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Navigating "Hints" on Ancestry

For those family history researchers that use (or any of their other international sites), you will no doubt be familiar with the "hints" that appear automatically in your family tree. This is one of many features that Ancestry offers in order to help people find new information about their ancestors.

For the most part these "hints" can be quite helpful, but you still have to be very careful to research the hint and confirm that it applies to the person in your tree. Never just blindly add the hint to your tree without conducting the same due diligence that you would with any other piece of information. This is even more important when you are looking at hints that come from another Ancestry member's family tree (even more so, IMHO!). In my years of research I have noticed that there are a lot of people building family trees that have incorrect information contained in them, and you want to keep that incorrect information out of your tree as removing it after the fact is a cumbersome and time consuming process.

Having said that, the hints that appear next to a relative's name can often be quite useful. There are many times over the years that I've found useful hints that have allowed me to continue with my research of a branch of my family tree on which I had previously been at a dead-end. This, in turn, has lead to many interesting and wonderful discoveries about my distant family members.

Remember that if you truly want your family tree to be as accurate as possible, you need to allow yourself the time to research your facts before including them in your story. A family tree is built over years of research and investigation and should never be rushed in the hope of simply completing it...because your family tree will never be truly complete; it is the framework that you will (hopefully) pass along to other family members to continue the project that you have started.


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