Additional Record Hints Released

August 19, 2014  - by 

On Monday, August 18th FamilySearch released a new update of the hinting data visible on an ancestor’s detail page in the Family Tree. This data update represents advancements in the software that will allow users to view a whole new set of hints for each ancestor. Users of the Family Tree may wish to visit their ancestor pages again and evaluate any new hints that may be displayed.

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 of development 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. Later this fall, 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 (ex. The ancestor may be listed as the mother on her daughter’s birth certificate). With this data update, the hinting system will now present all the valuable records that mention an ancestor rather than just those that are “about” the 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 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.

We are as excited as our users are about the accuracy and efficiency these new tools provide both to the task of doing research as well as the quality of the information found in the Family Tree. We invite all users who have used the new tools to share their experience with other friends and family members so that we can greatly accelerate this great work.



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  1. I have over 6000 ancestors recorded in “The Master Genealogist” database, and each indivuals details contain sources linked to that piece of related data. TMG will no loger be supported and I wish to import this database into Family Tree. However, I understand that a GEDCOM file will loose all my linked sources. Will there be an effort to provide a transfer method that retains sources?

  2. I am the daughter of the late Raymond Underwood. My father was born in West Union, Doddridge, WV. I am trying to link my family to all of my Uncle’s, Aunt’s and Cousin’s that I have out there. My father was an only child and my grandparents had passed before my mother and father married. My father had no brothers or sisters. So I know that I am related to most Underwood’s in Doddridge, WV.

    1. some things to look at that might help is to look for mispellings on records and also look for censuses that put your mom and dad together. After that then look for marriage records, christening records, and birth records. Sometimes censuses list some other family members other than children. It also helps to do a google search on any rumors of famous people in the family. For instance, the rumor is that my mothers great grandfather was a famous dulcimer maker. All we knew was his name was Ed. Well I did a google search on dulcimer makers and found him!. His name was James Edward Thomas and everyone called him “Uncle Ed.” Even the slightest hint of a rumor can be proven or disproven.

  3. I love this feature. It has been extremely helpful and has saved many hours or research. The only problem, if you will, that I find is that often I have duplicated and even triplicated the source because the hint will not go away unless I attach it. Maybe one day, we can merge those duplicate, triplicate and even quadruplicate sources. Thanks for your efforts in helping my efforts in finding my ancestors.

    1. When you get one that won’t go away, detach the stuck hint and then reattach it. That should clear it. When you see this happen, use the feedback on the attach dialog for each case. It will send all the info for the hint and the person along with your feedback. That way they can investigate the issue and find a fix.

  4. I would like to know if you can remove hints from the hint list that do NOT match your ancestors, as some of the are not matches. (close but not the same person)

  5. How can I view in one page all the available hints in my family tree? Currently I am having to view each person’s detail page to see if a hint has been updated.

    1. Go to the Descendancy View (left hand drop down menu on main page that usually shows a pedigree chart) then on the top left hand it will say EXPAND – click on that and keep expanding. You can also click on 4 generations for each view. This will help you see many hints for several individuals at a time.

  6. Looking back on this, in just one month I can now easily surpass how many records I manually searched and attached the entire year of 2013. Thanks to all those who helped develop this feature. You’ve kept me busy for years.