Posted by Ancestry Team on January 26, 2009 in Site Features, Website

Kenny Freestone, Trees Product Manager for, recently chatted about Ancestry Member Trees with Lisa Louise Cook on the “Family History: Genealogy “Made Easy” podcast.

During the interview, Kenny offers his Top Five Tips for making the most of Ancestry Member Trees. You can listen to the podcast here.


  1. Dale Frank

    Please, please, please put a moritorium on new features until the old ones are working. Most of these new “bells and whistles”, although they may look good to product designers, are just too cumbersome to use anyhow, plus when the memory and line gluttony of the existing software is already so bad, all of this stuff simply adds to the overhead and increases response time by another 10 seconds or more.

  2. Clevis is now running an advertisement on television that actually made me stop in my tracks and watch. My jaw dropped and I started laughing. It was about the “hints” system and a new member who didn’t know anything who found all these wonderful people in her tree by using the flashing green leaves “hints” system. Before you knew it, she had her tree built. LOLOLOLOLOL

    What Ancestry didn’t tell the public in that commercial was that the hints system is flawed, most of the trees on their website are now terribly bad clones of one another with information that is not sourced and with documents and photos that have been stolen from the poor unsuspecting novices who uploaded these things to Ancestry’s servers without knowing what they were doing. And also without reading Ancestry’s fine print.

    These trees are a standing joke in the genealogy community, ancestry is losing subscribers by the multiples and other websites will be benefiting by ancestry’s errors, and lost members.

    The Family Search new pilot search engine is wonderful but limited. And the information is FREE.

    On another note, Ancestry what gives? Your card catalogue system is HORRIBLE!

  3. Esther

    This in not about your note…but we have a problem and can not reach any one..My daughter has a tree and she has me down to add on to the tree..any way I put information on there and then it or parts of the information is gone….but yet she can read what I have added but I can not. We just do not understand what is going on….PLEASE HELP US. Or tell us who to talk with…can not figure this out…Esther Burris–a member also. Will be waiting for your reply. Thanks

  4. I’ve often found whole different parents whose information confirms with Wikipedia or other bios. In changing what I’ve already entered I have deleted existing people and replace with the new people. But in getting back to the connecting person I’ve found that it’s almost impossible to make the link to the right person again. What’s the answer for insuring that I don’t have a floating group of unlinked people, or create a duplicate of the linking person?

  5. Tyronne

    For the last few days I have not been abled to add a record I’ve found to someone in my tree! I get this box to type a name of someone in my tree but the name is not recognized. It’s as though I have know tree or that person is not in my tree. I’ve had to “prime” my tree entries by manually adding the info I’ve found, then search for that records. The system finds the record and then I can add the record. It’s no fun!

    Whats’s going on? There is way too much “eye candy” in these “refinements”!

  6. Energumen96


    The site is getting slower and slower due to the operators ‘ADVERTIAMANIA’, my term for the greed for revenues, which adversely affects the provision of an acceptable service to the client members.
    The response times on page changes is painfully, pathetically and unacceptably slow. When one is making several attachments of records or negotiating between any site features, one has to wait for the accursed pop up adverts.

    Additionally, when pages do open, one has to continue waiting until they stop jumping, or else any selection made will not be the one that had been intended.
    A paltry service.

    Also on the question of Private photos being available to all, that is a betrayal of trust and privacy, irrespective of your small print.

    Shame on you.

  7. Jon

    I have had exactly the same problem in regards to private photographs becoming accessible to all if you invite another ancestry member to your tree. I have made an official complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office who have advised me has breached the first principle of the United Kingdom Data Protection Act.

  8. Gerri Brown

    I agree with Clevis, the flashing leaf hints system is not helping maintain correct family information. There are many people that will not do the research, just click on to a “hint”. That “hint” can be very misleading and a person ends up with ancestor’s who are not theirs. Ancestry is not holding up the standards of Genealogy.

  9. Jon

    I think the hints can be great for trees and have really helped my out – however I always confirm everything myself from other sources. Like you say though there can be many inaccuracies but I think it’s up to each person to double check the information. If someone ends up with a worthless tree full of people they are not actually related to it’s kind of their fault for not researching it themselves. What could help is if there could be some sort of way of us adding a note to these incorrect trees. Then if someone goes to merge incorrect details they can also see the comments outlining why it is thought to be incorrect.

  10. TheadoreEB

    I too agree with Clevis’ comments. A family tree has been started by a relative who does not recognize my mother’s biological father. Instead she has placed a name on the Family Tree that is false. None of the information she has written is ‘sourced’ and yet the green leaf shows the inaccurate info as a true connection to the family lineage. I have also noticed that dates have been changed to reflect those in the ‘green leaf’ listings. Guess the best thing to do is check only sourced info.

  11. Esther

    I pretty much agree with all of you…but we have no other place to get this much genealgoy info. I have been told many times that takes info. from other free site and then charges all of us for it.
    I put info. on our tree but then I can not go right back and see it, crazy huh? Takes 3 to 4 days befor it is back on my pc. But is it on other computer, why? I can’t get any answers..and slow yes…very slow…and no answers or help for this. For the ones who don’t know try Genealogy Trails, it’s free, and not too bad. I hope Ancestry will give us better service….oh and you can put your tree on your favorites.

  12. Thelma J. Webster

    I have family by the name Campbell. I would love to know if you or your husband are related to my line. Please email me back.
    Thank you,

  13. Patrick

    Dear Suzanne:
    Reading some of the comments struck an old chord with me. The “hints” that are often posted to my tree are often simply worthless. They often list trees posted by other users. As has been covered elsewhere, many people simply copy what someone else has posted. The motivations for so doing are many, but a serious researcher NEVER simply copies and pastes the postings of another.
    However, I have a suggestion for —
    When searching the family trees posted by others, why not give the researcher the option of searching ONLY those postings for an individual which has “sources” attached? When I look at the trees for a given person I’m rsearching, I see that most of the postings are “unsourced”. I regard most of these as worthless. In my own trees, not everyone is sourced and some of the data is questionable. But, I try to note that on my tree so that another researcher won’t be misled by a mistake or suppostion that I’ve made.
    Thanks very much.

Comments are closed.