Friday, September 17, 2010

Suggested Records on

Brian Edwards posted Find More Success with Suggested Records on the Blog that caught my eye. The post notes that:

"When you look at an index page for the “1900 US Federal Census” or the “World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” you may see a section on the right hand side called “Suggested Records”."


"When you are looking at an index page, we check to see if that record has been saved to any trees. If it has, we look and see if there are other records attached to those same nodes. If we find matches, we show them here. We hope this will help you find new records about your ancestors."

It works only for the 1900 US Census and the World War I Draft Registrations right now, but the suggestions extend to other databases when the records have been saved to Ancestry Member Trees.

I wanted to try it out, so used my great-grandfather, Frank W. Seaver, born in 1852 in Massachusetts, in the 1900 census. Here's the screen with the matches for my search parameters:

I clicked on the link for my Frank W. Seaver, and saw this screen for the record summary:

The area above the record notes that I have already attached this record to someone in my Member Tree. And over on the right are the "Suggested Records" links to the 1880, 1910, 1870, 1920 and 1860 U.S. censuses, all based on attachments to my own tree or to someone else's tree for the same person.

I clicked on the 1880 Census link and saw the record summary for Frank w. Seaver in the 1880 census:

Note that there are no other links to other databases - because has not activated the feature for this particular 1880 census.

How do I find out who else has this record attached to their tree? On the left side of the screen (at the bottom of the screen view above) is the "Make a Connection" box there is a link for "Find others researching Frank W. Seaver," so I clicked on it and received a list of Member Trees that include Frank W. Seaver:

What if I don't have the specific record attached to my Member Tree, but someone else does? THE "Suggested Records" works, and I can easily click on the link to attach it to my Member Tree.

What if I don't have the record attached to my Member Tree, and nobody else does either? Well, there are no "Suggested Records" to click on or attach to my Member Tree. The "Make a Connection" link appears and works.

There is value to this "Suggested Records" feature - in at least three ways:

* A researcher may find other resources that they have not accessed previously and can attach the found record to their Member Tree.

* It is much faster to click on the links in the "Suggested Records" box than to go back and search each individual database for the target person. Of course, if no one has attached the record, then no link will appear.

* The Member connection provides an opportunity to connect to other researchers with the same person in their Member Tree - they may be a distant cousin.

So what's next for Will there be more "Suggested Records" in other free (e.g., FamilySearch databases, or Rootsweb databases, mailing lists, message boards, etc.) or other commercial databases (e.g., Footnote, WorldVitalRecords, Archives, etc.). Hmm, probably not the latter, eh?

All in all, this is a pretty useful feature, and promises that more "Suggested Records" are to come.

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