Friday, August 14, 2009

Wish I Could Add a Note to Shoebox Items on Ancestry

I use the Shoebox on Ancestry to save records for my "may be related" individuals. I find that this is a "safer" option that just bookmarking them. If a database were to change between me bookmarking a record and using the record, I could have a dead bookmark and that would not make me happy. (And I have had this happen.)

I like that I can save these stray records somewhere in my account without attaching them to anyone. But here is what I wish I could do:

Add a note to the record so that I know why I added it.

For example: Why did I save a 1900 census for a Patric KEEFE in May of 2008? For one, it's not for a Patric but for a Patricia. KEEFE is not a surname in my database. So why did I save it? Because I remember finding this woman living with my ancestors in a previous census and wondered if she was related to them. That much I remember. What I don't remember is which family she was living with.

Clicking on the record shows that this is actually the census where Patricia was living with the BASCOM family. Since she is listed as a boarder born in Ireland, she's probably not related to the family.

This reanalysis of a record would have been so much easier and quicker (and not relied on my memory) if I could have just attached a note to the record detailing why I had saved it.

Ancestry allows you to share a comment on a record. But I don't want to share it with everyone because I don't really know much about this person or record. I just want to save a private note so that I don't have to search for it again.

Do you use the Shoebox on Ancestry? Would you like the ability to comment on Shoebox items? Leave a comment.


  1. Now that you mention it, that would be great tool to have. I use the shoebox all the time.

  2. I have had this very problem. For a while I was shoeboxing so many items that I couldn't keep them straight, so I cut down the number of items I put there, but it would be nice to have a way to tag and organize them.

  3. I like your idea - I also wish that you could sort and/or "file" shoebox items since I do not have a tree on-line (just not there yet). My workaround for this is to send the pages to my OneNote program and then I can make any notes I want in that program - also if for some reason ancestry loses the information, changes its shoebox and/or I cancel my subscription, I at least have the information and the citation to it for my own use. I am sure it would work with any note program or word processing for that matter - I just like the ability to search my notebook for a name or date or document type.