Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Dear Randy: Do You Ignore Ancestry Hints?

Sherry asked a question in email recently concerning Ancestry Hints:

"Do you use the ignore button to get rid of a hint once you have recorded your information or do you leave it there are try to remember where you were on the list of hints?"

Here is my response:

I do IGNORE every Record Hint that I look at for my Ancestry Member Tree, perhaps with a few exceptions.  That way, I know that I've at least looked at it, and often include the record information in my RootsMagic tree, add a source citation, perhaps a Note.  If it's a useful record for one of my ancestors, I will save the record image to my computer files and add the Media item to the person profile in my RootsMagic tree. 

On Ancestry, even the IGNOREd hints are saved on the Hints page, so I can go look at them if I choose to.  I like that capability, because occasionally I find that I need to look at them again.  

The RootsMagic WebHints feature shows all of the Ancestry WebHints found for a person, and the list includes New, Ignored, and Accepted Hints.  I can accept or reject them from RootsMagic also.

I would never remember where I was on the list of Record Hints!  I have over 115,000 Record Hints now.  Sometimes it is days later when I come back to the Hint list, and Ancestry has added dozens or hundreds more hints.  I usually start with the latest first, and try to work through 200 or so in one sitting.  I try to do this 3-4 times a week.  I never seem to catch up!  I do what I can, but am resigned that I will never be "finished."

Note that I don't add information to my RootsMagic tree for every Hint - I already have events and source citations for many of them, and don't add information for other trees, for duplicate entries (some state vital records are in multiple collections), or for general collections (e.g., Millennium File, AGBI, etc.).  I seem to add information for one in every 10 to 20 Record hints (I haven't collected statistics on this).  On the other hand, I look at the "Suggested Records" for a person in a record to determine if there are other records of use to me.

I have found that if I TreeShare every other night I can limit the number of new Record Hints and am able to work through some of the older Hints.  

I look at the Photo and Story Hints occasionally so as not to miss something for one of my ancestors.  

Some readers may wonder "don't you help Ancestry by telling them why you accepted or rejected a Hint?"  

This task is a bit time intensive for me, so I don't do that - I just Ignore them.  


Disclosure:  I have had a fully paid subscription since 2000. has provided material considerations for travel expenses to meetings, and has hosted events and meals that I have attended in Salt Lake City, in past years.

Copyright (c) 2019, Randall J. Seaver

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Diane Gould Hall said...

Randy. I can almost say "ditto" to your method. I handle hints in a similar matter, except I use a Legacy and not RM. And, I could only dream of going through as many hints as you do each week. I do, however, take a look when the leaf pops up and see what the recent hints are. I generally don’t go much further than what the drop down screen reveals. I do, however, on occasion, make it my purpose to review pages of hints and check stories and photos. I would say I do that about once a month.
Oh, and when I’m working on a person, I always check their hints. Come to think of it, maybe I do review as many as you do each week ;)

Family History Hat said...

I get frustrated with both Ancestry and FindMyPast hints, sometimes.

However, I love all the Findagrave hints, wherever I find them. I like that they often contain the names of other family members (better than no hints) and I have my own virtual cemeteries (plural) for each line (ancestor of my mother's, my father's, and my adoptive father's line), at that site.

I'm very picky at what hints I follow up on, especially with findmypast, but also with ancestry. As you said, it can become very time intensive.