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.

Wednesday, Second Period, Chemistry

Member Community: Formula for success

Put two of our members together and you make a spark. Combine thousands of them and you create a powerful energy, capable of generating brilliant ideas and inspiring you to incredible new discoveries. That’s exactly what we’ve done with our member community.

Too easy? Join the Top Set
Take the advanced lesson

Top set

One of the most important ways our members contribute to our growing community is by helping us to transcribe crucial family history records – and make them available to everybody online. You can get involved in this important work through the Ancestry World Archives Project.

Join the Project, and you can see many of our new records before they’re released online. You’ll also get permanent free access to all the collections you work on – the transcriptions are free to everyone, but you’ll also be able to see the scanned record images. Let’s look at how you get started…

  1. Too easy?

    1Our Ancestry World Archives Project page tells you all about the Project’s aims and how it works. From there click ‘Get Started’ then follow the on-screen instructions to download the exclusive software. When it’s installed it will open automatically – you’ll need to provide your user name and password and agree to the terms and conditions to log in.

  2. Too easy?

    2The opening screen of the software gives you all the latest Project news – take a look to see what records have been added recently, and how we’re progressing. When you’re ready to start, click ‘Download Image Sets’ on the right. You’ll see a list of all the available collections, with their size, difficulty rating, language, the country they come from and how far along we are. Select a collection to see a description of the records, then click ‘Download’. We’ll try the New South Wales, Australia, Police Gazettes, 1854-1930.

  3. Too easy?

    3When it’s finished downloading, the collection will appear on your main screen. You can then select it, and click ‘Open Image Set for Keying’. A window will open with instructions for transcribing these particular records – don’t just close this, as it provides important tips about what to look out for on the pages, and which details to focus on. When you’ve read it carefully, you’re ready to get going.

  4. Too easy?

    4You’ll be randomly assigned a page from the collection you’ve chosen. You’ll see a scanned image of the page at the top of your screen. At the bottom is a kind of database. You need to follow the details in the record image and enter them into the boxes below. As you click on each field, you’ll see advice on the left, telling you how to find the correct information. When you’re happy with each entry, click the green tick above the boxes.

  5. Too easy?

    5Keep going until you’ve entered all the required details from your page. You can close the software at any time – your progress will automatically be saved so you can carry on later. When you’re completely happy, click ‘Finish Image Set’ – this will send your transcription to our team, who will check through it before approving it for use on the site. You can then download another page, or move onto a different collection. Keep checking the Project home page – there’s a league table of our most prolific members, so you might see your name in lights!

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


One of the great benefits of joining the Ancestry World Archives Project is that you get to read all kinds of fascinating historical documents – and spot interesting details that you’d never come across when searching for your own family. The New South Wales Police Gazettes reveal salacious stories of Australian crimes and misdemeanours. There are six main categories you should use when transcribing the articles. The first five are desertion, assault, missing person, murder and police business. Can you find the sixth?

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