Friday, July 29, 2011

Ancestry.com: "You don't even have to know what you're looking for..." - Post 2

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After yesterday's post (Ancestry.com: "You don't even have to know what you're looking for..." - Post 1) where I tried (and succeeded) to find useful family tree data for my second great-grandfather, Isaac Seaver, by systematically checking the Ancestry.com shaky green leaves, I tried again today with a family that I had not researched myself.

For this evaluation, I selected someone in my database with a set of parents, but I had not researched the spouse of my relative.  In the process, I found a pretty good method of finding cousins of persons in my database.  I also managed to fill out several generations of ancestors for the selected person.

My selection was David Buntin (born November 1889 in Illinois), son of Henry S. Buntin and Anna M. Auble.  Anna M. Auble was the sister of my great-grandfather, Charles Auble (1849-1916).  The 1900 and 1910 U.S. Census for McDonough County, Illinois listed this family, with children David, Henry (born 1895) and Catherine Buntin (born 1897).

I wanted to just add information to one test family tree (my Isaac Seaver tree), but I could find no way to Add an Unrelated Person to my family tree on Ancestry.com.  Hmmm, have I missed something?  Does Ancestry.com assume that no one will ever want to add an unrelated person (say to start a tree of a friend or client?) to an existing tree?  Perhaps they want a user to either start a new tree or add relatives until the unrelated person in an existing tree is connected by using Add Spouse, siblings or children.

I decided to start a new tree for the Buntin family.  I added David Buntin (born 1889 in Indiana), and his parents Henry Buntin (born 1856 in Indiana) and Anna Auble (born 1860 in New Jersey).  That's what I knew about them (although I have quite a bit of information on Anna's ancestry in my own tree).  Let's see if the Ancestry.com claim works on this line - how many generations will I be able to add to this scrawny family tree?

1)  Here's the tree I started with David and his parents:


2)  Both Henry Buntin and Anna Auble have shaky leaves!  There's hope.  There were two Hints - one for the 1860 census for Henry as a son, and an Ancestry Member Tree.  The Tree comparison is below:


A careful review of this tree with the sparse known data that I had indicated that the James Morris Buntyn, born in 1856, suggested by Ancestry.com was not Henry Sherman Buntin, born in 1856 in Indiana.  The spouse's name was not correct (Anna Page, not Anna Auble), and the children did not match at all. 

The 1860 U.S. Census item (Terre Haute, Vigo County, Indiana) listed Henry Buntin's parents as T.C. and Emma Buntin, with three children, including Henry S. aged 5.   I added T.C. Buntin and Emma (no surname) to the tree manually, and got more shaky green leaves. 

It was relatively easy adding parents, spouses and children to the families until the online trees and the indexed documents ran out.  Here is the tree I "created" on Ancestry.com going back three generations from David Buntin.  For Anna (Auble) Buntin's ancestry, I did not use my own database, but there are several online Ancestry trees that may have used my data.  It took me about one hour to do this task.



I was unable to find parents of Robert McCollum Buntin (1757-1839), Mary Shannon (1775-1840), Mary A. McMullen (1794-1864), and William Knapp (1775-1856) from the Ancestry Hints in the grandparents generation.  Actually, there was one tree that listed parents for William Knapp, but the father would have been age 18 and the mother age 8 when he was born, so I did not add those parents to my file. 

One lesson I learned was: if there is more than one Ancestry Member Tree in the hints, work with them one tree at a time. And do not click on the "Save" button too early - review all of the data for that tree match before you "Save" to your tree. The reason is that once you have saved data from an Ancestry Hint, it is very hard to find (and then perhaps capture) data that you didn't save but might want to save. I checked four trees for one person, and was unable to "capture" the children when I clicked on "Save" to "capture the parents.

One more lesson: Using the Ancestry Hints, with their linked documents, is a good way to extend descendants lines a generation or two. In the process of reviewing hints for David Buntin, I learned his name was David Cameron Buntin, born 25 November 1889 in Bushnell, Mcdonough County, Illinois (from his World War I and World War II draft registrations), and found him in the 1920 census with his wife Josephine and daughter Anna. I did not click the "Search historical records..." button.

I also found that Catherine Buntin, daughter of Henry Sherman and Anna M. (Auble) Buntin, was born 14 May 1897 in Illinois, and died 2 August 1992 in Contra Costa County, California, with a married name of Deeming (from the California Death Index, 1940-1997).

The information added were not from family trees - they were found in record collections, and thus are somewhat more authoritative than the trees. Those are my distant cousins because they are descendants of David and Sarah (Knapp) Auble, my second great-grandparents. There is the possibility that, since I've added this information and names to my Ancestry Tree, that a descendant of them will contact me.

The combination of being able to find and see historical records on Ancestry.com, and to use the information to extend a tree, with the Ancestry Member Tree data makes it relatively easy to extend a person's family history back several generations in a short time period. 

In my opinion, this "you don't even have to know what you're looking for..." attitude worked again.  I'll select another person, perhaps semi-randomly, next time.

5 comments:

MNFamilyHistorian said...

"I wanted to just add information to one test family tree (my Isaac Seaver tree), but I could find no way to Add an Unrelated Person to my family tree on Ancestry.com. Hmmm, have I missed something?"

Nope, you didn't miss anything. If you search their help pages, they explain the only way to add an unrelated person is to add them as the parent, spouse, or child of somebody, then disconnect the relationship. It works, but it's a bit of a hassle. Seems kind of a silly way to operate to me. I've had to add many unrelated people in a tree I'm constructing for a One-Name Study.

Geolover said...

"One lesson I learned was: if there is more than one Ancestry Member Tree in the hints, work with them one tree at a time. And do not click on the "Save" button too early - review all of the data for that tree match before you "Save" to your tree. The reason is that once you have saved data from an Ancestry Hint, it is very hard to find (and then perhaps capture) data that you didn't save but might want to save. I checked four trees for one person, and was unable to "capture" the children when I clicked on "Save" to "capture the parents."

Actually it is quite easy to find and capture data that others have saved but you have not.

Click the 'member connect' tab on a person's profile page. If you have copied this person from a tree, that person's version will be listed in the "connections" tab; when you click it, you can see what is connected in that tree but not in yours. The other tab lists other trees' versions of what the tree software thinks is the same individual, and what citations other tree owners have saved to the same individual that you have not.

The horrid thing about Member Connect is that it all too easy to attach a citation without looking at the actual item to verify that it is indeed ~about~ your particular tree individual. It is part of the Ancestry Spreading Wrong Connections Virus whose core is copying from trees.

Kaisa Kyläkoski said...

My "trees" are full of unrelated people, because I do migration and surname research. To add new person: search, open a document, "add to new person" in the tree and then remove the doc link, if it was not a real match.

Dana said...

"...I could find no way to Add an Unrelated Person to my family tree on Ancestry.com. Hmmm, have I missed something?"

I have several unrelated people and family groups in my family tree, but they usually come from going through records and having a gut feeling they might be a relative, but I need to look for more proof first. To keep things organized, I use the record I found them in and click on 'add this to my tree', but I always choose 'add to a new person'. This lets me create a new person in my tree without any former connections, so I can have the information in there, but not connect it to anyone until I have my ducks in a row. One just needs to remember when doing that with census records to 'remove' the record after creating the person and then 'readd' it to the person so that it shows up properly in the timeline. Otherwise, it will be attached, but not show in the timeline.

Tanya said...

I add notes under Timeline as "Add a Fact" then "Custom Event". It is usually the info on the Census or conflicting info from other trees. I note the tree source and info I'm not sure is my ancestor yet.
The other thing I do when starting a new person, I don't immediately add their death unless I do it under Custom Event. This keeps other trees from copying info that I have not verified yet. You know, once they copy it, it won't be deleted from their tree.
You can check it out: Samuel McCauley B: 1821 D: 12 Feb 1888 on Bergeron of Lakeside tree.
I'm not sure if this method is approved by Ancestry as it adds a lot more info on their Overview page.