Hints on Using the Database Effectively
In general, use the new search interface to find the greatest number of sources on your surname of interest.
An author search has two options, to search for an exact match in the author field (last name, first name) or to enter a portion of the author name (author word). This same pattern is true for title and subject searches.
Also be aware that searching using Keyword-general will return more citations than most other options. If you know the exact author or title, that will be most efficient in finding the source(s). Otherwise, rely on Keyword-general searching
First, go to the "Surnames by Frequency of Occurrence" section. If your surname of interest is found there, there is a good chance it will be found in one or more of the documents in this database. Almost all documents are keyed to one or more geographical locations. If you know, for example, that your ancestor lived in Bedford County, Virginia, search on Bedford using Keyword-general. Searching on "Bedford" alone will bring up all documents found in that location. It may bring up all "Bedford"s in different states, if they exist, but you can easily narrow down your search to the one of interest to you.
Some special categories have also been coded for easy access. For example, any document which names a slave will carry the code "slaves" and searching on "slaves" as Keyword-general will bring up all documents in which any slave is mentioned by name. Some photo albums are included in the database and all can be found by searching on "photo" as Keyword-subject. There are also some GEDCOMs in the collection. Simply search on "gedcom" to find a listing of these.