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!!!

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✿ The research takes a very long time and more time is needed for the trial period...I keep telling myself, when I am able to focus on it for a daily two week period, I will join for the trial. I have about 30 leaves waiting to be explored. PLEASE MAKE THE TRIAL PERIOD LONGER AND GIVE US SOME FREE DAYS EACH YEAR.
✿ What I read: People like me have no intention of ever giving your company a dime but DO WHAT I SAY ANYWAY.

✿ Yes, except a non family member owns my family tree. How is that possible?
✿ What I read: How dare one of my 1st, 2nd or 8th cousins have a family tree!
If someone else owns it it's not your family tree, no matter how many of your family members are on it.

✿ Recently, when adding the 1940 census to my ancestor, why does 1935 appears? It never did that before. I cant assume my family was in the same place 5 yrs earlier..
✿ What I read: I haven't bothered to look at an actual record to see what information is included.
One of the questions on the 1940 census was, "Where were you living in 1935?"

✿ anything you can do to help us find records (cemeteries, church records, birth/death records) in foreign countries (like Hungary) without having to know the language would be hugely helpful.
✿ My family is mostly from Finland. Help in that department would be great! Their all in Finn. No one in our family still speaks it.
✿ What I read: We can't possibly be expected to learn another language.

✿ The world is way to expensive and it does not have a translator! Who has the time to copy, paste into a translator to see if what you found is relevant! What a disappointment and waste of big dollars.
✿ What I read: Who has the time to actually look at records? Who has the time to figure out which John Smith is the one I'm looking for? Who picked the wrong hobby?

✿ Help with finding marriage records & also help if you have a female who changed her first/last name. Also some states like Arizona won't give you records like death certificates unless the records are over 50 yrs old....
✿ What I read: Could you put the tutorial videos on name changes directly in front of my face and force me to watch them? I won't see them otherwise. Also can you change state laws?

✿ I wish there was a feature to add multiple records at once if its a person the dates ages and all match why cant we just click add all instead of having to add one by one.... Maybe im missing something?
✿ What I read: I can't be bothered to look at every record. I'm sure someone along the way did and trust that they aren't an idiot.


✿ Make it easier to delete a tree.
✿ Yes, make it so we can delete our entire tree with a single click and have a delete button on every Ancestry.com page. What could possibly go wrong?

✿ Make a quick delete without having to go through the steps of "quick edit", "delete this person", "yes" When I find the people I do not want on my tree I would like to just zap them out.
✿ And the first time your finger slips you'll be back screaming that Ancestry should have a safety question to keep people from accidentally deleting a profile.

✿ Oh and make it easier to delete entire families. When you want to delete a person, you have to delete every descendant of said person one by one. It should be that if you delete a person, any descendant should automatically be deleted (on the site AND the FTM software). That is very aggravating and time-consuming.
✿ I'm sure that wouldn't cause problems for anyone else. You know, someone who only wants to delete that person and not every descendant. It's our punishment for making a mistake. Most of us then learn to be more careful so we don't have to go through it again.


I honestly have no idea what these people are talking about.

✿ Before the change it was easier to connect the dots to family members because I could see each person. I don't like this setup. I thought of renewing at the end of the subscription. I don't need a lot of aggravation.

✿ Absolutely Do not recommend their Family Finder

✿ I was told that the Federal Records Center in my area has Ancestry.com but with more records available than I have with my subscription. If this is true why don't we have full access when we pay for full access?

✿ Make it easier to get your password when it expires!! So frustrating...feel like I'm wasting my money!


Some people want Ancestry.com to do everything - edit photos, translate documents, etc. - when there are other sites specifically for those purposes. And most of the time they are FREE but if they aren't placed right in front of their faces people won't make the effort to find them.

✿ Could there be a community photo sharing page?
✿ I wish there was a place that you could post pictures based on towns, counties etc. And also to post pictures of people you have the names to but our not your relative. I have inherited so many items like this and wish there was a place to share them. Similar to a surname or county board that you could load pictures on.
Dead Fred, Flickr

✿ photo editing in ancestry, also would be nice to be able to access tutorials easily for the beginner user of ancestry.
✿ And audio editing. And video editing. Those types of things aren't available anywhere else and they wouldn't take up any server space at all. And can you rename the "Learning Center" or put a flashing red light on that tab so we can't miss it?

✿ I have a ancestor that I traced back to another country, so I paid for the world membership , but there is no way to translate from the site,would be nice to see some way to translate documents.
✿ I love it, but I wish the file in Germany were in English that would be a big help
Google Translate

✿ bring in more forms to print
✿ While Ancestry has forms there are others all over the internet. Cyndi's List has three pages of links for free forms.

✿ actually one more thing you could help people search by posting relevant historical info to certain war torn areas or other things that could help people greatly with real life searches... for example Prussia once I learned the history I understood my relative so much more as a real person not just a name ... meaning the war he fought then the plague he survived despite so many others dying then finally coming to America that kind of stuff or even just links to help a person understand what was happening then...
✿ Can't Ancestry upload every history book ever written so we don't have to go to the library or Google books or Wikipedia?


✿ I do not like this company or their business practices and wonder where in the heck are the antitrust people at federal level. They are buying up all the research material and competing companies and becoming monopoly.
✿ Yeah, I wonder why Cyndi even bothers with her site since all the links go back to Ancestry.com. Oh wait, that's because they don't all go back to Ancestry.com! They don't even all go back to sites owned by Ancestry.com (Archives, Fold3, etc.). Unless the LDS church is bordering on bankruptcy, and even then I'm not sure, Ancestry will never be able to purchase FamilySearch. There are also states that have their own websites. Some are free and some charge the equivalent of a month on Ancestry.com for a single record. Run along and find another conspiracy theory.

✿ I love it except for the Mormon rebaptizing thing. That shouldn't be allowed.
✿ If you have a Mormon somewhere in your family they've probably already "rebaptized" your ancestors. Baptism has to include a living blood relative. "Mormons are therefore very zealous about collecting and submitting the names of their ancestors for this great, saving work." While some employees may be LDS church members Ancestry.com has nothing to do with church teachings and is not a Mormon company.

✿ Ancestry and Rootsweb are gathering all of our data, just like the Mormons have done.Soon, they will have it all; and MAYBE we will be able to get at it if we pay enough and they deign to release that information to us.
✿ Your information is not held hostage. You can view your tree anytime you like without paying. You are free to download it at anytime or delete your tree. Oh, and the Mormon site? It's FREE.

✿ I am not, mostly because Ancestry.com works like this (and everyone knows it): I do research on my own and can either pay to get more/others' information, or can use the account ONLY to plug in info that I have gained (independently, I may add, of Ancestry.com). Then, YOU CHARGE people to use this information that OTHERS (as in myself, not Ancestry.com) have gathered. So, I think you are a scam, as you charge others for stolen information and give nothing back in return, except for constant advertisement. I think someone who wants to be fair should create a similar type of website that lets everyone have free access to the KNOWLEDGE that we are all seeking AND PROVIDING here. Knowledge should be free, but Ancestry.com is as much of a scam as the college textbook ring. If not worse. If you want to have more people feel justified in paying for an account, give some sort of credit for the information you are stealing from others' accounts (And charging someone else for). Then maybe we'll feel like we're getting as much information (for free) as we're giving to others (for free), and feel more inclined to actually give you some money for extra research and haplo group testing and whatnot. And those who provide would get something out of it, and those who don't feel like working can still pay out of the... well, you know. Thank you.
✿ I got nothin'.


✿ The information is valuable as a map. Unfortunately, little of what is posted is useful for proving lineage.
✿ Depends. If you're looking for places to start, it's great. But to confirm family information, not so much. My family tree had me going back to King Louis IX of France and back to BC days.
✿ How do people completely ignore the records portion of Ancestry.com?

✿ Great for a starting point but you really have to pay attention to dates that people show. Many times I have found the parents born after the child, the wife already dead on her wedding night or parents in the 60's and 70's having children. The really bad thing is that sometimes, every tree I'm linked to will have the same mistakes. So pay attention once you start to get back a couple centuries. I google the name and birth/death dates to see if there are other sites that might have additional information once I start getting back so far. Good luck! I find it highly addictive.
✿ Don't bother looking for records. Those won't help you at all.

✿ I have been a subscriber for many years. Love it, but take the family genealogies with a grain of salt. LOTS of errors and repitition of those errors. Learn to check your sources and facts. Use the genelogies only as a starting point.
✿ Or use them only when you are stuck or better yet, don't use them at all!


✿ I already have to a million people. I think you get more than your $ worth...excellent site!!
✿ A million people?!!? *head/desk*head/desk*head/desk*

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RELATED POSTS: Fixing What's Not Broken, Fixing What's Not Broken 2, Fixing What's Not Broken 3, Fixing What's Not Broken 4


  1. I had an ancestry member contact me to see if the person I had in my (private but searchable) tree was her great grandfather. It was, and I told him that I had his great grandparents' marriage record (in Russian and Hebrew, that I found working through microfilm), and I'd be happy to send a copy. He responded that he doesn't read either language and will search for the English version on ancestry!

    I explained that since they were married in Russia, there is no English version, and the original wasn't indexed so isn't searchable online. I also looked at his public tree and explained why the people he had for his great grandmother's parents were incorrect--he just found a 1900 US census record (all later censuses have her arriving 1906 and I also sent a link to the 1906 manifest) and attached those parents. I gave him the correct gg grandparents' names. But he decided to keep the incorrect names, since they are "easier to pronounce." And wrong.

    I gave up.

    1. Thanks for that Lara! That's the funniest thing I've read in a while >:o