Ancestry.com things to know

Hints may be manufactured time wasters Today January 4, 2019 my Ancestry subscription is ended, for awhile. Researching on Ancestry for almost 5 years, today I get this Hint for John Howland, he sailed on the Mayflower. The Planters of the Commonwealth book is one of the most valuable sources for early American immigrants. Seems like this Hint for John Howland should have come to me in 2015, 2016, 2017, etc. Seems like this Hint for John Howland would be one of thee most beneficial.

I had already saved this record manually and will probably buy this book, own the book, nothing is lost. But, if Ancestry’s mission is to help subscribers build their trees, an A+++ Hint like this should be one of the first offered. It came to me as Hint number 188, 179 of those completely useless and ignored. screenshot.png


Ancestry website issues are significant June 22, 2018 Ancestry about back to it’s standard 50% level. No further communications from Ancestry . com to paying customers or on their Facebook page. I’ll hold off renewing awhile longer. FTM sync was buggy this AM, tree synced but saying not synced then FTM froze had to force quit.


Ancestry website issues are significant May 2018 Ancestry site is not working 99% of the time, working about 1% of the time: Ancestry . com posted an announcement of sorts not on their website, not near the message board and not near customer service links but on their Facebook page only. -Site not working, updates in progress, completed by May 31.- This is the same on June 6 with another announcement from Ancestry . com on their Facebook page. Loosely translated -customers are valued beyond belief, data is 100% safe, the new improved site will be mind blowing in what it offers and how well it works-. I believe it’s 50/50 whether the site will be repaired or just disappear in a poof.  This is putting a huge wrench in my summer family history project, worse part is being unable to sync FTM for about 6 weeks, so work on FTM and Ancestry is minimal.


Sometimes records change.On Ancestry the Iowa State Census Collection, 1905 Iowa Census was reindexed or somehow shuffled. For several family members I had the correct Iowa 1905 census record saved to the correct person. Around December 2016 another Ancestry customer reported this issues (incorrect record attached to person where previously correct record was attached) on a message board and had reported it to Ancestry. I also reported it to Ancestry. Their response was a fix is on the way. Link to discussion on former message boards https://bit.ly/2jG4FWi.

Still no fix after 365 days, I began correcting the error, removing the incorrect Iowa 1905 census and adding the correct Iowa 1905 census. Then I discovered a nicer and free version on FamilySearch.org with images, so switched to the FamilySearch Iowa 1905 census record. The image shows the record I saved to E Angell, used to be correct, now incorrect. I’m saving this just to see if it’s ever fixed.Error 1905 census


Spam email and cancelling a subscriptionSometimes I hesitate to recommend Ancestry. I believe from actual experiences, they are somewhat dishonest or sleazy in their practices. I’ve found something to back this up.  The Internet Patrol an awesome site, new to me March 2018 has this:

We should point out that in our opinion (which is informed and educated) Ancestry.com is in violation of the Federal anti-spam law, CAN-SPAM, in a few ways, including that they do not include an unsubscribe link in their mailings at all, and their “Email preferences” link takes you to a login page where you have to enter a username and password before you can even get to the ‘preferences’ page (a clear violation of the “one-step unsubscribe” requirement of CAN-SPAM).

This same link also provides detailed information on how to cancel an Ancestry subscription. It’s the weirdest thing, once you give Ancestry your credit card info there is no way, on Ancestry, to remove that credit card info. So the card I last used, I had to cancel recurring payments at the credit card website. Just to make sure my subscription was cancelled. Because it’s always a little iffy on Ancestry.


Things may be misrepresented Town Clerk Records may or may not be actual records of historical Town Clerks. On Ancestry.com sources are odd. Sources titled something like, Massachusetts Town Clerk Vital Records, turn out to be NOT the records of a town clerk in Massachusetts a long time ago, but the work of a person like me, something found then transcribed, conclusions drawn, maybe actual proof, maybe not. Example below. Labeled as Mass. Town and Vital Records, it’s actually the work of Mr. Stoughton from the 1960s. He was surely conscientious and knowledgeable, but still, his work can’t be recorded as the work of Massachusetts Town clerks from the 1620s? Can it?

Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

Original data: Town and City Clerks of Massachusetts. Massachusetts Vital and Town Records. Provo, UT: Holbrook Research Institute (Jay and Delene Holbrook).

http://ancstry.me/2soIfkj link requires a paid subscription, here’s a screen shot.

Anc example