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Database problems at Ancestry?

Discussion in 'Ancestry problems' started by peter, Feb 27, 2018.

  1. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Over recent months I have noticed numerous inconsistencies. Messages I have sent don't appear in my Sent folder; messages I have received don't appear in my Inbox.

    I've also noticed inconsistencies when I search my DNA matches eg by name, and this problem has been confirmed today by another LostCousins member. Previously found results seem to disappear.

    Recently the message 'Tree unavailable' has popped up quite frequently (as mentioned elsewhere). This can affect all search results, sometimes only some.

    I've had Ancestry tell me about tree matches with genetic cousins where the so-called common ancestor only appears in my tree and not in the other member's tree.

    All of these problems suggest that Ancestry are struggling to manage all their data. The first challenge is recognise where problems are occurring so that we know when to blame the system and when to blames ourselves. Then we need to come up with workarounds if we can.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  2. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Star

    I’ve been noticing inconsistencies in searching DNA matches for a while now. I’ve also been getting tree unavailable on some or all matches intermittently.

    So far I haven’t had any problem with messages not saving in the right folder, but not infrequently they don’t go when I hit send. As a matter of routine I always save a copy of what I’ve written before hitting send, then I can paste it again for a second attempt - which does usually work.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  3. Tim

    Tim Moderator Staff Member

    I've also had issues when sharing my tree, doesn't matter if it's username or email address. It's inconsistent so will be tricky to track down.
  4. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    I've had that problem too - it usually happens with the longest and most detailed messages, and generally I forget to copy it before clicking Send. It's probably a time-out - I've seen similar things on other sites.
  5. jorghes

    jorghes LostCousins Member

    My inconsistencies are a little different to that - duplicates suddenly created when I sync between FTM and Ancestry. Randomly changing the "root" person, seemingly for no reason at all so that I keep having to change it back. Strange stuff like that.

    For some reason one person who is on FTM is "non-existent" on Ancestry... i.e. they're a grey outline with no details at all... and everything I've collected is simply gone.

    It's a pain.
  6. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    It's difficult to know whether these are Ancestry problems or FTM problems. It might be worth copying your post over to the FTM discussion.
  7. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    I received an email yesterday from a cousin I found through Ancestry DNA last year. I hadn't starred the match so thought the easiest way to pull it up would be to search for the surname we share - which was how I found her in the first place (she's on page 51 of my matches, so I'd never have looked at the match if I'd simply worked my way through from the top).

    However she didn't show up in the surname search yesterday, despite several repetitions, and she doesn't show up today. It isn't because she's too far down the list - if I search for Smith I get results from near the end of the list (it sees to bottom out at 6.0cM). I can only hope it's because Ancestry are in the process of rebuilding internal indexes, or reconstructing the database, or something of that type.

    But it does make me wonder how many other matches I'm missing. Has anyone rediscovered a surname match after it had disappeared?
  8. jorghes

    jorghes LostCousins Member

    I try for surname matches, and sometimes it doesn't even pull up a surname that I know should be there... like one of my cousins I inadvertently found the other day. His username has the surname, so does his tree... but using the search... apparently no one other than those linked to my own tree have that surname there.
  9. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    That's the same problem, except that in your case it has never come up as a result in the past. The question now is whether it comes up in the future (in which case there's hope for all of us).
  10. Susan

    Susan LostCousins Member

    It's not just DNA matches etc that are behaving badly. I am currently working on a branch of my tree from Gloucestershire. Before I stopped for lunch I could find baptisms, marriages etc complete with images. I resumed after lunch to find all the images displayed just a collage of documents, both those found in the search and those already attached to my tree. And the drop down box to select a parish did not work. Luckily they came from the Forest of Dean region of Gloucestershire so I could find transcriptions on the Forest of Dean website.
    Ten minutes ago it started working again - images now load properly and the parish drop down box also works.
  11. jorghes

    jorghes LostCousins Member

    Well, I suppose that it being the same problem is something (i.e. they're not looking for two random problems). But I find it frustrating because I don't get very far with all your great methods of searching my DNA listings.

    Luckily though, I have both parents tested, so that makes life a little more easier assigning people to one side of the tree or the other, although it doesn't fix the "no tree" problem.
  12. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    I can't guarantee you're going to knock down as many 'brick walls' as I have, but it should enable you to document your connection with a fair number of genetic cousins, and that's the first step to knocking down more 'brick walls'.
    There is no "no tree" problem if you use the strategies in my Masterclass - the only time you'll come across someone with no tree is if it is a shared match.
  13. jorghes

    jorghes LostCousins Member

    Oh I've found quite a few relatives through the hints given and just looking at people's trees. I also categorise depending on whether they share links with either of my parents, and then with various other people I have already discovered. I also am a part of 5 DNA circles - some of them repetitive, but all on my father's ancestry and some of them can bring up links that I didn't already know were linked. (There are more people who can be added to them as well.) - over 21 different links that I know pretty much the link exactly, plus another 2 or so that I have learnt the link from in the past week and that's just my father's side.

    I just wanted to try your surname search as well as the other things I do, and it didn't work!
  14. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Yes, but you should have used it first!

    Then it would have identified all of the relatives you've already found, and done it more quickly than "just looking at people's trees". The idea is to have a focused and methodical strategy to ensure that you don't miss anything, and that you don't waste time looking at trees where there are no surnames that you'll recognise. How else can you deal effectively with over 10,000 matches in a feasible amount of time?

    Of course, it depends on Ancestry's search working properly, and that could well be the reason you haven't made any new discoveries. But so long as Ancestry is working it's the most efficient solution.
  15. jorghes

    jorghes LostCousins Member

    Coulda shoulda woulda... but then that search has never worked for me, so it was never an option!

    And anyway “just looking at trees” was never my first go to choice - no matter what you are suggesting. I do a bunch of things before I start checking the possible ancestors, other than of course a quick skim down the list which appears as soon as you click on the match - which of course a list of surnames which appear in each tree anyway. Occasionally I have got super lucky and there has been a name I recognise in that first quick skim. Often not - but since I add notes to all the DNA matches I check (sometimes as little as “paternal” or “maternal”) as a flag that I’ve had at least a cursory look to begin with.
  16. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    I'm not suggesting it was.

    But if the Ancestry search was working properly, as it was last year when I first published the Masterclass, the strategies outlined there would be far more efficient than any other approach you care to name. And it's not just about efficiency, important though that is, there's also the matter of effectiveness - it's the ONLY way you are going to focus on matches with cousins who have private trees (other than through shared matches, and that is limited to close cousins).
  17. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Star

    I was using the search option before reading your masterclass, and have always found it a bit hit and miss. I nevertheless still use the searching method, but with new “4th” cousin matches, I always check out the trees (if available), and look at shared matches, as soon as they appear.
  18. jorghes

    jorghes LostCousins Member

    Ancestry seems to be refining it's search methods - you can now filter by the "regions" identified by your test (the step below the "ethnicity regions") - in the case of mine that is Wales & The West Midlands (my mother) and Scotland/Ulster Irish (my father); but since I had both my parents tested, Ancestry has gone from identifying them as "highly likely to be a member of my immediate family"; to "mother" and I can now filter my results depending on whether they share DNA with either my mother or my father, which is much more efficient than previously... where I used to click on each match and then check the similar matches etc etc.

    Just a note that I keep forgetting to mention - "no tree" can also mean "hasn't bothered to link the tree that's there to your DNA results", and sometimes you can view their un-linked public tree/s with your own (within the "view match").
  19. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Star

    An interesting point as I am getting a lot of 'no tree' results checking my wife's DNA results. Can you explain a little clearer please how you view the unlinked public tree(s) "with your own (within the view match)". Not sure I can follow that, it's probably me, but a little more detail would be appreciated. Thanks
  20. jorghes

    jorghes LostCousins Member

    The link might say "no tree"; but if you then "view match", it will come up with a message that reads "<username> has not yet linked a family tree to their AncestryDNA results" underneath the usual buttons of "Pedigree & Surnames; Shared Matches; Maps & Locations". It then has a message about contacting them etc, gives a green link to connect with that person and beneath gives you another spiel which reads: In the meantime, you can preview any public family tree that this member has posted on Ancestry. But keep in mind, the “Home Person” specified for each public tree may or may not be the same person that your DNA test has matched you with—something to remember as you are investigating. Good luck!
    Beneath that is a drop down menu that contains all the public trees that individual has. When you pick a tree from the drop down menu, it then refreshes the page; turning it into the usual comparison page between a linked public tree and your own. Occasionally it can yield results that the hints won't find. Occasionally "no tree" just means "no tree".

    Hope that's a bit clearer!

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