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This month’s member story (a.k.a. your newsletter feedback at work)

Posted by Jeanie Croasmun on August 1, 2011 in Ancestry.com Site

I love hearing about people’s research success stories. What I didn’t realize is how much so many of you do, too. But after reading all of the comments asking us to bring back the member stories we formerly featured in our newsletter, I now know better.

While we work on a permanent place to showcase these fantastic stories (featuring one per month never seems enough to me), we’ll continue featuring them in our newsletter. You’ll find this month’s in our Tips and Tools section – appropriate since one of the best ways to learn about using Ancestry.com is to find out from other people who do, too.

About last month’s naming survey: we’re combing through the great write-in candidates as well as the top vote-getter (it’s still a surprise) before we make the final announcement. Expect to see our newsletter’s new name front and center in the September 2011 issue. And be sure to answer this month’s short survey about what you want to see more of in this newsletter. You’ll find a link to the survey in the Your Turn section.

That brings me to my next point: please keep sharing your opinions. I personally received thousands of emails after the July issue of our newsletter – so many that I’m still trying to wade through them all. That, however, is a good problem because each note contained a valuable suggestion for a way we could make the newsletter and Ancestry.com serve you even better. So continue sending me your feedback, comments, stories and suggestions. You can reach me directly at jeanie@ancestry.com.

About Jeanie Croasmun
Jeanie Croasmun has been working at Ancestry.com while futilely attempting to prove the horse thief story in her family history for over seven years. During that time, she learned enough about her family to determine that the story is likely a great work of fiction. But the search continues ...

35 comments

Comments
1 Doris SaundersAugust 1, 2011 at 9:29 am

I enjoy Ancestry.com very much. You continue to add helpful information. I would like to connect to the recent stories.photos etc which have been added by members/connections. I cannot seem to find it. Will you help me? I am also having trouble with the homepage of my two family trees; the pedigree and family displays are illegible; they are just a mass of jumbled lines/characters. D Saunders

2 MarlettesAugust 1, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Jeannie,
The newsletter is great! Like what you are trying to accomplish.
I would like to see an article talking about how to correct an error in a family member relationship in your tree.
What happens is that it gets copied so many times it becomes a fact!
I’ve seen this happen and read about others who have complained but there is no great way to communicate the facts.
Sunny Hugs Marlettes

3 BrittAugust 1, 2011 at 2:51 pm

Thanks! I welcome the user-driven changes and always look forward to the newsletter’s links and new collections featured in the monthly newsletter, but have two constructive suggestions:

1. *** Make it more relevant! *** Segment and target your users with two or more consistent (monthly) versions, based on experience level.

E.g., I have been researching my family for more than 10 years now, and while I’m still interested in the tips and tricks, family success stories, the “getting started” type of content is not at all relevant.

And someone who is new to genealogy should receive that entry-level “getting started” content, without getting bogged down by the more advanced stuff.

That said, give users the choice to sign up for both versions if they want. :)

2. *** Clearly disclose what is vs. what is not Ancestry *** I was quite disappointed with the falsely-advertised “U.S., Confederate Compiled Service Records, 1861-1865″ featured in the May newsletter.

Listed under “New Civil War Collections at Ancestry.com” was the following paragraph: “U.S., Confederate Compiled Service Records, 1861-1865 Compiled service records (CSRs) are files of cards that abstract original military records of an individual soldier and can provide you a quick view of an ancestor’s military service.”

This is actually not a collection AT Ancestry.com. The collection is hosted on a different site, with content provided by Footnote.com, which requires a separate paid membership.

If you’re going to advertise for Footnote.com, please clearly disclose this, or consider featuring this in a separate “Content from our partners” section.

4 Debi BakerAugust 1, 2011 at 3:01 pm

I am trying to figure out ‘how’ to locate some family photos that were ‘sold’ in an estate auction after my grandparent’s passed. My grandfather passed in December of 1993 and the following spring/summer (1994) there was an estate auction. The location was Odessa, Lafayette, Missouri. At the time, I wasn’t so into my family history and didn’t give it a thought about these pictures being ‘sold’ to a stranger. Can you help me with ideas about how I might locate the buyer or the photos? I have no idea who the photos may have been of, only that they were family. I don’t remember who the auction company was or the buyer, for that matter.

I appreciate any help you may offer.

Thanks,
Debi Baker

5 D A FoxAugust 1, 2011 at 5:56 pm

Debbie Baker,
You didn’t leave any way to contact you directly. Find out which auction companies were in business in the area of Odessa at that time. Narrow it down from there by calling each and seeing what records they have.
If nothing turns up, put an ad in a local paper, asking anyone who attended the auction to contact you. Talk to neighbors and your grandparents friends or their kids about who might have bought the photos. Go to antique and flea markets in the area. They might be there.
Good luck,
Dale-Ann

6 Carol A. H.August 1, 2011 at 6:40 pm

Debbie:

You might also contact the local genealogical and historical societies. The photos may still be in the area.

7 Ernestine TaborAugust 1, 2011 at 9:15 pm

I wish you had a place to notify people of something found. I found a family bible in an antique shop in Starke, Florida. It was William Beemer and Louise Lang’s bible from Pa. I have tried in vain to find someone in their family to give it to. I bought it because I could not stand to see it just laying there. ($107.00 to be exact) but I would like to find it’s people. It has some great photo’s in the back of the bible (16 of them) of their family as well as birth,death info. I will keep looking. I would love to find one of my family. How could something so precious just end up in an antique shop?

8 Pat SecordAugust 2, 2011 at 5:04 am

Regarding Debbie #4 – It always saddens me when I wander through an antique shop and see so many photos for sale. I always wonder who they are or belonged to. When cleaning out my in-law’s house, we found a box of very old photos (of course, none of them were identified!). Sadly, not one person in his large family was interested in them. I grabbed the box before it was tossed out, and am now trying to figure out who they are. Debbie, good luck with your search – comments #5 & #6 have given you some great advice!

9 VirginiaAugust 2, 2011 at 10:39 am

Maybe I’m missing something, but I can’t find Tips and Tools or Your turn, that you mention above. Can you tell me where they are?

10 Kirk SellmanAugust 2, 2011 at 12:36 pm

Ernistine & Pat – Be sure to scan the pictures and post them with where you got them and as much information as you have. Pictures should be shared, not stored away.

11 Jean WardAugust 2, 2011 at 1:17 pm

I agree with No. 3, Britt, 1 August, his item 2 about the Footnote.com information being mixed in with Ancestry’s Civil War records. They should NOT be there, but listed under Partner’s Content, as it is a waste of precious search time, to sift thru the ones we paid for, only to be sidetracked by advertising.

Also, when a census record is picked up from my family sources, and that person makes a correction to that census,(such as transcription error), it would be better to list only ONE comment, not list each correction to each family member listed in that census, to my Member Connect list. If it is automatic, then I digress (some families are very large!)

Regarding old photos, it is amazing how many albums are filled with no information. I had two. One way I have attempted to reach descendants is to post the photos at Ancestry under the aunt or uncle or grandparents whose album they came from originally.

I really enjoy and use much of the helpful information in the newsletter. Thanks!

12 Pat SecordAugust 2, 2011 at 5:02 pm

Jean – that’s a great idea to add the picture to another person – hopefully, someone might see that and pass on the correct info. Kirk – absolutely! As soon as I figure out who they are I attach them to that person in my tree.

13 HCALLMERAugust 3, 2011 at 12:07 pm

Iam trying to find my Dads Ancesters.My Dads name was John Richard Johnson,and his Fatherwas Andrew Johnson.His Mothers Name was Mattie Lou,Iknow He had Sisters and half Sisters and Brothers[Their last Name would be Blackburn]Thanks to any one who can help. Helen Johnson,now Callmer

14 nike shoes UKAugust 4, 2011 at 2:11 am

My Dads name was John Richard Johnson,and his Fatherwas Andrew Johnson.His Mothers Name was Mattie

15 Richard McNamaraAugust 4, 2011 at 5:47 am

Is there any real value to having the Census Reports? To me, since they don’t have any positive relationships to all people involved, one must assume that the two oldest people are the parents and all the others are their kids. This is not always true, as the reports only mention who was in the house on the day of the Census Report. I find an awful lot of “recent activity” on my home page, from others, and usually I find little relevance to anybody within my Tree. I would rather use the Census Reports only as a very last resort, after expending our precious time using Birth Certificates, Marriage Certificates, Death Certificates, and any bonafide reports that actually list factual information. I’ve been working on my Tree for 25 years and have over 1300 people listed. Other Trees that seem to find their Trees associated with my Tree, seem to have in excess of 5000 people. Personally, with the present E-mail system, I love to go straight to the “horses mouth”, and ask people directly about the people within their Tree. I find this most helpful in my purpose of finding the correct people.

16 Darlene8705August 4, 2011 at 2:06 pm

A comment on old photo’s being auctioned off. There are several national resteraunt chains who decorate their businesses with old photo’s. I suspect some photo’s are purchased because of the frames and curved glass. These items can be very pricy, if the frame is old. People enjoy those photo’s, but I can imagine a family researcher would appreciate them a lot more.

Appreciate Ancestey.Com and it’s help for people interested in genealogy.

Respectfully,
Darlene (Rowland) Miller

17 Richard McNamaraAugust 4, 2011 at 2:47 pm

Is there any real value to having the Census Reports? To me, since they don’t have any positive relationships to all people involved, one must assume that the two oldest people are the parents and all the others are their kids. This is not always true, as the reports only mention who was in the house on the day of the Census Report. I find an awful lot of “recent activity” on my home page, from others, and usually I find little relevance to anybody within my Tree. I would rather use the Census Reports only as a very last resort, after expending our precious time using Birth Certificates, Marriage Certificates, Death Certificates, and any bonafide reports that actually list factual information. I’ve been working on my Tree for 25 years and have over 1300 people listed. Other Trees that seem to find their Trees associated with my Tree, seem to have in excess of 5000 people. Personally, with the present E-mail system, I love to go straight to the “horses mouth”, and ask people directly about the people within their Tree. I find this most helpful in my purpose of finding the correct people.

18 FHC LibrarianAugust 4, 2011 at 7:52 pm

#15 and #17 Richard McNamara:

True, some censuses don’t list relationships but some do. The information was most likely given by one person and all people who resided in that home were not necessarily at home at the time. Maybe at school or working. Actual vital records don’t exist for every place for all time periods. Don’t ignore the censuses because they are filled with clues to your family research. Use ALL records and then evaluate what you have.

I find it hard to believe you would consider the census “only as a very last resort.” I have not found any set of records that don’t contain mistakes. They all do. Every one! That includes birth, marriage, and death records that are supposed to be “official.” And mistakes are still being made.

19 DianaAugust 7, 2011 at 7:37 am

I signed up many months ago for a ONE MONTH ONLY ONE TIME ONLY subscription, and now that you have added a charge to my credit card every month for all this time, you have maxed out my credit. WITHOUT MY PERMISSION !!!!!

I was unaware of these continuing charges, because I was not using my card at all, trying to get out of debt rather than get in even deeper, so have not stopped the billing until there is OBVIOUSLY NO MORE MONEY LEFT!! WHILE MY HUSBAND HAS BEEN OUT OF WORK, YOU DID THIS TO ME !!!

Now you want more. Well forget it, I was doing fine with just leaving my family tree here before I asked for a month TO SEE IF YOU WOULD BE USEFUL TO ME IN MY SEARCH… well, I found a couple of people I did not have on one branch of my family tree, but the other four sides of my family have not been improved one iota by your website. My husband’s family tree is still completely stymied at his grandparent’s era.

So — GET LOST, GOODBYE, AND THANKS FOR PREVENTING ME FROM BEING ABLE TO GET THE THINGS A FAMILY REALLY NEEDS IN A DEPRESSION BECAUSE YOU ARE LYING, CHEATING, EXTORTIONISTS.

BELIEVE ME, I WILL TELL EVERYONE I KNOW, IN PERSON AND ONLINE, WHAT YOU HAVE DONE TO ME.

20 DonaAugust 7, 2011 at 1:16 pm

Today I received an article with this is the lower right corner: UK, Railway Employment
Records, 1833–1963
I am not interested in records from across the oceans or seas, but did wonder if you have provided somewhere the same Railway Employment Records for the USA. I would be particularly interested in the time period 1860-1910. VA (and then WVA, TX) ….thought they might be hidden someplace on your website that I hadn’t looked,
Thanks

21 Andy HatchettAugust 7, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Diana,

Even tho you weren’t using your credit card, did you not receive a monthly statement from your credit card company? Did you even bother to look at what was charged on it.

A person can’t sign up for a one month one time only subscription. Did you not read the entire agreement when you subscribed?

It says:
[QUOTE]
2. FEES AND PAYMENTS

2.1 Continuous Service Membership. Subscription membership in the Service is on a continuous service basis with the exception of subscriptions which are purchased as gifts by one person for another. These gift subscriptions will not be automatically renewed on the subscription end date. For all other subscriptions, this means that once you have become a subscribing member, your subscription will be automatically renewed and your billing choice will be charged based on the subscription program (annual, quarterly, monthly, etc.) you have chosen. Billing charges will be processed within 24 hours your order is taken and products included in memberships will be shipped shortly thereafter with a separate billing unless shipped within that 24 hours. Except in the case of monthly subscriptions, you will be notified by e-mail 15 days before your subscription will end, asked to correct any information which has changed and reminded of the opportunity to “opt out” of your renewal. From the United States, you may cancel by phone and must call Ancestry at 1-800-262-3787 at least two days before the renewal date for the cancellation to be effective or you may cancel at least two days before the renewal date via your MyAccounts page while logged on at Ancestry.com by following the Cancel Subscription link on that page and following the process there. International customers may also call 1-801-705-7620 during business hours or send an e-mail to internationalcancelsonly@ancestry.com and provide the following information:

Given name and surname
Username
Subscription type (UK/Ireland collection, etc.)
E-mail address used when subscribing
Phone number including country code
Country

2.2 Cancellations. Initial Annual Subscription. An initial annual subscription comes with the option to cancel during the first 7 days and receive a full refund, unless the subscription began with a free trial period. The 7 day period begins on the day you register for the subscription Service, which is also the day you are given access to the subscription area of the Service. An exception is refunds relating to gift subscriptions in which case the seven days begins on the date of purchase no matter what date you chose to activate the Service. If you subscribe to the Service following a free or other trial period, that trial period takes the place of the 7 day cancellation period, and once the paid subscription begins, no refund will be provided. Cancellations during the 7 days may be made by phone if you are a United States customer by calling us at 1-800-262-3787 and providing the same information that you provided when you subscribed or you may cancel at least two days before the renewal date via your MyAccounts page while logged on at Ancestry.com by following the Cancel Subscription link on that page and following the process there. International customers may also call 1-801-705-7620 during business hours or send an e-mail to internationalcancelsonly@ancestry.com and provide the following information:

Given name and surname
Username
Subscription type (UK/Ireland collection, etc.)
E-mail address used when subscribing
Phone number including country code
Country

Your cancellation call must be received by end of business (5:00 p.m. Mountain Time) on the 7th subscription day. Refunds are subject to return of goods. Please allow a reasonable time for the refund to reach you or be charged back to your account. All refunds will be given to the original credit card on which the purchase was made. All other subscriptions, including monthly subscriptions, quarterly subscriptions, initial annual subscriptions after the 7 days or annual renewals may be canceled by you at any time but no refund will be made for unused subscription periods.

2.3 Subscription costs may be changed by Ancestry at any time and each renewal of your subscription will be at the then standard renewal cost for the period that you originally selected when you subscribed.
[END QUOTE]

So you see.. your problem is entirely of your own making and has nothing to do with Ancestry; but rather to your lack of performing due diligence in fiduciary matters concerning your family.

Sorry- no tears here for irresponsible people.

22 Pat SecordAugust 8, 2011 at 5:30 am

Re: Andy #21 – well said. Also tired of the people who want something for nothing.

23 MonikaAugust 8, 2011 at 11:45 pm

Okay, folks (“folks” is the synonym for all you kind people who have helped me in the past), I need your help and advice again! Here is the situation: When my mother-in-law passed away September 2, 2010, we had to go through her possessions and discard what needed to be discarded and keep what we wanted to keep. In the process of doing so, in a box, I found several old pictures! One of them was a picture of her grandfather’s home (my husband’s great-grandfather). All my trees are private after a few bad experiences! In my excitement I shared this pictures with two other ancestry members who have grandpa in their tree as well, BUT I AM STILL IN POSSESSION OF THE ORIGINAL PICTURE! Today I noticed that–two weeks ago–a “search.deb” copyrighted this picture under Family Legacy Copyrighted & Registered 2008-2021! Where do people come in doing such a thing and can they get away with it? I tried to reach this “search.deb” but she apparently makes sure that she cannot be reached! Do I have any recourse?

24 Carol A. H.August 9, 2011 at 1:23 am

Wow, Monika, that is some problem. Maybe Andy will check in on this blog again and he might have an answer. I don’t know how you can copyright a picture of a house. It is (or was) there for all to see. It’s not exactly an original work of one person.

25 MonikaAugust 9, 2011 at 2:02 am

Hi, Carol, It’s just the principle of it, you know! I don’t quite understand what some of these people (like juliebug 2…remember her?) and this search.deb gain from doing this sort of thing. Some people really need to get a life! I doubt that she even has great-grandpa in her tree!

26 BroMaelorAugust 9, 2011 at 5:41 am

“BELIEVE ME, I WILL TELL EVERYONE I KNOW, IN PERSON AND ONLINE, WHAT YOU HAVE DONE TO ME.”

And do you honestly believe that anyone cares? You obviously haven’t a clue what you are doing.

27 Andy HatchettAugust 9, 2011 at 6:46 am

Monika,

I think you’ll find that copyright totally worthless.

Only the photographer owned the original copyright and unless the person can prove she is heir to that copyright she’s up a creek.

You’ll probably find the pphoto is so old copyright on it has expired and it is now in the public domain. Just because someone has an old picture doesn’t mean they have any claim to the copyright of said picture…

Of course, you’ll need a lawyer to fight all this out but basically- she’s wrong but it is gonna cost you a bundle to prove it.

If she has it posted anywhere you might complain to the website owner and see what happens.

28 MonikaAugust 9, 2011 at 11:09 am

#27 – Thanks, Andy! It’s not that this picture is that important to me, it’s just the principle of it! I got a very professional response from ancestry.com with guidelines on how to proceed. No attorney expense necessary!

#26 – Oh, how funny! This is the exact quote I wrote to Juliebug.2–Are you juliebug.2? If yes, get a life!

29 MonikaAugust 9, 2011 at 11:11 am

#26 – Actually, even if you are not juliebug.2 – Get a life! :-)

30 BEEAugust 9, 2011 at 2:20 pm

Well, not that I want to get in the middle of anything, but I think #26 was quoting the last line of Diana – #19′s post{rant?} who obviously didn’t read or didn’t pay attention to the terms of the agreement, and apparently doesn’t pay any attention to her credit card bill when it comes in, and doesn’t know the proper action to take to have the monthly charges stopped – and #26 was adding her comment to the situation which Andy spelled out quite clearly.

31 MonikaAugust 9, 2011 at 4:00 pm

:-) As I told Andy, “off the air”, I guess when we get frustrated we all use the same line! I did say the same thing to Juliebug.2! So, since he did not make any reference to whose blog he was responding, the phrase sounded familiar!:-) I must confess I do not always read the other blogs. So, I guess #26 is not juliebug.2! LOL!

32 BroMaelorAugust 10, 2011 at 5:48 am

Monika, it’s you who needs to get a life! Not one of your FIVE trivial postings has any relevance on this blog. Do you know how a blog works? It’s not meant for inane off-topic rantings like yours!

33 BrklynBridgeAugust 12, 2011 at 11:54 am

#9 “Maybe I’m missing something, but I can’t find Tips and Tools…”

That make 2 of us. Perhaps someone will be kind enough to give us a tip?

34 MonikaAugust 12, 2011 at 11:59 pm

Oh, lighten up Bro! Don’t be so self-important!

35 BroMaelorAugust 14, 2011 at 6:36 am

Really Monika, from you postings it appears to be you who has the “holier than thou” approach? You were the one who made that totally incorrect assumption in the first place!
Your original off-topic posting made as great a contribution to the blog as the spam posting for fake Nike shoes!

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