Tuesday, April 25, 2017

How Many Find A Grave Hints Do I Have on Ancestry?

I've been looking through my Ancestry Record Hints (I currently have 37,411 of them in my 43,002 person database) using the process I've outlined in past years - see Mining Ancestry.com Hints by Specific Record Collection - Updated (posted 2 May 2016).

As you probably know, Ancestry.com provides Hints to owners of Ancestry Member Trees for persons in the tree, but they gradually provide them for some persons in the database over time, but not all of the Hints for all of the persons in the database.   The Hints are really useful, and fairly accurate (I estimate 80% to 85% accurate), but are provided for only about 10% of the largest databases on Ancestry.com.

One of the databases with a lot of Ancestry Hints is Find A Grave.  I used my "mining process" for Find A Grave (database number 60525) in my master database, and saw:

The Hints are provided alphabetically for persons in my Ancestry Member Tree and often provide birth, death, burial and relationship information that I don't have in my Tree or in my RootsMagic database.

For instance, the first Hint on the list is for Alice E. --?--, wife of J. Barry Pickford.  I knew Alice's death date, but not her birth date.  I clicked on the "Review" button to see the transcribed information:

This transcribed record provides me with her birth date, and also provides Suggested Records for Alice.  I hoped that one would provide a maiden surname, but had no luck with that.  Perhaps there is a newspaper obituary or wedding article for Alice or Barry that would provide her maiden surname and birth place.

When I looked at the Find A Grave record, I saw:

And lookee there - someone has updated the memorial and has added Alice's maiden surname - Emery!  I added the birth date and maiden surname to my database, and to my Ancestry Member Tree, and now I need to find a birth record now since a birth place isn't provided.

I noted that I had 110 pages of Find A Grave Hints - that's over 2,180 Hints, just for Find A Grave.

That list may take me several years to "mine."  I can usually do about 20 Hints in an hour, but if I do one set of 20 every week it will take me about two years to go through them all.  I can usually spare an hour or two most nights to do work like this, which makes my RootsMagic database better.

The bad news is that I'm also in the process of doing this "mining" for the 1910 U.S. Census (about 1500 to go), and after that the 1900 U.S. census (about 1700 to go).  I've gone through the 1920, 1930 and 1940 U.S. census databases "mining" records for my tree persons, but Ancestry has been providing new Hints on a regular basis.  I now have another 340 Hints for the 1940 census since I "finished" that database several years ago.

A genealogist's work is never done, right?


The URL for this post is: http://www.geneamusings.com/2017/04/how-many-find-grave-hints-do-i-have-on.html

Copyright (c) 2017, Randall J. Seaver

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Justin said...

Do you mine all hints that are correct? I ignore hints for people that I don't want to research. I typically limit myself to my ancestors and their descendants. It's pretty rare for me to research the family of a cousin's spouse. If you don't limit the scope of your research then your tree will explode in size as you mine hints and generate many more hints than the number you processed.

David B. Farstead said...

The Find A Grave memorial didn't have a photo of the headstone or a copy of the obituary. Are memorials like these any more reliable than unsourced Famiy Trees on Ancestry? Is it a good idea to add this information to your tree?

Carol said...

I can't seem to get the link embedded in the referenced blog post to work. Randy, can you post the link so that I can begin to do this? I have my tree number and the database number for FindAGrave, but can't get this link http://hints.ancestry.com/tree/treenumb/hints?hf=record&hs=last&hdbid=dbas to work.

Carol said...

Well, duh, I just realized what I should have been doing! Hanging my head in shame...

Randy Seaver said...

Carol, glad you got it to work.

SueFitz said...

How did you figure out the number of hints. I wish that it could be set up so that you could sort by source. I'm with you about actual sources. I do look at ABGI since sometimes they do give a book source as a clue.
I use Ancestry for clues too and have my official database in RM. (especially now that FTM doesn't link). Do you every use Family Search sources?
Love you blog

Randy Seaver said...


When I searched by the specific database, it told me that I had 110 pages of results. There are 20 results per page. Hence < 2,200.

I do use FamilySearch sources when they are unique. They only recently added images for census records, so I've been using Ancestry for the census information but using EE templates in RootsMagic. If I had another lifetime to work on my tree, I would change my census sources to FamilySearch.

For Find A Grave, I use Ancestry to find them because they have a better search engine and provides Hints, but click through to the FAG memorial and cite that.