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2-way Calling for Audio Storytelling posted 6 June 2007
"Hi, Grandma? Yeah, this is Dave... No, I'm good."
"Grandma, I'm wondering if I could ask you about the time when Grandpa's two employees were playing chicken while driving company cars and crashed right in front of your house..."
Every life has great stories. To help you gather and preserve them, we've added the ability to record a story with another family member or friend. Now you and another person can tell the stories that you commonly share! Play the role of interviewer and see what valuable information you can capture for you and future generations. Why not try it? It's free, fun, and your kids will thank you for it some day.
New: Audio Storytelling Beta (FREE and easy to use!) posted 18 April 2007
Have you noticed the new tab in your family tree labeled "audio"? We've recently added a new audio storytelling feature. It's a free service that makes telling your family stories easier than ever. It lets you record your own stories and invite family to add stories of their own. You can use any phone to record your story and it is saved to your family tree.
People have been telling stories since the beginning of time. There are many ways to tell them, but nothing is more powerful than hearing a story told in the voice and emotion of a family member. So go ahead, give the service a try and start preserving your family stories.
1,000,000 Photos! posted 18 April 2007
We posted a few months ago that we had reached the 250,000 mark for photos submitted. We are tremendously excited about the amount of photos submitted, and especially by the quality of the photos of your ancestors. What's also amazing is how much detailed information is associated with the photos, so they can be searched. It's fascinating to look through them.
Well, now we have reached 1,000,000 photos and continue to see fantastic images. Thank you, thank you for contributing your photos! We all benefit tremendously when we can see what life was like for our ancestors.
A Tree with a View posted 28 March 2007
We've had some time lately to rethink the two key pages within your family tree. We wanted to make the photos and stories you're adding be much more visible, so now on the person view, the primary photo is larger, and the photos for the parents also show up. On the family tree view we now show photos for anyone that has one.
And we want to make it easier to view the information too—so we've redesigned the pages to work at a wider browser width (1024, 768 is the new optimized width—but don't worry if your still on 800, 600 we'll support that still also).
New Way to Merge Records posted 28 February 2007
Lately we've been tinkering with new ways to simplify adding a record to your family tree. We wanted to make it easier to replace the old information with the new information from the record, and to give better options for how the information is sourced and how it creates (or doesn't create) alternate facts within your family tree.
What we've come up with is a simple two-column layout that shows the record information on the left, and your tree on the right. The checkboxes make it easy to add information, and the open fields on the right allow you to update the way the information looks in your tree (in case the record doesn't have it quite right).
Never merged a record before? It's easier than ever before. You can visit your family tree and check out the new merge now. (TIP: if you don't have a subscription, you can search and merge records from the 1880 US Census for free!)
Fan-Photo-tastic! posted 21 February 2007
We've been playing with some technology to make photos faster and more fun to look at. If you have more than 4 photos for a person or a tree, the new photo display wraps them into a tool that allows for fast scrolling and a nice description when your mouse hovers over the image.
Improved Hints posted 24 January 2007
We've taken what is probably the most favorite feature of Ancestry Member Trees and reworked it from the ground up. Our Hint Engine is the tool that finds the shaky leaf and displays it in your family tree. Since August we've helped people find and attach over 7 million records (including 354,735 just last week). This is one great feature, which in our view, changes how to introduce people to the exciting world of family history. Instead of searching unknown databases, it is easy to build a simple family tree and let us do the searching for you.
What's changed in our hint engine is our ability to find even more records that match, and (perhaps even better) to filter out the ones that don't match. In fact, we have improved our ability to filter out non-matching hints by 400%.
So, if you haven't been to visit your family tree lately, give it another look. We think you'll be very happy with our new hints. Also, this could be just the nudge you've needed to upload your GEDCOM. Send us what you have and we'll search it for you and let you know what we find.
Family Tree Homepage
To help you see at a glance all the work that is happening in your family tree, we've created a homepage for your tree (see image at right) that shows a summary of all the photos, records, stories, etc. in your family tree.
As we've watched people work with their tree, it became apparent that we had some room to improve our tools for editing a person. The new edit groups items to make it easier to edit common fields, while still providing access to the sources and alternates for each event.
You've asked for this feature and we're happy to say it is finally here. On the "My Ancestry" page look for the "Export GEDCOM" link. This process will allow you to export all the names, sources, relationships, etc. in GEDCOM format. For information that GEDCOM does not handle well (e.g., photos, stories, Ancestry records) we provide a link back to the original item on Ancestry.
Start a tree from OneWorldTree
For those who began a family tree using OneWorldTree, this is a welcome option allowing you to transfer the information you entered into OneWorldTree into a Member tree. Like to give it a try?
New roles for Invited Guests
This brand new feature offers you great collaboration options for working with your family members together on your family tree. You can now allow others to edit your tree, to add photos and stories, and more. When you invite others, you can select a role (i.e., guest, contributor, editor) for each person. Now the people you invite can help contribute to creating a rich family history with photos, stories, and more.
Search for Photos and Stories
Since August, over 250,000 photos have been submitted. We're very excited about this, and have seen some really great family history photos and stories uploaded. Now we've added a search tool so you can search for these member-contributed photos and stories. Search for photos and stories.
Welcome to the Ancestry Member Trees tutorial. This tutorial is designed to help you easily build your family tree on Ancestry.com. A family tree is the best way to organize your family history research. Whether you're new to family history or an expert genealogist, an Ancestry Member Tree has many advantages:
It helps us help you discover new details about your ancestors. As you enter information in to your tree, we'll automatically search billions of historical records on Ancestry.com and offer you research hints and links to records that might tell you more about your family.
The Ancestry community can help you too. Ancestry.com is home to the world's largest online community dedicated to family history research. We make it easy to communicate safely and anonymously within the community so you can share information, ask questions, get help — and overall, add new details to your tree.
So what's the best way to start? Should you search for names or start a family tree? Ancestry's system helps you do both at once. While you're searching, you're also organizing. After entering a person's name and information in your tree, you won't have to re-type that same data in for every search. You're essentially searching, finding, building and organizing at the same time.
Steps for getting started
Start with what you know. Write down the names, dates and places you already know. Start with yourself and add your parents and grandparents. The most important information to have for a person is a name, birthplace and date, death place and date.
Tap into one of your best resources: Your family. Chances are your family members have additional information and resources that can help build out your tree. We make it easy for you to invite them to add their own photos, stories, names, dates, and places to your family tree.
Watch for hints. As you enter information, Ancestry.com will search for historical records and other family trees that match your information. You'll see a hint symbol when we find a possible match.
Grow your tree by accepting hints. When you find a hint that's a good match, add the record or tree information it provides to your tree. Records help you verify information and also provide additional details about your ancestors' lives. Matching family tree information can provide valuable hints about your ancestors.
As you build your tree, we'll ask if you want to make your tree information publicly viewable. Most members make their tree "public," which means that other Ancestry members can see their family tree information. (This does NOT INCLUDE information about living individuals. If we believe a person in your tree to be living, we hide that person's information from others.) When you make your tree public, you help others find information about their ancestors. You also help yourself, as other members may have more information to share back with you.
If you choose to mark your tree as "private," others won't be able to see your tree. When they find a match in your tree, they will only be able to contact you for more information, but can't see the details and relationships for that person.
What do hints look like? The hint icon is a green leaf: . This will appear next to the name of a person in your tree when we think we've found a possible matching historical record or family tree information. When you put your mouse cursor over the leaf, we'll show what type of hint (historical record, tree information or both) we've found. When you click on either type of hint, you come to a page showing a list of all the hints we've found for that person.
The Hint Page. The best thing to do with the hint page is review each hint to verify if it's a match. If it's not a match, click the "ignore" link on the right. If it's a match for your person, click the "accept" link. Accepting a hint will take you to the "merge" page where you decide how the information from that record is added to your tree.
Merging information from historical records or family trees allows you to accomplish two great results: First, you grow your tree by adding new details, facts and generations. In addition, as you merge information, we automatically create source citations for that information so you can keep track of what information you got from what source. This helps other researchers visiting your tree quickly see that your tree information is reliable.
What is a source? A source is a document, index, book, person or other material from which you find information related to a fact or event in your family tree.
Why are sources important? Reliable sources are critical in family history research because they help you prove that the information you're compiling is accurate. When you run into conflicting information, it's much easier to decide which source is more reliable if you know where your information came from. Additionally, others may want to verify that the assertions you make about people in your tree are correct. These people use the source information you provide to assess the validity of what you say about your ancestors. Read more about sourcing.
What if I don't get any hints? Even if you don't see the hint icon, it's very possible that we have Historical Records for a person. We have strict rules about showing hints, so we only show hints that we believe are almost certainly for the person in your tree. There are a few reasons why you may not see hints:
You haven't yet entered the person's name, birth year and place, death year and place. These items really help us narrow the search.
The person might have lived in a place other than where he or she was born or died. For example, our census records search is based on where the person lived during that census year. Our advanced search template can help you create a custom search to uncover more difficult cases.
An exact search might bring better results. For more search tips read this.
Adding photos and stories to a person will help tell the story behind the personal facts and life events in your timeline. See an example of a family tree with photos and stories.
Adding a photo to your tree is pretty simple. You'll need to have the photo in electronic format. The file types we allow are: JPG, TIFF, PNG, GIF and BMP. If your photos are not in electronic format, you'll need a scanner to make the conversion. When you have the file, you start the upload from the person the photo belongs with in your tree. Click the link "add photo" and follow the online instructions. Photos that you upload follow the general privacy rules that you've established for the tree and the specific rules for the person (i.e., if the person is living, the photos will always be hidden).
Stories can capture single memories, or be as complex as a biography or family history. To add a story to your tree, start on any "person" view. At the bottom of the person view you'll find a link to "add a new story". You can add two basic types of stories: A story you type in (or paste text into), and a document you upload. You can upload the following file types: Microsoft Word (.doc, .rtf), Adobe PDF (.pdf) and Plain Text (.txt). File uploads can not exceed 15 MB in size.
People have been telling stories since the beginning of time. There are many ways to tell them, but nothing is more powerful than hearing a story told in the voice and emotion of a family member. So go ahead, give the service a try and start preserving your family stories. To get started, click the "add audio" link on the person page.
As you add family members to your family tree, you can add their email addresses and invite them to see and help build your family tree.
When they come to visit your tree, they'll be able to see your entire family tree. (However, you can choose to hide living individuals in your tree from those you invite.) Invited guests can see the historical records you've attached, the photos and stories you've uploaded and all other information in your family tree.
People you invite to see your tree can participate in varying degrees. By default, all invitees are editors, but you can change this setting at any time. Choose from the following roles for your invitees:
|View your tree|
|Add stories and photos|
|Add and edit people|
*Note: The Editor role can always see information of Living People in the tree.
Questions about making changes to your tree
How do I change the name of my tree?
From the My Ancestry page, find your tree and select the "manage tree" link. On this page you'll see the "Tree Name" field. Change this field to the new name and click the orange "update" button.
Questions about fixing wrong information in your tree
How do I edit or change information about a person in my tree?
Go to the person and click the Edit Person button.
How can I delete a person from my tree?
After determining which of the duplicates you'd like to delete, go to the person and click the Edit Person button. In this edit area you'll see a link to "remove person."
How do I change the gender of a person in my tree?
Go to the person and click the Edit Person button. In this edit area you'll see the field for "gender," which you can change.
I accidentally added someone as a father when he should have been a grandfather. Can you tell me how to correct this?
You can add this person into the proper relationship by finding a person in the tree that is a son, daughter, spouse or parent, then click the link that says "add father" or "add child." Near the top of the "add person" page is a link that says "Or select someone already in your tree." This link will let you select the person in your tree that fits in that relationship.
How do I delete records in my family tree?
Go the person page and scroll down to the "Attached Records" area. When your mouse cursor is above an attached record, you'll see the "Remove record" link.
Questions about features you can't find
How do I Save Records to My Member Tree?
When you find a record you like, click the orange "Save" button at the bottom of the record. After clicking, you'll have a few options to choose from.
How do I print Family Group Sheets?
We don't have a print format for family group sheets, but you can achieve something similar by printing the "Family" view.
Can I split a tree that I've started into two trees?
No, we don't have this feature available yet.
How can other contact me about my tree?
When others view your tree, we have a prominent link in the top right corner: "This tree belongs to�" showing your username. From that link a member can view your profile and send you email via our Connection Service.
Questions about what other members can see / do with your tree
If I start a member tree, what happens to the information when I am no longer a member?
Unless you delete your tree, it will remain on our site for others to search. Your privacy settings will remain as you left them.
If I include sources or notes in my tree, will they remain private?
Notes are only viewable by you, the tree owner. Sources will only remain private if you've set your tree to be a "Private Member Tree." In Public trees, others can see your sources.
I'd like to add undocumented research to my tree, but not if others can see it. Is my tree really private?
Your tree is private if you've set your tree to be a "Private Member Tree." In that case, other researchers will not be able to see your tree details without your permission.
Note: other members can still learn if a specific deceased individual is in your tree, in addition to the birth year and birthplace of the person and your username (but they can't see any further details about that person or the relationships in the tree.)
After I build a family tree, how long does it take for others to be able to search for it?
We are usually able to make new trees (and changes to all trees) searchable within about 3–5 days.
"Just curious" questions
What is the meaning of the leaf icon on my family tree?
This means we've found possible matching records or tree information that you can add to your tree.