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Thread: Ancestry's Family Tree Tool

  1. #1
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    Ancestry's Family Tree Tool

    I used an Ancestry sale to get my test done there and found out about its family tree builder. That's remarkable and I don't know how I missed any comments about that either here on this site or on any others. I've already got over 700 people on my tree, some are from family records and research but a lot are from using the "ancestry hints" leaves and the possible mother/father tool.

    A lot of the information is linked to Find-a-Grave along with public records and, of course, Ancestry members' personal family tree information. But, if that's all reliable, what a vast network of genealogical information it is! All that for a $79 test? Is that common now? I mean, I've gone back on my mom's side to the 14th Century in less than a week.

    No, now that I think of it it's more than the price of a test as I also purchased the World Explorer membership, but that was an upgrade from the U.S. Discovery, which was the level that gave me all the matches. That one was very affordable.

    So, if this family tool builder is reliable, what a lot of work it does. I've found family on my father's side that I never knew of; all this in less than a week.

    My results on Ancestry:

    Ethnicity Estimate

    England, Wales & Northwestern Europe: 64%
    Ireland & Scotland: 16%
    Eastern Europe & Russia: 13%
    Norway: 4%
    Baltic States: 3%

    Additional Communities

    New York Settlers

    Your connection to this region is likely through your ancestry from:

    England, Wales & Northwestern Europe: 64%
    Ireland & Scotland: 16%

    Northeastern States Settlers

    New England & Eastern Great Lakes Settlers

    Your connection to this region is likely through your ancestry from:

    England, Wales & Northwestern Europe: 64%
    Ireland & Scotland: 16%
    "Bid me discourse, I will enchant thine ear..."

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    I would say be careful and double check any information that you add from others trees. Ancestry is notorious for having incorrect trees which are then copied by many with the mistakes still in them. Especially the further back you get the less reliable they tend to be.
    3/4 European, 1/4 Mauritian Creole. Genealogy enthusiast and Wow nerd.

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    I'd also suggest checking on www.familysearch.org and maybe doing your family tree on it unless you want to have a perpetual ancestry.com membership.

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    Quote Originally Posted by curiousII View Post
    I used an Ancestry sale to get my test done there and found out about its family tree builder. That's remarkable and I don't know how I missed any comments about that either here on this site or on any others. I've already got over 700 people on my tree, some are from family records and research but a lot are from using the "ancestry hints" leaves and the possible mother/father tool.
    Noooooo! Don't blindly copy off of other people's trees, they are so, so often very wrong. You may very well be copying incorrect lineages and relatives. Honestly, it's best to turn Member Tree Hints and Potential Mother/Father hints off completely and just work with documents and records.

    A lot of the information is linked to Find-a-Grave
    Find A Grave isn't necessarily accurate either. It's supposed to be an online grave memorial, but people treat it like a tree - they include data not found on the gravestone but because FG isn't a tree, there's no way to cite your sources, so who knows where most of that info is coming from? People make connections between family members, again, with no sources cited as to how they know that this person is the child of that person, etc. I'm not saying FG isn't useful, it very much can be, but you need to be more careful about what information you accept as accurate.

    along with public records and, of course, Ancestry members' personal family tree information. But, if that's all reliable, what a vast network of genealogical information it is! All that for a $79 test? Is that common now? I mean, I've gone back on my mom's side to the 14th Century in less than a week.
    I'm sorry but it sounds like you need to start over. It's highly unlikely all of that is accurate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RobinBMc View Post
    Noooooo! Don't...I'm sorry but it sounds like you need to start over. It's highly unlikely all of that is accurate.
    Well, that's great news. No real damage, though, as I can backtrack down to where my mom's side of things go, I had an aunt and uncle who did a lot of paper trail. But then I matched up names and dates following from that and got all the way back to 14th Century England in a number of places. Whole stack of knights and sirs and ladies.

    All gone now, I guess. But church and cemetery records are supposed to be reliable with the English gentry from that era, aren't they? Why would Ancestry let variables slip through? I know their tool stops me from posting if the birth and death dates are too unrealistic for parent and child.
    "Bid me discourse, I will enchant thine ear..."

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    Quote Originally Posted by curiousII View Post
    Well, that's great news. No real damage, though, as I can backtrack down to where my mom's side of things go, I had an aunt and uncle who did a lot of paper trail. But then I matched up names and dates following from that and got all the way back to 14th Century England in a number of places. Whole stack of knights and sirs and ladies.

    All gone now, I guess. But church and cemetery records are supposed to be reliable with the English gentry from that era, aren't they? Why would Ancestry let variables slip through? I know their tool stops me from posting if the birth and death dates are too unrealistic for parent and child.
    Ancestry doesn't police trees. All they do is provide documents and a place for people to build their trees. But not everyone is a good or thorough researcher - people make wrong connections sometimes, or use unreliable sources, etc and combined with wishful thinking (who doesn't want to be descended from nobility?) they link themselves to the wrong ancestor or family and then that mistake gets copied again, and again, and again, until there's so many copies of the mistake that everyone accepts it as fact.

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  12. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by curiousII View Post
    Well, that's great news. No real damage, though, as I can backtrack down to where my mom's side of things go, I had an aunt and uncle who did a lot of paper trail. But then I matched up names and dates following from that and got all the way back to 14th Century England in a number of places. Whole stack of knights and sirs and ladies.

    All gone now, I guess. But church and cemetery records are supposed to be reliable with the English gentry from that era, aren't they? Why would Ancestry let variables slip through? I know their tool stops me from posting if the birth and death dates are too unrealistic for parent and child.
    The way to determine if Ancestry hints or other trees are likely to be accurate is to look at the sources they cite and see if they are ones you would find credible doing the research on your own. I do check hints and other trees, but I don't accept anything unless there are other sources to confirm it. I have a distant cousin (I know who she is offline) who is an excellent researcher and has a blog explaining her conclusions, and I still check and make sure I agree with the conclusions (I mostly have, but there are some I need to check with her to see why she decided a certain possible in parish records was the right person vs. another -- she doesn't have all her sources online).

    I also don't have all my sources online yet (working on it), and if someone contacts me I tell them and invite questions if they want to know why I made a certain conclusion.

    One issue is when the source is just "Ancestry tree" (or whatever they call it), as you have to find the actual sources to confirm it's reliable. There are also sometimes family stories that one person has (often not documented) that get picked up by lots of others at Ancestry. I've run into a few for my family, and at least some of them are totally bogus. Sometimes there's no source that can be found, sometimes it's an old family history book that some relative wrote that contains legend. So each step back needs sources beyond other trees. Sometimes looking at other trees can help you find those sources, but just make sure you agree with the conclusions and do an independent search too.

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  14. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by msmarjoribanks View Post
    The way to determine if Ancestry hints or other trees are likely to be accurate is to look at the sources they cite and see if they are ones you would find credible doing the research on your own. I do check hints and other trees, but I don't accept anything unless there are other sources to confirm it. I have a distant cousin (I know who she is offline) who is an excellent researcher and has a blog explaining her conclusions, and I still check and make sure I agree with the conclusions (I mostly have, but there are some I need to check with her to see why she decided a certain possible in parish records was the right person vs. another -- she doesn't have all her sources online).
    Yes, if you know a researcher you trust, that works, but remember that even reliable sources can be attached to the wrong people sometimes. For example, someone made the wrong connection between my ancestors Johann Nicholas Delp and his wife Anna Margaretha Adam who settled in Berks County, PA, and a marriage record for a Johannes Delp and Anna Margaretha Adam, but back in Germany. Given the names, I can understand why people made the wrong connection, but the birth dates of the couple on the Germany marriage record make it pretty much impossible for the two couples to be the same people, plus the difference in location, and the marriage took place far too long before their first known child was born. None of that stopped dozens of people from attaching this marriage record to the wrong couple - so at first glance, it might look like they've added a reliable source (a marriage record generally is), but if you look more closely, it's attached to the wrong people and could send you down a rabbit hole. Whenever I see this kind of thing, I try to make a note of it by creating a "story" on my Ancestry tree, but I don't know how many people ever really see it.

    Sometimes looking at other trees can help you find those sources, but just make sure you agree with the conclusions and do an independent search too.
    Agreed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RobinBMc View Post
    Yes, if you know a researcher you trust, that works, but remember that even reliable sources can be attached to the wrong people sometimes. For example, someone made the wrong connection between my ancestors Johann Nicholas Delp and his wife Anna Margaretha Adam who settled in Berks County, PA, and a marriage record for a Johannes Delp and Anna Margaretha Adam, but back in Germany. Given the names, I can understand why people made the wrong connection, but the birth dates of the couple on the Germany marriage record make it pretty much impossible for the two couples to be the same people, plus the difference in location, and the marriage took place far too long before their first known child was born. None of that stopped dozens of people from attaching this marriage record to the wrong couple - so at first glance, it might look like they've added a reliable source (a marriage record generally is), but if you look more closely, it's attached to the wrong people and could send you down a rabbit hole. Whenever I see this kind of thing, I try to make a note of it by creating a "story" on my Ancestry tree, but I don't know how many people ever really see it.
    Absolutely. That's why I said to analyze the evidence and determine whether you would have drawn the same conclusion.

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  17. #10
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    I tried cross-referencing Ancestry records with Geni. Some things matched up well, but of course Geni probably doesn't police its members' records, either.

    Using the Internet as a source for genealogical purposes isn't the wisest thing to do, people can get just as malicious with family records as they can with hacked bank accounts. It might be good as a generic-type guide, though, to help in paper trail research if a person has the funding to travel around checking church and cemetery records.

    But start entirely over? Nope, not happening. I still have my aunt's research. That's unimpeachable or I wouldn't have been accepted into the Mayflower Society.
    "Bid me discourse, I will enchant thine ear..."

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