Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Mining Ancestry.com Records for Persons in Your Ancestry Member Tree

I've been having great success mining the available historical records using MyHeritage Record Matches (see my series of posts listed in Finished Using MyHeritage Record Matching for SSDI Matches).  I really like being able to concentrate on one specific record collection to find records for persons in my family tree, as opposed to searching a record provider one name at a time.  I find it much easier to add content and source citations using one record collection at a time.  

In my post Ancestry Matches Death, Burial, Cemetery, Obituary Records with Family Tree People, Except it Doesn't on 17 October 2012, I wished that Ancestry.com had a similar capability.  

Ancestry.com offers their green "shaky leaf" Hints for persons in Ancestry Member Trees and in a Family Tree Maker 2012 database (if connected to the Internet with an Ancestry membership).  But that feature depends on selecting a specific person in your tree.  

Is there a way to search an Ancestry Member Tree to find all of the "Hints" that were found for one specific Ancestry.com record collection?  YES, there is, and it takes a little work around, but it is very doable.

 Kristi Hancock commented on the October post, saying:

"I have had the same dreams of this "Ideal Ancestry World"! I have found a little bit of a work around that I figured out when Ancestry started the link on the 1940 Census page to see your hints from that database only.

"When I go to that link for my tree, this is what is in the address bar:

"The last four digits (2442) is the code for the 1940 Census database. Now, go to another database and look in the address bar for its "code". For example, the code for the Texas Birth Index, 1903-1997 is 8781.

"If you go back to that original link and change the 2442 to 8781, you will see the hints for your tree in that database."

You can't just copy Kristi's link to your address bar and find the 1940 Census entries for YOUR tree.  Kristi's Ancestry Member Tree number is "37639567."  Do you see it in them iddle of the URL?  You HAVE TO put your own Ancestry Member Tree number into the eddress.  

1)  One of my AMT numbers is 33123910 (obtained by opening the AMT and looking at the URL).  If I substitute that number into Kristi's URL, I get an URL to find the persons in my AMT in the 1940 U.S. Census:


I copied that into the address bar, and saw this screen on Ancestry.com:

That worked, and I received a list of 60 persons in my Ancestry Member Tree with Hints for the 1940 U.S. Census that I had not accepted or rejected.  I can review each Hint, and accept or reject the Hint.  If I do that, it is removed from the "People With Hints" list.  If I want to capture the record image, I can save it to my computer "Ancestor Files" folders.

2)  What if I want to change to another Ancestry Record Collection?  I need to find the Ancestry assigned database number for the collection.  In a separate window tab, I went to Ancestry's Card Catalog and selected the Social Security Death Index:

The Ancestry-assigned database number for the Social Security Death Index is 3693.  Do you see it on the screen above in the URL on address bar?  It is the last part of the URL.

Note:  It is important that you use the Ancestry Card Catalog to obtain the database number.  You can use the Search or Keyword fields to find the database of interest.

I copied my URL above and substituted "3693" for "2442" and saw:

There are 100 unreviewed Hints for persons in this tree in the SSDI.

This method of "organized searching" or "mining" a specific database is much easier for me to perform than randomly picking a set of Hints for a specific person on my Ancestry Member Tree.  This way, I don't have to go through the list of Hints for a specific person, most of which I don't accept because of the nature of the sources.  

3)  My next target database is the Massachusetts Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988.  The database number is 2495:

Yikes, 819 record matches!!!  That should keep me busy for a week or two!  

4)  How can I remember the URL for my Ancestry Member Tree?  Easy - I added it to my list of Bookmarks in my Chrome browser!  

Of course, there is no guarantee that Ancestry has found the "right" record for a specific person - the spelling in the record may have been wrong, or there may be persons with the same name.  

My thanks to Kristi Hancock for providing a great finding aid and work around for all of the "Ancestry.com data miners" to use.

copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver


Andy Hatchett said...

Wonderful Workaround- will prove *very* useful

Tina Telesca said...

What great information. This will come in very handy. Thanks for sharing.

Brian W Schaar said...

Good useful information. This is good when I will want to update hints for one topic - e.g., 1940 Census. I have another suggestion. Instead of adding multiple URLs to your Bookmark - save the URLs in a word document - and copy and paste them into Ancestry.com when you need them.

Richard Howie said...

Thank you so much! I had the same question myself after the 1940 census came out. I just wanted to be able to update everyone at the same time using just this census, and not having to go looking for each person individually. This is great!

CJ said...

It would seem Acom has heard your cray: at the very least, on the 1930 and '40 census card catalog pages there's a link to see just hints from that particular database. Just navigating around to different record sets I can't seem to find it on others.

Randy Seaver said...

Ancestry changed their URL system somewhat. Russ Worthington figured it out - I wrote about it in http://www.geneamusings.com/2016/05/mining-ancestrycom-hints-by-specific.html

Good luck -- Randy

MaryLu Metz said...

I tried it and something does not work. I still get the error message. My tree number and the 1920 census number I used for an experiment are http://trees.ancestry.com/tree/88976254/hints?src=hw&hf=record&hs=last&hdbid=6061 i still get the temporarily unavailable message. This is a great idea. I want to make it work.

Randy Seaver said...

Mary Lu,

Here is what I use for the 1920 census:


You still have the "src=hw" in the link

Edit the link and try again.