26 July 2013

Social Disgrace: Photo Edition

Continuing the theme from Monday's post these are all posts by the social media team at Ancestry.com. All the examples are taken from Ancestry's Facebook page. It's like watching the Keystone Cops over there. It's worth checking out for sheer entertainment value but be warned. If you comment and you are as sarcastic as I am you might get reprimanded by an admin from their personal account. Yup, the professionalism is just overflowing. Since Monday there is already enough material for yet another post! I'll save those for another time and get back to the crazy trees next Monday.
Unfortunately I missed getting a screen cap of the post with a photo of LBJ signing legislation in "1946." A simple typo but it took the admins about 2 hours to respond to the comments. Of course by then the comments were in the hundreds, no one bothered to read the entire thread, and the thread was eventually deleted.
Here we go...

Truckee, 150 years: 1863-2013. #4thofjuly #ancestry
(link to original Facebook post)
How is July 4th significant to the history of the town? No idea. Are there any anniversary events that might be of interest to Ancestry.com fans? Who knows. Could there be less information in this post? I doubt it.
I had to look up where Truckee is because I had never heard of it. (It's in California just west of Reno, Nevada.)


Who doesn't like a good spud? Cheers and wishing Idaho, the gem state, a happy 122nd birthday!
(link to original Facebook post)
1) Idaho is the "Gem State" not the gem state.
2) Idaho became a state on July 3, 1890. Anyone want to do the math? 2013 minus 1890 equals...
3) Any links? Nope. Ancestry.com has about 35 collections specific to Idaho but why clutter a pointless post with a link to the website you work for?
4) Did the map in the photo come from an Ancestry.com collection? We may never know.

We're just getting started ;-) More after the jump.

22 July 2013

Social Disgrace

Those of you who visit the Ancestry.com Facebook page regularly already know that there have been some changes in Ancestry's social media staff. You would think the job requirements would include:
  • basic grammar and proofreading skills
  • ability to write coherent posts
  • ability to incorporate genealogy into posts and promote Ancestry.com collections
  • basic knowledge of history or at least the ability to use a search engine to confirm historical facts
Boy was I wrong! But what the new team lacks in those skills it makes up for with censorship. 
My friend David posted links on Ancestry's Facebook page to two excellent blog posts. The links were promptly removed. Both blogs have made Family Tree Magazine's 40 Best Genealogy Blogs in the last two years. The links were to Research vs. Proof in Genealogy from 200 Years in Paradise and Beyond Evidence to Proof from Genealogy's Star. Looks like the new social media team's job is to cater to clickophiles rather than educate them.
My post on junk trees was taken down, twice. Heaven forbid we offend those people who made a tree with three people on it five years ago and haven't been back since. The reason I posted the junk trees link a second time was because of this message:
 I also read you blog post from earlier today, and it is fine to share on our page if you wish to do so again and I will make sure the moderator knows it is ok. When your posts are informational and/or educational without calling someone an idiot for building a tree wrong, it makes it easier to defend. And defend you I will. That I promise.
My second post was deleted. This person either has no power over the moderators (but thinks she does) or is a liar. She was aware that it was deleted and discussed the situation with another Ancestry.com fan who happens to be a friend of mine. Any semblance of professionalism is sorely lacking.

More examples of incompetence are after the jump.

19 July 2013

The point is?

Barking Up the Wrong Tree now has a Facebook page!
If you're on Facebook I hope you'll LIKE my page. Thanks!

I'm assuming the focus of the photo is that piece of paper and not the vacuum or office chair. Of course no one can tell what is on the piece of paper and there is no description. So the point is?

UPLOADED TO: At least 22 profiles for people from the 13th - 17th centuries
ATTACHED TO: Numerous other trees

UPLOADED TO: At least 22 profiles for people from the 13th - 17th centuries
ATTACHED TO: Numerous other trees

If you have a photo to suggest please send a link to buwtree(at)gmail(dot)com.

PREVIOUS POST: Fixing What's Not Broken 5
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15 July 2013

Fixing What's Not Broken 5

Barking Up the Wrong Tree now has a Facebook page!
If you're on Facebook I hope you'll LIKE my page. Thanks!

Last week I was on good behavior. This week the comments still come from Ancestry.com's opinion threads but I have much less patience for the stupid. As always my comments are in red which, for this post, is the equivalent of a sarcasm font.

✿ Your android app sucks!
Even I could write a better one if I knew programming.
✿ Why can't scientists cure cancer? I could cure it if I knew science .

✿ They make it look alot easier on the commercials.
✿ If commercials were realistic ads for soda, fast food, and Axe body wash wouldn't exist at all. Of course I would be all for a realistic Ancestry.com commercial.

✿ Make it so EVERYONE could get on to your site!!!!!
✿ EVERYONE can!!!!!

✿ Oh yes ! It is life changing to find out where and who you are from! Lady Godiva is my 32md Ggrandmother.
✿ Please be joking, please be joking, please be joking...

✿ Have a way to combine 2 different trees. To be able to take a person from Tree "A" and add him to Tree "B" and take the rest of Tree "A" with him... that would be helpful.
✿ That would be a disaster.

✿ I would recommend it. I'd like to see more ppl get involved with a healthy hobby such as genealogy than watch them ruin there lives w/ drugs.
✿ Healthy hobby or drugs, there are no other options in life.

✿ It is too hard to save your tree. I reached a point in life where I could not pay and I could find no way to save my work. It is very discouraging and not ethical to sell our information an we can't keep it for our own use. I have has this conversation with several people that share my feelings. I feel used.
✿ Downloading your information is nearly impossible. In addition to the annual membership, you have to purchase the Family Tree Maker to load all of your findings. I have approx 600 people and I would LOVE to print it out for a VISUAL record. Apparently there is no way for this to happen. So in summary, it is only for viewing, but has no function after that?
✿ Yup, a few clicks is too hard, nearly impossible. You don't have to purchase Family Tree Maker. ANY genealogy software will read the GEDCOM file. Of course then you have to take the time to learn how to use the software to find the best way to print out your tree.

✿ Are the newspapers for only large cities? That would not help me with searches for rural areas and tiny towns, would it?
✿ Yes. Ancestry only has The New York Times because nothing important is ever recorded in small town papers. Seriously, they have 1,412 newspaper collections covering, in the U.S., all 50 states and the District of Columbia. There are also Canadian and European newspaper collections and an obituary collection for Australia and New Zealand.

✿ Its wonderful. I agree that perhaps a few introductory lessons would help as it can be a bit confusing at first. Found my lineage so far back to 900 A.D. Thanks Ancestry!
✿ Lesson #1 - Use records, not trees. If you find a record from the 10th century please post it. We'd love to see it.

✿ I think if you are really interested that 6 mos is plenty of time; what i don't like is the fee! It would be nice if you lowered it. I am using Heritage's Family Tree Builder, but I prefer Ancestry.com becuz there seems to be more information there.
✿ Six months is plenty of time?!!?

✿ I use it for a month, There is so much information on my Husbands side of the family. I didn't get finished. so I am joining another month.I just love it.

✿ How about some way to attach a country of origin flag to a person rather than people using the primary photo for this purpose? Something small that could dangle off the tree in pedigree/family/DNA views would be really great! Also show and select it on the person view.
✿ Have a link on the home page for a full list of family Coats of Arms & Crests.
✿ No and, um, no.

✿ I haven't been on the site recently. Is there a way to edit your tree if you put information in the wrong box
✿ No. Once you enter something it's permanent. Forever and ever. 
Of course there's a way to change things. If you had bothered to sign in and look around for 30 seconds you would know that. 

✿ Almost all my time pursuing trees has been wasted - activity level effort with no results. So Ancestry keeps me extending my subscription as there is not a lot of good data in their databases to help with my research.
✿ Time wasted? No results? No good data? How is Ancestry forcing you to extend your subscription? When other people are unhappy with the service they cancel their subscription.

✿ all my ancestors are in Greece, and I have the World membership, but I can't find much other than their passenger records. I though World meant I would see more records from Greece.
✿ Ancestry doesn't have everything. They never will and they never guaranteed that you would find the record you are looking for. Before signing up or upgrading everyone should use the card catalog to find out if Ancestry has what they need.

✿ I can not find any info on me. I have all the info on when, where and even time I was born and it keeps coming up no match. I was born in Maryland. Help
✿ Do you need confirmation that you were born? Or do you think your birth certificate should be easily obtainable by absolutely anyone? Ancestry is a valuable tool for researching the dead. Privacy laws differ from state to state but you probably won't find very much, if anything, on yourself.

✿ Not able to get Italian records which I know you have, yet the English and Irish can get all of theirs.
✿ Someone with Irish ancestors want a crack at this one?
✿ have more records from Ireland....hard to find info if you don't have specifics......a brick wall
✿ Maybe you should ask the previous commenter who seems to think the "Irish can get all of theirs." Talk to the Irish government. Ancestry can't get access to the records if they refuse to negotiate.

✿ I love you guys biggest problem though is that if I need to take a break and come back 6 months late I don't have all the work I already did someone was nice enough to help me the last time but I don't want to go thru that again??
✿ Write down your username and password and keep it somewhere safe.

✿ I would love to be able to download all my information to an Excel spreadsheet in order to make "global" changes to the data. For instance I like for all my dates to be consistent in appearance. Some are month/day/ year and some are day/month/year. Some have the month as a number and some have the month as a word. I just want to be able to make it consistent.
✿ Why are you saving records before formatting the date? Edit as you go. Don't save a document until the date is the format that you want.

✿ I wish Ancestry could warn me if I enter the same name twice (the second time being while utilizing the hints). I realize variations in spelling or the exact name would make it difficult for Ancestry to sound an alarm, but often both entries are the exact same name. I resent having to go back and delete the duplicates.
✿ Allow us to combine facts. Some people have "Married on XX date" several times, even though it was obviously to the same person. Same with death/burial. That should be the same as well.
✿ Pay attention to what you're doing.

✿ [posted by a genealogical society] I do not have a tweetChat, perfer, Webmar classes with the video and graphics as Crista Cowan talks.
✿ First, Ancestry isn't going to stop TweetChats just because you don't do them. Ancestry.com, like most businesses, uses all forms of social media to reach as many people as possible. Second, if you're going to post as a genealogical society proofread your comment.

✿ I would dealy LOVE to be able to use a different colour or font for tree entries which are as yet unproven. This would lead to much more accurate trees, and far less spread of unproven information.
✿ While I like the idea of a different color for our own use thinking that it will lead to "more accurate trees" is a bit far fetched. Clickophiles will copy anything. If someone refuses to notice a child born a century before its parents a different color isn't going to stop them.

✿ Please work on providing more meaningful vital records, especially birth and marriage, and death records (pre-social security). You are going to have to give us all some good reasons not to move over to Family Search now that we can create and store family trees with them.
✿ It's a shame Ancestry has stopped adding records. Here's a reason not to move to FamilySearch, on Ancestry no one can change your tree unless you give them permission. On FamilySearch anyone can change your ancestors' information because it isn't your tree.

✿ Need a RATING system for Family Tree Hints - to get trees approved by qualified geneologists.
[same person 1 minute later]
✿ Need a GUEST PASS that allows visitors to see the tree without having to sing up and give a credit card number.
✿ There are over 2 million public trees on Ancestry.com. Do you have any idea how long it would take and how many people Ancestry would need to hire to get through all of them? As for the guest pass, anyone can have a free Ancestry account. No credit card needed. You can invite all your family to view your tree and all they need to do is set up a username and password. They don't even have to sing.

✿ I want One World Tree put back, it was the fun part of Ancestry.
✿ Wish we could still like to see what famous people we are related to!
✿ Put One World Tree back on, I enjoyed investigating these trees, and it was fun!
✿ I would like to see you bring back famous ppeople who might be in my family
✿ Fantasy continues to be a big seller.

✿ Bring back, "Who Do You Think You Are?" !!! Was a great show!
✿ Do you ask Coca-Cola or Nike or Target to bring back your favorite show? Ancestry.com is an advertiser, not a producer. Because of the hard work of the producers the show is coming back.

✿ Who Do You Think You Are? Should be done with some subscribers to Ancestry. There are some awesome stories out there that do not involve movie stars. It's also a great way to promote Ancestry.
✿ The only people who would watch would be those already into genealogy. Not the best use of their advertising dollar. After all they are advertising on the show, not producing it.

✿ I would like to be able to save the pix from findagrave (web index) to the profiles (without saving to computer then uploading to ancestry.com)
✿ Sorry but that will never be possible. By uploading photos from Find A Grave to Ancestry.com without their permission you are violating each photographer's copyright. When those photographers find out and file a complaint the photos will be removed. What you are doing is violating copyright law. 

✿ I would really like to see you buy a site like FindAGrave.com and if they require in the sale keep the site free, but vastly improve the submission, editing, and updating proceedures. Finding graves and associated photos is a great resource. While I know you can find matches from Ancestry.com the problem is the site admin is lacking causing their record updates to be slow and new active members limited IMO.
✿ I would really like to see you buy a site like FindAGrave.com and if they require in the sale keep the site free, but vastly improve the submission, editing, and updating proceedures. Finding graves and associated photos is a great resource. While I know you can find matches from Ancestry.com the problem is the site admin is lacking causing their record updates to be slow and new active members limited IMO.
✿ The photos on Find A Grave are owned by those who photographed the graves. If Ancestry bought it you could say good-bye to all those photos. Find A Grave has volunteers because the site is free. Most of them would not be willing to volunteer for a for-profit business. And why would any company buy a website, invest time and money improving it, hire people to manage it and then keep it free. Not exactly the best business sense.

✿ I am extremely disappointed in the transcription of the 1940 census. I detailed and pointed out a huge blatantly obvious transcription errorin regard to my father and his family, in May 2012 and they have still not corrected it. I have called and e-mailed several times and still nothing. Familysearch.org got it right without any problem but, my tree is on ancestry and I just wanted to connect the only census that depicts my father with his siblings and mother before she died in 1942. Cannot be that difficult to correct THEIR transcriping error. I am real close to taking my tree from ancestry and finding a different way to display it online.
✿ So attaching the correct record with an incorrect transcription is going to ruin your tree? Even if the error is more complicated than a poorly transcribed name you can still attach the record. If your relatives were mistakenly transcribed in the wrong household you can attach each household member's record separately. Taking your tree off of Ancestry because of one mistake out of millions of records? Baby and bathwater come to mind. [Yes, I know that the 1940 census has lots of errors but this member is threatening to leave because of one.]

✿ They let us down with the 1940 census. A lot of us sighed up, but only a few states were available.
✿ The 1940 U.S. Census was released April 2, 2012. Five months after its release on August 3, 2012 it was fully indexed. Although the index is far from perfect I'd say that is still pretty impressive. If this is a complaint about subscribing to have access to the 1940 census then they paid money but didn't pay attention. Ancestry said from the start that the 1940 census would be free for all of 2012. In fact it is still part of Ancestry's free collections. If the complaint is about not having immediate access then they expected something that was not physically possible. The above comment was made in February 2013. Eleven months after the release of the 1940 census.

Feb. 3rd: The following recommendation has been made by me on at least 5 prior occasions and nobody from Ancestry has ever gotten back to me to say why this can or cannot be done: You really need to add a "Starts with" filter selection on your surname search area. This would be so helpful for those of us who have relatives with surnames which could easily be misspelled, or which were misinterpreted when they were brought over from paper. I know you have some of the other filters (such as Soundex, etc.) but these aren't effective enough. I would love to have the ability to choose a "Starts with" filter and then add in the first couple of characters of the surname.
✿ Answer from Crista: "I'm fairly certain I responded the last time you made this request. You CAN search for names that "Start with" something using the wild card feature. Put in the first three letters of the name then an asterisk (*). Be sure to change the filter to Exact." Crista tagged the person so they would get a notification. 
March 9th: I enjoy it but as I have posted here multiple times before----and you guys don't read and act upon----your search filters need to include a "starts with" feature. Does anyone from Ancestry even read these comments? Or are you only soliciting comments on FB as a way to keep your name in the news? So frustrating!
[after being told by another FB user that Crista explained that this feature already exists]
✿ Nobody has ever gotten back to me with information on how to do a "starts with" search. My requests have been for Ancestry to add this feature to their search filters. Once again, nobody has ever contacted me through my Ancestry inbox, which is where I would expect to have received this information.
✿ You made the suggestion on Facebook. The reply was ON FACEBOOK!

After the jump: What I Read, Easy Delete, Uh...What?, And The Kitchen Sink, Conspiracy Theories, Ignore the Trees!!!

12 July 2013

Grin and Bear It

Yet another tree owner who insists on having an image for each and every profile. This is just the tip of the iceberg (you can complete the Titanic metaphor in your head). For other infant deaths in this tree there are angels, sleeping babies, sleeping angels, sleeping baby angels,... You get the idea. If you must have a photo for every profile despite not having a photograph of the person please be considerate to the rest of the Ancestry community. Choose ONE photo and attach it to multiple profiles. Even then, if it's as inane as these I hope you realize that every person that has to ignore that image when it shows up as a hint on their tree is cursing you.

TITLE: Carebear 1
UPLOADED TO: Evelyn Berly (1918-1918)

TITLE: GoodLuckBear
UPLOADED TO: Elwin Pearl Curtis (1915-1916)

TITLE: carebarerainbow 
UPLOADED TO: Twice to Elizabeth Butler (1708-1712)
and Mary Hyde (1721-1724)

TITLE: bedtimebear
UPLOADED TO: Twice to Daniel Butler (1700-1700)
and Leo Enoch Schmidt (1880-1881)

TITLE: carebear2
UPLOADED TO: David Logsdon (1676-1677)
TITLE: lovealotbear
UPLOADED TO: Mary Shepard (1602-1603)
The above photos are from glitterfy.com

If you have a photo to suggest please send a link to buwtree(at)gmail(dot)com.

PREVIOUS POST: Fixing What's Not Broken 4
NEXT POST: Fixing What's Not Broken 5

08 July 2013

Fixing What's Not Broken 4

As always these are comments from Ancestry.com Facebook fans and my comments are in red. The comments are from threads asking "Would you recommend..." or "How can we improve..." or some other question posed to illicit an opinion of Ancestry.com. This week's answers will be serious. Part 5 will be next Monday and you can guess what that will include ;-)
✿ You say you value our feedback. If you really do, then why does nothing change when people complain to you?
✿ I have seen this call for suggestions many times, but have never seen any of the suggestions implemented. Is this a waste of our time?
✿ does anyone ever read these?/
✿ Some people expect their changes to be implemented immediately. Well we've seen from previous "Fixing" posts that some of the requests can be pretty ridiculous and others are features that only a few people want. Here are some of the changes I've noticed in the last 4 years: 
  • ability to add a suffix (Jr., Sr., III, etc.)
  • classifying photos as portraits, documents, or headstones
  • cemetery and burial records attaching to a burial event
  • profile pages automatically sizing to fit the window
  • the ability to merge duplicate profiles
  • uploading photos through the Shoebox app
  • note feature on the DNA page
  • raw atDNA data available for download
  • new DNA filters
Just because changes aren't made each time they post one of these threads doesn't mean changes won't ever be made. I do, however, wish they would create a proper survey or feedback form or just tell people to comment on the thread. The threads always link to the same single question survey, "Would you recommend Ancestry.com?" I'm always tempted to answer, "No, not until you stop asking this question every week."

✿ I feel that advanced searches should enable the user to select from a range of dates, when exact dates are not known.
That way, searches can be narrowed down, without having to go through a series of useless entries.
✿ Like this?
Enter a year and then choose 1, 2, 5, or 10 from the plus/minus drop down. Click "Exact Only" and your results for whatever event chosen will be limited to that year span. Keep in mind that you may still need to narrow down the collections searched using the filters on the left side of the page.

✿ When searching for someone in the US census, & say I only want to look at 1910, & I know they lived in Michigan, I'd like to be able to limit the search to the state. As it is now, you can limit the search only down to the decade and if you want to hone in any closer, you have to browse by the city. Thanks.
✿ Edit your search. If there isn't a "lived in" event create one (arrow on the left). Type Michigan, USA, or choose it from the type ahead, then click "use default settings" (arrow on the right). Choose "restrict to this place exactly." If there are other "lived in" events (due to records already attached) remove them. Click search and all census results should be for Michigan.
✿ I would love to be able to make personal notes onto someone. Like what to search for next or what I was working on last with this person. Just a note for myself on each person.
✿ have a place that is not public. I would like to have a place for notes for individuals where I could put information that I do not all the public to have. for example it would be a great place to put addresses or Patriarchal Blessings and things of that sort.
✿ Hover over "More options" on a profile page and there's an "Add a note" option. Create a note that only editors of that tree can see. When a note is added a separate "View note" link will be added to that same toolbar.
✿ I get so peeved by the unrelated returns to searches. I specifically list names, dates, locations, family members & yet Ancestry gives me thousands of unrelated entries. I list Pontotoc, Pontotoc, Mississippi, MS, USA & get hundreds of offers from England, France & such. Stop it Ancestry.com!
✿ Every search box has a "Collection Priority" option. Use it. If you choose "United States" from the drop down then U.S. collections will top your search results. If you also check the "show only" box then your search results will be from U.S. collections only.
✿ Yes, but it is not without flaws. I don't mind that people attach the pictures or stories I put on, but when they download them them upload as theirs, that ticks me off! 
✿ While I am sure some people do this there is also a glitch with Family Tree Maker 2012 that can cause this. If a sync fails completely the only option may be to unlink the tree and start over. This loses all the original upload information from photos and stories attached to the tree. This problem is with the software not the tree owners in those cases.

Much more after the jump. 

05 July 2013

Mommie Dearest

Yet another member of the "Every Profile Must Have A Photo" Club.

TITLE: "Mom"
DESCRIPTION: "To all the Women who helped build this land, this is a symbol of their faith and strength in their hearts to protect, and raise a family" Colonial Women on the homefront to keep the home fires burning, with a candle in the window, waiting for their for their family to return home. (The statue is "Molly Stark nee Elizabeth Page. She is a great role model for Colonial Women as a Mom, Wife, and taking care of family. New England had many "Molly Stark Moms") Source: hoardedordinaries.wordpress.com/.../
UPLOADED TO: Once, thankfully, to 145 profiles. None of those profiles are for Molly Stark or Elizabeth Page.
ATTACHED TO: Over 1100 other trees.

Thanks to Rennie for the link to this photo ;-)
If you have a photo to suggest please send a link to buwtree(at)gmail(dot)com.

PREVIOUS POST: Won't Stop Believing
NEXT POST: Fixing What's Not Broken 4

01 July 2013

Won't Stop Believing

Comments after the jump.

 B: 1428 in Ravensworth Castle, Durham, England
 D: 17 Oct 1466 in Durham, Durham, England

 Sir William BOWES (1415-1466)
 ✿ Margery Bowes, b. 1430
 ✿ Sir Thomas BOWES, b. 1453
 ✿ Lady Catherine BOWES, b. 1461
 ✿ Richard Bowes, b. 1470