Dear Randy: How Do You Deal With Ancestry Hints?

Reader Larry requested this query in Monday Genea-Pourri – Week Ending 10 May 2021 final week:

“I discover that when I attempt to resolve the hints by reviewing them, extra hints are added to my listing. It appears to be like like I’ll by no means get by way of the listing in my lifetime except I simply ignore them one after the other. What say you!”

1)  Sure, the assertion is precisely appropriate. The truth is, each time you make a change to a profile in your Ancestry Member Tree, Ancestry’s search engine tries to search out extra Hints for you – File Hints, Picture Hints, Story Hints, and Different Ancestry Tree Hints.  They usually retailer them within the “Hints” web page for that particular person.  For instance:


The Hints are both “New,” “Undecided,” “Ignored” or “Accepted.”


I can “Evaluation” or “Ignore” every Trace for every particular person in my Ancestry Member Tree that has Hints.

By including a brand new Occasion to the Information listing for a profile, I’ll most likely get extra Hints from Ancestry.

The Hints are collected by Ancestry’s algorithms that search the highest 10% (roughly) of their report collections (ranked by report quantity).  However 10% is 3,300 collections, so it is fairly a bit.  

2)  Nonetheless, the Hints do not come from ALL report collections – it’s important to search their collections for the profile of curiosity.  I’ve discovered, and Ancestry has claimed, that the best search of all of their collections is from the “Search” hyperlink on the particular person profile (do you see it on the prime proper of the display above, slightly below “Rent an skilled.”  After I do this, Ancestry makes use of the entire info within the profile (identify, relationships, occasions, dates, locations, and so on.) to conduct a Broad search which forces the “finest” matches to the highest of the listing:

As you possibly can see, each area besides the final identify within the Search Filters are broad.  The Final Identify area consists of the maiden surname all married surnames of females.  The consumer can alter the sliders as they need from Broad to Precise.


Additional down the display above is the listing of 1,297 search Outcomes discovered for this particular person in all of Ancestry’s report collections:

On the left facet of the display above is the listing of potential Search Filters – I’ve chosen to not embody Photos and Household Bushes.


My expertise is that just about the entire data for a particular particular person are within the prime 100 matches, and often within the prime 50.  

The above explains how this works on Ancestry, and for my part the system works extraordinarily properly.  However the Hints supplied are a mirrored image of the data discovered based mostly on the knowledge enter by the consumer for the particular person.  If the profile has no dates and locations, then it’ll attempt to discover them in a broad sense.  That is why some Hints are for clearly deceased individuals in some circumstances.  

3)  The query was “What say you” about “I’ll by no means get by way of the [hint] listing in my lifetime.”

Because the recipient of over 149,600 File Hints at current (with about 63,600 profiles in my Ancestry Member Tree), I do know I’ll by no means end the Trace listing.  If I did nothing however resolve 100 Hints a day (reviewing the Trace info, including an occasion/date/place/word to my tree, crafting a supply quotation, and accepting or rejecting the Trace), it could take me over 4 years to complete the listing.  If I do it inside my Ancestry Member Tree, extra hints shall be created and the Trace treadmill continues.  

4)  My course of is to work with the Ancestry “All Hints” listing (discovered by clicking the down arrow subsequent to the tree identify in my Tree):

*  Use the “Information” Hints so as to add info to my RootsMagic household tree database.  

*  For every Trace, decide if the Trace is “helpful” to me and must be added to my tree.  I think about data which are start, baptism, marriage, divorce, dying, burial, navy, probate, passenger and citizenship info that I do not have already got, or for which I haven’t got a supply quotation.  Different info is useful however I typically do not supply the collections like “Index to Public Information,” “Millennium File,” “Metropolis Directories,” “Faculty Yearbooks,” and so on. – I evaluate these for my ancestors however not my collateral strains.

*  I add the Occasion, Date, Place, and Supply Quotation to my RootsMagic file.  Until the Trace is for an ancestor, I do not obtain the report picture or report abstract.  

*  After I’m carried out with a Trace, I Ignore the Trace so I haven’t got to take care of the Ancestry means of Accepting the Trace, including info to my Ancestry Member Tree, and so on.  That takes time, and the Trace stays within the “Ignored” listing so I can discover it if I have to.  

I evaluate the “Pictures” and “Tales” Trace lists sometimes, however not the “Member Bushes” listing.

Typically, I can take care of about 100 Hints in an hour, however extract info from about 20% of them.  In lots of circumstances, I simply should craft a supply for an occasion that beforehand did not have one.  I usually work an hour or two virtually day by day resolving Ancestry Hints.

5)  Each week, I “TreeShare” my RootsMagic file with my Ancestry Member Tree, which synchronizes info for every modified particular person.  In a typical week, I’ll replace or add 200 to 300 profiles to my Ancestry Member Tree.  

After all, doing this stimulates the Ancestry algorithms to search out much more Hints, so it turns into a treadmill exercise.  It is common for me to should take care of the identical profile for 2 or three weeks as I add extra info to a profile. 

My view is that I wish to add all new individuals and replace info for current individuals in my RootsMagic household tree, and add info to my Ancestry Member Tree utilizing “TreeShare” in RootsMagic.  My Ancestry Member Tree is non permanent – I can and can add a brand new tree, once more utilizing RootsMagic “TreeShare,” every now and then.  

How do you take care of the Ancestry Member Tree Hints?

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Disclosure: I’ve a complimentary all-access subscription from Ancestry.com, for which I’m grateful. Ancestry.com has offered materials issues for journey bills to conferences, and has hosted occasions and meals that I’ve attended in Salt Lake Metropolis, in previous years.

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Copyright (c) 2021, Randall J. Seaver

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