Monday, September 15, 2014

What's Actually Wrong With Adding Non-Indexed Images

I often come to the defense of because frankly, they get accused of a lot of things which simply aren't true. When this happens, I get accused of believing can do no wrong. But this is far from the truth, I have a lot of criticism for and since I have already taken my complaints to them via their feedback and customer support many times and nothing ever gets resolved, I am instead going to use my blog as my outlet. So I certainly will not deny that customer service is terrible.

Otherwise, some of my complaints may seem minor, and indeed they are not worth cancelling my subscription over. The fact of the matter remains that has the biggest genealogy record database on the internet and therefore is a valuable resource. But when you're trying to do time consuming work on your tree, it's the little things like this which can really inhibit your work flow and when you're paying about $300 a year for a service, I think it's fair to expect basic problems like this to get resolved quickly.

Note the blank events the system creates instead of
attaching the citation to existing events. I leave them
blank so I know which ones to delete but the system
gives you the option to fill them in during attachment.
Today, I'm going to talk about the feature that allows you to add a non-indexed image to your tree. While this feature in itself was a great idea, it's got some major bugs in it that make it almost not even worth using.

For starters, it won't allow you to attach the image to an existing fact (shown right) and instead creates a new one. This means if you're trying to add it as a citation for an existing birth event, for example, it will create a new preferred fact for the birth and your original fact will be made the alternate fact. Annoying, right? You then have to edit the citation to switch it over to the correct, original birth fact but this is not easy since, for some reason, the citation did not save the title of the source! If it's the first time you're saving this source, you have to create a new source with the title but at least once you've added it, from then on you can just select it from the drop down menu when adding this source again in the future. Of course, in order to save the citation you also have to enter something into the "Detail" field. This is a problem with many sources, even those indexed - if they do not have a "detail" entered by's system, you have to enter it yourself when editing the citation.

Once you've finally edited the citation so it has a title, detail, and is attached to the correct facts, you then have to delete the new facts that the system incorrectly created. Because it didn't just create a new birth fact, it also created an alternate name fact.

There are three Tobias Leechs in my tree but two don't have
birth or death dates yet, how do I tell them apart? Suffix of
I, II, or III don't appear.
If all this weren't enough of a pain in the ass, pray you never have to attach the image to an individual who shares a name with someone else in your tree unless you already have a birth or death date entered for at least one of them. The screenshot to the left should show how, in the drop down list of people in your tree to select from, there is no way to distinguish two people with the same name unless they have a birth and death date. Despite the fact that these individuals have been entered with a "suffix" title like Sr. or Jr. or I, II, and III, these suffixes do not appear on the list, making them rather useless in these circumstances. Even when there is a birth or death date entered, be sure to remember which one it is you're attaching it to. I believe this is a problem when attaching any record to an individual selected from the drop down list, even an indexed record. Allowing the suffix to appear on the drop down list should be a quick, simple fix in the system yet the problem has remained for as long as I've been a member since 2008.

So, if you're going to criticize, here is something that is honestly wrong with it.


  1. You are so right. I am no where near as clever as you with Ancestry, but it is making me crazy finding these wonderful Swedish Church Records (not indexed) and then having them all show up as "Residence" facts! I hope someone at Ancestry heeds you!

    1. Yeah, I've been hearing lots of complaints about the Swedish records. :(

  2. This is beyond my expertise. I do add facts to my tree but just use sources that I copy in my own typing. If someone wants to see the actual source I will point to it. I am not writing books but just sharing with family and am as accurate as those genealogists for our families before us. I saw no place to view the image by going to the index page or source page or anything on there other than save and where to save and the files for other pages below the image. Now that Ancestry will be discontinuing FTM none of this will be of use after next year.

    1. Sue, this is about un-indexed documents so they won't have an index page. It's also about attaching records to your online tree, so it has nothing to do with FTM and the discontinuation of FTM has no effect on these problems. The screenshots I used are from the old site, so I apologize if that's confusing you, but these problems still exist even in the new site. I will look into updating the screenshots soon.