Genealogy from the perspective of a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon, LDS)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

FamilySearch Releases Additional Research Hints for Family Tree

According to a FamilySearch Blog post of 19 August 2014 by Robert Kehrer entitled,"Additional Record Hints Released," "on 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."

These new developments do not seem to be readily visible to the user, but as I searched around and looked at several ancestors in detail, I did see additional new record hints. It would be nice if there was something showing on the Traditional View pedigree that there were source hints available. Even though the program provides these hints, it is still up to the user to evaluate and attach the sources to the individuals in the program. This feature is very similar to the "shaky green leaf" hints in but without the pedigree view graphic indication of new hints. In FamilySearch Family Tree, you have to go to each ancestor to see the hints, it there are any.

One way to see new or existing hints is to view your ancestors in the Descendancy View. Here is a screenshot of my Great-grandfather's family in the Descendancy View showing the additional Record Hints available. I had cleared off all the record hints previously available.

The blog post goes on to explain the newly added hints as follows:
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.
This is a powerful and helpful addition to FamilySearch Family Tree. The blog post from Robert adds these comments:
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.
It appears that the accuracy of the hints is very good. I will have to add a few more to be sure, but I would guess that this new development is either a direct or indirect benefit of the partnerships with and/or


  1. Currently overrun by too many duplicates of Billion Grave sources, plus Utah marriage records!

    Then consider this: For example, I have one particular ancestor with 11 plural marriages and 48 children. Birth, death and marriage records of children are now showing up as record hints on both parents profile page. These records that should belong to the children are now attached to both parents and making it harder to sort through the individual records of parents. Love the record hints, but wondering what to do when I don't believe that all these records need to be attached to all individuals mentioned in certain records?!

    1. Hi Diane, some of us will likely be swimming in a sea of research hints. I just noticed I have nearly 8,000 on I suggest ignoring the ones that don't apply to your present research. But also being selective for the time being. But all the sources are valuable and should be ultimately attached.

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