Posted by on July 29, 2009 in Ancestry.com Site, Member Connect, Site Features

We hear from our members all the time that some of their most meaningful family history experiences have come from connecting with another Ancestry.com member who has rich information about one of their ancestors. That’s why we’re excited to announce the launch of Member Connect, a new feature that will make it easier than ever before to discover and collaborate with other members who are researching the same ancestors you are.

Millions of people research their family history on Ancestry.com and odds are that some of them are researching the same people as you. Member Connect is designed to help you learn about those members, share your discoveries together, and stay up to date on the research they are doing on your shared ancestors.

You’ll find elements of Member Connect throughout Ancestry.com, including within your family tree, while viewing census images and other historical records, and in a list of recent research activity about your ancestors on your homepage.

Where you’ll notice Member Connect

  1. Viewing Historical Records

    Enhanced Image Viewer

    When you find a historical record for one of your ancestors, you’ll also be able to see who else has saved the record or made comments or corrections to it. This is part of our new enhanced image page, which is launching today on a few of our census collections and expanding to other collections in the future.  See an example of a record on the new image page.

  2. Your Family Tree

    Connections

    If you have a family tree on Ancestry.com, we’ll show you who else potentially has your ancestor in their public member tree. You can choose who you connect with, and when you connect you can compare the information in their tree with yours, contact the other member, update your tree with new discoveries, and be notified about new information they find about your shared ancestor.

  3. “Recent Activity” Lists

    Recent Activity

    On profile pages in your tree you’ll have a Recent Activity list showing all of the public research being done on Ancestry.com that relates to your specific ancestor. On your homepage, the Collaborate tab, and the Recent Member Connect Activity page you’ll find a full list of all of the site activity related to your ancestors, including activity around records you have saved, corrected, or commented on as well as activity from connections made in your family tree.   We’re working on additional options to filter this list, but in the meantime if you find that your list is too full we suggest just checking the Recent Activity list on the profile pages for specific ancestors in your tree that you’re interested in.

We respect your privacy

Your privacy is very important to us. You can review or modify your member activity privacy settings at any time. These settings determine what you share in the recent activity lists and the Member Connect section on the new enhanced image page.

Please note: In most cases Member Connect does not share more information about your research than what is already publicly available on Ancestry.com. The main exception is when historical records, photos, and stories are saved to your private member tree. Depending upon your privacy settings we may let other members know general information about this activity, but they will be unable to view the actual tree or information in that tree without being invited by the tree owner.

We want to continue to make Member Connect better

As you begin using Member Connect, please send us your feedback by emailing us at memberconnectfeedback@ancestry.com. Your feedback will help us continue to improve this new feature and make it even more useful for you.

Interested in learning more?

We’ve created a page describing Member Connect that includes three short video tutorials. Just click here to visit the page.

I also hope to make additional blog posts later in the week with a bit more details about the different elements of Member Connect.

Finally, we’ll be conducting a one-hour online presentation about Member Connect on August 17th. We’ll show you where to find the new features and how to use them to discover even more about your family story. The presentation will be followed by a Q&A session. Click here to learn more and register.

We are very excited about Member Connect and hope that it will help you make new valuable connections and discoveries in your family history research.

64 Comments

Annmaj 

Oh just wonderful- not!! I now have someone elses information and census searches on my home page, NOTHING to do with any of my trees at all. I’m taking my trees off so that I don’t get alll these completely useless “connections”. Almost as bad as GenesReunited “Hot Matches”.

July 29, 2009 at 6:29 am
Bob J. Moretz 

The new changes are wonderful keep up the good work. I have been on since 2000 and the improvements have been amazing. Bob

July 29, 2009 at 7:07 am
Jade 

Dave,

The Ancestry.com material about this project, including your post here, keeps talking about connecting with those who’ve done something with a record involving “your ancestors”.

Viz:

“. . . a new feature that will make it easier than ever before to discover and collaborate with other members who are researching the same ancestors you are.”

“You’ll find elements of Member Connect . . . . in a list of recent research activity about your ancestors on your homepage.”

“On profile pages in your tree you’ll have a Recent Activity list showing all of the public research being done on Ancestry.com that relates to your specific ancestor.”

Please stop perpetrating this falsehood.

Most of the ‘hits’ will be about something like a 5th cousin 2 or 3 times removed, **not** an ancestor.

Nearly all Trees on Ancestry are compilations lifted from other Trees that include jillions of purported cousins. Most of these are completely wrong as to ancestry and relationships (some of them deliberately jiggered to link impossible relationships).

Many of these are results of incorporating Erroneous Ancestry Hints based on the most infamous genealogical error, “same name = same person.”

Please substitute the phrase “possible relatives” for “ancestors” in all future material about his project.

July 29, 2009 at 7:36 am
Jade 

David, you say,

“On profile pages in your tree you’ll have a Recent Activity list.”

There are no ‘profile’ pages, though there are “overview” pages for individuals.

Please tell us how to delete the annoying “Recent Member Connect Activity” box from the Overview pages.

First one I saw was for a 2nd cousin 4 times removed. Oh, and exactly 2 other persons have been actually researching my actual *ancestors* in this line. Whereas the Trees including this lineage are all hugely muddled with Erroneous Ancestry Hints to add bad genealogical material. The most silly erroneous bits are of course incorporated in OneWorldTree.

This is a Very Aggravating User Experience.

July 29, 2009 at 8:06 am
Jade 

David,

You say we can see “recent research activity about your ancestors.”

And you say “. . . . you’ll find a full list of all of the site activity related to your ancestors, including activity around records you have saved, corrected, or commented on as well as activity from connections made in your family tree. We’re working on additional options to filter this list, but in the meantime if you find that your list is too full we suggest just checking the Recent Activity list on the profile pages for specific ancestors in your tree that you’re interested in.”

Okay, I “checked the Recent Activity list” but see no way to delete any of the 20-odd listings of misguided persons who have added erroneous other Trees to their tree and see no way to delete any of this trash.

It has nothing at all to do with “records research,” and there is no way to tell if these tree vampires even share an ancestor.

Please allow us to delete this frightful mess.

July 29, 2009 at 8:25 am
Nancy 

Two questions:

When we “connect,” is that just for the one individual or is it for the whole tree of the member we connected with?

Is there a way to ignore a whole tree, for example those who have copied my tree and come up on every one of my possible connections?

July 29, 2009 at 8:26 am
Vivian 

Today I suddenly see new “JUNK” at the top of the screen when I want to go immediately to one of my personal family trees. All this so-called Recent Member Connect Activity is just taking up space on my home page. Haven’t you people at ancestry.com been paying attention to those of us who are trying to do serious ressearch? I do not care what others are doing on all these totally unrelated individuals that somehow ancestry’s inefficient search engines presumes to be related to my ancestry. UGH is my reaction.

July 29, 2009 at 8:30 am
Jade 

David,

The items in ‘member connect’ are Tree activity that I have already clicked to ignore.

Please enable deleting this stuff entirely.

July 29, 2009 at 8:41 am
bromaelor 

I don’t want ‘Big Brother’ watching every single move I make on Ancestry and sending this information to people I don’t know!

“Recent activity from other members related to your family history research”: Absolute rubbish! I’ve never heard of, let alone made contact with, many of the users appearing in my “Recent Member Connect Activity”!!!!!! The activity of users adding details to their PRIVATE members trees are also being listed!

It’s not obvious but I’ve now found the opt-out page:
https://secure.ancestry.com/myaccount/activityprefs.aspx

July 29, 2009 at 8:46 am
Jade 

bromaelor’s link in #9 unfortunately is not a link allowing opting out of having Ancestry.com install the ‘Member Connect’ trash on the Overview page for every individual in your tree (including Tree Hints that you have already clicked to *Ignore*).

We need at least a quick link on each Individual Overview page to opt-out of Member Connect Notifications.

Please.

July 29, 2009 at 9:17 am
Valerie 

Personally, I’m loving these new features. It’s so easy to correct indexes and I’m excited to be able to find others researching the same ancestors.

A few remarks to the negative comments:

– You can remove the member connect box from your home page. Click the “Customize Your Homepage” link at the top right of the home page. Click the trash can image on any section you don’t like, or click the arrows to move a section down the page.

– Aren’t these “connections” created based off of information that we’ve uploaded to our trees or saved in some way? If you weren’t interested in these people, why are these ancestors in your trees? And if ancestry trees are so bad – why do have one?

Not trying to be negative, but I never understand why people complain about the trees and their features, but still use them. Any why assume that “all” trees are bad – they aren’t.

July 29, 2009 at 9:31 am
Nancy 

I found that you can at least move the “Recent Member Connect Activity” down to the bottom of your home page by customizing your page.

July 29, 2009 at 9:32 am
bromaelor 

Jade, switching off the details on your own home pages is relatively easy! The link I pointed out allows you to stop Ancestry sending out details of your movements to all and sundry! This is hidden in the small-print!

July 29, 2009 at 9:48 am
Jade 

bromaelor, your #13 — your helpful intention is appreciated.

I don’t ever use the so-called Home Page since I bookmark the sites I use in my browser (no waiting for the HP and its ads to load, etc., just go straight to business). So what is on the HP is not especially relevant for me, though it certainly is for others.

I also don’t especially care whether others see what I post, etc. That’s all public anyway.

What I would like is
–to Opt Out of having the garish and annoying Member Connect box on the individual Overview Pages;
–or a way to delete it from each individual Overview Page,
–or at least a way to *delete* the items in the Member Connect Box from the box itself, without having to click “Ignore” **in duplicate** the Tree activity notifications in that box as well as in Erroneous Ancestry Hints.

I don’t want to have to look at them before “ignoring” them. They raise my blood pressure with their utter (non-researched) stupidity. They make me very depressed by reminding me of the state of genealojunk expansion promoted by Ancestry.com.

This part of the Tree redesign is just more redundant annoyance.

I have no interest in knowing that more misguided individuals have added erroneous Tree stuff to their Trees.

I have no interest in knowing that some person added an 1870 US Federal Census item to one of my 5th cousins 3 or 4 times removed.

Best wishes,
Jade

July 29, 2009 at 10:09 am
Mary Beth Marchant 

David, the first comment I have for this is:GET RID OF ONEWORLDTREE. It is an abomination and you already know that. Why Ancestry perpetuates this is something I cannot understand. I understand that in the FTM 2009 links that OneWorldTree links were eliminated. So, why in the world do you perpetuate that mess.

Comment 2-I have already opted out of people seeing what I am researching. That is on a need to know basis and they do not need to know.

July 29, 2009 at 11:52 am
Mary Beth Marchant 

Another comment regarding Updated records. We have all asked for an explanation as to just what was updated. Still we do not get that. Did you update a name, change a spelling or were substantial records added. We need to know that, not just that something was updated. Ancestry still has its corporate head in the sand when it comes to really giving we subscribers what we need. We do not need social networking.

July 29, 2009 at 11:56 am
Jade 

David,

Now I am seeing two contradictory messages in the same aggravating Member Connect box:

“You have 13 new possible connections researching [name deleted]. See details”

and–
“There are currently no recent activity items about Coverdale “Coverdell” “Coverdill” Cole. As you connect to more members researching [name deleted] we will have more activity to tell you about here.”

What on earth does this second message mean?

How many years back does the MC program go, to retrieve Useless Ancestry Tree Activity?

What does “recent” mean?

Please explain what exactly the second message means.

Thank you.

July 29, 2009 at 12:25 pm
Jade 

David,

In the “Connections” tab it says:

“See which other Ancestry members you’ve added to your network for Hynson Cole and what they have in their public tree.”

I did not click to connect with these people’s erroneous trees and did nothing to make a ‘connection’ with them. What are they doing there?

Since the Tree design has put “Comments” out of sight, there is no way to discuss particular items of historical fact while viewing the material.

So who has invented this nutty idea that persons listed in this tab have anything to do with a ‘network’? Someone has a very rich fantasy life.

Look up “idealist” in the dictionary.

But please explain how these people got listed in that tab.

July 29, 2009 at 1:14 pm
Andy Hatchett 

ve one comment about the new Member Connect feature… ARRRRRGGGHHH!

It is bad enough that the member trees are filled with junk. Now Ancestry becomes a willing partner in spreading that junk to everyone- no matter what they want!

David- *please* take a hint from Kenny Freestone’s recent playboook concerning the layout of the new overview page, *listen* to your users and rectify this mess!

btw- I fear the new corrections feature will end up just exactly link the new member connect, no quality control on what is submitted and junkology spread throughout the entire system.

Play with your benighted member trees all you want but please-PLEASE_ leave official document out of the mix.

July 29, 2009 at 1:19 pm
David Graham 

Thanks to everyone for your feedback on this new feature. We hope to continue to improve it so that it is as helpful as possible to as many members as possible.

Here are some updates and clarifications that hopefully address a number of the items raised in various comments:

– We will only include something on a Recent Activity list for you if you are connected to it in some way. For example, we would only let you know about another member saving a record if you had also saved, commented on, or corrected that record in the past, or if you were connected to the other member’s ancestor through your tree on Ancestry (e.g., you saved information from them in the past).

– Though a lot of the research activity on the site is within the Ancestry member trees, we will also let you know about other research activities on the site, such as if another member makes a comment or correction to a record for your ancestor.

– We recognize that for some of you who have done a lot of research on Ancestry.com, either with a large family tree or having saved many records in the past, there may be a lot of activity listed on your Recent Activity list. Some of this may be very interesting to you, and some of it may not be interesting at all. We are actively looking at ways to make it easier for you to filter or sort through the list and get to the items that are most relevant to you and your research.

– The recent activity items will only go back as far as July 20th. We don’t have the information available from before then.

– When you connect to or ignore a potential connection it is just for a single ancestor in another member’s tree. We don’t currently have an option to connect or ignore at a larger scale, such as multiple generations or a whole tree.

– To answer Jade’s specific question (#17), the first message you included is indicating that we have found matches for your ancestor in other public member trees and that there are other members you may want to connect with. The second message is just indicating that we’re not aware of any recent research activity that other members have done on the site relating to the specific ancestor you are looking at.

– You may find that you already have connections listed for a specific ancestor. This would be based on Ancestry Hints you accepted from another member tree, or other actions you took to save information from another member tree. If you are not interested in these connections you have saved information from, you can always click on the Remove link to remove them from your Connections list.

– As I mentioned in my blog post, we want everyone to be comfortable with what is or isn’t shared about your activity on the site. To update your activity privacy settings just click on the link I included in the blog post (https://secure.ancestry.com/myaccount/activityprefs.aspx).

– As has been noted in comments here, we have tried to make sure that the Member Connect feature doesn’t have to get in your way if you are not finding value in it. The box on the homepage can be easily moved down your page or turned off. The box on the Overview page for ancestor profile pages in your tree cannot be customized, but we have tried to make sure that it doesn’t take up too large a portion of the page.

As I mentioned before, we would love your feedback. Just email us at memberconnectfeedback@ancestry.com. We’d especially like feedback about which types of activity items you are finding valuable and which ones you’re not.

Thanks for your patience as we continue to improve this new feature. We are excited about it and hope that it helps many of you make new connections and new discoveries in your family history research.

July 29, 2009 at 1:26 pm
Jade 

David, re: your #20

Thank you for the explanations.

You say, “– You may find that you already have connections listed for a specific ancestor. This would be based on Ancestry Hints you accepted from another member tree, or other actions you took to save information from another member tree. If you are not interested in these connections you have saved information from, you can always click on the Remove link to remove them from your Connections list.”

Possibly that was the intention, but since I have not saved information from anyone else’s tree *ever*, that is not the entire reason for these occurrences.

In most cases I am one of 2 or 3 people who have done actual records research in Courthouses and Archives concerning these relatives, and not a single one of the ‘connected’ persons is among the number of actual researchers. They give wrong parentage, wrong spouse name, etc. In many cases they can’t even spell the names of the wrong places of birth and burial given for these folks (trying to laugh, without much success).

These Connections appear not only in ancestors’ pages but also in those of many extremely distant cousins.

So while what you say may be true as far as it goes in many instances (not in my tree), it is not the full solution to the puzzle.

Thank you again,
Jade

July 29, 2009 at 2:13 pm
David Graham 

Jade,

Thanks for the extra details. We’ll look into this. If we need additional details I may reach out to your directly.

Thanks,
David Graham

July 29, 2009 at 2:21 pm
Jade 

David,

PS on your #20 responding to my #17: you say, “The second message is just indicating that we’re not aware of any recent research activity that other members have done on the site relating to the specific ancestor you are looking at.”

David I cannot emphasize too strongly that this stuff is not appearing just on the pages for

A n c e s t o r s

It is appearing on the pages for all manner of cousins, including persons who never bore children.

So please get the idea of it’s applying to just

A n c e s t o r s

out of your mind. Think sundry jillions of relatives, those with common ancestry as well as the

S p o u s e s of c o u s i n s

O t h e r S p o u s e s
of
c o u s i n s’ . . . s p o u s e s

and so forth.

Thank you again.

July 29, 2009 at 2:26 pm
Annie 

I must be in the minority of wanting other people to find me. On both my husbands and my tree almost everyone is dead. The family bible and pictures are long gone. I look for clues in Ancestry and every other web site I can. Most of these records are in some courthouse or Archive clear across the United States or across an ocean. They are not indexed yet. To find a relative is a goal – no matter how times removed or how distant.

I understand not wanting your tree & research copied willy-nilly. But also allow for the fact that not everyone is an irresponsible jerk. On the few occasions that I have found a tree that matches, I use the information to verify MY research. I take this genealogy thing seriously because I am trying to find family.

I have sent messages to ‘Private’ member trees to see if there is a connection or to give a correction to them. Do they respond — NO. Not even a ‘Thanks, but no thanks’. If they don’t want to be bothered then why did they post your tree to begin with?

Ancestry is a for profit business and I believe that they are trying to help people connect with their families. Not all changes will make everyone happy but there are some of us who just want to get answers.

Ann

July 29, 2009 at 3:45 pm
Andy Hatchett 

RE: #15 Mary Beth

I agree completely!

Nothing demonstrates the need to consign the OneWorldTree to the garbage heap of failed experiments more than the new member connet silliness.

That complete database should be wiped clean and the space used for somethig useful- and *anything* would be more useful that OneWorldTree!

If even Ancestry has given up on linking FTM to it then why inflict it on anyone??

Ancestry- do a RAOGK and junk the OneWorldTree in its entirety… and do it *now*. The real genealogists of the world will thank you!

July 29, 2009 at 4:45 pm
Chris Gibson 

What a total mess the changes have made to what was a good site…I won’t renew my subscription

July 29, 2009 at 5:06 pm
Randy Majors 

Great enhancement and great way to leverage the ancestry.com member community!

I wasn’t a fan of the recent changes made to the online family tree pages (lots of change and added complexity with no discernable benefit — it would be great to revert to the previous design). However, this Member Connect functionality will be very valuable in helping to connect with others researching my same ancestors (or their siblings).

Keep up the good work.

July 29, 2009 at 5:39 pm
Joanne Sholes 

Well, I was surprised when I opened my ancestry page today… it was absolutely cluttered with RECENT MEMBER CONNECT ACTIVITY. My gosh, what a mess. Thanks for nothing. There is too much clutter with stuff I care nothing about. Your clutter is making this a very annoying website.

July 29, 2009 at 7:33 pm
Ssuan 

Now let’s see – if I wanted to see if anyone had my “person of interest” in their tree, I would do a search of trees. Now you’re doing it for me. No, thanks.

July 29, 2009 at 7:56 pm
Joanne Sholes 

OK one last comment and then I’ll let it go… does “Recent Member Connect Activity” have to eat up one quarter of my home page?

July 29, 2009 at 7:57 pm
Annie 

Well after 2 hours of looking at my family and checking the Member Connections I have found other people researching distant family and/or spouses of my distant family.
I do not see a problem with this. It is all of the family trees that I would have searched anyway looking for relatives. Now they seem to be easier to find – just like a ‘hint’.

My home page has no clutter so I don’t know why so many of you folks do.

Bottom line – I like the Member Connect.

July 29, 2009 at 8:16 pm
Lisa 

I like the new Member Connect features of the site. Great job.

Now if we could just get a tree specific view for the tree with a tab on the tree overview page so that the tree members can see the tree activity.

July 29, 2009 at 8:37 pm
joannesholes 

When I open my homepage the first thing I see now is the Recent Member Connect Activity box which takes up one quarter of my page. I spent time trying to find the common ancestor on several trees and finally gave up. There were twenty five to check out… I am not going to take that kind of time. My tree is posted on ancestry and roots. I use the message boards etc. It works for me and I often connect with other researchers or have been contacted by them.

If the new Recent Member Connect Activity works for others great, but how do I get it off my home page or at least minimize it and get it off the top of my page.

July 29, 2009 at 9:20 pm
joannesholes 

Thank you… I followed the directions and have deleated the Member Connect option from my home page… my bad… shyould have found it earlier

July 29, 2009 at 9:43 pm
David Graham 

Thanks for the continued feedback and discussion about Member Connect. I just wanted to chime in with a few more comments…

– Jade – Thanks for sharing your feedback about the word “ancestors.” We often refer to all of the individuals in a family tree as ancestors, but as you point out many individuals in a family tree may not be direct ancestors, or even ancestors at all. We’ll work to be more clear in our wording.

– Along these lines, we also recognize that research activity around direct ancestors will usually be more interesting and relevant than research activity around other individuals in your tree. We are working on ways to try and make it easier to get straight to these more relevant activity items. Until we are able to make enhancements around this, one of the easiest ways to learn about the activity around a specific direct ancestor is to check the Recent Activity list for that specific person on their profile page in your tree.

– As for the Recent Member Connect Activity section on the homepage, as has been discussed if you customize your homepage this box can be moved lower on the page or even turned off. If you are concerned about the amount of space the box is taking, we are planning to refine the design a little bit so that it does not take more space than it needs to. As I mentioned above, we are working to enhance this list to make it easier to find the most relevant activity. So if you aren’t finding it valuable now, you might in the future. I would hope you would check it again after we make more enhancements.

July 29, 2009 at 10:10 pm
Mary Beth Marchant 

Well, it looks like y’all have managed once again to screw things up for us. Guess what, the new census crap for decade 1870 will not print at all using IE8. I can print using Firefox but not IE 8. Thanks again guys.

July 30, 2009 at 1:12 am
Mary Beth Marchant 

I just turned off that member connect activity too. I don’t want some great big thing screwing up my home page.

July 30, 2009 at 1:47 am
carolyn hill 

DO NOT LIKE MEMBER CONNECT.Does this have to be the first thing I see when I connect? It’s like having a pop up. If I want to connect to these people I’ll e-mail.

July 30, 2009 at 6:02 am
Sally Hubbard 

What has happened, my tree is no longer on my home page. I have over 7,000 relatives listed…Where did they go. I don’t like this and am thinking of quitting Ancestry after over 10 years on it…Too much money for this hassle!

July 30, 2009 at 8:08 am
Nancy 

Under “Research Interests” in that right pane, when I click the link (e.g. Brock in Virginia; 4 researchers) it says:

“Sorry, there were no results found.”

Why?

July 30, 2009 at 10:51 am
David Graham 

I just had a few more specific updates…

– Mary Beth (#36) – We recently discovered a printing bug in IE 8 thanks to feedback from you and others. We hope to have a fix rolled out next week. Thanks for your patience with this.

– Sally (#39) – Your tree section should still be on your homepage, but the new Recent Member Connection Activity may be above it and pushing it down. As I mentioned before, we are working to make this section take less space on the homepage. You can also move it down on your homepage by clicking on the “Customize your homepage” button. If the Tree section is not showing up at all please email us at memberconnectfeedback@ancestry.com.

– Nancy (#40) – We have found a bug where in some cases the Research Interests link on a record is not bringing up the proper results. We hope to have this fixed in the next week or two. In the meantime you can always do a manual search in the Member Directory to find the right matching members. Thanks for your patience with this.

July 30, 2009 at 11:33 am
Jade 

David,

Still on Member Connect as implemented in the redesigned Tree person pages.

The most aggravating thing is the redundancy of most of the Tree pereson pages: 2 to 4 ways to get to the same result, some much more trouble than others.

In that last category is the Member Connect business.

The ugly box.

The only way to make it smaller and less garish is to click ‘ignore’ on each individual item.

What’s so aggravating is that when the V e r y . S a m e . T r e e . I t e m s . are conveyed as ‘Hints’ you can “ignore” with *one* (uno) (a single) click and get rid of them at least for a while. They do come back.

With Member Connect you can’t get rid of 10 or 22 at a time. You have to click on each one.

And, by the way, I have found many more examples where absolutely No tree ‘Hint’ has been accepted yet there are Trees in the “Connected” list. Grrr.

I don’t have time to do 10 to 40 clicks **Per Individual** to Reject connections with these purported connections with 6th-generation pirated gedcoms full of misinformation.

And the ‘reject’ process is quite slow because it involves re-displaying the whole list without the last one rejected. And the links don’t work very well.

So those ugly boxes will stay there. They will get fuller and fuller as more non-researchers pirate more trees. Or when some actual researcher attaches a so-called ‘record’ (Ancestry.com excerpt from a Census image or whatever) to their relative who matches a distant relative in my tree. What a horrorshow.

The single useful element in all this is the check-list box in the Connected page where you can specify what notifications you want (concerning activities of the owners of the trees on that list).

If that check-list could be made global for all incoming Tree dreck, to select what kind of Member Connect info you want to be notified of, that would be a helpful feature to at least maximize usefulness.

I am glad that you now have it in mind that these Member Connect notifications are Tree-wide.

In many, if not most, Trees this means there will be constant notifications regarding persons who are spouses of distant relatives, and most will not be helpful notifications concerning *Ancestors*. In my tree, about 8% of the persons are ancestors. That means 92% of the notifications are not about Ancestors, and many will be about people who are not related at all (say, first or 2nd spouses of a distant cousin’s 2nd husband).

If I’d had a clue that you were going to do this Member Connect madness, I would not have added all those persons “for the record”.

A single link to ‘reject’ all items in the Member Connect box would be the most useful feature of all.

All help appreciated!

July 30, 2009 at 11:42 am
Connie 

It seems that that Member Connect and Ancestry Hints-Trees are the same thing. Now I have to go to both to hit ignore. Can’t you simply let us search for our connections when we want to? I did that in the past and was very pleased with the response I received and the sharing that resulted. I like to look at others trees just in case there is a true connection; however, I want to look when I choose to…not have it forced on me in order to make the leaves stop shaking or because of the “all or nothing” sort of settings for Member Connect. If you are going to use Member Connect, get rid of the trees hints or vice versa. To have both is a waste of our time. Surely there are plenty of other things you can work on!
I suggest that you create a way to easily click on record hints ONLY and to shut off the tree hints.

July 30, 2009 at 5:33 pm
Nancy 

Following up on Connie’s post (#43), it seems that this would be a great opportunity to make the hints (and hints tab)consist of records only and have the tree hints contained in the Member Connect tab.

That would help satisfy those who want their hints to not include the trees. And it would keep us from having to “ignore” the trees/hints/member connect in multiple places.

July 30, 2009 at 5:55 pm
Tom Sommer 

Find customize your homepage. Click it. Then find the pic of the trash can in the member connect area. Click the trah can its GONE. Click Exit customize….

July 30, 2009 at 6:03 pm
Jeff Ford 

A huge waste of time and effort. I deleted it from my home page.

July 30, 2009 at 7:13 pm
John Hirschmann 

First — I am only seeing this feature if I click on Collaborate — so that is good. However, I am being told about activity about people I have never heard of and their surname is not anywhere in my trees — I double checked to make sure. Why???

Also, I am editor to three trees. I hope i am not being given activity on tree for which I simply have visiting privileges — becuase we do have shared interests and people are NOT those that are common to both trees.

You are introducing far too many features all at once — too fast for your customers to absorb.

In your desire to put every possible bell and whistle in — you are making it too challenging to use for many and risk driving those customers away — I think you need to do some strategic thinking. Just because you can does NOT mean you should put a feature in.

Or let the customers turn the features on when they are ready for them — not when you have them finished.

The comments on this blog and others strongly suggest many (most) are veing overwhelmed and are getting frustrated — that is not the outcome you are seeking.

July 31, 2009 at 4:23 am
Lisa 

47 Written by:
John Hirschmann

John, we have been waiting for these features for years. Keep up the great work Ancestry!

Yes, I would like to be able to filter by tree as well, but I do want to see all trees I am a member of, but one or two at a time.

Thanks

July 31, 2009 at 9:04 am
Nancy 

It seems that many of these issues would have been lessened if you had had the webinar immediately to explain how the changes work. If people weren’t frantically trying to find things that are still there but in a different place, and if they knew how to move/delete/change features they don’t want (yet?), etc., you would have many fewer angry customers.

If you want to have a more in-depth webinar 3 or 4 weeks later when people have had a chance to use the features, do that, too. But I think with all the anger you have seen on all of these blogs over the abrupt changes rolled out in the past few weeks, you should give some consideration to more education before and as the changes occur.

Oh, and I also agree that more beta testing would be a great improvement. With all the different OS/browser combinations, surely more testing by more people would help make the roll-outs more successful.

July 31, 2009 at 10:21 am
David Graham 

Again, thanks for the continued feedback. Just a few more comments…

– Multiple people have suggested filtering the Recent Activity list based on a specific tree. That is a great suggestion and we’re looking into doing this or something similar.

– We do notify editors of a tree about activity in the tree they are invited to, as well as about connections to that tree. We do not notify contributors or guests. While this is perfect for some editors, we recognize that other editors will be completely uninterested in seeing this activity. We are hoping that a tree filter (as mentioned above) or something similar can help here.

– Thanks for the feedback about sharing more information on how to use new features and how they work. We want to continually get better at this. I will try to make a more detailed post about Member Connect later today or tomorrow to share more information on how everything works and how to take full advantage of it.

July 31, 2009 at 11:21 am
Arthur Granbury 

“I will try to make a more detailed post about Member Connect later today or tomorrow to share more information on how everything works and how to take full advantage of it.”

If you have to do that, its too convoluted, confusing, clunky and catastrophic to begin with. New features should JUST WORK ….. without having to read an encyclopedia to understand.

July 31, 2009 at 1:12 pm
Allison Saxman 

Member Connect – not sure if I like it but here’s my problem with it…

Ancestry must NOT be using only a submitted tree to advise us on the recent connections because I don’t have a tree on ancestry! On purpose! Well, actually I do have some of my info that was incorporated into World Family Tree either from a stupidly posted gedcom from years ago when I was dumb, stupid & new to reseaching from rootsweb or from ancestry.

They *must* be using info from either my “people I’m looking for” or from my “shoebox” – can’t yet tell which. These and “research interests” are the only places I’ve used to mark my reseach interests.

The problem – “people I’m looking for” has a nice little button to see who else is interested in that person, but everyone (almost without exception) on those lists have “tied in” to my old erroneous info from WFT! Since there are thousands (literally) of other people claiming “my” people, there is no way I’m going to contact them to tell them they have wrong info – I’ll just use that as a way to identify those who are collectors as opposed to “real” researchers.

As I already stated, I’m assuming (could be wrong) Ancestry is using those above lists to alert me to possible member connections, and the problem is that I would like to add specific people to the “people I’m looking for” list and cannot.

I also cannot update any of them (as of today) – found errors on my own list that need to be fixed.

I wouldn’t mind this member connect thing so much if we could be given a tool that would allow users to select which people (or if from a tree, a branch) we want to hear about if someone finds a document.

I do not use ancestry to store my tree info and will never do it, after seeing what happened with WFT – which I think is a huge joke! And the suggested connections???? Give me a break. None has ever been right on “my” old gedcom! But I’ve seen people plug them into their trees and it looks like fact.

Anyway, I’ve never posted before and probably should have. I’ve been using ancestry since 2000 and am just about fed up with it. Perhaps if I dug deep enough, I’d find that someone else has already complained about the “people I’m looking for” problem, but since I don’t have a tree that I’m working from, the only possible place ancestry could be “getting” my names is from there, and I can’t even add to it and can’t correct it!

Grr…thanks for any help anyone can give me!

July 31, 2009 at 2:12 pm
Margaret Cline Harmon 

I would like to address Jade about all the tree are “compilations lifted from other Trees that include jillions of purported cousins”. This is NOT TRUE. My cousin and I have added sources to our tree and when in doubt we DO NOT ADD other people’s information.

2ndly I would like to ask why I can not save documents to my home computer and only on line (Ancestry.com) What do I need FamilyTree 2009 for if I can’t duplicate my tree on-line and my personal computer?

July 31, 2009 at 3:01 pm
Mary Kathryn 

It has been my pleasure to meet with cousins formerly unkn to me through Ancestry. Just this past month I traveled to Elkins, West Virginia, from St. Louis for an Irish music week. In Pittsburgh I stayed over to meet with a 3rd cousin for dinner and family discussion. What a thrill this was for me to meet someone who shares the same name as my great-grandmother and her gr-gr-aunt.

We both discovered that we have some of the same physical features, and we both inherited the family gift of gab!! No shy ones here!!

We found that our grandmothers, who were 1st cousins, gave us exactly some of the same information. I filled her in on some of the family stories that I knew and she did the same for me.

Soon, we will find the elusive county, parish, and townland from which our great-great-parents originated. Then it is off to Ireland to meet the 4th, 5th and 6th cousins!!!

Thanks for making this possible!!
Mary Kathryn

July 31, 2009 at 3:52 pm
Daphne_Burgess 

I just hate these recent member connect activity, please
HOW CAN I GET RID OF THEM as they have nothing what so ever to do with my family tree.
Daphne.
N.Z.

July 31, 2009 at 4:57 pm
Lenny 

I love the new Member Connect features. I have found no issues with them other than I would like to filter by tree. For all those who don’t see any value, just ignore it and don’t use it.

July 31, 2009 at 5:48 pm
Gary 

I want to thank Ancestry.com for the Member Connect Service. I think it is great and in time more features will be added to make it even better. For those who complain or do not want this service…just put it in the trash.
More constructive comments from members who find “bugs”, want filters or other enhancements, would benefit everyone.

July 31, 2009 at 7:33 pm
Mary Hardin 

I have page after page of other members who have added census information to their trees. Why do I care when as I work through my people ,I can do the same with no prompting from anyone else? Or for that matter really care what they are doing.

I also reviewed the 70 new possible connections for others researching one of my ancestors and as I looked through the details, the “conflicting” information from many other members is wrong. Why would I want to spend my time comparing my documented information against that of other members who clearly need to do some further research?

That said, I can see the value of member connecting and periodically I look at other trees to see if I am missing a connection, but again I do not need the clutter that goes along with this new enhancement.

July 31, 2009 at 10:16 pm
Judy 

For all those folks who wanted to delete the erroneous info and hints, all you need to do is click on the hint, then you are offered an option to attach or ignore it. I usually check to see if any of the links to other member trees are backed by records. If so, I look at the record itself and determine if it is useful. I can add or ignore it from that point.
Prior to the new MemberConnect feature being installed, I had already been e-mailing back and forth with a couple of other people researching the same family lines. They show up automatically on my member connect now, which just makes things easier.
To the naysayers, I say, “Big deal”. Ancestry just offered another possible place to start. It’s up to you to decide whether or not you want to use it. Don’t get it taken down just to annoy those of us who do use it.

July 31, 2009 at 10:30 pm
Ancestry.com Blog - » More Details and Tips about Member Connect in Family Trees 

[...] is a follow-up to my original post introducing Member Connect.  The area of the site with the most Member Connect features is family trees, so I wanted to give [...]

August 1, 2009 at 8:12 am
David Graham 

I just wanted to let everyone know that I made a more detailed post about how Member Connect works within family trees on Ancestry.com. It is a pretty long post, but if you are interested you can read it here:

http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2009/08/01/more-details-and-tips-about-member-connect-in-family-trees/

I’ll be closing comments on this post, but you are welcome to continue to give us feedback about Member Connect on the new blog post, or at memberconnectfeedback@ancestry.com.

August 1, 2009 at 8:15 am
Ancestry.com Blog - » Member Connect: Discover More by Connecting … | LineageArea.Com 

[...] Continued here:  Ancestry.com Blog – » Member Connect: Discover More by Connecting … [...]

August 3, 2009 at 9:08 am
Zalewski Family Genealogy » Blog Archive » Tell Me Thursday: Firmenich Family 

[...] of the Internet, I came into possession of this digital photo. I saw via Ancestry.com’s new “Member Connect” feature that another user was researching my 3rd-great-grandparents, Mathias & Paulina Firmenich. I [...]

August 6, 2009 at 6:56 am
More Details and Tips about Member Connect in Family Trees – My Videos 

[...] is a follow-up to my original post introducing Member Connect.  The area of the site with the most Member Connect features is family trees, so I wanted to give [...]

August 6, 2009 at 9:02 am