Ancestry Hint Improvement

In the last twenty odd years, researching my family tree and reading various books, documents and forum posts on “best practice” on the accuracy and quality of sources, it seems that Ancestry has found a way to cut-through all the overtly complicated techniques to focus the researcher on simple questions like;

  • Why were you undecided about this hint?
  • Why did you ignore this hint?
  • Why did you accept this hint?

These questions put some of the onus on the researcher rather than simply clicking away adding events and sources from hints that could be erroneous, with important sub-questions categorising the reasons for accepting, ignoring or being undecided.

This is a good initiative by Ancestry to allow quality of source information to be added with the sub-questions for acceptance allowing some time for reflection on why the hint (and therefore, the source and associated events) were accepted;

  • The name, date, places and/or relationships are right,
  • I want to save and review these details for later, and
  • I learned something new from this information.

There is space to write additional information (e.g. perhaps there was a transcription error, the name has been misspelt), as well as the ability to flag a source for later review being an alternate to adding the source to the shoebox.

The sub-questions to ignoring a hint are equally as important as to the acceptance of a hint, with similar questions that the name, date, places and/or relationships are wrong but equally, the recognition of duplications and other non-Ancestry sources with “I already have this information” been provided.

The undecided questions have similar sub-questions with an emphasis on not being sure if the name, date, places and/or relationships are accurate. In addition, they have added “I think I may have this information already” and the last one, being “I don’t know how to verify this information”. Sometimes, just having a person name and place may seems too vague for the source to be accepted.

Overall, a great initiative by Ancestry and I suspect that Ancestry will utilise these qualitative responses to hints to improve the logic around accepting similar hints for the person being researched, so it is a great addition to the Ancestry research toolkit. An area for improvement would be to include the ability to have these questions asked of any source added from Ancestry or your own sources, rather than being limited to hints.