Thursday, October 29, 2015

How Did I Miss This Before? Shows Others Researching a Person

Has this feature always been there on an record summary?  If so, how did I miss it?  If not, when did it appear?  Here's an example:

1)  Here is an 1880 U.S. Census record summary that I found today for the Charles Seaver family in Lexington, Sanilac County, Michigan:

Down in the lower right-hand corner of the screen above is a box that says:

Make a Connection
Find others who are researching Charles Seaver in Public Member Trees.

2)  I clicked the "Find others" link and saw a list of Public Member Trees that included this person:

Of course, I could change the filter sliders to reduce the number of matches, but all of the useful trees for Charles Seaver are at the top of this results list.

3)  By perusing these Ancestry Member Trees, I could find many clues for Charles Seaver, including his middle name, his birth date and location, his death date, parents names, his wife's maiden name, her parents, their marriage date and location, her death date and burial location, and their children's information as well for several more generations.  Some of those items in the Member Trees had sources attached, and a look at those source record summaries could lead me to other records that provided birth, marriage, death, burial, census, city directory, and more records that I could add to my database with source citations.

This feature relies upon the diligence of other researchers to attach records to their Ancestry Member Tree.

4)  I have, of course, searched for persons in the collection of Ancestry Member Tree.  However, this is the first time I have used this "Make a Connection" feature and I'm embarrassed to say that I have not noticed it before.  Or is it relatively new?  

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Copyright (c) 2015, Randall J. Seaver

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Genbook said...

Thanks for pointing this out, Randy. I have used that feature for at least two years if not more, as it helps to sift through a LOT of data. OTOH, there are often pretty sketchy things found in online trees!

Michigan Girl said...

I believe I've seen that feature for a while now. Can't say how long. But, I've never clicked on it because I'm not that hot on other people's trees. I find most of them are not well sourced, if sourced at all. That being said. I have gotten some good hints from member trees, as you pretty much stated. Clues that allow me to go and search for evidence. Maybe I'll click on that tomorrow when I'm back at my computer.

Barbara said...

Yes, great Easter Egg. I love to peruse these trees in search of cousins and this feature makes it easier. I have been using it a bit more, lately, until they get the Member Connect fixed.

Darren Price said...

What I'd like to see is a similar feature that would show me all the member trees to which a given record is attached. I suspect it would be both lighter-weight and a simpler implementation that searching all the public member trees. Also, it could also list the associated private trees (not the entries, of course).

Jacqi Stevens said...

Randy, I wonder if it became more noticeable to you because of the change in Ancestry's page arrangement a while back. Sometimes, rearranging the furniture can shake a lot of things up!

I remember seeing that feature in the "old" Ancestry. Like others mentioned above, I shy away from trusting other researchers' trees, so I don't often go there. However, there are times...

I have some branches of my paternal line that defy discovery. When I find someone else supposedly researching such a line, curiosity gets the best of me and I might find myself clicking over to meet this other odd duck.

Or...I may realize I'm looking at the work of a descendant or other close relative of a cousin I know, in which case I'll hop over and introduce myself. Collaboration can work wonders when you're working with known members of the same family!

Jana Last said...


I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

Have a great weekend!

Amy Fitzgerald said...

Gee, that feature (find others who are researching...) has been there for years. It is not a new feature of the new improved ancestry.

Schalene Dagutis said...

I prefer to use the Member Connect tab on Old Ancestry for this. It allows me to see who has the same (usually) person in their tree and which sources, including citations, they may have created for offline records or online sources from websites other than Ancestry. I can review and analyze those records to see if they correctly belong to our shared ancestor. Sources I don't have are highlighted in green. I haven't found this feature on New Ancestry but need to check their update to see if it has been deployed.

What I'd really like is to see who has used Member Connect to link to people in my tree. In Old Ancestry this feature is outbound, i.e., I connect to others. I want it to be bi-directional. I can connect and see who I've connected AND who has connected with me.

Mary Kircher Roddy said...

I've been using this feature for years. It makes great hints. It also often leads me to other actual records (not trees!) that might be relevant.

Milla said...

If you view the image of a record you have attached, click that arrow in the squared box, which is to right to see additional info. If you click the tab titled related, it will show you other users that saved the same record for the same person.