a member for a while, you probably know how to create your family tree. But our Tree Builder lets you do more than add new ancestors and look for Hints. We’ll look at how you can make the most of its more advanced features.

To use these tools, you’ll need to already have a tree. We’ll use the Lesson One tree we created in the New starters lesson – you can either complete that first or follow these steps on your own tree.

  1. Too easy?

    1Once you’ve made some fascinating discoveries about your family, share them with living relatives by inviting them to view your tree. Select it from the Family Trees menu, hover over the arrow next to ‘Tree pages’ and choose ‘Share your tree’. You can enter an email address or choose from your contacts at an existing account. Let them edit or contribute to your tree or just view it as a guest, then add a message and send your invite. If your relative isn’t already a member, they’ll just have to register for free to see everything you’ve discovered.

  2. Too easy?

    2A useful tip is to search our records from your tree, which saves you entering your ancestors’ details every time. Go back to the main pedigree view, then hover over an ancestor’s name and choose ‘Search records’. You’ll immediately see results from all our records, based on the information you’ve saved for that relative. If you want to, you can narrow down into particular types of record, or even specific collections, using the options on the left. Or, click ‘Edit Search’ to change your forebear’s details.

  3. Too easy?

    3As you discover more about an ancestor, you’ll want to change their information in your tree. You can do this quickly from the main pedigree view – just hover over their name, and choose ‘Quick edit’. For larger amends choose ‘View profile’. This takes you to a screen dedicated to that relative, where you can see all their details, with a timeline of their life and links to the records where you found the information. Choose ‘Edit this person’ to make changes.

  4. Too easy?

    4Underneath the ‘Edit this person’ button, you’ll see a range of options to learn more about this ancestor. ‘Search records’ takes you back to step 3; ‘View his family tree’ temporarily makes him the root person of your tree; ‘View family members’ shows you his parents, siblings, spouse and children; while ‘View relationship to me’ calculates whether he’s your great-grandfather, 2x great-uncle or second cousin twice removed.

  5. Too easy?

    5If you’re lucky enough to own photographs of your ancestors – or even video or audio clips – you can add these to your tree and keep all your discoveries in one place. With photos, you’ll first need to scan them onto your computer. Then go back to the Profile page and select ‘Upload photos‘. Click ‘Select files’ and find the image file in your folders. You can add extra information such as a title, date and location, or simply skip the step to link it to your ancestor.

Start your homework
Download your homework book now

Too easy? See how you do in the Top Set
Take the advanced lesson

Are you finished? Start the next lesson


There’s even more to explore on the Profile screen. Have a look around, and see if you can find a way to save the person from your current tree into another family tree – this is really useful if you’re copying parts of your tree. In what menu do you find that option?

Note down the answer, and keep it safe until the end of the week – you’ll be tested on your responses on Friday!



Monday's free period

Prize Draw 1

Family Tree Maker

Win 1 of 10 copies of our latest software

Be one of the first people to get your hands
on the new and improved version of our award-winning family history software. It comes complete with improved integration with your Ancestry.co.uk account, advanced charts and reports, interactive timelines and maps, and many more great new features.
We have ten copies ready to be won.

Enter the prize draw

Closing date 30th September

Tuesday’s free period

Prize Draw 2

WDYTYA? magazine

10 subscriptions up for grabs

Trace your family's past and discover your roots with Who Do You Think You Are? magazine. Brought to you by the team
behind BBC History Magazine, and the
official companion to the successful TV
series, WDYTYA? magazine's features
range from military to social history, telling
the stories of ordinary and extraordinary people and how they used to live. We have ten subscriptions to give away.

Enter the prize draw

Closing date 30th September

Wednesday’s free period

Prize Draw 3

Worldwide Memberships

Win 1 of 5 annual memberships

Our worldwide membership provides everything you need to trace your family history around the world. Scour the globe
with unlimited access to our entire library
of over 7 billion records, plus guaranteed access to all our new releases. We have
five annual memberships to give away.

Enter the prize draw

Closing date 30th September

Thursday’s free period

Prize Draw 4

National Trust passes

Win 1 of 50 pairs of tickets

We’re working with the National Trust to preserve our nation’s history, and help you uncover your family’s place in it. To
celebrate our partnership, we’re giving away 50 pairs of day passes to the National Trust property of your choice. Don’t miss the
chance to experience the history of Uppark, see the beauty of Fountains Abbey, or visit another of the Trust’s 350 properties.

Enter the prize draw

Closing date 30th September