What Would You Ask ancestry.com?


For those of you who don’t read my personal genealogy blog – Destination: Austin Family – you may not have heard that I will be visiting Ancestry’s headquarters in Provo, Utah later this week for Blogger’s Day.

Not only will I be given a “behind-the-scenes” tour of the Ancestry data center (which as a techie I am super-psyched about!), but I’ll be in dialog with several people from Ancestry during my visit.

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I’d like to propose a neat exercise similar to one I used when I worked in the corporate world.  It is called “If I Were King Of ________,” where ________ is the name of the company we all worked for.  It was an interesting way to give a voice to staff and many times upper management was surprised: their perceptions of what staff thought was important was not in-line with the actuality of what was important to staff.

Using the same concept, let me ask you, the readers of GeneaBloggers, this question: if you could ask Ancestry.com just one question, what would it be?

Don’t be shy and leave your one question – no more than one, no explanatory comments, just a question – in the comments below.

I can’t guarantee that I’ll even have the chance to discuss your question during my visit, but this is a way to gauge what matters to genealogists, especially those who work with blogs and social media.

© 2010, copyright Thomas MacEntee

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About Thomas MacEntee

What happens when a “tech guy” with a love for history gets laid off during The Great Recession of 2008? You get Thomas MacEntee, a genealogy professional who’s also a blogger, educator, author, social media connector, online community builder and more. Thomas was laid off after a 25-year career in the information technology field, so he started his own genealogy-related business called High Definition Genealogy. He also created an online community of over 3,000 family history bloggers known as GeneaBloggers. His most recent endeavor, Hack Genealogy, is an attempt to “re-purpose today’s technology for tomorrow’s genealogy.” Thomas describes himself as a lifelong learner with a background in a multitude of topics who has finally figured out what he does best: teach, inspire, instigate, and serve as a curator and go-to-guy for concept nurturing and inspiration. Thomas is a big believer in success, and that we all succeed when we help each other find success.

24 thoughts on “What Would You Ask ancestry.com?

  1. Why doesn’t Ancestry.com stress proper source citations to it’s members? If they provided a source wizard like Roots Magic 4 does, then it wouldn’t be too overwhelming or difficult for users. Then….possibly more of their trees would be a bit more accurate and not full of falsehoods.

  2. I have a request for Ancestry rather than a question. Please, please, please make a greater effort to inform users that just because a “shaking leaf” appears, or a there’s a possible connection proposed to another family tree, it isn’t necessarily correct! First of all the connection has to be somewhat plausible. Dates and locations have to be possible. I am truly amazed and often just disgusted by some of the information in the public Family Trees and the connections made.

  3. Why are private trees allowed to take from public trees but can refuse to share with others? I believe ours mothers all taught us if we want to play in the sandbox we should be willing to share. I fully understand if you want your tree to be private, but by doing so a private member should give up the right to access the public trees.

  4. Could ancestry make the shoebox more like a filing cabinet so thatwe could file in a way that was helpful to the researcher (i.e., family surnames or individual names) with the records so we could easily find the information and/or have the system work so that if we check a record does not relate we could put a note in our shoebox that it has been checked? A good example of how this can work is with the Swedish company Genlines – you can put the documents you find and want to make a note of in a file and make any notations so that when you go back to look at it you can recall why you saved it and who it relates to.

  5. Will “OneWorldTree” ever permanently disappear? (I’m begging!) This is one of the least helpful and most erroneous “creations” on Ancestry.com.

  6. I particularly like Tessa’s question, but also have one of my own. Will we ever be able to merge new data from a GEDCOM file into an existing Personal/Private tree? I personally have mine set to private, and every time I update my tree, I have to remove the old one (to get rid of duplicate trees) and re-invite people to view my tree…it’s kind of a pain. Additionally, I’ve noticed that people do not remove the older versions of their tree, thus creating several duplicate records from the same person. Oh, and I have many other ideas…how can I get a job there ;)

  7. what would it take to get the floppy discs that i use for backup to where i can use them without getting an error message that they are invalid, which won’t let me use them

  8. why is it that alot of these meetings are far for to many of us, if its possible for you to bring them closer to home, i am from the sacramento ca. area .my family history is from many parts of the countries, for example arizona,mexico, spain,and also the native,indeginous,cultures. if you could reply it would be nice, thank you.

  9. i have traced my ancestors back to 1837 with my last two documents found in Ireland. The maggiage for James Scully was found in the ireland national library and the baptism info for James by the Tipperary Family history research center. The problem is two fold. one i’m not sure the information on James is correct since they do not know when he was born or died. According to their records this is all they could supply. James was born in 1812 to Denis Scully and Judith Slattery. I just can’t be sure the info is correct. What can i do.

  10. Have tried unsuccessfully for years to determine who my ggrandfather’s father was. Samuel Henry Lee was born Dec.12, 1852 in Alabama. Two possible things show up. A Samuel Henry Lee with same birthday is shown under Matthias Lee and another Samuel Henry Lee with same birthday is shown under Thomas Lee. How can this ever be unraveled????? My grandfather (also Samuel Henry) was born a few months after his father died and never had information on his father’s family.

  11. I am totally stumped about Levicy Williams Jones (Hefner). Hefner, Levi W. (12/15/1806-8/24/1895) Buncombe, NC. (1/5/1836 married)/(2/2/1836 bonded) Levicy Jones (8/10/1816-5/4/1895) in Pine Mountain/Persimmon, Rabun Co GA. (The Adcock family refer to her as Louisa Williams). Her parents were both from South Carolina. R: 1830: Cass Co GA 12th district. In 1840’s, the family were living in Carroll Co, 828 district, GA, where Levi was a farmer. In 1850, the family was living in Division 12, Cass GA, where Levi was a farmer. R: 1860’s, In 1868/69, the family left GA and moved to Marion Co. In 1891, they moved between Gustine and Comanche Co to live near Adeline and Augustus Adcock. Lovicy died in Gustine, Comanche Co. They are both buried in Board Church Cmtry, Comanche Co TX. They had 15 children.

    None of her descendants can find Levicy’s parents. Where was she actually born and to whom?

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