Monday, June 16, 2014

I have an account on  I hadn’t planned to renew, but missed the date when my current subscription expired and thought I was good for another month.  They renewed it for me!  I didn’t realize they do this automatically.  I will not be renewing again.  Today the site has been down all day long. 

At least twice a week, it goes down or gets tangled up in the midst of using it, for no reason at all.  This isn’t due to my browser, I’ve used different browsers.  I have contacted them in the past and tried contacting what I thought was their customer resource section and never got a response.

On television, the commercials make it sound, well, a happy person says, “Just type in a name and my family came up!”  Please, not so much. 

You actually do have to have some basic information, the more the better, like name, dates and/or estimates for births, locations and other associated relatives to find connections.  I was lucky enough to know the area where my ancestors are from overseas and to have inherited basic genealogical information.  Even so, I used census and information from many other sites to help me build the tree I do have now in Ancestry. 

In Ancestry, I will get those infamous leaves (you’ve seen them in the television commercials) popping up during the most inscrutable times.  For example, I will have put in John Doe, born 1897 in Fairfield, Virginia as an ancestor and will get countless hints about other John Does, born in the 1800s, in Fairfield, Virginia…or in England or a Doe Franklin born in 1987 from Vicksburg as a suggested match! 

Ancestry has no way for you to search using combined information from two or three people to get a better match, so it is rather tedious. 

Spelling is funny and records are missing that are available on their “sister” free site, Family Search. Org.   

When you put in search criteria for spelling that is phonetically similar, you may get someone with the name Becky Johnson coming back when you are looking for Benson James.  If I am looking for a particular name, and indicate I want that exact match, it will include other similarly named people, if they happen to be, let’s say, one of the witnesses, even if their date of birth isn’t displayed and they aren’t the subject of the record.  So instead of getting 150 Becky Johnsons, you get 1000, because you will also get any person born, who happened to have someone stand up for them who had a name that was somewhat similar to Becky Johnson, like Beacon Jackson.

The records themselves are limited giving basic information, i.e. in a marriage record, the names of a groom and several possible brides, unless you are looking at a church record.  Birth records show the place where the birth is registered, in for example Ireland, not where the person was actually born, and not the date they were born as births were registered quarterly since the mid 1800’s.  A person could be born May 2nd and perhaps the parent or an uncle reported it that month  (or next), but maybe it wasn’t registered in the official records till the next quarter, so your birth date comes up something like July-September, and the year. 

Some records are shown to be available, but only if you access them through Fold 3, which you must sign up for and pay for.  Census records you can get online for free yourself with much more information than you get on ancestry.  One of the few valuable assets of ancestry is possibly bumping into other people researching your ancestors and meeting new relatives.  It did happen to me, so for that I am grateful

It is very annoying though to experience a lack of accessibility to this site for which I am paying well for.  You would think they would credit their “dues paying members” but they don’t. 

Hey Ancestry, get user friendly, will you?  People are talking and they’re not dead.

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