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Well done Ancestry

Discussion in 'Search tips - discussion' started by Bob Spiers, Jan 4, 2015.

  1. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Superstar

    I have long been a user and admirer of Ancestry and often add 'warts and all' and still embrace what Find my Past (FMP) has to offer and believe I know the strengths and weaknesses of both. I also endorse Ancestry Public Trees whereas many in the Forum advocate Private Trees. So, speaking from the Public Tree point of view -and it may apply to Private Trees also - Ancestry have introduced - or rather re-vamped - the way they remind of Hints. This is where they compare information in your Tree to see if it matches with others. I am a long time user of the Member Connect option and have discovered many matches of my own, but now I am getting email reminders where Ancestry have done the thing for me.

    Having checked out several Hints I have been pleasantly surprised how accurate the matches have been. But the star feature is that they show ALL matches -what I call good bad and indifferent - and ranked in order so the top one or two are usually the ones that take your interest, but whilst at it why not scan them all?

    It is impossible to keep tabs on all ancestors and some fall by the wayside so this new reminder facility is something I appreciate and it can be done at ones own pace. I note the email reminder and then when next using Ancestry click on the Hint tab to see what is new. If of interest I check it out.

    So well done Ancestry, not everything they offer as new or as a re-vamp is for the better (in my opinion at least), but this one certainly is.
  2. Tim

    Tim Moderator Staff Member

    Is this a new feature Bob? I've been getting emails for a long time.

    But as you say, they are very accurate. I always check out the hints to see what they're suggesting.
  3. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Superstar

    Yes thinking about it Tim I believe I may have re-triggered email notifications after blocking them some time back. But they are so much better now than before so I suppose I am emphasising the new improved format.

    With 4 Trees email notifications were getting too much and so a while back I just changed my Hint Preferences. One of the Trees was researched for a friend (who has passed on) and another explored an offshoot family line for a relative. I only actively research one (my own) and intermittently my wife's Tree. Fairly recently I went into Preferences and ensured only the two 'live' Trees were ticked and re-ticked the 'receive hint notifications' box, which of course, caused the new reminders. But I must say there was some considerable time gap before I started receiving the new batch so I did not connect my actions with the reminders.

    What I do know is that the old format Hint Reminder was nowhere near as useful as the new format. The old were hit and miss and along the lines of (exaggerating a little): you have Bill Bloggs 1830 -1900 in Warwickshire and there is a Thomas William Blaggs 1890 - 1930 in Cumberland. Now all of a sudden things are quite different and - as you say - quite accurate. So much so I recognise quite a few names of Tree owners' of notified matches as those verified long ago.

    Where the Hints score for me is in the variations of research lines between you and the matching Tree. Your Gx3 Grandfather may be the sibling of the Great x 2 Grandfather of the Tree owner and each can benefit from the different research emphasises. It goes without saying you have to be careful but that comes from experience and you need to verify bona fides. But that has always been so and why many people like to go Private. Each to his own.
  4. emjay

    emjay LostCousins Member

    This is the feature of Ancestry that causes me to fall asleep, well I think that's why my head hits the keyboard:eek:
  5. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Superstar

    I have a measure of sympathy for you (1 1/2 inches or about 38mm if you prefer metric).:rolleyes: There's a lot to be said for having a pillow handy to prevent the head actually hitting the keyboard. Better still have one of those under-desk pull-out keyboard trays, place the pillow on your desk and take regular naps. It works for me:D
  6. emjay

    emjay LostCousins Member

    Should have said I use a laptop whereby the cushion option can be something of a nuisancezzzzzzz
  7. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Findmypast have a new feature which seems fairly similar, although as far as I know it only provides hints from records, not from other trees. See Tim's posting here.
  8. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Superstar

    Be resourceful, close the lid and let it go into sleep mode, place the pillow on top and copy the laptop and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz;) (By the way when I said 'scan them all' I meant peruse them all)
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Superstar

    I use FMP purely for searches so cannot comment on the way it provides hints for those who have opted to have there Trees loaded into FMP. Record hints are useful and these can be discovered in Ancestry also.

    The way Ancestry works when you click on a Hint link, the Heading (name, dob, marriage, death, residence) details of your named Ancestor shows on the right and on the left in the same sequence is the comparable information in another tree. (If more than one comparison is offered, you scroll down to each and your Tree shows alongside). Ancestry highlights DIFFERENT if information varies (an added initial or middle name , full date information as opposed to just a year, etc) or NEW if information is missing from your own but is shown in the other.

    Once you decide you want to check out a Tree you click on it and it opens to the same named Ancestor for you to view and verify (Most important). Once satisfied you can discover what, if anything, the other Tree has to offer. Perhaps an additional child or spouse, a Census or Residence record, a Probate reference, Immigration; I could go on. You then make up your mind, is your Tree inferior or superior; only you will know. If it has little or nothing to offer, move on and try another comparison. But if you sense the Tree has something to offer then it is time to check out the additional information it carries. If unsure about the bona fide of anything get in touch with the owner who you may even find is related in some way. Not everyone will reply but most do. I find this a very useful way to advance your own Tree (and of course for others to follow suit with theirs) and one of the reasons I opt to have my Tree in the Public domain, which I believe is what Ancestry is really all about.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 5, 2015
  10. emjay

    emjay LostCousins Member

    Yes I thought you meant scan/browse
  11. Tim

    Tim Moderator Staff Member

    Bob, the tree hints are only half of what the hints offer. I use it mainly for the records that Ancestry has in their collection, Ancestry will find my relative and show potential record matches.
  12. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Superstar

    Sorry Tim I do not follow the bit about 'tree hints are only half of what the hints offer' can you expand please? Perhaps you are referring to different hints?
  13. Tim

    Tim Moderator Staff Member

    The shaking leaf hints. When I'm on a profile and click on hints, Ancestry shows me tree hints and record hints.
  14. emjay

    emjay LostCousins Member

    I acted upon Peter's tip concerning discounted offers of both FMP and Ancestry. Taking up the FMP offer extended my subscription.
    In the case of Ancestry, I was a lapsed member/subscriber so recently I have visited online trees some of which have useful information. Some years ago I was quite excited about a tree on Ancestry and contacted the owner regarding some of the info and the reply was quite deflating, "I don't know, it's what I got from other trees on Ancestry" :eek::mad:

    So of course as Bob says, everything has to be verified. When, for instance a different marriage partner is named, (unless you are absolutely certain of your facts), verification of your own research is a good idea also. Doubts begin to niggle especially when my
    research was carried out some years ago; but in any case it is good to re visit some branches:)
    • Agree Agree x 1
  15. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Superstar

    Yes I follow, I use the shaking leaf hints from time to time. My posting was about the static leaf Hints found top right alongside the messages envelope. It appears that Ancestry notifies when there is a 'Hint' build up and when I go into my Tree the number of Hints is displayed in red. Once reviewed the number disappears until more Hints are available. If I see a number in red I have taken to clicking on the hints and this way prevents emails being sent.
  16. Tim

    Tim Moderator Staff Member

    We're still at cross purposes, but I know where you are now.

    When Ancestry finds New Hints, it increments the little red number by the envelope icon. If you click on the Hint icon, it resets the count to zero.
    But the hints are still there and you can display them. Mine is clear at the moment but if I ask it to show all I get this:

    However, I was talking about this Hint button circled in Red which is on the profile page.
    Which when pressed lists the family trees and records that they suggest for this person.
  17. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Superstar

    I got one of my best tips ever from just such a response, an Australian lady as it happens. But she was good enough to tell me to try someone in the UK who she said 'had all the business' and passed on his email. He was a great find and we helped each other for quite some time. When I first made contact he was surprised at the recommendation from 'Mizz-Oz' (as he called her) warning me to disregard everything in her Tree. A conclusion already reached believe me.

    Yes such people walk amongst us, you just have to be on guard and choose your weapons:)
    • Agree Agree x 1
  18. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Superstar

    Hi Tim, I am responding without quotes. I'm glad you know where I am, because apart from the red circled 'Hints' which I know about and use myself, you are right we are somewhat at cross purposes. I cannot do Screen shots at this time because I view Ancestry on a different computer but for a start the number above the envelope icon relates only to View Messages. Mine currently shows 20, 20 being the last message received. New messages will be notified by email (not to be confused with Hints) so I know when I view Ancestry the number will have increased to 21 or more. Now and again Ancestry will crop the number but I can view all past message should I so wish. Only Ancestry changes the number displayed.

    The View Recent Hints leaf -and mine is currently clear as well because they have been viewed - when clicked shows a drop down list of the last 10 or so Hints. If I click on the 'See all recent hints in...'(here I have to select the Tree I want) it does open to give full chapter and verse of all the hints recently reviewed. On the left is the 'All Hints' summary like the one you show.

    So I think the cross purposes is as you say, you were referring to the Hints Button on a Profile page, whilst I was referring to the View Recent Hints Button shown at the top of every Ancestry page. This relates more to People than Records. Messages (the envelope icon) were not part of anything discussed.
  19. GillW

    GillW LostCousins Member

    I thought I would post this message here to see if other members had discovered this inconsistency?
    I did not renew my Ancestry annual membership last year. Last week I wanted to check out some family details for a ‘relative by marriage’ so took out a monthly subscription (not knowing this weekend’s free offer was coming of course!).
    There were new hints available for the tree I was researching last year which I checked, and then it said there were no more hints for my tree.
    Having looked up the information on the person I was interested in, I went to ‘My account’ to cancel the automatic renewal of my subscription. There it says “I have family stories waiting to be discovered - check out your new hints before it’s too late” – and there were 99+ hints available!! When I had looked at a couple of them (BMD and Census entries) I looked again at the ‘leaf’ at the top of the tree home page where it still told me I had no more hints for my tree. I have not asked Ancestry about this – it seems a cunning way to discourage you from cancelling your subscription.
  20. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Superstar

    I had to smile at your posting and as I have an on going Ancestry Subscription I thought it might put your mind at rest to say I both agree with your assessment that it could be a Cunning Plot (Black Adder fashion) but could equally rest on the way Hints come and go in Ancestry as alluded to previously.

    I would put nothing past Ancestry to distract you from cancelling a subscription, but as the number of hints showing at any one time in my Tree (believe it or not there are actually 188 at this moment) the moment I click on them and even if I close the window immediately, all the hints will magically disappear. But -and here is the telling thing - as soon as I do a search for even one new fact (BMD or Census), whether saved to an ancestral page or not, that fact and others from the past will in time (perhaps not immediately) show with a new accumulative number of hints. And here I am careful to say I refer to the red numbered Hints at the top of the page, not to individual (un-numbered) page hints 'shaking' or static.

    So by this token I guess your +99 is an accumulative number stored in its account memory, whilst there may actually be none showing on the page. One of Ancestry's little idiosyncrasies, which might of course be deliberately displayed when wishing to cancel a subscription.:)
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2015

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