Thursday, August 11, 2016

Ancestry Member Trees Indexing Update - UPDATED

I and other geneabloggers were contacted by reader Debbie via email one week ago about the Indexing of Ancestry Member Trees.  Debbie wrote:

"After watching carefully for months and suspecting that was not updating their index to their public trees so that trees show up in the search results, I finally called about it today.  The representative confirmed that they had not updated their index since February.  In my opinion, that is completely unacceptable.  I asked her when they were going to update the index again.  She said that information had not been provided to them."

After receiving this email from Debbie, I consulted with two other geneablogging colleagues, and then I wrote this email to Matt Deighton of

"Hi Matt, 

Pat and I were informed by a reader, who contacted the Ancestry help line, that the last update to indexing the Ancestry Member Trees was in February 2016.  

As I recall, several folks, including Russ, raised this issue at RootsTech with Ancestry staff.  I wrote about the indexing frequency issue on my blog on 16 Feb 2016 in

So we have questions:  Have the Ancestry Member Trees been indexed since February 2016?  How often are they indexed?  When will they be indexed next?  Is it true that profiles without any source are not indexed?

We think that these updates should occur more frequently on a regular schedule so that using the Ancestry Member Trees includes the contribution of the family trees of all users.  

Would you please check with your staff and obtain answers for our questions so that we can pass them along to the genealogy community on our blogs?"

Matt Deighton got back to us yesterday, saying in an email:

"I’ve spoken with our hints team. In terms of hinting, the system we used to index Ancestry Member Trees, we needed to periodically update the database. We have since moved our hinting onto a new system that updates automatically after 24 hours after an edit has been made."

I appreciate the responsiveness of to our request.  I note that he didn't answer the questions, but if the indexes are updated daily then the questions posed are moot.

I decided to test the Hinting system to determine if the system updates automatically after an edit has been made.  Here's what I did:

1)  I needed to add the first husband and their three children for Anna Ellingsdtr (1812-1901) to my Ancestry Member Tree.  I already had Anna's second husband and their four children in my Ancestry Member Tree.  Here is the profile for Anna Ellingsdtr (1812-1901) before I added the first husband and three children:

2)  I added profiles for Solfest Johannessen (1812- before 1845), Eli Solfestdtr (1838-1876), Britha Solfestdtr (1840-1927), and Ragnhild Solfestdtr (1843-before 1895);  I added birth, marriage and death dates for all of them; I also added source citations to the birth events for Solfest, Britha and Ragnhild.  [Note:  We learned before that AMT indexing doesn't occur for profiles without source citations].  I didn't add a source citation for Eli's birth just to see if the Indexing program picks her up anyway.

Here is the profile for Anna Ellingsdtr showing her first husband and their three children in my Ancestry Member Tree:

So there's the test:  When will the four profiles show up in an Ancestry Member Tree Index that points to my tree profiles?

3)  I will report back every day in the afternoon in the space below until the Index entries appear in a search for the added four person profiles.

UPDATE 12 August 2016:  3:15 p.m. PDT - none of the four persons added were found in a search in Ancestry Member Trees.

UPDATE 13 August 2016:  2:30 p.m. PDT - none of the four persons added were found in a search in Ancestry Member Trees.

UPDATE 16 August 2016:  1 p.m. PDT - none of the four persons added were found in a search in Ancestry Member Trees.

UPDATE 19 August 2016:  10 a.m. PDT - none of the four persons added were found in a search n Ancestry Member Trees.

UPDATE:  27 August 2016: 9 p.m. PDT - the Indexes have been updated.  Solfest, Britha and Ragnhild were added to the index, but Eli was not (probably because she has no sources).


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Russ Worthington said...


I found that person in another one of your trees, but not this one


Russ Worthington said...


I started with just the surname, then added Anna to get that earlier result.

Just added the birth year, and I think I found this Tree

I could tell for sure.


Diane Gould Hall said...

Keep at it Randy. What is the purpose of adding to our trees, if nobody will see what we add?
Thank you.