I have taken up the challenge 'Family History Through the Alphabet' started by Gould Genealogy in the hope it will provide me with inspiration to blog more regularly.
So here goes... A is for Ancestry Apple (and a few other A's thrown in for good measure).
Many moon ago before I had children most of my days were spent in libraries and record offices hunting obsessively for signs of my Ancestors.
Then along came my own little Additions to my branch of the family and my chance to get Access to such places and the precious records they held was gone.
Years passed with snatched time here and there but not consistently enough to make any progress. And not enough to give me a fix for my Addiction.
Times moved on and more and more information was coming on line. Then I got a subscription to Ancestry and suddenly I could access some of the same records that I had at the record offices and libraries; but without the restrictions of opening times, travel effort and travel costs. I could research when the children had gone to bed. This meant I was often glued to my computer (and my desk) whenever I had a valid subscription but at least I was getting my fix.
Then along came Apple. The iPhone had existed quite a while before I got my first one. And it wasn't until I got my iPhone 4 and downloaded the Ancestry App that I realised what an Amazing combination it was. Now I can research a lot of the same records I had in record offices - from my bed, on my commute to work, whilst waiting for the children or for an appointment. I can get a fix for my addiction (without it being so noticeable to the family) as long as my phone is charged and I have a signal. I don't have to be at my desk waiting for my tired old computer to turn on. My family tree is always one or two touches away.
And with the iPad it is even better with the increase in screen size.
Not only that I always have my family tree with me. If I'm out and about and see something I can bring my family tree up straight away and check the details. When visiting relatives and the talk turns to those gone by I can bring up the tree at a touch of the screen and add the details there and then. When struggling to read a record you can zoom in and out with ease.
If I only have a little time then I go through the 'hints' (for those of you not familiar with Ancestry these are the record suggestions that Ancestry makes) which sometimes leads to records I am not sure I would have discovered on my own.
Obviously you still need to be absolutely sure before you Accept a link suggestion particularly if it come from another Ancestry members tree as there are a lot of errors but as along as you Apply the same need for Accuracy as you would in a record office there should be no problems.
I have two improvements that I would like to see on Ancestry.
In the 'olden' days when constructing your family tree you would write it in pencil first and only when details were validated would it be written in pen. Unfortunately, this option does not exist in Ancestry and this may be where people are going wrong. For Ancestry to be really effective you need the option to distinguish between confirmed facts and leads.
The second improvement would be that there needs to be a better way to highlight incorrect information on trees held in Ancestry. I leave messages on records where I feel that information is not accurate and I suggest they re-check their sources but I often find that no action is taken. I am not sure what the solution is. Could records be flagged as potentially inaccurate and referred to Ancestry for review/moderation to ensure that the data held by Ancestry is as accurate as it can be? That shouldn't be too difficult to instigate I wouldn't have thought. If staff resources are an issue other websites and forums use members as the moderators and I am sure there will be Ancestry members happy to act as moderators (perhaps rewarded by a subscription for their contribution) to help ensure that Ancestry data is as Accurate as it possibly can be. After all, you are only as good as your weakest link; or should that be weakest branch. :-)