Monday, October 19, 2009

Ancestry.com: to FB or not to FB

THAT is the question!

DearREADERS,

A week ago Thursday, Ancestry.com and Footnote.com touted their FB (Facebook) compatibility at the annual Fall Conference of the Utah Genealogical Association UGA. Naturally I wished to share the option with my DearMYRTLE's Study Group/Salt Lake Chapter UGA meeting this past Wednesday evening, so I tested it out.

HOW I SENT A ANCESTRY.COM CENSUS IMAGE TO MY FB ACCOUNT
Just to make sure Ol' Myrt here understood the Ancestry-to-FB process, I located my ancestor Henry Goering and his wife Dorothy in the 1860 US Federal census record at Ancestry.com. I clicked "Share" above the image of the census, and selected FB from the list of sharing possibilities that also included email and Twitter.

Up popped a dialog box where I was able to describe the entry including the additional text "All the children are as we know them -- and it is in the known Dallas, Marion County, Iowa where they settled. [...] I then clicked to send the Ancestry.com document to my Facebook account.

Sure enough, a link to the Ancestry.com census image is listed with a mini-graphic of the page in question on my FB page, viewable only by my friends and family.

Few of my family are Ancestry.com members, so I logged out of Ancestry.com to see what the experience would be if, for instance, my brother Mike clicked the hyperlink on my FB page.

To my surprise, Mike would have FULL ACCESS to the census image at Ancestry.com, with the ability to scroll, magnify and save the image without joining as a paid member. He wouldn't be required to log in or sign up for Ancestry.com unless he attempted to view the previous or next page of the census enumeration or any other paid portion of the website.

WHY DOESN'T THIS OPTION WORK ANYMORE?
Ol' Myrt was SO excited to share this new Ancestry-to-FB option that I decided to do a live demonstration later that evening during my study group meeting in the main classroom at the Family History Library. As always, when demonstrating something on the web during such meetings, I used a participant's ancestor GIDEON LUPTON who was enumerated in Warren, Jefferson County, Ohio in the 1820 Census. UNFORTUNATELY, the only Ancestry.com "SHARE" option available was email.

THAT'S RIGHT - NO FB or TWITTER OPTION
At that point, I wondered if there was a hidden requirement that one attach the document to an ancestor on one's tree before sending it to FB. So to test it out, I went back to the entry for HENRY GOERING and found that email was again the only option. WEIRD. I couldn't send an image of my Alma Oades Player of Salt Lake City, either.

Did Ancestry.com close down the Ancestry.com-to-FB option because of server overload?

I next thought there may be a restriction to sharing one item per day. Apparently this has been disproved because each day since then, I've attempted to go back to GIDEON LUPTON to share through my FB account -- each time to be faced only with the email option to share. Apparently THIS isn't a hidden requirement either, since to date, only email has come up as an option for sharing.

WHAT'S UP WITH THE INABILITY TO SHARE TO FB, ANCESTRY.COM?
Ol' Myrt here is hopeful that the powers that be at Ancestry can define the rules about the "SHARE" option and explain why it isn't working as described in the Ancestry blog entry titled Share Historical Record Discoveries via Facebook, Twitter and Email posted by kehulet
October 15, 2009. There is a sentence that says "You can share daily finds from the record page by clicking on the “Share this record” link in the Page Tools section."

Is the keyword there DAILY?

Why isn't this working for Ol' Myrt?

I'm sure there is a glitch that can be worked out shortly, Kendal?

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
DearMYRTLE,
Your friend in genealogy.
Myrt@DearMYRTLE.com

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