20 October 2014

Pet Peeve: Ancestry Search Sliders

I posted this issue on Ancestry.com's Facebook page the day the sliders were introduced and it was acknowledged by one of Ancestry's genealogists. Of course, like all reported issues, she said that it would be passed on to the appropriate department. Unfortunately my psychic ability was failing me and I didn't think of getting a screen cap. Since I have been banned from the page all my comments and posts there are unavailable. Disappointing. Here's the problem...

[Above] On the left is the view from a search results page. If you were to hover over the surname slider on Ancestry.com you would find it's set to "exact, sounds like and similar." Open up the full "Edit Search" box and you'll see the view on the right. It shows the surname search set to "default settings" which should be the broadest search possible.

[Below] Move the slider to "Broad" and click the "Update" button. How does that appear in the search box? "Restrict to exact, Soundex, phonetic, similar." Ummm...

Okay. Let's try editing the surname search in the edit box rather than with the sliders.

[Above] Well that's an improvement. (Is the sarcasm coming through?) I couldn't find one setting that appeared the same way in both boxes. Ugh!

The programmers added the sliders when the "old" search was retired over 7 months ago and they have known about the problem since then. Apparently they have no intention of fixing it. Instead they are working on adding features we don't need. Like this one:

The filmstrip icon is shown above on a census record but is available on other collections as well. Click it and this appears:

If you hover over an image on the filmstrip a thumbnail about twice the size of the filmstrip image pops up. Even in the larger pop-up most, maybe even all, records are completely illegible. So how is this helpful? We can already skip to whatever page we want by changing the page number and using the 'enter' key. So Ancestry's programmers are replacing the out-of-date, slowing-down-the-page, old search code with newer, we-don't-need-this, slowing-down-the-page, useless feature code. Meanwhile features we've been asking for, e.g. ability to organize photos and DNA comparison tools, are nowhere to be found. Well done, Ancestry.

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NEXT POST: Coming Soon

13 October 2014


Rule #7: When researching the women on your tree pay attention to which records you need with her maiden name and which you need with her married name.

Below are the details of two records attached to one profile. The profile is for a Mary Gotshall, married to a Ross. Apparently in someone's mind these women are identical. Anyone else think Mary might not have moved, gotten a job, lost her husband and children, and reverted back to her maiden name all in the span of a day?

1900 U.S. Federal Census
Name: Mary Ross
Birth: May 1878 in Pennsylvania
Marital Status: Married (4 years)
Children: 2 (2 living, ages 3 and 1)
Relation to HoH: Wife
Occupation: (blank)
Residence: Lewisburg, Union, Pennsylvania
Enumeration Date: 11 Jun 1900

1900 U.S. Federal Census
Name: Mary Gotshall
Birth: Apr 1879 in Pennsylvania
Marital Status: Single
Children: None
Relation to HoH: Help
Occupation: Dishwasher at hotel
Residence: Canton, Stark, Ohio
Enumeration Date: 12 Jun 1900

NEXT POST: Pet Peeve: Ancestry Search Sliders

06 October 2014


Rule #5: You do not get to choose your ancestors.
Genealogy is not a buffet. You cannot pick and choose which of your 4th great-grandfather's wives is in your direct line because one is more interesting or easier to research.

Rule #6: Your female ancestor did not give birth when she was 74 years old.
Men can become fathers at any point during their adult lives. The same cannot be said for women. There are a few rare cases of women getting pregnant naturally over the age of 50. There's a list here. A source for one of the births on that list is an Ancestry Member Tree so I wouldn't consider it reliable. It is Wikipedia after all. If you can document a post-50 birth in your tree, without question, then you should go buy a lottery ticket.

You'll notice that this profile breaks Rule #1 and Rule #2 too. It's just all kinds of wrong. Sigh. See what other errors you can find.

 Uploaded numerous times to this tree.
Attached to Lewis O Garner 2nd and Lewis Oliver Garner 3rd.
 Title: tree-direct ancestor

 Lewis O Garner 2nd
 Birth 1793 in Howard Mill Area, Moore, North Carolina, United States
 Death 1879 in Ryans Glade, Garrett, Maryland, United States

 Elizabeth Rickmeyer (1762-1860)
 ✿ Lewis Oliver Garner 3rd, b. 1840

Uploaded numerous times to this tree.
 Attached to Mary Elizabeth Yow.
 Title: Female Direct Ancestor

 Mary Elizabeth Yow (1799-1860)
 ✿ William Garner, b. 1791
 ✿ John Garner, b. 1794
 ✿ Phoebe Garner, b. 1798
 ✿ Hulda Garner, b. 1800
 ✿ Lewis Garner, b. 1802
 ✿ Malinda Garner, b. 1803
 ✿ Frances GARNER, b. 1820
 ✿ John H Garner, b. 1821
 ✿ Sallie Sarah Garner, b. 1823
 ✿ William Garner, b. 1826
 ✿ Elizabeth Garner, b. 1828
 ✿ Frances Frannie Garner, b. 1830
 ✿ Lydia Garner, b. 1832
 ✿ Margaret Garner, b. 1833
 ✿ William Garner, b. 1837
 ✿ John Garner, b. 1839
 ✿ Mary A Garner, b. 1858
 ✿ Richard McCorey Yow, b. 1870
 ✿ Florence J Yow, b. 1876

 Elizabeth Yow (1799-1860)
 ✿ Sallie Sarah Garner, b. 1823

 Rebecca Spinks Yow (1835-1911)

 ✿ 1790 United States Federal Census
    Lewis Garner

Thanks to Kristin for the link to this profile ;-)
If you have a tree or profile to suggest please send the link to buwtree(at)gmail(dot)com. Thanks! 

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29 September 2014

The Biblical Rule

Rule #4: The Bible is not a source for your family tree.
"I don't think we're going to decide whether or not the Bible is an accurate genealogical source on this (or any other) Facebook group. Let's move on, shall we?" - a genealogist employed by Ancestry.com
This decision does not need to be made in a Facebook group or anywhere else because there is nothing to decide. The Bible is not, and never will be, a genealogical source for your family tree. Period.
Note that I said "The Bible" and not "the family bible." A family bible can have useful information usually provided by someone who could be considered a primary or secondary source. The Bible, on the other hand, can only be considered a source for family trees limited to names mentioned in The Bible. Even then it is a derivative of a derivative of a derivative of a...
This is not a Christian vs. non-Christian thing. This is a fantasy vs. proof thing. Some of you who are looking to be offended are probably already typing your misspelled, misdirected comments before you've even finished reading this post. I have not said The Bible is fantasy. No one's religious beliefs are at issue. The fantasy is thinking that you can connect someone named in The Bible to someone not mentioned in The Bible with any certainty.
If you have ever tried to tell someone that The Bible is not a genealogical source they probably argued that The Bible is true. They have no convincing rebuttal for using The Bible as genealogical documentation which is why they will try to derail the argument onto the subject of religion. Allow them to do that and you will have lost the debate.
If you think you have connected a branch of your tree to Biblical times you should submit a paper about your documentation to a genealogical society for review and publication. I'm sure they could use a laugh.


22 September 2014

The Rules

Rule #3: Your family tree cannot connect living people to persons who lived during Biblical times.
"But The Bible..." No.
"But once you hit royalty..." No.
"But [whatever other reason lacking common sense you can come up with]..." No!

 Don Consobrina Verch Mathonwy
 Birth 100 BC in Arimathaea, Ramathaim Zophim, now, Israel
 Death 80 BC in Ely, Cambridgeshire, England

 Joseph Saint James Armimathea
 Anna Verch Eleazor

If you have a profile to suggest please email the link to buwt(at)gmail(dot)com. Thanks!

NEXT POST: The Biblical Rule