Friday, July 8, 2016

Ancestry Shaking Leaf Hints - Do I Use Them or Not?

Randy Seaver asked his readers if we use Ancestry's Sharking Leaf Hints. He is asking about the Family Tree Hints, not the DNA Hints, which also use the leaf icon.

In short, I *do* use the shaking leaf hints.  Much like Randy, I view them as low hanging fruit. When picking fruit, I pick the low hanging fruit first.

In my Ancestry Tree, 2007RiceDesc, I have 126, 018 people, and 43752 records. Sources imported did not attach so I actually have more sources than that.  

For this tree, Ancestry offers me 144960 hints, of which 112, 050 are Record Hints.  The first one is for William Gorham Rice, my 6th cousin 5 times removed.  

There are 868,451 people in my Legacy file. 

Looking in my Legacy File for William Gorham Rice I see I have the same sources listed in the Ancestry Tree, which are the 1900 US Census, the 1920 US Census, and US Passport Application. There is also a book, Descendants of Joseph Rice of Conway, Mass. but this book is listed under "Other Sources" at Ancestry. Ancestry Family Trees are also listed as a source at Ancestry.

Starting out, I have a photo of William and his birth as 23 Dec 1856 in Albany, New York. I have his wife as Harriet L Pruyn and a son, William Gorham Rice born in 1892.

Ancestry is offering me 13 Hints. 

The first is a city directory for 1938 in Albany.  I accept this hint.

The second is a city directory for 1935.  I accept this hint. 

Third is Findagrave, which gives his death as 10 Sep 1945.  This is new information, both the death date and the burial location. I accept the hint and add the information to Ancestry and Legacy,

Fourth is a burial card.  This card included the cause of death. I accepted the hint.

Fifth is the 1880 US Census. I accepted this hint,

Sixth is a passenger list from 1925. I accepted this hint.

Seventh is a Military Service card. I accepted this hint.

Eighth is the 1930 US Census. I accepted this hint.

Ninth is the 1910 US Census. I accepted this hint,

Tenth is the New York State census for 1905. I accepted this hint.

Eleventh is New York State census for 1875. I accepted this hint.

Twelfth is the New State census for 1925. I accepted this hint,

Thirteenth and final hint is for a England Parish Register for Peter Prior????? I reject this hint.

I now glance over the Facts list and see that there is no 1860 or 1870 or 1940 census record attached. I find it interesting it did not offer me any Member Connect hints.

By clicking the "Search" button I can look for more sources. I get 391, 760 results.

First one I like is for his wife in a DAR member book from the North America, Family Histories collection.

Next I add a city directory from 1934,

Next I add a passport application from 1922.

Next I add a city directory from 1939,

I now have 391, 688 results.  One thing I like about Hints, that is not available in the full Search results is the ability to reject/remove a suggested record.

Next I add the 1940 census,

Next I add the 1870 census. 390, 592 results now. 

Next I added a 1931 Passenger list.

Next I added a 1922 passenger list.

Next I added the 1892 New York State census.

Then I added a 1929 passenger list.

There are still 390,588 results but I am really interested in finding that 1860 census, so I click Census and get 31, 077 results.  Narrowing down further to the 1860 I get 17, 835 results. Narrowing to the US Federal 1860 census is 961 results. I find him partway down the first page of results as "Willie G"

Now an overall search gives 389, 627 results. I have Smart Filtering on, which basically means that once I add for example the 1870 US census it will exclude all other 1870 US census results since he should appear only once.

I added a 1913 passenger list.

If I narrow the search to All School, Directories etc there are 127, 550 entries.

I add a 1909 city directory.

I added a 1926 passenger list.

With 29 records now attached, and search results showing 389, 624 more possible records, but no way to remove obviously not right ones,  I am beginning to run out of steam.

I add a 1903 city directory.

I attached a Wills and Probate record.

I decide to stop with 31 records added and a search list of 389, 622 not dealt with.  Do I believe that there are no other valid records in those 389, 622? No, I believe there are but there is no big mystery to solve and no need to spend the time at this point.

Bottom line here is there were 13 hints and I added a total of 39 sources.  One hint was not a valid match.  Since I had 4 record attached when I started and am not sure, lets give the hints system the benefit of the doubt and say they would all have shown as hints, that 16 hints out of a possible 39.

The hints given provided a cause of death, a burial location, and a death date.

Other notes:

At Geni, they suggested 5 Record Matches.  I rejected one that was from England, and accepted the 1900 US census,  I then accepted the 1860, 1870 and 1880 US census.