We are excited to announce the release of a new feature that allows Ancestry members to use Facebook to add information and new people to family trees quickly and easily. When you attach Facebook information to someone in your tree you’ll get the following:
- Photos: We’ll pull the most recent profile photo from Facebook into your tree. When your cousin Jen updates her Facebook profile photo, it’s automatically updated in your tree.
- Find Long Lost Relatives:We’ll use Facebook to suggest people who might be family members–
just click to accept. As relatives grow their trees you’ll get even more hints about people to add.
- Birthdays:If your relative includes their birth date in Facebook, we’ll grab it for you and insert it into your tree.
- Quick Contact: Remember that cool photo of Grandma that your uncle has hanging on his wall? When he is added to your family tree from Facebook you have instant access to his Facebook profile right from your tree. Just click through and send him a message on Facebook asking for a copy of that cool photo.
- Simple Sourcing: When we pull data from Facebook, we’ll create Source citations so you know where the data came from.
Getting started is easy, here is how it is done:
Step 1: In your family tree, hover the mouse over a living person, then click her or her name to go to the person’s profile page.
Step 2: Now click the “Facebook” link. Follow the prompts to authorize the Ancestry Facebook Application.
Step 3: You will be asked if Ancestry.com has correctly matched you in your tree with you on Facebook. Click the green “Match” button if it is correct, or click the “Not you?” link if this is incorrect.
Step 4: Now the app will compare your tree with your connections in Facebook. When there are matches, you can accept or reject them. To accept a suggested match click on the “Match” button, to reject a potential match click on the “Not a match” link.
Step 5: After going through this list you will see your tree with a list of all the people that may be related to you on the left side. If they are related to you, click the “+Add” button and follow the prompts to add them to the proper spot in your tree.
Step 6: When you are finished adding relatives to your tree, click the “I’m Finished” button at the bottom of the tree.
Here are some answers to questions you might have about this new feature.
Facebook is all about living people, why would I put living people in my family tree?
Let’s start off with a common family history scenario and a bit of simple math. Let’s say that I am doing research on my great-great grandmother who had three children. Let’s further assume that each of successive generation in turn had three children. By the time I come along there will be 81 descendants of this great-great grandmother. Surviving photographs, journals, vital records, and stories about her will likely be spread among this group of 81 descendants. As I am able to connect with more and more of these individuals, the odds of great family history discoveries about my great-great grandmother increase. For this reason we at Ancestry have long believed that a strong network of living relatives is key to opening the possibilities of family history. Facebook represents just such a network of living individuals.
Facebook is all about “friends.” What do my friends have to do with my family tree?
While much of the focus of Facebook is on “friend” relationships, our research has shown that the average Facebook user has created “friend” connections with more than 20 relatives. In addition, Facebook now enables users to designate relatives as well as describe how an individual person is related (example: Jane Smith is my mother). This information really excited us and started us on the path of figuring out how we could empower Ancestry members to tap into this rich network of family relationships available on Facebook.
Why should I use Facebook to build this living network instead of doing it by hand?
Building out a living network of relatives by hand certainly is an option. With the latest release, however, Ancestry members can now take advantage of their Facebook network to add information and new people to family trees. It’s quick and easy – forget manually typing names or selecting a gender – let us do that for you. A couple of clicks and a new person is added to your tree.
I’ve already added living relatives to my Ancestry family tree, is this new Facebook feature useful for me?
Yes, in addition to adding new people to a tree, this feature can be used to add Facebook information to existing individuals. All of the benefits described at the beginning of this post apply to existing individuals. Of note, when information is added from Facebook, it will never replace what you have added to your tree already. For example, if you already have a birth date and photo for your brother, this info will not be replaced with Facebook profile information.
I’m concerned about privacy of my personal information on both Facebook and Ancestry. How is privacy treated?
Rest assured that the rules regarding living persons are not impacted in any way when you add Facebook information to a person within your tree. For example, a private tree remains private when Facebook information is added and all our existing privacy rules apply. Only those with permission to view living persons in the tree will see any information that has been added from Facebook.
We respect Facebook profile settings and will only access the information from your Facebook account that you have expressly given us permission to access. We also won’t post anything to your Facebook wall or contact any of your Facebook friends unless you ask us. When you add Facebook information to your tree, you must explicitly grant Ancestry.com permission to retain and use that information in accordance with the Ancestry.com Terms and Conditions and Privacy Statement.
What about those of us who don’t have a Facebook account or are not interested in this feature?
This feature is completely optional. We understand that not all Ancestry members have interest in connecting people in their family trees to information from Facebook. As such we are not requiring members to utilize this feature if they feel it is not to their own benefit. If you do not use the feature, your tree data will not be impacted in any way.
Can I remove Facebook information for a person in my tree?
Absolutely. At any time you can disconnect a person from their Facebook account. Simply go to the person’s profile page, click the arrow next to the “Facebook profile” link, and select Disconnect. The change takes place immediately.
Watch this video on how to use the new Facebook feature:
About Finn Larson
Finn Larson joined Ancestry in the spring of 2012 as a Senior Product Manager with focus on social integrations. About a year into his employment he jumped at the opportunity to join the Ancestry mobile app team, and has been working on both the iOS and Android apps for the two years. Finn is a firm believer in - and advocate for - the unique capabilities that mobile devices bring to the process of completing family history research.
[…] Using Facebook to Grow Your Family Tree – Ancestry.com Blog […]
[…] Use Facebook to Grow your tree. If you’re not sure about who your great-grandparents are, Facebook is great […]
[…] Ancestry has a feature that allows you to connect living people in your Ancestry tree to their Facebook profiles. When you have connected yourself in your Ancestry tree to your Facebook profile, Ancestry will compare your tree to your Facebook connections and give you the option to accept or reject matches. The idea is to connect you with more living relatives. Find out more at blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2012/10/09/using-facebook-to-grow-your-family-tree. […]