Tuesday, August 7, 2012

George Ryskamp: Apples and Oranges

George Ryskamp at the BYU Conference on Family History and GenealogyGeorge Ryskamp presented “Apples and Oranges: Trees on Ancestry and FamilySearch” at this year’s BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy. He gave an overview of the tree systems on each and then presented head-to-head comparison tables.

He began by warning us that all he could present was an overview (which I have further summarized). To make it worse, the Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org are moving targets.

FamilySearch

On the FamilySearch.org home page there are links to two different tree systems. Underneath “Discover Your Family” is the “Trees” link. This leads to “User Submitted Trees,” which are the Ancestral File and the Pedigree Resource File (PRF).

“Not only are we searching for the dead, but the submitters are dead too,” joked Ryskamp. Ancestral File and PRFs are so old, many contributors are deceased.

While an ancestor will not typically appear more than once in the Ancestral File, they may appear multiple times in Pedigree Resource Files. There is no pedigree view. There is no family group view.

The sources found in the PRF are usually not very good. In Ancestral File, there are none at all. There is no contact information. And there is no updating. [If it isn’t already possible, there is a plan to allow PRF submitters to replace a submission with a new upload.]

For those with access to the FamilySearch Family Tree, there is a “Family Tree” link at the top of the page.

Anyone can update the Family Tree. “All of us are hopeful that a sense of rationality will appear,” said Ryskamp. Otherwise, wars can develop where two relatives disagree on the facts. “It is exciting and hopefully it will eliminate duplication.”

Ancestry.com

Ancestry Member Trees are unique to the owner. You can have a whole series of trees. You can start a tree by uploading a GEDCOM, but you can’t upload a GEDCOM to add to an existing tree. Trees can be public or private. If a search matches an individual in a private tree, a notice is included in the search results and the searcher can request access to the private tree. The tree owner decides whether to grant access or not.

The tree owner controls who can make changes to the tree or who can contribute photographs and documents.

Member Trees have a pedigree view and a family view. Ryskamp that it was interesting that on the pedigree view the principal person’s siblings were labeled as such rather than as additional children of the parents. The family view is more conventionally known as a descendency chart.

For citations to sources on Ancestry.com you can easily click to get to the record. You can easily add source citations or upload images of documents.

In your trees Ancestry shows hints to records available on Ancestry. They are relatively conservative, so only a few reference incorrect records. They will show you hints in records and in family trees of others. You can review a hint before accepting. If accepted, the information is automatically copied into your tree.

Comparing Apples and Oranges Tables

Primary Purposes

ANCESTRY FS TREES
*  Share Data *  Do Temple Work
*  Research Support *  Avoid Duplicating Temple Work
* Preserve Data    -  The Universal Tree
(And of course, make money) *  Collaborate

Sourcing

ANCESTRY FS TREES
*  Source Citation *  Source Citation
*  URL Links *  URL Links
*  Direct Link to Ancestry Records *  Direct Link to FamilySearch Records
*  Document and Photo Upload *  [FUTURE] Document and Photo Upload

Sharing

ANCESTRY FS TREES
*  Able to Share or Not *  Share and Edited by Everyone
*  Makes Available Photos and Documents *  No Images
* System Setup to Contact Any Submitter (Although Not All Answer) *  Contact on Family Tree Although Email Not Mandated. No Contact Info On AF and PRF

Compatibility with Other Programs

ANCESTRY FS TREES
*  GEDCOM Compatible *  GEDCOM Compatible
   - No Ability to Add a GEDCOM File to an Existing Tree     - No Ability to Add a GEDCOM File to an Existing Tree ?
*  No LDS Temple Work Capacity *  Full LDS Temple Capacity Coming
*  Family Tree Maker 2012 TreeSync *  Integrated with Affiliate Programs

Display Functionality

ANCESTRY FS TREES
*  Compact Data Display *  Lots of White Space
*  Easier to Go Deep in a Couple of Clicks *  Several Clicks to Go Deeper
*  Source and Photo Attachment Can Be Complicated *  Source Attachment is Simple

Research

ANCESTRY FS TREES
*  Encourages Research Through Hints *  No Research Emphasis Beyond Sources
*  Direct Links to Ancestry Documents *  Direct Links to FS Documents
*  Stories and Other Items Included *  No Stories, But Possible Through URLs
*  Large Non-LDS Participation *  Primarily LDS Participation
*  Sources Not Mandated *  Sources Not Mandated

So which trees are best? “The advantages of Ancestry are definitely worth putting out a tree,” said Ryskamp. “The real answer: I use both.”

3 comments:

  1. It's too bad that they removed the submitter contact information. I made a couple of valuable family contacts that way -- including receiving a copy of an OP book that had information I couldn't have found any other way.

    ReplyDelete
  2. AI, this does not make sense: "Ryskamp that it was interesting that on the pedigree view the principal person’s siblings were labeled as such rather than as additional children of the parents."

    1) No siblings are shown in a pedigree box chart except that children of the root person of the particular chart are shown (they would be each others' siblings). No siblings of the root person or of any ancestors are shown except to the extent cousins married who were descendants of different children of a common ancestor. In the latter case, there is no "label" at all, just showing the same common ancestor (in separate slots not connected by any indicative lines).

    2) There is no ~labeling~ of relationships in either pedigree box charts or 'family' box charts (which provide parents of the central person, siblings where entered, and children - with ability to expand on descendants of one of the children or grandchildren.

    3) On an individual's Overview page, a drop-down list from the person's parents is available which lists siblings (children of those parents) and half-siblings (children of one of those parents) separately. The list of half-siblings does not identify which parent is parent of the half-siblings or who the other parent may be of half-siblings. A similar list of siblings and half-siblings can be seen from the same page by clicking to view family members.

    Another difference between Ancestry Member Trees and FS-Family Tree is availability in AMTs of Family Group Sheet views which show vital dates and places. There is no similar view at present in FS-FT, in which the only way to see definite dates (more than Year) and any places at all is to look at an individual person view, or very briefly by looking at a pop-up "card" for one person at a time.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Insider - sorry but this line just does not ring true:
    "In your trees Ancestry shows hints to records available on Ancestry. They are relatively conservative, so only a few reference incorrect records. They will show you hints in records and in family trees of others. You can review a hint before accepting. If accepted, the information is automatically copied into your tree."

    How then do we account for hints with the wrong mother, wrong father, wrong state, etc., etc., etc., all of which are accepted by the clickologist cousins?

    The ancestry.com search algorithm has SERIOUS issues which need to be addressed. If not, ACOM will always be a "player" but not a serious contributor.

    ReplyDelete