bE2_W402_400x400Anne Gillespie Mitchell has been chasing her ancestors up and down the Great Wagon road through Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina for many years.  She currently works for Ancestry on a variety of products including search, Ancestry Library Edition, AncestryK12 and RootsWeb.


Anne has taught genealogy courses at many national conferences including NGS, FGS and RootsTech and SLIG.  You will find her teaching many online courses on a variety of topics at Ancestry Academy

Always looking to increase her knowledge of methodologies and records she has completed the Boston University Online Genealogy Certificate course as well as multiple week-long institutes at SLIG and IGHR.

Before Ancestry she worked in the internet industry in software development and has been a product manager for companies including CNET, Webshots and Excite@Home.  She has a Master’s degree in Computer Science from Purdue University, where she also taught Computer Science for 8 years.

Anne’s passion for history and computers have merged into a lifelong fascination for genealogy and developing and methodologies to carve important clues out of historical documents.



33 thoughts on “About

  1. Margel Soderberg

    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.

  2. Jeff Ford


    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. Anne Gillespie Mitchell Post author

      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.

  3. Pingback: Blogging in the new year | Branch and Leaf … a family history blog

  4. Jean

    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,

  5. bevbluesky

    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.

  6. Deborah Navey Burriss

    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.

  7. Tim Thompson

    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.

  8. Marilyn Clark

    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??

  9. Derek Zimmer

    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!

  10. sbelliston

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

    1. Anne Gillespie Mitchell Post author

      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!

  11. Rebekah Harris

    Hi Anne. I have a couple questions. I absolutely love genealogy, and I’ve been searching for my family for years. But I know nothing about my family, on any side. My dad was never around. His family rarely talks to me. My mother’s family knows hardly anything about their family either. Several family members were adopted so we know nothing about them, and many are supposed to be from Italy. But I haven’t been able to get very far. I was able to find quite a bit more recently on my father’s side, which shocked me, since I’ve been searching for info on his family for years and barely found his death certificate. I really want to find more of my family, so that I can show everyone where we are from and who we really are. But I have been stuck for a long time. Can you please help me?

  12. granniedebbie

    Anne. Thank you so much for your Cluster class. I immediately began using it and love it! Thanks for the slides. They will really help me remember.

    God bless, Debbie

  13. Donna L Wakenight

    Hello, Anne. I found your blog on Ancestry.com and had a question that I hope you can answer. I have a male ancestor, George Cross (1852 to 1912) on my Oxborough, Gladys May family tree. He was born with the surname Cuss; however, when he married in 1886, it appears that he changed his name to Cross. The surname, Cross, also appears on every record after his marriage. My question is, should I have entered his surname as Cuss or Cross on his profile? Any help is appreciated. Thanks, Donna.

  14. Justin Thomas

    Hey Anne this is Justin my Dad and I was at the presentation last week at RootsTech Understanding Your Ancestors Place in Civil War History. I was wondering how I can view/obtain the presentation slides.

      1. Justin Thomas

        Thanks Anne. Really enjoyed your presentation. I happened to have done the Civil War Stories Survey as well.

  15. Doug Kelley

    Hello Anne,

    Oddly enough, I was doing some research on a painting when your name popped up. Are your people originally from Scotland?

    Doug Kelley

      1. Doug Kelley

        It is a portrait of Ann Gillespie, wife of the Rev. Dr. John Mitchell. The artist is yet unknown, but skilled, and Ann has a kind face and wistful expression, as if gazing into memory as her finger keeps her place in her book. I imagine the portrait is from the 1830s.

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