Monday, January 28, 2008

Finding cousins through Ancestry Member Trees

In order to "test" and report on the AncestryPress service provided by, I had to upload a family tree to the Ancestry Member Tree system. I chose to upload my Seaver database (about 10,000 names) as a Personal Member Tree named "Descendants of Robert Seaver (1608-1683)." Later, I uploaded my Master ancestral database as a Personal Member Tree named "Ancestors of Randy Seaver."

Naturally, as other researchers searched Ancestry's Member Trees, they found some of their people in my Trees, but when they clicked on the link, they got the note that says -

"The owner of this member tree has chosen to not make this tree publicly viewable. Click the "make connection" button below to contact the tree owner using Ancestry's anonymous Connection Service."

A link is offered to make a connection with the person who submitted the tree. If a person clicks the link, they can write a message to the submitter through the Ancestry Connection Service and request more information. An email is then sent by Ancestry to the submitter forwarding the requester's email address and information request. The requester does not see the submitter's email address or name, so it is a blind request for information, which protects the submitter's privacy.

When the submitter receives the email, they do not see the requester's email address or name (unless they provide it in the message) - they see only the Ancestry Username. The submitter can do one of three things:

1) Ignore it and delete the request.

2) Click on a link that grants the requester access to the Personal Member Tree, and Ancestry will send an email to the requester informing them that they can access the tree.

3) Respond to the requester via the Ancestry Connection Service with information that answers their question without granting access to the Tree. The response sends the email from the Submitter's email address.

I've been a "bad boy" in recent months - I've ignored and deleted a number of these as they piled in. I decided that I'd be better off answering them one-by-one, so I've started using Option 3) above. If possible, I open my database and make a genealogy report for the requester and pass an RTF file on as an attachment. If they want more information, we can continue our email correspondence.

I have added several persons to my "club" of Seaver researchers using this method, and have also found several other researching cousins on other surname lines.

What do other Submitters do? Do you grant access to the Personal Tree? If I really wanted people to have access to it, I would have made it a Public Member Tree. I think my method of responding to each request is the right thing for me to do with a Personal Member Tree.

Have you been the Requester on Trees like this? What has been your response rate? Do most people grant access to their Personal Trees, do they contact you via email, or do they just ignore your request?

1 comment:

Jolene said...

Most of the time I receive an e-mail, and I'm always grateful. I also share my work. I think it's rude to ignore!

Jolene Noteboom