Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tidbits from Ancestry's event last night

For some reason Ol' Myrt here couldn't post via Twitter or TweetDeck on her iPhone, but as your dedicated, intrepid reporter, I managed to make these real-time postings to my Facebook page last night during the Ancestry gathering last night. Did I say it was last night?

Anything to get the word out to my DearREADERS.

Ancestry states PA church and town records 1708-1985 now online. [Almost immediately, this post received the following comments:]
  • Russ Worthington: Myrt, I have found my mother's Baptism record, and her Parents Wedding Record, from the Church I attended, and stopped by when I was taking 1940 House Pictures. I think I blogged about the Baptismal Record.
  • Pat O'Donnell Kuhn:  I have found a good number of records I needed from this collection.
  • Nick M. Gombash: I remember your post, Russ Worthington. I had found my great-grandfather's brother-in-law's baptism in Pittsburgh in this database. It actually listed the place of birth for his parents in Hungary. An amazing set of records!
Fielded city directories indexing is smarter than OCR. It takes into account the ditto marks where your search terms for first and last name are separated by say 15 lines:
Johnson, Adam
" Andrew
" Charles
" Mathew
" Neal
" Taylor
" William

Ancestry demoing the beta interactive census view. Love the highlights. Also the headers and locking rows only the latter available currently. Also like pop-ups that explain fields and are providing deductions about the field contents for researchers. [Great for training newbie researchers, and those new to this type of record.]

3 million downloads of Ancestry App. They are working in adding family view.

Ancestry added (1) hints, (2) individual doc purchase (for non subscribers ) and (3) working on mobile app family view.  [Almost immediately, received this feedback:]
  • Rick Koelz: Thanks, Pat for this information. Since I wasn't able to attend NGS this year, I was looking forward to picking up some of the news and wisdom from the Twitter stream. But most of the Twitter traffic coming out of NGS has been vendor promotions and logistical facts from attendees.
Notes to self:
  • Ancestry's London Tax collection... Must start using.
  • Wondering what the London electoral records are all about?
Ancestry has been ramping up hints and providing hints for the first time on people you DON'T yet have in your Ancestry Member Tree.
  • Almost immediately, Peter Reilly said: So that's why the hints have been so weird lately!

Ancestry isn't thinking of supporting sharing API for syncing trees to other software. Basically, Eric said he didn't think there would be enough interest in this to justify the effort to staff, etc..

Cannot help responding to that last item.

Ancestry might do well to recognize there are other worthwhile genealogy management programs out there. Why expect people to switch to Family Tree Maker to just to sync to their Ancestry Member Trees? Opening up the syncing API to all software vendors provides more "doors" for people get in "the house" known as Just saying...

Personally my Ancestry Member Tree has pointed Ol' Myrt here to several valuable collaborations with previously unknown cousins working the same lines many generations back in time. The shaky leaf also has pointed me to digital document collections I wouldn't have discovered without the suggestions.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt     :)
Your friend in genealogy.

Twitter: @DearMYRTLE
G+: +Pat Richley-Erickson
Second Life: Clarise Beaumont 


  1. Dear Myrt - I can tell you a bit about the London Electoral Rolls and how helpful they are! These rolls, listing the names and addresses of qualified voters, were the kickstart to solving Case #13 on Olive Tree Genealogy blog at

    This case was about a WW2 British soldier held as a POW in Italy by the German army. He escaped and was recaptured (several times!) but on his last escape was hidden and kept safe by an Italian couple.

    The grandson of the Italian couple wrote to Olive Tree Genealogy to ask for help reconnecting with descendants. The soldier had gone on to settle in California after the war and for a few years contact had existed between him and the couple who hid him. But contact was lost in the 1960s when the couple died.

    Using the electoral roles as a starting point, descendants were eventually found and contact has been made with a daughter. I'll be writing about our success in a future blog post and believe me, I'll be praising those Electoral Roles!

    1. Thanks, Lorine! I appreciate the detailed heads up about this collection. My personal research is so US-centric, but I am working on other branches of my tree, and will need to know these things.


  2. Thanks for the recap. Count me in as someone who is VERY interested in syncing my Ancestry tree with my current (well known but not FTM) genealogy software.

    1. I think will be blown away by the urgent need to sync to our trees regardless of the desktop genealogy software we use. Thanks for speaking up so quickly, Amy!

      M :)

  3. Re the sharing by API - can anyone say FHISO? :-)

    1. I hope you brought your "after-socks" to NGS, Roger. See you shortly!

    2. Family History Information Standards Organisation

  4. Thank you, Pat. Yes! Just like you and Russ Worthington, FamilyTree Maker users have cousins who want to connect across programs/platforms. So do Ancestry Family Tree users. :-)

    1. Amen to that, GeneJ. Russ is a "power" FTM user, and ol' Myrt here primarily uses RootsMagic.

  5. I know others have said it but the more who comment, the more validity the request, right?

    In any case, I was just thinking how wonderful it would be if I didn't have to waste so much time converting GEDCOM files from various software management programs. It would be great if didn't try to force people to use FTM just to sync with

    So I concur that it would be great if we could sync to without having to give up our favorite genealogy management software.

  6. I think Ancestry has misjudged the interest in such an product... unless, of course, they have already targeted a company that does such work as a future acquisition.


  7. Thanks for the update from NGS2012! And, yes, as a non-Family Tree Maker user (no offense), I think it would be great to sync my Ancestry tree with my Legacy Family Tree sofware! So, count me in as another vote to "unclog the sync" and open it up for the rest of us "other" software users. :)

  8. I agree!!!! I haven't updated my ancestry family tree in ages because it's just too much hassle. I use The Master Genealogist and don't plan on ever using Family Tree Maker!