Monday, September 14, 2015

Monday Mailbox: Research Guidance and Ownership

The Ancestry Insider's Monday MailboxDear Ancestry Insider,

I thought Ancestry was sponsored by the LDS [The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] and was a church non-profit.

Judith Martin

Dear Judith,

This is a common misconception. The Church owns FamilySearch, not is a for-profit company and FamilySearch is a non-profit company. For more information, see my article “ Sold for $1.6 Billion.”

---The Ancestry Insider

Dear Ancestry Insider,

Was it you who published a list of guides on how to research Blacks, Irish, English, etc.?

If so, how do I access them?

Bob Hardiman

Dear Bob,

It might have been me. I know I’ve pointed out the extensive set published by These have a tendency to be biased towards’s offerings, but that is to be expected.

The Family History Library used to publish excellent research guides. To prevent them from falling into the wrong hands, they’ve cut them up into little pieces and hid them in the FamilySearch Wiki. Unlike paper research guides, which have a well defined reading sequence, the wiki is a “maze of twisty little passages, all different.” Seriously though, if you can get past the non-sequential nature of a wiki, the research guides—for some topics—are almost beyond compare.

  1. Start at
  2. Select Search. It is near the top of the page.
  3. Select Wiki. It is in the next row down.
  4. For help with a geographic related topic, like Irish and English, click on the map. See “England Genealogy” for an example converted from paper.
  5. For help with a non-geographic research interest, search for it. See “Jewish Genealogy Research” and “African American Genealogy” for examples converted from paper research guides.

The old, paper guides were decidedly biased towards Family History Library books and microfilm. But since the wiki can be edited by anyone, it embraces a much wider set of resources, including databases from and other websites.

---The Ancestry Insider


  1. ancestry is for sale again. I think the asking price is now 3 Billion dollars.

  2. I am struck by what seems to be the failure of this blog to note, report on, defend, or constructively criticize the New ACOM interface. . .? Why are you avoiding this issue? Many, many people on the update blogs, the community boards, and Facebook have registered numerous complaints and criticisms about functional issues as well as cosmetic issues. And, if you are not deliberately ignoring this issue, please let me know where I can access your take on it. Thanks.

  3. Why do people continue to troll this and every other board about's new look? Move on or get your own blog where you can complain all day long about the interface. Mr. Ancestry Insider, thank you for continuing to do the work that you do. I look forward to reading every post. And as a matter of note, I like the new Ancestry. I think it has made me a better researcher, and definitely a better researcher. And I continue to see improvements weekly.

  4. Please keep things civil. I'm going to allow the criticism of a class of people, but I've deleted a comment here that targeted one person in particular.

  5. Why do people continue to troll this and every other board when other people post criticisms of ACOM's new interface? Why don't those people either respond meaningfully to the criticism or just move on? Why don't they explain what about the New ACOM they feel has made them a better researcher? Why don't they describe the improvements they notice? Why don't the Ancestry Insiders (as a class of people) carry out the stated mission of reporting on, defending, and constructively criticizing ACOM?

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. While I don't care to get into a "blog brawl" I will say, I certainly didn't direct my comment to a particular user. I had just caught up several of this blog's previous posts and noted that 8 out of 10 comments from the Sept 8th post were directed at the new ACOM site and not about the current post in general. And then, I noted it with this particular post again. It is correct, everyone is entitled to their own opinion; mine of which, I will direct to my own blog post dated 10 Jun 15 regarding the new ACOM; At the time I offered ACOM some constructive criticism. It specifically pertained to "edit" being the only option when hovering over sources, essentially making the next page live. I asked if they could make "view" an option to guard against inadvertent edits. I noticed they made that change in the last few weeks. I do miss the opportunity to create "Military Pages" as many of my recent past and most of the current males in my family could use that kind of documentation. C'est la vie. All I can do is ask them again. Can we now get back to the posts at hand?

  8. Mary and Gonzhou,

    I appreciate both of you and your comments. I hope I haven't driven either of you away. I value your opinions.

    Mary, you made me smile. We Ancestry Insiders (as a class of people), enjoyed your comment. You'll be happy to know that last Saturday I wrote an article that may interest you. I think it comes out tomorrow; I don't remember for certain when I scheduled it for.

    Gonzhou, I like your approach. As the article will mention, I endorse constructive, specific criticism. You've given an excellent example of a specific criticism, a suggested remediation, and a change Ancestry made in response.

    Thank you to you both,
    ---The Ancestry Insider

  9. Most of my friends on Ancestory are either deleting their trees or making them private because of the New Ancestory Format. Perhaps if Ancestory would explain to us why they they have made certain changes..... Why do we have to have Oval pictures that cut out the period clothes and background? Is their a good reason that we don't understand? Why do we have to have a grey background? Why isnt there a member connect? That is a feature I enjoy most. Why won't they respond to us with an anwser instead of making us feel like we don't matter?
    The site is supposed to be for its customers. Don't they care about their customers at all? Or, are we just dollar signs to them. Thats what it feels like

  10. Soooooo, if I post to my "Family Search" site, it will NOT end up on Haven't updated for a while because I don't think they should put my info out there and charge others to see it.

    1. Please notify me, forgot to click on before I sent message


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