bE2_W402_400x400I have been chasing my ancestors through  Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina for many years and hopefully I’ve helped a few friends and cousins along the way.

I have completed the Boston University Online Genealogy Certificate course.

I’ve worked in the internet industry in software and have been a product manager for companies including CNET, Webshots and Excite@Home.  I have a Master’s degree in Computer Science from Purdue University, where I also taught Computer Science for 8 years.

My passion for history and computers merged into a lifelong fascination of genealogy and developing advanced search techniques and methodologies to carve important clues out of historical documents.

I am  a Product Manager at Ancestry.com and I write the Ancestry Anne column for Ancestry.com.

Lately, I’ve been focused on how we can do more than collect the data.  I want to bring my ancestors to life.



20 comments on “About”
  1. Welcome to Geneabloggers Anne. I was in your BU Genealogy Classes. So glad to see you out here on your blog…

  2. My memories of Purdue and computers are holding tightly to my books and leaning into the wind as I walked under the “new” computer building to class. I look forward to reading your blog.

    1. I have those same memories as well. 🙂 Walking under the math building, or what was the math building, was like walking in a wind tunnel.

  3. Jeff Ford says:


    I recently saw your Ancestry video on sourcing. For part of it, you used Find-A-Grave as a source. I have to question your choice of using Find-A-Grave as a source. Mainly because of you have to trust the person that either created the memorial or maintains it to have entered in the correct information. The information there is sometimes like some of the information in some of the trees on Ancestry or other places. It would be different had you decided to use a record on FamilySearch.org as your source. I don’t really consider FAG to be a source of reliable information even though I have 123 memorials there.


    1. I think you have to judge each Find A Grave entry on it’s own merits. If the entry on their site includes a tombstone, that is a fairly credible source of dates, specifically death. Although, it could be wrong. If it is just and entry with no supporting info, yes there is reason to question. This is why I always take a screen capture of the entire entry and then write my source out. I know by the picture and the source where the information came from and how to evaluate the quality of the information. You can also add a notation at the end of your source, such as: dates supplied, no tombstone photo available. This helps you understand what you have.

      I would never reject a site out of hand. Not all information on the site will be the same and depending on the questions asked, it is impossible to predict what information will be useful as evidence. Sometimes, often, it is pieces of evidence combined that give you the answer.

  4. Susan D. says:

    Dear Anne , I am delighted to say your blog has given me so much pleasure, I have nominated you for Blog of the Year Award 2012. See my posting at Family History Fun http://scotsue-familyhistoryfun.blogspot.com

    Happy blogging 2013 – kind regards, Susan

  5. Jean says:

    Your site is very interesting but I cannot find any obvious way that it is interactive. How can I or my research benefit from all these wonderful things. I read your tips on Ancestry,

  6. Jeff Ford says:

    Can you help me create a page for my blog on Facebook?

  7. bevbluesky says:

    Anne, I’d like to send you a direct email. Will you please advise how to do that? Also, regarding your comment about wanting to collect more than data – I’m exploring that, too. Working on a project now with a local Baltimore writer to creative a narrative about my grandfather with local history and culture references.

  8. Deborah Navey Burriss says:

    Hi, Anne,
    I’m a native of Cleveland County, N.C., and read the blog about the Hopper murder on Facebook. I noticed in the family tree they posted that you and I share several in common, including the Hamricks and McSwains (whom I often think everyone from Cleveland County must be related to). I enjoyed the Hopper story and plan to start reading more of your blogs.

  9. Tim Thompson says:

    We conversed several years ago in reference to the Donald side of the family.
    Ironically I am a history teacher in a school in Loudoun County.
    I do a small part on genealogy and have the students trace their ancestry back 3 generations. I use the link “James C Donald” as an example.
    My grandfather is Benjamin Lyle Donald (b.1892 in Rockbridge Co). Over Christmas I visited my uncle BL Donald in Lexington and we discussed the Donalds in and around Lexington .
    At some point (maybe the summer) I would like to meet with you and we can compare notes on the family.

  10. Martha W. says:

    Hi Anne,
    I think you`ll like this one – http://www.onlinemilitaryeducation.org/military-disasters/

  11. Marilyn Clark says:

    Hello Anne,
    Wondering if you could help with a research question…
    I have found several immigrant ancestors in Indexed Immigration lists, but how do I use those indexes to look at the originals to see if there is more info about birthplace??
    Also, same thing on Naturalization Papers… Found them in indexes, how do I see the records themselves??

  12. Derek Zimmer says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed your class at RootsTech 2016, “Your Ancestor’s War Story from Beginning to End.” Great process! Your presentation allows a user to implement her/his own search process. Quick Question: Did you upload your PowerPoint presentation to your website for downloading? It was so good that I’d pay for it. Thank you!

    1. Thank you for the feedback! You have made my day! The presentation will be up sometime tomorrow. I’ll post on my blog when it is available

    2. Derek, the slides are up. Enjoy! 🙂

  13. Derek Zimmer says:

    Thank you, Anne!

  14. sbelliston says:

    I was hoping to find your presentation from RootsTech 2017 on the civil war on this site. I thorough enjoyed the class.

    1. OK, well this is embarrassing! I somehow completely spaced out putting the slides up. I have updated my Slides and Presentation page with the slides. Thanks you for bringing that to my attention!

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