Here’s a bad behavior of the New Ancestry. You’ll recall that Family Events are births and deaths of family members that show up in a person’s timeline. Some people don’t like this at all and turn them all off via settings. I happen to like them. But they don’t always show up and it sounds like the much disdained LifeStory narrative is to blame.
Let me lay out my situation. Here are some of the events showing up in Caroline’s timeline, in the order they occurred. There are residence events that I’ve left out for clarity:
- (There is no marriage event with Daniel)
- Family event: Birth of first son of Caroline and Daniel
- Family event IS MISSING: Daniel dies
- 1882 Marriage to John
- Family event IS MISSING: John dies
To understand Caroline’s life, it would really be helpful to see when the husbands’ deaths occurred relative to the other events of her life. I asked Ancestry if this was a bug and this was their reply:
We will not show death of a first spouse if they remarried. This is because we include in the narrative text that lists how many years they had been married (now we only do this on the LifeStory, not Facts View). Pretty awkward-sounding when you have a marriage that ended in divorce and remarriage.
In cases where we don’t have marriage events for more than one spouse or if we only have one marriage event, we don’t know which marriage came first, so we err on the safe side and just don’t list either death of spouse.
As serious genealogists don’t like the artificial, machine generated narratives, it is unfortunate that Ancestry cripples the Facts view for the sake of LifeStory’s machine-generated narrative.
In this particular case, if you remove one of the spouses, the death of husband will show up. Now, Caroline does have a marriage date of 1882 listed with John…. If a marriage were added in with the other spouse, Daniel… of 1880, the death of John… would show up. If you added in a marriage to Daniel of 1885, the death of Daniel would show up.
I initially thought they were seriously suggesting that I solve the problem by removing a known spouse or adding a marriage event that may not have occurred. Then I realized they were simply explaining the behavior of the system, from which I take it that there is nothing I can do to fix it.
Ancestry wants to avoid an awkward sounding machine generated narrative should a divorce have occurred. I want to see if I should look for a divorce record. The latter favors the discovery of new genealogy. The former favors the discovery of new customers.