Amy Johnson Crow, Ancestry.com spokesperson recently wrote about a new feature on Ancestry.com: the ability to link a record from an image-only collection to someone in your tree. They fly a bit under the radar, but both Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org have collections that haven’t been indexed. I’m on a bit of a crusade this year to get people utilizing these collections better. If you find a record of an ancestor in one of these Ancestry.com collections, it used to be impossible to attach the record to someone in your member tree.
To try this new feature, I attempted to attach a map of Marshall, Oneida, New York. Clicking the orange save button produced the message to the right.
I was disappointed that Ancestry.com didn’t have the capability that Crow suggested. I thought maybe it was just a limitation on books—some of which Ancestry.com handles a little differently.
I tried an image from the “Associated Press, The AP World, 1943–2001” collection. That too, could not be attached.
I decided to try the collection that Crow demonstrated, “North Carolina, Confederate Soldiers and Widows Pension Applications, 1885-1953.” Interestingly, the source information for this collection stated that it is from FamilySearch. I randomly browsed one of the options, “Rainey, William - Reed, William H.” It was a FamilySearch microfilm header. I clicked the orange Save button and it worked as advertised.
I selected a tree and began typing in a name. A list of matching names dropped down and I selected one of them. I could then select from a dropdown list of event types consisting of birth or birth substitutes (baptism, christening, confirmation), death, marriage, and residence. Beneath that I could specify the basic information about an event: date, place, location, and notes.
The example date was “Nov. 1, 1980.” I tried the genealogical standard date format and it worked fine. It showed “Country, State, County, City” in the location field, but when I started typing in a location, the dropdown listed locations in the more conventional smallest-to-largest format. These are trivialities but I bring them up because they show that software designers at Ancestry.com and FamilySearch often don’t do genealogy themselves and sometimes don’t consult with genealogists as they implement their products.
I clicked Save and it showed a confirmation message inviting me to go to the person’s profile page or save the record to another family member. That’s nice because records usually mention more than one family member.
On the person’s profile page, the event was entered into the timeline with the information I specified and a link back to the record.
This is a slick feature. Too bad FamilySearch can’t do this. Maybe someday they will implement timelines too. In the meantime, use it on Ancestry.com. I don’t know what determines if the feature is enabled on a particular collection—maybe its just image-only collections from FamilySearch—but I hope they extend it to all collections.