On Tuesday, December 23rd FamilySearch released a new update of the hinting data viewable on an ancestor’s detail page and in the descendancy view in the Family Tree. In this data update newly added or changed persons in the Family Tree have been hinted using all the newly available information. It also includes important new record sets, such as the Find-A-Grave collection, that have been recently published. Additionally, engineers and architects have made numerous advancements in the software algorithms which makes it possible for more than 14 million new hints to be identified. Users of the Family Tree may wish to visit their ancestor pages again and see if any new hints are displayed.
We are as excited as our users are about the accuracy and efficiency that these new tools provide, both to the task of doing research, as well as the quality of the information found in the Family Tree. In the days since this data release, users have set new daily highs in the number of sources they have attached to the Family Tree and the number of new persons added to the tree from historical records. With the vast number of daily additions to the Family Tree tied to historical documents, the Family Tree is becoming one of the largest and most accurate genealogical trees in the world.
These new tools enable many new people to become engaged in Family History work. We invite all who have used the new tools and hints to share their skills and love of this work with other friends and family members so that we can help accelerate this great work.
Public Preview Release
On June 17th, 2014, FamilySearch released a public preview of the record hinting feature. With this new feature, users can view the details page of any ancestor in the family tree and see suggested records that have a high confidence of being applicable to that specific ancestor. These hints are identified by comparing the ancestor’s vital information, relatives and the relative’s vital information against all the historical records published on FamilySearch database.
During the public preview phase, significant enhancements will continue to be made to the quality and capability of the hinting software. An update system is also being built to provide new hints more quickly. The hints data will continue to be updated as new records become available (more or less on a monthly basis). That means that as new people are added to the tree, they may not show record hints until the next data update. When the update system is complete, new hints will be generated anytime a tree person is added or significantly changed.
Hints that Mention your Ancestor
Genealogical researchers recognize that the first step in understanding an ancestor is to gather as many records about their life as possible. Many of the records that position the ancestor in a place, time and relationships may not be about the ancestor, but about their family members. For example, an ancestor may be listed as the mother on her daughter’s birth certificate. FamilySearch record hints include records that mention your ancestors, in addition to those that are about you ancestor. When a user attaches a record to their tree, they are affirming to Family Tree that the person in the record is the same as the person they are attaching the record to in the tree. The updated hinting data will make it easier for researchers to use valid sources to document the conclusions they make.