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ancestry.ca

kyle775
2009-08-29
2013-05-30
  • kyle775
    kyle775
    2009-08-29

    How worthwhile is an account on the ancestry websites?  i am running into a few deadends with my geneology research... these sites promise so much but i wonder it i should fork over any money?
    has anyone used these? or know of a free alternative?
    thanks

     
    • Lou Hurst
      Lou Hurst
      2009-08-29

      You'll probably get opinions both ways but here's mine.

      I don't keep a family tree on ancestry.com.  But for the research end they seem to have the most extensive records.  Other free websites invariably point to ancestry.com in just a few short clicks.  I've gotten most of my census data & images, maps, military records, etc from ancestry.com.

      Lou

       
    • kyle775
      kyle775
      2009-08-29

      hmmm thats what i have experienced as well... all the free sites have been appropriated by ancestry.com
      I guess i will end up getting an account...  unless someone else has some sort of alternative.
      Thanks for the quick reply.

       
    • Lou Hurst
      Lou Hurst
      2009-09-07

      I just had to reply to this one again.  Be very careful of what you find on ancestry.com when it comes to their "one world tree" and finding your relatives in other people's family trees.  At best, this is only a possible start point.  Tonights example - Was doing some research on a direct line ancestor a bit ago on ancestry.com.  Found several trees that had her included.  All of those several trees had a picture of my relatives' sister and husband that was posted recently - wow what a find, right?

      All of those trees have much the same documentation/source info that I have about this sister, birth, marriage and news stories about the family being wiped out in a fire.  This poor Amanda Elizabeth only lived to the ripe old age of 22 years.  The news article says the family of four died in the fire.

      So here's a couple problems.  All of these several trees show two more children being born to this couple, one two years after the fire and the parents death, the other four years later.  The picture I mentioned earlier - both the man and the woman are very obviously in their late fifties - early sixties.  How can this be when Amanda was 22 at death and her husband Joseph 26?

      People are too fast to accept anything remotely resembling their family "research" when they hit an accept option and the error will now live on forever.

      The other thing that drives me nuts is the ancestry.com "search" function.  Way too broad in my humble opinion and selecting "Exact" for just one option, even the state of an event will often yield no results.

      All this said I'm still paying and using them because once I finally get that census or military record, map, etc., I figure I'm probably a little money or time ahead and I've been able with careful scrutiny to find other good researchers doing work in the same families I'm working with.  Even converted two of them to PGV!  One an 86 year old cousin of my wife who uses it locally with XAMPP - she doesn't like web based apps and like me just uses ancestry.com for research; her opinion is they have great European info.  Just be careful!

      Ok, off my soap box now.

       
      • kyle775
        kyle775
        2009-09-07

        do you not have the ability to see primary source images of census and other data?

        i am too careful when i comes to this... currently i am attending university is similar study... and my brother is working on a masters in the field of history we discuss relevance and analyze reality of records quite often....

        thanks for these notes... i will pay close attention from now on..

         
    • kiwi_pgv
      kiwi_pgv
      2009-09-07

      Lou, that a good soap box to be on in my view. Its the chief reason I am strongly opposed to various software attempts (including to a degree PGV) to connect trees together from all over the web , forming a single large repository, or 'cloud' I think is the term commonly used.
      The arguments in favour send so appealing, "why research the same thing multiple times"; "sharing is at the core of genealogy"; and so on. Trouble is, as you say, a huge number of people simply grab ('farm') anything they can and stitch it together as 'facts'.

      In my view it will be just one huge mess of unsourced, inaccurate garbage (old adage: garbage in, garbage out).

      <<do you not have the ability to see primary source images of census and other data>>
      Only if the tree owner actually referred to them . Most of the time all they do is cut/paste bits and pieces from other's hard work, including all and any mistakes. So the errors just get repeated so many times that eventually they come back as "facts".

       
      • Lou Hurst
        Lou Hurst
        2009-09-07

        <<do you not have the ability to see primary source images of census and other data>>

        1 - everything kiwi said I don't need to repeat.

        2 - if you are doing your own search through the actual records, let's say the 1860 US federal census and you find the one with your ancestor, (which you've previously verified is your ancestor) then yes, many records are available as an image that you can download and include with your data.

        2a - the fine print - some images are only available for an additional fee.  For instance I've run into several situations where ancestry.com gives a basic text transcription of a document, or show a small, un-savable image.  They are kind enough to cite where it comes from but if you want the actual image or document you have to order it.  I guess the bright side of the matter is you know a document exists and where it is so you can chase it down yourself at that point if you don't want to pay, assuming no copyright issues involved.  I've been able to do that a few times or begrudgingly cite ancestry.com as the source, noting their complete source info.

        If you get info from someone else, check and double check their sources!  This could be a separate discussion in itself but I will cite a contributor as a source but doggone it their sources have to check out.

        I reluctantly keep a direct-line ancestors only tree on ancestry.com, kept as _private_ so that someone else researching in the same families might bump into my tree.  That has done a nice job of keeping the casual researchers away, if someone isn't willing to at least contact me I tend to think they're not sourcing their work, won't bother checking my work and would probably waste both their time and mine.   Have "met" some awesome cousins doing this and in two instances we're both chasing the same elusive piece or pieces of evidence; in another instance they have a boatload of info I didn't know existed while I in turn had a boatload of info they didn't have and we were able to correct some mutual info that was common.  The bottom line for me is I'd rather have a relatively small family tree that is verifiable (which I believe will lead to further solid relatives) than the ten-thousand plus tree with few, shaky or no sources - the cloud in the sky kiwi refers to.

         
        • Lou Hurst
          Lou Hurst
          2009-09-07

          And I should add that I have inquiries on several of their boards about specific individuals or families.  Once again that seems to keep the casual researchers at a distance.  I had one instance where I was able to eliminate a branch of people from my dad's research.  He always thought he was barking up the wrong tree on that one but as a young child he was around family discussions where everyone always referred to an individual as "Aunt Katie, God rest her soul . . ."  After just a couple short emails back and forth with a true descendant of "Aunt Katie" it was quickly determined our two families aren't related, at least not as recently as can be verified.

           
        • Lou Hurst
          Lou Hurst
          2009-09-07

          And I should add that I have inquiries on several of their boards about specific individuals or families.  Once again that seems to keep the casual researchers at a distance.  I had one instance where I was able to eliminate a branch of people from my dad's research.  He always thought he was barking up the wrong tree on that one but as a young child he was around family discussions where everyone always referred to an individual as "Aunt Katie, God rest her soul . . ."  After just a couple short emails back and forth with a true descendant of "Aunt Katie" it was quickly determined our two families aren't related, at least not as recently as can be verified.