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Hints List - Suggested Improvements

Hints List - Suggested Improvements

Posted: 2 Apr 2013 12:51AM GMT
Classification: Query
I'm a UK user but hopefully talking about common experiences. With a massive family tree - I'm using the 'Hints' list more and more frequently but finding there are some silly issues which, without extreme caution, could lead to false lines and are at least time consuming to deal with.

Census Returns.

If a female is listed, on a census, as married - it is extremely unlikely that she will have the same surname she was born with. It's not impossible but it would be nice to be able to toggle, via user settings, improbability on and off.

Also, if a person has a citation link to a particular year's census return, it's unlikely that they would be in two places at once. Theoretically it's not impossible (I have seen a couple of cases of the same individual being listed twice) but, again, some sort of toggle would be useful. It's exasperating to have that leaf come up, get all excited about a new hint, and discover it relates to an event already source citated and just.. wrong!

Births

UK census returns were taken in the spring of the second year of the decade (i.e. 1851, 1861 etc.) and the date of birth this confers can lead to a majority of erroneous hints from the birth indexes. What I mean is: if a person is, for example, six years old in 1871 then that gives a birth year of 1865 but because the census returns were taken in the spring the balance of probability is that the person was born in 1864. An automatic 1865 date is fine but then the hints page gives preference to birth listings for 1865/1866. If the hint says the person was born before, say, March in 1865 then chances are the hint might be correct - but wouldn't it be better to take that "abt 1865" birth date and translate it into birth index hints that start in 1864? As it stands now - I've started amending the year of birth, from the census return, by automatically putting it back a year. This is creating problems, for me, because I have no way of remembering if it's one of my amended "abt ****" dates or a date straight from the census - so this is not the best way to do it.

"People with Hints" - Filtering Potential

With many thousands of individuals in my tree - it would be nice to sometimes focus on 'completing' the available historical facts for those that are more closely related to my direct ancestral line. It would be great if, upon fetching up that list of "People with Hints", there was a way of filtering (as is possible with FTM) something like ancestors for five generations, their children and their grandchildren - and get hints for any probable facts that may be obvious by being missing from the individual's source citation list.

These are just a few ideas, that others may agree, might improve the efficacy of the Hints List.

Ta very much :)

Re: Hints List - Suggested Improvements

Posted: 2 Apr 2013 2:48PM GMT
Classification: Query
Pam,
These are great suggestions. Thanks for taking the time to write them up for us. I will make sure that get passed to those responsible for Hint features and record data (in the case of the Births issue).
-Dave M.
Ancestry.com Product Team

Re: Hints List - Suggested Improvements

Posted: 2 Apr 2013 3:12PM GMT
Classification: Query
David,
How about also allowing us to turn off Photo / Story hints as well, just like we can turn off Member Tree hints already. I keep seeing hundreds of coats of arms, "cutesy" clip art, and other such nonsense in my hints, and it definitely would cut down on wasted research time if we didn't have to keep clicking boxes to reject all this junky stuff.

Re: Hints List - Suggested Improvements

Posted: 2 Apr 2013 3:52PM GMT
Classification: Query
That sounds like a perfectly reasonable idea. From the All Hints page it is certainly easy enough to just click to "Records" if you want to avoid Photos, Stories, and Member Trees. However, if you don't want to see them as shaky leaves, then we would need to provide a setting in site preferences to handle that.

I'm curious though to understand a little more about your situation though. For a lot of people photos and stories can be incredibly valuable, but I'd guess that the value of photos diminishes significantly before the advent of photography. (Photos of drawings or painted portraits or scans of documents or photos of headstones could still apply though.) Do you think Photos and Stories are less applicable to your tree because you've already found most of the interesting ones? Or it is in part because your research has gone so far into the past that the valuable photos and stories are overwhelmed by the meaningless photos and stories? Or something else?

-Dave M.
Ancestry.com Product Team Member

Re: Hints List - Suggested Improvements

Posted: 2 Apr 2013 4:59PM GMT
Classification: Query
Speaking for myself and not for anyone else -

dozens of tree owners also looking at my direct line have added such items as
Confederate flag clipart for those who fought
"Immigrant Ship" clipart for those who were born elsewhere
"Direct Ancestor" clipart for those that might be or might not be
ad infinitum

These are not valuable and I mostly go directly to the "Records" section of hints, but it would be nice to turn it off, as we can we tree hints. I'm surprised, actually, that the photos and stories from trees were not kept together with the tree hints, so that all could be turned off at the same time.

Thanks for listening.

Re: Hints List - Suggested Improvements

Posted: 2 Apr 2013 5:28PM GMT
Classification: Query
In my particular case, I research from documentary evidence ONLY (B-M-D, Wills, Court Records, Deeds, etc.). The photos are fine to look at, but are not as important to me as having my tree reflect an accurately proven lineage.

Personally, I never use images of people's faces, with the exception of my own family where I know the identities. Just a couple reasons I don't want photo/story hints...I have seen numerous occasions on Ancestry and elsewhere, where someone has a photo in their tree either misidentified, or has attached a photo of my family member to the wrong person in their tree who happens to have the same name as my family member. I often see headstone photos with very clear birth and death dates on them, and in one specific example (there are many to choose from), the tree owner insists on using a death date which is 10 years and many months prior to the date on the headstone.

Stories sometimes provide clues for other members, but in my case / my family, folks on here have the information about my ancestors so hopelessly mangled that most of their stories are completely useless to me. For my own purposes, I would rather have a well-proven and documented tree rather than one that is just filled up with "fluff".

Re: Hints List - Suggested Improvements

Posted: 2 Apr 2013 5:55PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 2 Apr 2013 5:55PM GMT
@BurgessDonnelly: Thanks for describing how these images pollute the Hints experience for you. Those a great examples that help me understand the issue a bit better. (It sounds like the way a lot of people are using the images is to mark their tree up and make it easier to navigate. So that's something that would be nice to address with functionality in the trees.)

- Dave M.

Re: Hints List - Suggested Improvements

Posted: 2 Apr 2013 6:08PM GMT
Classification: Query
Dave, another thread on this board requested a "Badges" feature that could serve the same purpose as the clipart, and have the added benefit that it would not pollute the picture hints.
See: http://boards.ancestry.com/topics.ancestry.ancimprovements/2...

Re: Hints List - Suggested Improvements

Posted: 2 Apr 2013 6:11PM GMT
Classification: Query
@ceilidh: Thanks for clarifying how focused you are on documentary evidence, which I assume is true for most people who have some level of training in genealogy. Your specific descriptions of why you don't use images of people's faces and headstones is also helpful. Thanks for taking the time to explain it all.

-Dave M.
Ancestry.com Product Team

Re: Hints List - Suggested Improvements

Posted: 2 Apr 2013 6:18PM GMT
Classification: Query
Ginglish1,
The pointer to the badges thread was helpful. Thank you. I know there's been some discussion about possibly providing some tagging capabilities on people, records, and other objects in the system. I'm not exactly sure how it would work, but if it were implemented, it might address the badges issue. Do you think a tagging system would answer the call? Would it need to be visible on the tree to be useful for members? Thoughts?

-Dave M.
Ancestry.com Product Team
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