On Monday, August 18th FamilySearch released a new update of the hinting data visible on an ancestor’s detail page in the Family Tree. This data update represents advancements in the software that will allow users to view a whole new set of hints for each ancestor. Users of the Family Tree may wish to visit their ancestor pages again and evaluate any new hints that may be displayed.
Public Preview Release
On June 17th, 2014, FamilySearch released a public preview of the record hinting feature. With this new feature, users can view the details page of any ancestor in the family tree and see suggested records that have a high confidence of being applicable to that specific ancestor. . These hints are identified by comparing the ancestor’s vital information, relatives and the relative’s vital information against all the historical records published on FamilySearch database.
During the public preview phase of development significant enhancements will continue to be made to the quality and capability of the hinting software. An update system is also being built to provide new hints more quickly. The Hints data will continue to be updated as new records become available (more or less on a monthly basis). That means that as new people are added to the tree, they may not show record hints until the next data update. Later this fall, when the update system is complete, new hints will be generated anytime a tree person is added or significantly changed.
Hints that Mention your Ancestor
Genealogical researchers recognize that the first step in understanding an ancestor is to gather as many records about their life as possible. Many of the records that position the ancestor in a place, time and relationships may not be about the ancestor, but about their family members (ex. The ancestor may be listed as the mother on her daughter’s birth certificate). With this data update, the hinting system will now present all the valuable records that mention an ancestor rather than just those that are “about” the ancestor. When a user attaches a record to their tree, they are affirming to Family Tree that the person in the record is the same person they are attaching the record to in the tree. The updated hinting data will make it easier for researchers to use valid sources to document the conclusions they make.
We are as excited as our users are about the accuracy and efficiency these new tools provide both to the task of doing research as well as the quality of the information found in the Family Tree. We invite all users who have used the new tools to share their experience with other friends and family members so that we can greatly accelerate this great work.