Wednesday, June 06, 2018
Unofficial Guide to Ancestry.com
Hendrickson, Nancy. Unofficial Guide to Ancestry.com: How to Find Your Family History on the #1 Genealogy Website. Revised and updated ed. Cincinnati: Family Tree Books, 2018.
Author Nancy Hendrickson describes using the Ancestry.com site. The book, aimed at new researchers more than experienced ones, contains good comment, but often comes up a bit short. For example, although she cautions new users about accepting information from trees if it appears wrong, she really fails to tell them they should never add the tree as a source but instead should verify the information and add it manually after it is verified. While she is correct that uploading information from a GEDcom file is quicker, she fails to mention reasons for not doing so--and many exist. In the chapters on using AncestryDNA, she fails to mention some of the tips leading genetic genealogists suggest. For example, she tells readers to email those who do not have a tree without telling them how they may be able to find an unattached tree by checking the match's profile or how the connection may be determined by looking at "shared matches." In fact, she never mentions "shared matches." She also failed to mention and caution users about some of the weaker databases such as some of the public records collections lacking dates and some of the collections drawn from older user-submitted sources which contain errors. Of course, the author could not anticipate the problems tree sync users currently experience due to some data migration issues. She could not anticipate the problems with the Rootsweb portions of the site which resulted in long outages for some resources and continuing outages for others. Most supplemental resources suggested appear to be mostly sources from the book's publisher rather than using the "best sources" for acquiring additional subject information. Recommended only for true beginners, but with the caution to supplement with additional resources and webinars to gain a better picture of the power of Ancestry and to understand the genealogical proof standard which did not appear to be a consideration of the author. I received an electronic copy for review purposes from the publisher through NetGalley with the expectation of an honest review.