Friday, May 4, 2012

New Hint Notifications on Ancestry Member Trees

The Blog posted Introducing Hint Notifications and Preferences yesterday.  See the blog post to understand just what this is and how it works.

I decided to take a look at it, and see what I could find on my Ancestry Member Tree.  I chose the Randy Seaver's Genealogy Database and saw lots of green shaky leaves on my tree:

Up on the very top of the screen, above the menu line, and over on the right next to my Ancestry user name and photo, is a new green leaf with a red number next to it.  That is the number of notifications (recent hints) since the last time I checked them (which was yesterday).

I clicked on the green leaf and saw a list of hints:

Over on the left side of the screen above is a list of Hint types.  For this tree, I have:

*  3395 People with Hints
*  All Hints = 6367
*  Record Hints = 5120
*  Photo Hints = 44
*  Story Hints = 13
*  Member Tree Hints = 1190.

Hmmm, I think that I have not checked all of the Hints for this tree recently!

On the screen above, the Hints are listed on the right side of the screen by the Most Recent (last day, last week, last month, etc.).  I can choose "First Name" or "Last Name" from a dropdown menu.  I can Filter the Hints by typing in a first name, and/or a last name, or all last names by first letter.

The type of Record Hints in the first 20 hints include records from the American Genealogical-Biographical Index, Massachusetts Town vital Record Collections, Family Data Collection, Millenium File Collection, US and International Marriage Records, Massachusetts Marriages, 1930 U.S. Federal Census, California Death Index, 1900 U.S. Federal Census, 1910 U.S. Federal Census, New Hampshire Births and Christenings, Massachusetts, Find-a-Grave Index, SAR Membership Applications, and 1940 U.S. Federal Census.

The user can click on the Record Hint name and see the record summary and then click on the record image if it's available. The user can Review the Hint also which compares the information in your tree with what is in the Record summary.  The user can choose to ignore the Hint.  The "Review Hint" link has a dropdown list for "View Record," "View all Hints," "View Profile" and "View Tree."

My first reaction is "What a haul of record Hints."  But what should I do with them?  I'm resisting attaching them to persons in this online tree because it is not synced to a Family Tree Maker 2012 database, and this database is not up to date - in fact, it's three years old.  I have much more data in my RootsMagic database now.  However, I can review the Hints and see if there are records that I should capture, save in my Surname file system on my computer, and enter the data, with the source, to persons in my RootsMagic database.  Another project to pursue!!  Just what I need...

I was curious about the Photos and Story sections.  Have other researchers found photos or written stories about my ancestors?

Here is the Photos Hints list:

The Photos that have been attached to people who are in my tree (but the Photos are in other people's trees) include maps, coats-of-arms, crests, gravestones, flags, immigrant ships, logos, medallions, page images, houses, postcards, churches, announcements, documents, newspaper articles, family photos, etc.  I can choose to attach these Photos to persons in my tree, or I could right-click and capture the photo image to my computer files.

The Story Hints include a Find-a-Grave summary, family narrative, transcribed article from a journal, deed transcriptions, will and inventory transcriptions, etc.

The one item that I think came from my own online published material is this item for David Auble (1817-1894):

This was copied, I believe, from my Ancestors of Emily Kemp Auble page, with one addition made to it, presumably by the writer of the Story.  How do I know it's from my work?  Because it has certain features that I "seeded" into the report on the web page that are unique to my research.  Needless to say, I would have appreciated an attribution on this story.

This is a real treasure trove of items that might add to the knowledge base I have of my ancestral families.

All in all, I think that these new Hint Notifications on Ancestry Member Trees are a major addition to the Ancestry experience, and may make finding and being able to add content, and sources, to my family tree database easier.

I like that they are time-based, and that once I have accepted or rejected the Hint it disappears from the list.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

1 comment:

Jacqi Stevens said...

I noticed the different format yesterday, too, but didn't take time to check it out. (I was on a mission!)

Randy, you brought up two points that I hope you will discuss further in your blog.

First, the issue of attribution. While I'm not concerning myself with a person's own creative work here (so it's not specifically a legal issue), it would be nice, when people "find" something on my site or tree that is actually in my own (previously non-digitized) possession, that some acknowledgment of the source be shared by the new finder/keeper. After all, that helps us all track down distant cousins, which is always a treat. Besides, after going through contortions, myself, to credit someone else (after first asking for permission) when I have used their material in my data, it would be nice if others would reciprocate and do that for me!

The other point you mentioned was about hints going away after you have dismissed or accepted them. Actually, I'm quite dismayed about that. As I work on my trees, I sometimes run across Ancestry hints that may or may not be my person--I don't know yet because I just don't know enough about this person to make a sound judgment on the material--and so I have just clicked "ignore," knowing I could revisit the issue once I've discovered more about the target person. I don't want to click something into my tree that I'm not yet certain belongs...and then go my way, promptly forgetting about putting the doubtful addition into my tree--and possibly being the cause of error multiplying when others find it online. "Ignore" in the old system became a parking place for these bits of trivia until I got a round tuit ;)

I guess that just means I'll have to check this out and revise my system! But I'm curious what others do on Ancestry when they are ambivalent (temporarily) about a specific hint.

Thanks for the post and heads up on this feature change!