06 January 2013

Do the Ancestry.com Trees Ignore the Obvious?

Color me confused. The "leaves" on Ancestry.com trees continue to confuse me. This time it appears that the "leaves" are leaving the obious behind.

The first screen shot in this blog post shows the page for a Harry E. Shipe showing the information that I currently have for Harry in my file. When this screen shot was made, all "leaves" or hints on Ancestry.com for Harry had been exhausted and the only records on Ancestry.com linked to him were the 1900 through the 1940 census enumerations for Harry and his family. There were no additional hints for Harry.

A search of Ancestry.com databases resulted in two hits for Harry Shipe that clearly matched the individual in my database. What is confusing to me is why those database entries did not turn up as leaves. 

This first match is the World War I draft card for Harry in Ancestry.com's U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards database . His name is a match to what I have in my database and the month, year, and place of birth match as well. It seems strange that this Wold War I draft card was not an automatic match to the entry in my tree.

There is an entry for Harry in the Social Security Death Index at Ancestry.com as well. This entry contained the same first and last name was my entry, in addition to matching the month, year, and place of birth. 

It seems highly unusual that these two entries were not automatic matches for my Harry Shipe.  The only automatic matches that Ancestry.com gave me for Harry were from U. S. Census records.

Why Did These Items Not Match?

To be honest, I am not certain as I do not really understand completely how Ancestry.com arrives at the "leaf" matches. I do know that some of the suggested leaves come from connections other researchers have made. Harry never married and had no children and was only survived by several first cousins. It is possible that no one has really researched him and linked all the records to him.

Note: the screens were current when this blog post was written. Given the fact that the leaves appear to be using connections made by users, subsequent searches may not reproduce these matches exactly.