Monday, August 3, 2015

What Ancestry Hints Do I Get For Susanna Page (1614-1691) on an Ancestry Member Tree?

I wrote Lesson Learned Again: Don't Trust Online Family Trees last week, and have received several helpful and interesting comments.  

Russ Worthington suggested something in a comment and I tried it today.  He said:

"I'd like to do an experiment on this topic, or you can. See what happens, if you post a small GEDCOM on an Ancestry Member Tree and, withOUT searching, what are the Online Tree Shaky Leaf Hints provide you.

"I find that relying on Shaky Leaf hints, in many cases, return a better result list then if I manually enter a search as you did. I know that the Record Hints are very good, not perfect, but very good (on my main tree between 90 and 95%) good results.

"Not questioning your results at all. I totally get that, which is why I don't spend a lot of time on online trees.

"W[ish] we had a way to search on a specific USER's online tree, or have the ability to compare trees like we to with Ancestry DNA." 

I didn't add a small GEDCOM.  I went into one of my Ancestry Member Trees, and added Susanna Page (1614-1691) and her husband Thomas Gleason (1609-1686), plus her parents, Thomas and Susanna Page.  Here is the tree with these four persons:

Soon after adding these four persons, the green leafs appeared.  Susanna Page has 12 Ancestry Hints (three screens):

I'm going to try to judge these 12 Ancestry Hints as to accuracy based on what I know about Susanna's life, on a Bad, Fair, Good, Very Good, Excellent scale.

1)  Ancestry Member Trees -- it gave me 10 AMTs to compare to, and 7 of them had Thomas as a father, but only 2 had Susanna as a mother.  There were no other parents named.  GOOD.

2)  Family Data Collection - Births -- it gave me a birth in Susannah Page in 1622 in Lavenham, daughter of John Page and Phoebe Payne.  BAD (wrong parents, wrong birth year, wrong birth place).

3)  U.S. Canada Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s -- lists Thomas Gleason only, not Susanna.  BAD (doesn't match search term)

4)  Family Data Collection - Individual Records -- Identifies her parents as Robert Page and Lucy Ward.  BAD (wrong parents)

5)  American Genealogical Biographical Index -- Identifies Susanna Page birth date as 1610 in Massachusetts.  BAD

6)  Family Data Collection - Deaths -- Provides correct death date and place for Susanna Page.  EXCELLENT

7)  England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538-1975 -- Provides father's name (Thomas Page), baptism date (4 Dec 1614) and place (Ingham, Suffolk, England) for Susanna Page.  EXCELLENT

8)  London, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812 -- Provides father's name (Thomas Page),. baptism date (19 Nov 1626) and baptism place (St. Bride's, Fleet Street, London).  BAD.

9)  Global, Find A Grave Index for Burials at Sea and Other Select Burial Locations, 1300s-Current -- Provides birth date (`1622, Lavenham, Suffolk), death date (24 Jan 1681), death place (Boston, Mass.), Spouse (Thomas Gleason III), Father's name (John Page), mother's name (Phoebe Page), Child (Susanna).  BAD (only item accurate is spouse's name!).

10)  Millennium File -- Lists spouse (Thomas Gleason), birth date (1628), and death date/place (24 Jan 1691, Boston, Mass.).  GOOD (3 out of 4)

11)  U.S., New England Marriages Prior to 1700 --  lists spouse (Thomas Gleason), death date (1691) and marriage date (1631).  FAIR (got spouse and death year).

12)  U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900 -- Lists spouse (Thomas Gleason) and Marriage (of MA).  FAIR (it the spouse's name right).

There are no Original records on this list of 12 Ancestry Hints.  The one record that is totally correct is a Derivative Source based on a transcription of the Ingham parish registers, which would be an Original source.

I don't accept Hints #1 to #6, or #10 to #12 in my Ancestry Member Trees.  They are mainly indexes and lists from other derivative records.  Because I cannot easily access the original parish records on microfilm, I do accept the parish register transcriptions if the entry is in the IGI extracted records.  I do use Find A Grave, but only for the burial record.  Those are my choices.

The total for the answer to Russ's suggestion - one of the 12 Hints for Susanna Page was Excellent.  Several others had parts correct or were limited in information.

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Irinora said...

I too have experienced a similar problem with ancestry leaves and family trees where people have inadvertently or perhaps intentionally linked someone to someone in my family tree without any sources to back it up. Sometimes just using common sense would eliminate the connection, such as time and location of the individuals. I generally contact the family tree owner and ask about their sources respectfully. Often, they correct their error.

Irinora said...

I'm new to this blogging so hopefully I've done everything right.

Hilary Gadsby said...

This only goes to show that any of the Ancestry hints that are databases or transcribed records are only good as hints.
I have my Ancestry subscription for the digital images of the original parish records in some of the areas that I am researching.
I only consider other trees and records without images to be hints.I regard any tree without sources as questionable. If you can see where the information came from then you can put your own interpretation on whether or not this supports any conclusions that have been made.
The genealogy websites are useful as finding aids and the digitized indexes,censuses and other transcriptions can save us time in searching for the originals. However unless you have a good digital image they cannot be a substitute for the original record.