Ancestry Improves “Hints” in Member Trees

hint engine.bmpOne of the most popular features of Ancestry Member Trees is the “Hint Engine.” This is the tool that searches Ancestry databases for records that may pertain to the individuals in your tree and displays the hits when you click on the leaf next to each person’s name.  Since August it has helped people find and attach over seven million records (including 354,735 just last week).

What’s changed in the hint engine is the ability to find even more records that match, and (perhaps even better) to filter out the ones that don’t match—in fact the ability to filter out non-matching hints has been improved by 400%.

So, if you haven’t been to visit your family tree lately, give it another look. If you haven’t uploaded your GEDCOM, this is a good time to do it.  Send Ancestry what you have and let the hint engine have a crack at some of those hard to find ancestors!

17 thoughts on “Ancestry Improves “Hints” in Member Trees

  1. This is nice, but too bad the One World Tree uses base information that has not been updated since 2004!

    If can figure out how to utilize the current updated trees into this OWT
    database this would be even a stronger benefit to the users.

  2. HINT: While using OWT (One World Tree) and you get to a “user-submitted tree” under “Source Records” that starts with…etc

    Simply delete the “c” in “awtc” in the address line.

    Walla…this will give you the updated tree if there is one!

    These user-submitted tree files that have a “c” stands for cached files that Ancestry used as a base to build the OWT system on. The bad news is it links to user submitted trees that were built in 2004 and before. Deleting the “c” gets you to an updated tree, if there is a newer version under that user name.

  3. I mistakenly attached a tree, and cannot, now, delete the tree from my tree. Suggestions?

    Tom Boyce

  4. Regarding those old AWT cached databases …

    I am one of the unfortunate submitters of a GEDCOM who must suffer the indignity of having an old outdated database being posted at Ancestry in the cached files of which Frederick Kruse has spoken above. I did not post the tree there myself, so I have no ability to remove it myself. I have been trying to get that old file deleted since I first became aware of it in October of 2005. I’ve had no success in my efforts to get it removed.

    The additional irritation about this situation is that I didn’t even submit my tree to AWT in the first place. I submitted it to RootsWeb WorldConnect. I have purposely submitted my work to only, and NOT to, as my own personal statement of sorts about the belief in free access to free genealogical records. Once profit-oriented bought free, of course, Ancestry took all of RootsWeb’s records and did as it pleased with those records. Although it clearly says at the WorldConnect site that a submitter has complete control over his or her database, this statement is not true. My WorldConnect information is automatically posted at Ancestry, as well, but I have no access to my file at Ancestry.

    In an effort to be a responsible poster of my research, whenever I make any changes to my database, I immediately upload a revised GEDCOM to WorldConnect. As I work on my files nearly day, that means I send a new file to WorldConnect nearly every day. It’s been more than two years that the outdated GEDCOM has been online in the AWT cached files, so I would guess my files have been updated at least 700 times since the cached one at was “borrowed” from and posted at You can imagine my embarrassment to have incorrect and/or incomplete information appearing online that has long since been corrected.

    I have had numerous promises from management at / that the old file would be removed from the Internet. These promises have been going on for nearly a year-and-a-half. I just checked before writing this message, and that old 2004 database is still there today, Monday, January 29, 2007.

  5. Hints are fine but what about all the information that I have added in the last two years. You still have me listed as ( which doesn’t exsist anymore. Updating everyones files would do more good then hints.

  6. I see Frederick Kruse says eliminating the (c) gets you to the updated tree and it does. How do the people looking for information know that?

  7. Researchers who may find their way to the cached family tree files at don’t necessarily realize that they are accessing outdated files. Nor are those researchers given any instruction about how to get to the more current files.

    The first I became aware that an old file of mine was posted at AWT and OWT was when another researcher e-mailed me, attacking me for posting a family tree with outdated information in it. That individual’s family appears in my database, and she was accustomed to my up-to-the-minute revisions. I had nothing to do with my old GEDCOM being posted at Ancestry. In fact, I have never posted my tree at Ancestry. I have only submitted my family tree to RootsWeb WorldConnect, where I supposedly have complete control over it.

    Having complete control over one’s database, however, is NOT the case. Ancestry copies the RootsWeb WorldConnect family trees to its own website, and the submitters to RootsWeb can’t do a thing about it. I can’t revise, replace, or remove my information at Ancestry, because I wasn’t the one who submitted it to Ancestry. I can only access my originally submitted file at RootsWeb.

    My recommendation is that Ancestry remove ALL of those old cached databases. I would further suggest that when someone submits a GEDCOM to RootsWeb WorldConnect, the submitter is clearly informed that the information is going to be taken from RootsWeb and posted on’s pages, as well.

  8. I have always removed my trees that I upload using a GEDCOM to,,, and Then, I wait a couple of weeks–one time I waited for a year and a half!–before I upload an updated version of my tree. Also, the name of my tree has always been the same. There is a version of my tree on Ancestry that has an updated date as 2003. This tree has errors, typos, and whole families that have changed, simply because I have added generations or found out that the “legends” in my family were incorrect. I have e-mailed and called on the telephone, but claims that it cannot remove that 2003 tree of mine. I was told that it is an “Image,” which is why they cannot remove it!

    Reading the last paragraph above, I am wondering, now, it that is the reason that cannot remove my outdated tree:

    “My recommendation is that Ancestry remove ALL of those old cached databases. I would further suggest that when someone submits a GEDCOM to RootsWeb WorldConnect, the submitter is clearly informed that the information is going to be taken from RootsWeb and posted on’s pages, as well.”

    It does not make any sense that my 2003 cannot be removed, and I will continue to nag Ancestry about it until it is removed. It is embarrassing when another researcher is earnestly looking for information or might even be a descendant of one of my ancestors, and I have to tell them that the information in that 2003 is incorrect, and then, I have to send them a link to my most recently updated tree.

    I thank the writer of Comment #6 for bringing this to our attention.

  9. I agree with Sharon Freeland that Ancestry should alert people that their information from RootsWeb WorldConnect is appropriated by Ancestry in Big Bold Print. I recently discoverd someone had taken a portion of my file and published as his own work (he did cite my references) but not once did he give me credit for the research. To make matters worse, he has a copyright notice on his pages for MY information!

  10. I have never published any of my findings on any website, but portions of my research show up all the time. I personally believe that there is someone or something at one of these locations that oversees all of the research done at a location. Parts of it that is usable is retained and eventually turns up on O W T or a similar data base. I’m not sure what or if there is anything that can be done about it. I appreciate the opportunity to vent my frustration. I am not hurt by any of this, it just seems like an invasion of privacy.

  11. I have never puot my tree online for these reasons. My friend shared her tree with someone, they puoblished it on the internet as her own work, no credit to the friend. I don’t mind helping someone but I have spent 15 long years putting my tree together and don’t want to see it abused…..

  12. I hear a lot of pain in the postings! Because I benefited so much from people like Sharon who did post their research, I especially regret the mis-use of that research. What I would like to see is a way to delete some of the old inaccurate or endlessly reduplicative files.
    There’s a way to get erroneous census information at least marked as erroneous, with suggestions about corrections. Why couldn’t a similar system let me post a visible “footnote” to a family group sheet that kills off my grandfather nine years early, or includes a non-existent child?
    I have only slight sympathy for people who feel their research was “stolen.” A fact is a fact. It does not belong to anyone (unless big biological firms succeed in patenting our DNA). Common courtesy would suggest that if a family researcher has been taken …shall we say “inspiration”?… that she/he should say a polite thank you to the source — in writing, on every page where that “inspiration” was used.
    And as for outright copying — are you sure? If two people consult the same print source, they may produce the same “fact.” Of course, I’ve been told that all the map companies include deliberate errors here and there so that they can prove outright copying ocurred. What a horrible thought, translated into genealogy!

  13. I have to say I’m unhappy that Ancestry took my tree from Rootsweb and then has the gall to charge by requiring a membership, if you want to follow up the information found by Family Tree Maker’s websearch facility.

    When I first discovered this I wrote and complained, but didn’t really get an answer. It seems like cheating to me- you take something I gave freely and then charge others for it without even telling me. I had the urge to post a message on all my past and present mailing lists saying “Don’t use FTM’s web search facility, go to Rootsweb where you will likely get the info for free”

  14. I have a family tree in My Ancestry. I also have Family Tree Maker Program which has a lot more information on some of the lines with the tree in My Ancestry having other information not in Family Tree Maker. I wanted to merge the information into the Tree in My Ancestry on I created a GEDCOM file and tried to add it but it has created a second tree. Is there a way to merge two family trees in My Ancestry?

  15. Help !!!!!! Just start using family tree # 16.My twin now has the same program.How can i send her all the information Iv’e all rady done.So she doesn’t have to type in what I have all ready done many hours of.

  16. I agree with 99% of above comments :: : UPDATE the date – -delete the old!!AND the people that ‘copy’ your info, give themselves the credit BUT have mistakes typed in, and NEVER correct- – not even the obvious !! Especially like the one : the man died in 1941 got married in 1945 – – heck, my program won’t let me make that kind of mistake. !! PLUS, I really dislike, when incorrect info is given for publishing – I double ck be4 I use other info !! IF you don’t want others to have the info : then DON’T submit IT, just to see your name in print! //Reasons I won’t publish into Internet, is because of the above!!//Come on, be an adult !!

  17. I’m also trying to get old files deleted from OneWorldTree (and also World Family Tree, but realize that it is a different issue). If anyone hears about a promising way (whom at to contact to get files removed at OneWorldTree), I’d be very grateful. Perhaps working as a group would make the company more willing to listen.

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