Have you seen the new Facts View on your Ancestry online tree? If you haven’t let me tell you what you are missing. Just like before, you will find the facts you’ve discovered and entered about the life of a person in your tree running down the page like a timeline. You will also find that the parents, spouse and children of the person are on the right-hand side of the page just where they have always been. The big change you will discover is that the sources that support those facts and relationships are now front and center.
All good genealogists know that you need to cite your sources. The Genealogical Proof Standard states that we should do a reasonably exhaustive search into the records that will provide information about our ancestors’ lives. We should then analyze and correlate that information and resolve any conflicts before coming to conclusions about who our ancestors may have been, what their relationship were to each other, and what events occurred in their lives.
I do this by looking at record hints, searching directly from my tree to see what bubbles up to the top of the search results, and then craft very specific searches, looking for any additional records I may have missed. That’s my search process. Each time I find a record that pertains to one of my ancestors, I save it to that person in my tree. With all of those attached records in my tree, I can now see exactly what facts are supported by any one of those sources by clicking the source.
Isn’t that great? It goes the other way, too. I can click on any fact in the timeline and it will show me which sources support that specific fact.
We can also add sources for records that we find other places. Web links, for things found on other websites, will soon be incorporated as sources. We can scan documents that we order from archives and libraries and manually create sources for those as well. All of our research is now front and center in the Facts View.
I am loving this! Since using this new tool with my Ancestry Online Tree, I have become a better researcher. I am careful to make sure that what I enter into my tree is backed up by sources. I also make sure that I’m consulting the right sources and that if I come across conflicting evidence, I make good notes to explain why I chose one date over another or one particular spelling of a surname. All of this is important to me because I want to make sure that I am climbing my own family tree, not someone else’s.
How is the new Facts View helping your research?