Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Searching Ancestry.com User databases

www.Ancestry.com has several user-contributed databases on their subscription site. They include:

1) Ancestry World Tree - this has been integrated into the WorldConnect database at www.rootsweb.com.

2) One World Tree - This database is a synthesis of families submitted by contributors. The site explains it is: "OneWorldTree takes family trees submitted by Ancestry members and "stitches" them together with family trees and historical records from other sources. OneWorldTree identifies probable name matches between these sources and displays consolidated results in a worldwide family tree that can help you with your family history research. "

3) Public Member Trees - recent submissions to Ancestry by members who agree to make it public. The site explain it as: "This database contains family trees submitted to Ancestry by users who have indicated that their tree can be viewed by all Ancestry members. These trees can change over time as users edit, remove, or otherwise modify the data in their trees. You can contact the owner of the tree to get more information."

4) Private Member Trees - recent submissions to Ancestry by members who wish to keep the information private.

For my Bresee (and variants) surname search, I have already searched the Ancestry World Tree data in the WorldConnect post.

The two databases that I haven't reviewed are the One World Tree (OWT) and Public Member Tree (PMT) databases.

The first search is for a Cornelia Bre* (born 1780 in NY, married to James Bell). I used a wild card to include many possible name spellings. I will also look at Bra*, Bri* and Bru*. The One World Tree database provides hits for the search terms in the person's name, the spouse or their parents. The Public Member Trees database does essentially the same. There was one entry in the One World Tree database for Cornelia Bresee (born 5 December 1780), married to James Bell. This was submitted by Lance Sprague, who also submitted the WorldConnect entry found earlier. No parents are listed for Cornelia.

Since I did not find the parents of my Cornelia in the two databases, I need to check out the potential families that might be hers (but she was not included in the database). The numbers for each surname are:

Bresee - OWT = 445, PMT = 95
Brezee - OWT =, 82 PMT = 23
Brasee - OWT = 9, PMT = 0
Brazie - OWT = 119, PMT = 27
Brazee - OWT = 372, PMT = 107
Brissee - OWT = 42, PMT = 3
Brussee - OWT = 101, PMT = 9

Bries - OWT = 196, PMT = 38
Brees - OWT = 1462, PMT = 762
Breese - OWT = 2309, PMT = 2225
Breeze - OWT = 1596, PMT = 1041

Hmmm. There are a lot, especially the last three. However, they are for "all time, and not the time frame of 1700 to 1800 that I am concentrating on. I chose to find families with children born in the 1750 to 1790 time frame (by clicking on "Advanced Search," using the surname, a birth year of 1770 plus/minus 20 years), born in NY, and father's surname. I did this for each surname, using wild cards (e.g., Braz*, Bres*, Briss*, Brus*). The search became manageable using these tactics.

The tree data in One World Tree is similar to that in Ancestry World Tree - you can click on a person and see their vital data, their parents, spouse and their children. The tree data on the Public Member Trees is in a different format, but essentially the same information as the One World Tree. I found less data, in general, on the Public Member Trees than on the One World Tree database.

In this process, I found several data items that did not agree with the other data previously collected, mainly from the WorldConnect and IGI databases. I also found several families with more data than I had before.

I am a bit leery of this One World Tree data, since it is a synthesis of member submitted data (meaning it was put together by someone from one or more databases). I need to double check everything I found today with what I found before.

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