Here is the top of my Hints page for this Ancestry Member Tree:
Today, I have:
* 47,874 ALL Hints
* 33,625 RECORDS Hints
* 5,198 PHOTOS Hints
* 547 STORIES Hints
* 8,504 MEMBER TREES Hints
I usually just look at the RECORDS hints. I get somewhere between 20 and 50 RECORDS Hints every day on this tree - for seemingly random persons in this tree. I try to keep track of how many are added each day or so. For instance, the last time I checked on 18 September, I had 33,523 RECORDS Hints, so I'm up 102 in the two days since then. That is pretty typical. When I checked the list on 31 August, I had 33,033 RECORDS Hints (but I have resolved 445 Hints since then), so that is 937 RECORDS Hints added since 31 August, or about 47 per day.
Today, I methodically went through the first 20 pages of the RECORDS Hints - that's 400 Hints. I tried to judge if the Hint was for the specific person in my database, or was not, or might have been but I can't draw a conclusion. For these 400 Hints, my judgment said that:
* 347 - YES, they were for the specific person (86.75%)
* 39 - NO, they were not for the specific person (9.75%)
* 21 - MAYBE, perhaps the specific person (5.25%).
This is a pretty small sample, but the results indicate that over 85% of the RECORDS Hints in my Ancestry Member Tree are for the specific person cited. If you had asked me yesterday, I would have said 80% to 90% were for the specific tree persons.
Sometimes, the Hints are very helpful. for instance, the first person at the top of the screen above is Sarah E. Holbrook (1839-????), who married Joseph Warren Dill (1836-????) in 1872 in Massachusetts. The 15 Hints for her include records for her birth, her three marriages, and some census records. I did not have her first marriage in 1855 in my database - now I do! I did not have her third marriage in my database - now I do. How do I know these records apply to the same person? All three of the marriage records name her parents as Enos and Matilda Holbrook.
I am often amazed that the Ancestry Hints system can find some of the females with multiple marriages, especially when I have only one marriage in my database. Other amazements are how the Ancestry Hints can find interesting name spellings and attribute them to the right tree person.
It is important to note that these Ancestry Member Tree Hints are derived from a limited set of all of the Ancestry.com databases - I've heard the top 10% of all databases listed by record count. There are 32,720 databases in the Ancestry Card Catalog - so 10% is 3,272 databases. #3272 today has 17,517 records, so the 10% covers a lot of records. Researchers should always do a search for a person to find the matches that are not picked up by the Hints engine.
I will do this study again when more Hints are piled up in this tree. Only by expanding the number of Hints evaluated can a better accuracy percentage be calculated. I hope to get up to 2,000 Hints the next time I do this study.
Are you surprised by the (YES) accuracy percentage, or by the NO percentage? What percentage do you think are accurate in your Ancestry Member Tree? What about on MyHeritage and FamilySearch?