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Don't believe ALL 'hints' that appear on Ancestry...

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Don't believe ALL 'hints' that appear on Ancestry...

Postby DesparateAnge » Wed Jan 18, 2017 9:52 pm

This is what I've learned this week; My tree has been healthily growing, right back to the British royal family. Or SO I thought!! Robert Ryves, 1420-1447 - I'm confident IS an ancestor. However. MANY of the hints indicate he married Lady Cecily de Neville, Granddaughter of John of Gaunt. Just Googled her name and she certainly DIDN'T marry Robert Ryve!! Save yourselves annoyance when growing your tree, and check and check again away from Ancestry.co.uk. NOT everyone is thorough when researching their ancestors!!
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Re: Don't believe ALL 'hints' that appear on Ancestry...

Postby AdrianB38 » Wed Jan 18, 2017 10:53 pm

As I recollect, you can set your Ancestry hints to exclude Family Trees. There are two "howevers" to that...

1. Some of the people who put trees on Ancestry are sensible researchers and show their sources. These can be important hints, so I started by excluding them but put them back in later.

2. I think that Ancestry may use trees to find potential non-tree records. Certainly that's the most logical reason for one hugely important hint about the fate of my 4G GM Cooper. It seems to have used a tree to suggest that particular (non-tree) record rather than any others. It was a correct and hugely important hint. (I suspect that getting the fine detail about how Ancestry choose which records to hint may be as tricky as getting Google to explain their algorithms!)

At the end of the proverbial day, hints are just that - hints. If I do see hints from Ancestry Trees, under no circumstances do I ever believe them without seeing the original sources.
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Re: Don't believe ALL 'hints' that appear on Ancestry...

Postby SoozOne » Wed Jan 18, 2017 10:59 pm

I've found that far too many trees on Ancestry are slavish copies without the copier bothering to do the hard yards are check the data is correct. I realised this when I saw a number of hints from different trees with exactly the same spelling mistake. I now take the hints as just possibilities, note them down elsewhere to prove or otherwise. Far easier and less confusing to work this way in the long-run than to have to laboriously backtrack and undo trees. For now I keep my tree private as its still a work in progress.


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Re: Don't believe ALL 'hints' that appear on Ancestry...

Postby ksouthall » Wed Jan 18, 2017 11:05 pm

JMcKinnon wrote:Not only that but people (like me) make trial trees to test a theory and don't always undo them once it is disproved as I did that once and then had to revisit the whole thing to remind myself WHY it didn't work.
I do make them private for that reason, but I expect they still generate hints.


I also make trial trees to test a theory and keep them private so that potentially false information is not spread. There is an option for excluding members of your family tree from search results. However, I don't know how reliable it is or if this excludes them from hints.

As Adrian has added, you don't have to accept hints unless you are confident of the sources.

Basing your family tree wholly on other people's Ancestry trees is not research, it is just copying and is not a good idea if there are no sources such as copies of original records. Even references in BMD Indexes are not cast iron sources as these could be the most likely reference based on Ancestry's search algorithms, based on census records. However, details on census records are not always accurate as we have all found cases where the place and year of birth can vary wildly.
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Re: Don't believe ALL 'hints' that appear on Ancestry...

Postby JaneyH » Thu Jan 19, 2017 8:39 am

From my experience Ancestry hints should be treated with caution, especially those that come from other people's trees. That said, I have made some important breakthroughs by following some up (with care).

In one such case I ended up chopping off a branch from my tree and reconstructing it on the basis of the hint. I had added a 4G GF as Richard, whereas other Ancestry trees had him as Amos (though unsourced). This far back, and bearing in mind this was done when I first started researching, I believed I was correct. The lightbulb moment came when new marriage records were published on Ancestry and I found the register entry for my 3G GF's marriage, with father's name of Amos. This new strand of research has since uncovered the source of a rather unusual middle name used in three generations - it was a mother's maiden name in the new part of the tree.


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Re: Don't believe ALL 'hints' that appear on Ancestry...

Postby DesparateAnge » Fri Jan 20, 2017 8:03 am

Thanks everyone, we're all in agreement on this then! When it comes to unusual names, my family seem to have a reasonable quota, and it's NOT helpful, when names are swapped, or spelled differently! Don't ya just lurve this sport??

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Re: Don't believe ALL 'hints' that appear on Ancestry...

Postby katebenn » Sat Jan 21, 2017 3:14 pm

I totally agree with you.
There are some details in family trees in this format that you know full well are incorrect because you have fully & carefully reesearched them yourself!
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Re: Don't believe ALL 'hints' that appear on Ancestry...

Postby Karen196 » Sun Jan 22, 2017 8:49 am

On the flip side of this, I ignored a hint much to my detriment for a year, a relative was transcribed as Rosney when I was looking for a Shortall and it turns out it was him all along. They mistyped Rosney which was supposed to be Rooney, which was his mothers maiden name and it turns out he was illegitimate, so always check them out, but I get that they're not always correct also


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Re: Don't believe ALL 'hints' that appear on Ancestry...

Postby Clairefromperth » Sun Jan 22, 2017 11:59 am

When using Ancestry I don't use other trees that appear in my hints. Instead I use record hints and I also cross reference with Family Search and Find my Past.


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Re: Don't believe ALL 'hints' that appear on Ancestry...

Postby brunes08 » Sun Jan 22, 2017 11:46 pm

I gave up looking at other trees when I found one that has my father married to someone other than my mother. The same tree also had my great aunt born in the Caribbean when she was most certainly born on England. There is some very poor research out there that is not supported by accurate documentary evidence - more often than not, no documentary evidence at all.
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