Showing posts with label Facebook. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Facebook. Show all posts

14 July 2014

Kan u hep me fine my famly?

Usually in genealogy we say that spelling doesn't count. That applies to searches and records created before the advent of Social Security, not to Facebook and message board posts. If you want to be taken seriously, in life not just in the genealogy world, learn to proofread. Spelling, grammar, capitalization (especially of surnames) all matters.
This is especially important if you're posting on a page/group/message board where the language used is not one you are fluent in. If you don't use an online translator before you post another user will use one after. They may be able to help you break down a brick wall but if you can't write a coherent post you won't be able to communicate with them.
If you are posting, or reading posts, on Facebook I would recommend not using the Bing translator that automatically appears on some Facebook posts. If there are minor misspellings Google Translate will suggest possibilities. I pasted the title of this post into Google Translate and while it detected the sentence as Norwegian it also asked if I meant, "Can u help me find my family?" Bing, on the other hand, detected English and the translation was the exact same thing I pasted in to be translated. I have also seen the "see translation" option under Facebook comments that were entirely in well written English.
One last tip, no online translator is perfect. If you are going to publish something in another language try to find an actual person to proofread your work. Otherwise you could end up with something like this.

PREVIOUS POST: Bottomless Pit
NEXT POST: Coming Soon

01 November 2013

Social Disgrace III

In Social Disgrace II I said I wouldn't be doing anymore posts about's social media team. I lied.
On October 15th one of the admins on the Facebook page thought posting 16 (SIXTEEN!) photos one after the other was a good idea. Yeah, because taking over your fans' newsfeeds is never annoying or spammy. I managed to miss one but you get the idea.

Links to the original posts on Facebook are here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here

In response to someone who complained the admin essentially admitted the multiple posts were intentional and defended her decision.

The next day an admin either thought the spamming had to be an accident or was trying to put the blame elsewhere. The comment is unsigned so it could be the same admin trying to deflect the negative remarks.

For those who don't know, on Facebook Pages it's possible to time delay posts. I would assume that any tools that allow you cross post across various social media have this ability as well. It would have taken the admin only a few minutes more to set these to post one per day for the remainder of Family History Month. It's not as if the social media team has so many posts that they can't fit them all in.

That's right, 36-48 hours with no posts at all but it was absolutely necessary to get all 16 photos posted at once.

In an unrelated incident...

First, Leona didn't ask you for help. Second, she lives in the Pacific Northwest so why should she message the page when she's not asking about or the UK collections? And lastly, the "new FTM" hasn't even been released in the UK yet so how exactly are you going to help her? 

NEXT POST: A Young Crabbe II
RELATED POSTS: Social Disgrace, Social Disgrace - Photo Edition, Social Disgrace II, Social Disgrace II - Photo Edition

20 September 2013

Social Disgrace II: Photo Edition

Lots of images in this post so apologies to those of you with slow internet connections. Today's post covers's Facebook page, their blog and their "online support community."
First up is a Facebook thread with just a screen cap of the image and no links at all. The admin who posted it is assuming that 1) everyone can recognize a Google Doodle and 2) Rosalind Franklin is a household name.

When asked about relevancy here was the admin's reply:

No "historical tie in"? How about a tie-in to the company you work for? I know it might be difficult to figure out how to relate a scientist who made significant breakthroughs in DNA to but maybe if you think really hard.
The photos-of-kittens Facebook mentality has crept its way onto Ancestry's blog.

That's right, a photo of cats jump roping with a doll. I doubt it even crossed her mind that this post would be more appropriate for a personal blog, not the company one.
While the social media team expects everyone to adapt to their way of doing things (more on that after the jump) they refuse to learn anything about an important aspect of genealogy, sourcing. After the Cindy Crawford episode of Who Do You Think You Are? there was an blog post about some of the research. If you go to that link you'll notice a change from the original post which is screen capped below.

The original post had no reference whatsoever to the professional genealogists who actually did the work. Now the first "we" is changed to "our ProGenealogists" with the link going to the homepage. Well that fixes everything.
No mention that ProGenealogists wrote the summary for the case study section of their website. Meanwhile, Dick Eastman is giving credit to Kristie Wells. To her credit, she does manage to plagiarize well. [Note: I attempted to comment on Mr. Eastman's post to let him know about this the day his write up was posted but when I clicked "post" my comment would just disappear. No "waiting to be moderated" or error notice. I tried multiple times.]
Ironically while Ms. Wells doesn't see the point of giving credit to others for their work she wants all the credit for hers on the Facebook page and doesn't want to be hidden by posting as the company. She and one other member of her team insist on commenting from their personal profiles without identifying themselves as Ancestry employees. Well no one new ever visits the page and all of the 600,000+ fans read every post the page makes so everyone knows who she is, right?

She claims that she is also part of the community and should be able to comment from her own profile but the comments are almost always (I've only seen one exception) made as an employee, not as a fan of the page. If the other members of the team are fans of the page they are smart enough not to comment as employees unless they are signed in as a page admin.

After the jump: Censorship, a.k.a. The Borg

16 September 2013

Social Disgrace II

Today and Friday will be my last posts on the ineptitude of Ancestry's social media. Writing about the crazy trees is much more enjoyable. I find people paying to add nonsense to their trees amusing. On the other hand, people getting paid by our subscription dollars when they should be flipping burgers or working at Wal-Mart is just infuriating.
Most of this will be about the (not .ca, or Facebook page because it's the only social media site I waste time on. If there are issues with Ancestry's other social media, including the other Facebook pages, feel free to discuss them in the comments.
Let's start with the "About" page. It looks like website addresses are the only thing Facebook allows in the "Contact Info" section. Is "Mission" really the next best option for a phone number and email address? Is the mission of to hear our thoughts and comments and to let us know about the initials at the end of comments by the page?

Maybe it's just a coincidence but the initials started showing up on posts soon after this comment was made by an admin.

That's right, an admin is claiming that has customer support 24/7/365. I can hear your laughter from here. Maybe the initials will be used to identify admins in need of another training session. I'm sure someone will claim the initials are for the benefit of those who use the page. If that were the case wouldn't it be easier to use first names?
Of course requiring your team to identify their comments doesn't mean they will actually do it. This admin either forgot or decided not to sign their work. [The screen cap is from last week.] Lecturing fans in front of hundreds, possibly thousands, is usually frowned upon by most companies.

After all that the admin didn't even bother to tell Troy about
Admins can't stand to look bad. You can see from the time stamp on this screen cap that I commented after the admin but their post has been edited.

While viewing the edits is not possible on the Facebook app, anyone using a browser can click "Edited" and see exactly what was changed. This admin edited their answer to basically add my comment to theirs. I would have a lot more respect for them if they had just commented again and said, "I hadn't thought of that."

This comment took the admin three tries.

Editing is only possible with comments, not an original post. In the case of a post admins will post, delete and post again. On pages it's possible to create a post that will go live at a later time. Once you create the post and set the time (an hour, a week or a month from now) you can see exactly what it will look like. There really is no excuse for deleting and re-posting. So far I think the record is posting the same thing three times before they just gave up. The admin couldn't spell genealogy correctly in any of them. *head/desk*
[Thanks to Aggie for grabbing the screen cap!]

Admins seem to think we'll believe whatever they tell us. This one would like us to believe that a fan can make someone else's post disappear from the page. Anyone who has visited the page when the porn spammers are around knows that isn't possible. We can report something as spam and even report that it violates Facebook community guidelines but unless an admin removes it, or Facebook removes it which could takes months, the post will still be visible the next time we visit the page. The fact is that a few of the admins are actively censoring posts. I'll go into that more on Friday.

There's the admin that refuses to learn how to spell. It doesn't matter how many times she is told that "cashe" is not a word. There are at least half a dozen instances just this weekend.

There's the admin that either doesn't know what is available for free on the site they work for or can't be bothered to tell potential customers.

Then there is the admin that makes no sense at all. He/she says Janet's comment is correct and then states the exact opposite. [Note: This is before the use of initials.]

Much more coming on Friday. I'll start writing that post as soon as the headache from this one goes away :-P

PREVIOUS POST: 15th Century Modesty
NEXT POST: Social Disgrace II - Photo Edition
RELATED POSTS: Social Disgrace, Social Disgrace - Photo Edition

26 July 2013

Social Disgrace: Photo Edition

Continuing the theme from Monday's post these are all posts by the social media team at 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 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. 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 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 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 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 fan who happens to be a friend of mine. Any semblance of professionalism is sorely lacking.

More examples of incompetence are after the jump.

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'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 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 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., 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 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? 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
✿ Sorry but that will never be possible. By uploading photos from Find A Grave to 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 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 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 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 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. 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!!!

08 July 2013

Fixing What's Not Broken 4

As always these are comments from 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 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" 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!
✿ 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. 

03 June 2013

Pet Peeves

On Facebook, anytime someone uses the word loose instead of lose or uses the wrong their, they're or there I have to stop myself from deleting them from my friend list. From the number of memes I've seen about spelling and grammatical pet peeves I am not alone. A lot of my genealogical pet peeves have been covered in previous posts about clickophile trees but here are a few that haven't been mentioned yet.

✿ The Family Name
It's not a "sir name" or a "sir-name." The word is surname.

✿ Ancestory
This is especially puzzling on the Facebook page. How do they not see the correct spelling plastered all over the page?

✿ WWII vs. WW11
One is World War Two. The other is World War ELEVEN.

✿ These words are not interchangeable.
An ancestor is "a person from whom one is descended; forebear; progenitor."
A decedent is "a deceased person."
A person "that is descended from a specific ancestor; an offspring" is a descendant.

✿ "Thanks in advance" or "TIA"
Translation: "I expect someone will help me (for free) and when they do I cannot be bothered to spend a few seconds of my own precious time to thank them personally."
Not everyone is bothered by this but it really rubs me the wrong way. If you are asking someone to help you acknowledge their comment/answer. First of all, it's polite. Second, it tells the person who helping that you saw their answer and they didn't waste their time. If it's on Facebook it only takes a second to 'like' a comment yet some people can't even manage to do that.

✿ The English Only Crowd
"Those records are in German. Why doesn't [whatever website they're complaining about] translate them? I don't know German." You've just told the world that you're either too dumb or too stubborn to learn. Part of learning about your heritage is learning about the language(s) of your ancestors. You don't need to be able to read War and Peace in another language but will it kill you to learn the months, numbers and a few genealogically important words? You're not even required to memorize them, you can have a cheat sheet on your computer. To find a cheat sheet just Google 'genealogy word list' and the language you need. If you have gotten far enough back in your tree that the records are in a now defunct language or you can't read the language because of the script check the Learning Center on FamilySearch.

✿ Name Droppers
Name droppers are those people who post nothing more than a name on genealogy Facebook pages. There seem to be a couple of reasons for these posts. Some think Facebook is a search engine. Others do not know the difference between a Facebook fan page for a website and the actual website. Still others think there could be only one person in the world with that name. Can you think of other reasons, logical or not, for posting a name and nothing else?

✿ My family is more interesting than anything you have to say.
Some people think nothing of posting 20 photos in a row on a Facebook business page or in a Facebook group. Pages and groups are used by hundreds, sometimes thousands, of people. I've landed on pages and wondered if there was a Facebook glitch that took me to someone's personal page. While you may find your photos fascinating other people may have a question they'd like answered and you've just pushed their post really far down the page. You don't have to post them all at once or your can put them all in an album on your personal page, make the album public and post a link to it on the page you're visiting. Don't forget to include something about the album. Why are you sharing it? What are the surnames of the people in the album? Were all of the photos taken in the same place?

✿ "People should ask before attaching my photos!"
Some people think everyone should play by their personal unwritten rules. Isn't everyone on psychic? You are playing in's sandbox. Their terms of service state:
"Portions of the Website allow you and other Users to contribute material to be displayed on the Website ("User Provided Content"). For User Provided Content, Ancestry is merely hosting and providing access.
By submitting User Provided Content to Ancestry, you grant Ancestry, its parent company and all of its affiliates, a transferable license to use, host, sublicense and distribute your submission to the extent and in the form or context we deem appropriate on or through any media or medium and with any technology or devices now known or hereafter developed or discovered." [emphasis mine]
Don't like their rules? You can always send a suggestion about a change to their terms of service or a feature you'd like to see added. Until your suggestion is implemented either don't upload photos or upload them to a private tree. But don't upload them and then complain when other people attach them without asking permission. You gave them permission when you uploaded the items to

✿ People who exclaim, "This is a scam!"
Subscriptions to most online websites renew automatically. It is not a scam or a rip-off. In the case of it's not even in tiny legalese.

Thanks to Katie for the screen cap!

✿ The " is expensive" Crowd
I think I vented enough about the " is expensive" comments here.

✿ Those who need a dentist not a genealogist.
They claim to want assistance but getting the information you need to help them is like pulling teeth. The conversation usually goes something like this:
  • Can someone help me find my great-grandmother?
  • What do you know? Her name? Date of birth?
  • She died when I was little and my mother hasn't told me very much.
  • What did she tell you?
  • She told me... [proceeds to tell a long story with no dates, places or names]. 
  • You'll need to give us names, dates and places, something specific, before anyone can help you.
  • She was born in Alabama or North Carolina. Maybe Tennessee.
This could go on indefinitely but usually ends when the person attempting to help just gives up. For tips on how to ask for help check out these two blog posts: Asking For Help and Help Me Help You.

PREVIOUS POST: Picture Not Available II
NEXT POST: Murder She Wrote

15 April 2013

The Price is Right

Since today is the day all of us procrastinators in the U.S. are frantically doing our taxes I thought a post about money would be appropriate. Like the "Fixing What's Not Broken" posts the comments below are taken from's Facebook page. Some of the threads these were posted to asked, "Would you recommend" Other threads asked for an opinion of the site.
As always my (usually sarcastic) comments are in red.

✿ 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.
✿ Translation: I can't be bothered to become a paying customer but you should cater to my needs anyway.

✿ I'd like to join but friends say it's too expensive
✿ I haven't joined because I've heard from too many people that it is way too expensive.
✿ Translation: I'd like to join but I can't think for myself so I just believe everything other people tell me.

✿ I would like to see the money that is spent on celebrities used to lower the subscriber price.
✿ It's called advertising and it brings in more subscribers. If they quit advertising prices will go up because they won't be getting as many new subscribers. Besides, Ancestry advertises with Who Do You Think You Are? it does not produce it. It would be great if people knew the difference.

✿ I remember when you could find things on there site for free but not any more.
✿ I know someone who remembers when Ancestry didn't have any of the U.S. federal censuses. The site has evolved. Parts of it are free. Currently there are over 800 free collections. To find out which ones go to the card catalog, type FREE into the keyword box and click search. 

✿ Make it possible to get world information for a month or 3 months so its not so expensive
✿ You can already subscribe a month at a time.

✿ It would be a much better value if the membership was for BOTH US AND International records. The price nearly doubles for the International Membership. $60 a MONTH may not be a lot of money to some .. but is much more difficult to budget than the $30 we sacrifice for only US Records.
If Ancestry took your advice (they won't) the Facebook page would be flooded with a different whining: "I only need US records. Why can't there be a less expensive subscription so I don't have to pay for world records that I don't need yet?" Besides, the most expensive World subscription in the U.S. is $35/month not $60. If you're paying that much you must be talking about another site.

✿ I am very disappointed with your fees keep going up and now documents we used to get have to be paid for through another company, we used to get Kentucky death certificates now if we want them we have to fork out more money!!!!
✿ I don't know what this person is complaining about. Kentucky, Death Records, 1852-1983 are still on Images are viewable if you have a subscription. I picked a record at random. The screen shot of the index is below. I was able to view it the new viewer (first arrow) and the old viewer (second arrow). The last link (third arrow) is to VitalChek. It's included on every vital (birth, marriage & death) record. The VitalChek link was in the top space for a while but apparently it caused blindness in some people. They couldn't see the "view image" link that was as clear as day below it. The VitalChek link does not mean you are required to order the record. It doesn't even mean that the record is available to order. It means that IF that record is available to order you can do so from the link for a fee. A fee that will most likely be more than you would pay if you went directly to the county or state source. 

✿ I don't like clicking on a hint and having to buy something to see it. I realize you need to make money, but if I am taking the time to put my family history in and being accurate as I can, its not fair I have to pay a significant amount of cash if I was a year or two in my tree.
✿ I'm going to ignore the last part since I have no earthly idea what they are trying to say. I think the first part is again referring to the VitalChek link. If you order a record the money will go to VitalChek, not 

✿ Lower your prices. I pay monthly & Some months I don't even use it. Thinking about canceling but don't really want to.
✿ You pay monthly, the most expensive payment option, and you're willing to pay even in months when you don't use it. They should lower their prices why?

✿ Would like a cheaper way to search international records since I have only limited need. Perhaps some form of per occasion fee. Presently not worth it to buy the whole package.
✿ So get a World subscription for a month or see if the records you want are available on ALE (Ancestry Library Edition). No one is forcing you to pay for an entire year.

✿ Reduce the cost of membership and you will make it up in the amount of new subscribers.
✿ Make it more affordable. Really, if you think about it, if you made it more affordable, more people would sign up! That could make more money and expand your database. The more connections that can be made, the happier people will be and therefore be more likely to continue and recommend it to their friends. There is a lot of information you can get out there from free sites, so you really have provide extra incentive for people to sign up.
✿ How wonderful that you two have this figured out. After all, a multimillion dollar company would never invest time and money into researching price points. They don't need to factor in the cost of server upkeep or new record acquisitions or the number of employees. I'm sure they just pulled a number out of thin air and went with it but thanks to your thorough analysis I'm sure they will lower their prices.

✿ Ya know ancestry was good til I couldn't see extra links or suggestions to family tree history the cost should be free and ancestry could still earn plenty of money by selling framed family tree information to its users. Posters of extensive trees etc could be great gifts. But I stopped researching and finding family when the free trial ran out and I could not see things that would have helped finish my tree. Hence no orders of framed trees for gifts to family members.
(same person a few minutes later)
✿ Ancestry could also earn money by charging for books of complete family history with records etc included even further items such as advertising and helping reunite lost family members. The membership fee is costing more loss of sales and users than anything since it is a very good program!
✿ Yet another solid business plan. Sigh.

✿ Give year subscription free when product is purchased ...can't afford membership fee so can't further my research
✿ TOO COSTLY!! Geneology shouldn't be just for the wealthy!
✿ And since owns absolutely everything you couldn't possibly do "geneology" research without it. Ever.

After the jump: Freeloaders & Freebies

04 February 2013

Fixing What's Not Broken 3

If you haven't read the first two "Fixing" posts these are comments made on's Facebook page. Specifically on threads asking, "How are we doing?" or something similar. These threads seem to be posted every other day now.
The most (intentionally) amusing comment:

✿ Go back in time and save the US 1890 census before it was burned up, please.

Okay, now on to some tips with a side of snark. As always my comments are in red and the other comments have been cut and pasted so I take no responsibility for spelling or grammar.


✿ I liked it about 12 years ago when if you clicked on a person's name it would take you back one generation to say who the parents were and so on and so on.
✿ Ah, the mentality of a clickophile. "I just want to click and poof, a tree appears by magic. Why do I have to actually read and search and stuff?"

✿ It would be nice if you got back to a certain point on one branch and find that you are related to a certain person and research it back as far as it goes. It would be nice if you could automatically copy it if you find you are related to the same person up another branch. Also, it would be nice to have more verification that the information is correct.
✿ It's your job to verify the information and the last thing we need is an easier way to propagate erroneous information. 

✿ Make it a lot easier to find photos of your relatives- I've come across distant relatives who have mutual relatives of mine in their tree and they have tons of pictures of them. I'd love to be able to find those directly, rather than accidentally.
✿ Why can't Ancestry's hints be perfect and spoon feed everything to me so I only have to click once to add stuff? I don't want to search or anything.  


✿ I would like to be able to specify a date that would automatically turn my PRIVATE tree into a PUBLIC tree. (Like after I die!)
✿ Everyone here who knows their own death date raise your hand. Leave your username, password and your wishes in regards to your tree to someone. They can change your settings after you're gone.

✿ Find a way to stop signing me out of the site while I am in the middle of a search. I constantly have to sign in again, and again, and again....
✿ I am always getting bumped offline. I'll be in the middle of looking at a record and then it asks me to sign on again. This happened 7 times last night before I gave up.
✿ how about not bumping me off line all the time..and this is not bumping me off the internet.., just off Ancestery.
✿ This usually happens when the user is on a browser that isn't compatible, usually Safari. Read here to find out if your browser is compatible. Also, clearing cookies/cache will solve a multitude of problems on the site. Always try that before calling support.

✿ I tried 3 times & could not get that link to open up. That would be one suggestion as to how to improve Ancestry: Have valid links !
✿ Of course there is no mention of which link but I'm sure Ancestry will check all of their millions (trillions?) of links just for him.

✿ I would like to see less ads.
✿ I pay for a subscription, I would really appreciate no more annoying "count the bouncing ball" or other adverts. They slow the loading of pages and are generally distracting.
✿ Get rid of pop up adds. They're distracting and unwanted!
✿ doesn't have pop-up ads. You have malware, a virus, or an add-on to your browser. One known culprit is an plugin called Ghostery but I'm sure there are a number of others.

✿ First, thanks for all you already do. I love spending time searching. I do have a question, though, I have some ancesters that are duplicates. Mothers/fathers of 2 sons that marry 2 sisters. Is there any way to enter them without "duplicating?" If not, is it a possibility?
✿ How do you remove duplicates on your tree?
✿ being able to delete duplicate people
✿ Is there an easy way to Merge duplicates?
✿ I guess the new merge feature needs to be placed more prominently.   

✿ ...why should I add all my information when as soon as I add it becomes ancestrys an they make money, look at there TV ADDS an TV shows with all the actors they even have shows in other countrys They are doing everything they can to keep all your information an selling you photo copies I'm not saying I do not enjoy what service I do it has helped me with a lot but I have help them Look at there TV adds they are selling people photos right on TV AN they don't offer us any discounts I have deleted 4 family trees an my profile 3 more to go I'm leaveing ancestry I'm done
✿ From's terms and conditions: "Except for the rights granted in this Agreement, Ancestry acquires no title or ownership rights in or to any content you submit and nothing in this Agreement conveys any ownership rights in the content you submit to us."

✿ I don't like that I added dozens and dozens of photos from ancestry photo hints over the last year and now those pictures are no longer available partly because the tree they were related to went private and I have no idea what else caused it. All those hours upon hours wasted !
✿ Once media has been attached to a public tree it is public even if the original tree is private, deleted or the photo was removed from the original tree. If your media suddenly disappeared you have other issues.

✿ i would like to be able to download the record images (i.e census, military) to my computer and not just to my trees.
✿ I too would like to be able download the records to my computer.
✿ When viewing the original record the last option is to save to your computer. Save to your computer = download

✿ Please add a feature that allows people who input a photo or other attachment to "approve" its copying to other trees. Otherwise, those of us posting valuable family photos and primary documents here will keep our trees private.
✿ And what happens once we're gone? Is everything on our tree forbidden from being copied forever? And what's to stop someone from taking a photo of their computer screen while viewing your photo or retyping your story? 


✿ The only thing I think could be added is a place where you could ask a question.
Ancestry's Facebook page, Ancestry's Community Forum, Ancestry's Message Boards, comments on Ancestry's blog, on Livestream twice a week after Crista's presentation, in comments on videos on YouTube,... Yes, there's absolutely nowhere to ask a question.

✿ I sometimes find hints for parents or children which, by the timing of the dates given, are impossible. Maybe a little more help for new members to understand how genealogy works?
✿ Videos from Ancestry available live, on YouTube, as podcasts in iTunes; other podcasts on iTunes that can be found by searching genealogy or family history; books from professional genealogists available at your local bookstore or library; numerous magazines; thousands of blogs;...

✿ Online videos to teach us how to do everything. I'd like one on how to organize my paper records. I'd also like one explaining how areas are listed in Scotland since it's different from the US (city, state, country) and several names have changed from 100+ years ago. Sort of like YouTube - just accessed thru
✿ Every Tuesday and Thursday Crista Cowen does a livestream video tutorial. It's posted to this playlist on their YouTube channel within 24 hours. Here's a playlist that's organized by topic. There's also a "Learning Center" on Since their YouTube channel has essentially become a learning center it would be nice if they revamped the learning center on their site. It's a bit haphazard. Just my opinion but there are lots of videos. 

✿ the educational seminars are always during the work week at 1pm EST. many can never participate. can you make a downloadable pod cast please?
✿ Have you searched iTunes for They DO have a podcast. They're getting a little better at keeping it updated with the latest tutorials. One of these days they will actually post to iTunes at the same time they post to YouTube. 
As to why the seminars are always during the work week, here's a response from the host of the seminars, Crista Cowen: 
"My show is every Tuesday and Thursday at 1pm (Eastern), regularly scheduled like any other show. Within a few hours after each episode originally airs, we archive it on our YouTube channel where you can watch it at your convenience. On occasion we do special events that are held at different times but will most likely always be during my own working hours. I do make an exception for the Tweetchat events (because I can do them from home if I need to). We hold one morning, one afternoon and one evening Tweetchat each month...I hope that helps you understand why we do these the way we do."
✿ Yes, a dollar a day doesn't sound like much, but the records I need from ancestry are for Austria, Croatia, Bosnia and Germany. No amount of emailing had given me an answer as to whether they have any records from those countries ... so it is a pretty expensive exercise just to find out they don't. Maybe they could tell me here???
✿ Hover over the search tab on The last option is the card catalog. Click that and on the left is a filter. You can find out what countries Ancestry has records for. To find out what's available for those countries online try Cyndi's List.  

✿ I would like to be able to filter out what I don't want to see from searches. At present, I get what I ask for, plus anything that could remotely be like what I want. If I know I *don't* want it, it would be nice not to have to sort through it.
✿ A list of videos about searching is here.


✿ Somehow find a way to see records from the the Canadian Railroad Companies. They won't even let us see our own ancestors records from 100 years ago. Maybe an organization like you can have more convincing power than us as an individuals. Also the Canadian Ship records from before 1865. 
✿ An American company will probably have less influence than an effort by Canada's own citizens to change their laws.

✿ bugs me when I copy a person's name from a CENSUS, and it won't automatically allow copying of the rest of the family AT THAT TIME without going back and forth-back and forth for dad, mom sibling #1, sibling #2, #3, #4, etc. This gets to be a real pain when there are abt 15 siblings. THANKS FOR ALL THE RECORDS, THO. I'LL GLADLY CONTINUE TO USE!
✿ Why can you load whole families from a census on some of them, but not all of them?
✿ When I'm adding a census to a person, the rest of the family doesn't show up anymore for me to add the census to them too. What happened?
✿ I hate that I can no longer attach records to every member of a family that is listed in them.
✿ 1850, 1860 and 1870 to add and save the whole household instead of one at a time.
✿ Welcome to the pre-1880 censuses! Did you notice that those censuses do not show relationships? The first person listed may be the "head of household" but even that is an assumption. It's up to you to figure out if the others in the house are children, nieces/nephews, grandchildren, servants, or some other relationship.

✿ Yes, the private thing is so weird to me. Why!? If you are hiding, do enroll on a public site.
✿ The site is public for you because you have chosen to use it that way. Everyone with a private tree may think it strange that you make your tree public on a private site. They have their own reasons for having a private tree. I'm also fairly certain that keeping information from you is not the reason. Don't take it personally.

✿ There should be a "delete person" button on a person's main page. Having to go into the 'edit' mode just to delete is time consuming.
✿ Yes, please put it front and center where it can be clicked accidentally.

✿ I would like to make corrections in the census transcriptions that are totally botched. Some of my families records are a joke, and I can't believe is proud of them. I would volunteer to help.
✿ If you want to make corrections, make corrections.

✿ When is the 1950 US census coming?
✿ I am wondering why the UK censuses from 1921 onwards aren't available.
✿ Two words: privacy laws. For the US the federal law is 72 years. Guess the first person missed all the hoopla around the release of the 1940 US Census. For the UK the privacy law covers 100 years. 

✿ I want to see more episodes of "Who Do You Think You Are?"!!!!
✿ A Facebook status from one of the producers: "Working on a 4th season of "Who Do You Think You Are" for a new network. Very exciting."

✿ i have original birth certificates from Scotland I have the history of the Montgomery family from when they left the U.S.A in 1 776 through till 1950s photos wills letters an there all off line I have the index of all the books written by The Montgomies I bet there is a lot information out people would be willing to share if they had some incentive My research s almost finished
✿ Finished? I do not understand. Does anyone know what this means in relation to a family tree?

Can Ancestry force people to think?

✿ the sight is awesome, I treat myself to one month a year! only thing different would be, your sight recognizing mistakes..ex.. sometimes the mothers are born after the children, etc.. I wish you had a program to alert that things are wrong before you add the information, a lot of peoples trees are messed up, you have to watch that when following them.. just my 2 cents.
✿ I think there should be some type of prompt in place that doesn't allow someone to enter a date of birth that would have a parent dying years before their child was born, having people live for 200 years, or letting someone enter 1982 instead of 82 for a person's birth/death date, or a city in the USA as someone's birth/death place when they lived during the Roman Empire. When looking at other trees, I tend to look at those things: was this woman of childbearing age at the time her supposed child was born, or has someone picked up completely wrong information in their tree? Is this a typical lifespan for a person? How did this person get to this place?
Also, I see a lot of people with a death place of "Y" which is a city in France, and wondered why a lot of my Welsh ancestors were dying there when I could find nothing in history about a war going on or a large migration of Welsh to the Picardie area of France. Then I read somewhere that a lot of people would enter a "Y" to indicate that yes, someone was deceased, and that Ancestry was picking up that information as the city in France. Since then, I have been removing that reference to Y, Picardie from any of my ancestors' profiles on which I come across it. When people enter questionable information such as this, you could have a message pop up that says "Are you sure?" and explain what doesn't make sense. It may be a little annoying, but maybe a logic corrector could be a feature you offer that people could turn on or off.
✿ It would be great if there was a way to alert you if the birth year listed of a parent is after/within 10 years of a child. I've run into occasions where there is a match on a person in another family tree, but the person's parent's birth year is after the child's. Most of the time this has proven to be an incorrect person match, not an incorrect birth year.
✿ That illogical date warning exists but doesn't work when you're copying trees. If people would engage their brain while working on their tree rather than turning it off and clicking away there might be fewer of those errors.

After the jump are comments about the price of Sigh.