There are 14 comments on the post, many of them expressing dissatisfaction with Ancestry's indexing rules of Ancestry Member Trees. Here are some of them:
1) Russ Worthington said: "Interesting dialog. Reading your notes at the end, I had to have a 'hmmm' moment. As our friend, The Legal Genealogist would say 'it depends'.
"I am of two minds on this topic. I agree that there are hints in those undocumented trees that may lead us to what we want to know. But, at the Same time, there are times when I DO want to see a Documented Tree.
"Right now, I do not include Ancestry Member Trees in my Shaky Leaf Hints results.
"I would like to have the OPTION to Turn On the Public Member Tree Hints, BUT Only for those Documented Trees. OR to include those undocumented trees. So, three options would work for me."
"I was talking to some one from the Ancestry Member Tree staff [at RootsTech], may be the same person that was mentioned, with an Indexing issue on an Ancestry Member Tree that is Public AND Sourced that is not showing up in Search Results.
"He was going to look into my issue, but haven't heard back from him yet. I would have thought that we might have mentioned that to me during our conversation."
"I agree with you wholeheartedly that unsourced profiles should be indexed. I didn't add sources to my online tree because I don't use Family Tree Maker (which presumably would have been an easy sync), and I have no idea how my templated Legacy sources would transfer to an Ancestry tree (but probably not very well). I figured I could provide source information to anyone who was interested enough to contact me and ask. But now it appears they will never even see my tree. Guess I'm going to have to rethink my strategy. As it stands now, the only thing my online tree is good for is DNA matches.
"In my opinion, listing an Ancestry Member Tree as a 'source' is completely worthless and should not even be an option, let alone serve as the basis for deciding to index the profile. I'm not interested in how many other trees give the same unsupported 'fact', citing each other in an infinite loop. (I'd give more credence to a citation to personal knowledge or family lore, than to another member tree.)
"To maximize the utility of the member trees, Ancestry should index all profiles, including unsourced ones, but the count of sources in the search results should include only legitimate sources, not other member trees. I want to be able to look at the search results and know that a profile with six sources has real sources, and isn't just citing six other member trees. But I also want to see the unsourced profiles, which have provided useful clues in the past. And I like your suggestion that results be ordered by number of (legitimate) sources."
The fact that the pseudo-sources of 'copying tree to tree = source' are searchable while the trees clearly labelled as 'Please contact me for source information' are excluded from search results.....
That's a problem, and is actually a serious disservice to subscribers."
So how do we influence Ancestry.com to do the best thing for ALL genealogists and index ALL Ancestry Member Trees, and list them in search results by some quality measure? I think this happens only by providing more examples from our own research of how unsourced Ancestry trees have solved our research problems. I know that sounds "wrong," but I think it's true.
We also need to know if the Indexing rules prevent unsourced trees from being used to construct DNA Circles and AncestryDNA Hint matches.
On my original post, I provided my own remedies, including:
* The list of matches should be ordered according to how many sources are provided for the person of interest. That way, the (presumably) "best" tree information appears at the top of the list.
* A source listing an "Ancestry Member Tree" is fairly useless if there is no attached record on the profile. Why are they even considered?
* Ancestry.com should provide a summary of their indexing rules, and the date of the last index on a regular basis.
Copyright (c) 2016, Randall J. Seaver