Friday, May 9, 2014

Using's Member Connect Feature to Find Cousins

Following up a bit more on my blog post Where Should I Look to Find Relatively Close Cousins? from Monday, 5 May 2014, I checked the Member Connect feature on my home page.

Each day, someone attaches a record or a story or a photo to their own Ancestry Member Tree.  I receive a message from in this Member Connect feature because thinks I have the same person in my Ancestry Member Tree.

Here is a portion of my Home Page with the Member Connect feature:

You can click on the "See More" link on the "Recent Member Connect Activity" line above, or click on the "Recent Member Connect Activity" in the "Collaborate" button on the home page to see:

I clicked on the first item on the list and saw the two records it mentioned before I took the screen shot above.

I clicked on the first record listed on the first item on the list, and saw the record:

I had not attached that record to my Ancestry Member Tree person, but I did after seeing this record.  I also found out that they indexed the birth entry for Jabez Snow as 1671 rather than 1670; I think it says 1670...

So following this particular Member Connect rabbit trail led me to a record for one of my ancestors.

Several of the Member Connect leads was to Peregrine White (1620-1703) - several were for Photos, another for Stories.  One for Stories said:

"A copy of "Last Will & Testament of Peregrine White" from  Kate_McIntire's tree was saved to Peregrine White in  CPartenheimer's tree. View original story"

I clicked on that one and saw the specific story:

Back on the Member Connect page, I clicked on the link for Peregrine White in the Member Tree, and there were several Stories for Peregrine White (not withstanding he didn't have a middle initial) (two screens):

This list provides several leads for further research - several biographies, a Find A Grave memorial, the transcription of his last will and testament (with a link to a website source), and more.  

If this was an ancestor that I was researching in depth for the first time, I would read each of these "Stories" and try to find the original records they refer to.  

Why do researchers attach records, photos and stories to their Ancestry Member Tree?  My guess is that almost all of the researchers doing this are probably descendants of the person to whom they are attaching the record.  In other words, they are an X-great-grandchild of the person in the tree. 

 I'm receiving these Member Connect matches because the persons are also in my Ancestry Member Tree.  Ergo - the researchers attaching these records are probably my distant cousins also, and may have more information about our common ancestors than I do.  

Of course, when provides these Member Connect leads they don't know if I have also attached the record, photo or story to my own tree.  Sometimes I get a notice that someone has attached something attached to a person in my tree to their tree.  

With a little work, the Member Connect feature is a pretty good "cousin-finding" resource.  I can review the researcher's tree information, and contact them using the Ancestry message service to try to connect and share family information.

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Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

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