Ancestry Hint Feedback - Should You Use This Time-Consuming Feature?


Did you know that Ancestry has a cool Hint Feedback Feature that allows you to give the algorithm the decision making details on the hints they recommend?


In June 2019, Ancestry rolled out a feature asking for feedback on the hints users accept or reject on the platform. Ancestry says, “Let us know why you accepted or ignored certain hints so we can provide you with more meaningful hints in the future.”


Learn how to provide the feedback and then consider whether you should participate.


Provide Feedback for Accepted Ancestry Hints


After evaluating a record hint and deciding to accept it, your final step is to provide feedback on your decision.

You can choose any and all of the following reasons you accepted the Ancestry record hint.

  1. The name is right

  2. The places are right

  3. The relationships are right

  4. The dates are right

  5. I learned something new from this information

  6. I want to save and review these details later

You also have a text field where you can add an alternative reason.

What’s really great is when you make your selections and type your reasons, this information is automatically saved for you. Have no fear that you’ll forget to press save!


In this video, I showcase several examples to help you overcome evaluation paralysis. And I hope that you gain a lot by seeing my thought process on how to accept or reject hints, rather than just saying, “Here. This is what you do.”


Watch this video on YouTube.



Provide Feedback for Rejected Ancestry Hints


When you discover a record hint that you wish to reject, simply click on “Ignore” on a hint page or the “No” button when prompted by the question “Does the Mary Elizabeth Smith [or your ancestor’s name] in this record match the person in your tree?”

Options to provide feedback to Ancestry for hints you reject.

Options available for accepting or rejecting a hint:

  1. The name is wrong

  2. The place are wrong

  3. The relationships are wrong

  4. I already have this information

  5. The dates are wrong.

  6. Other

You can select as many or as few of the categories for rejecting a hint as you wish. You can also add a reason you didn’t accept the hint.


How to Provide Feedback on Ancestry Photo Hints


When you explore photo hints, make sure you don’t have them already in your photo gallery. Ancestry doesn’t search your gallery to determine if the photo is already there. You don’t want to flood your gallery with 10+ copies of the same image.


Also, I wouldn’t recommend accepting photo hints for source links you have on your tree, but that’s a bit of a gray area.


If you discover photo hints that don’t add value to your family tree, you might find yourself ignoring the hint. Then, you’ll include a statement such as “I don’t like this graphic.” “My ancestor isn’t a flag, a flower, or a tree.

You can add notes as to why you don’t want to accept a hint if there isn’t an acceptable option.

Things to Know about Giving Feedback to Ancestry About Hints


There is a debate with some of my genealogy colleagues on whether they should do this or not.


Ancestry press releases say that by giving feedback on these hints, that it should go to help to improve the algorithm. Crista Cowan, The Barefoot Genealogist, and Ancestry Corporate Genealogist confirmed this information in our private conversation.


Benefits of Giving Feedback


I like to give feedback to the algorithms, so long as Ancestry will use my efforts to improve their research hinting procedure.


You can potentially review the reasons behind the choices you made.



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Limitations of Giving Feedback


Unlike reason statements on FamilySearch, no one else will be able to see your feedback on why or why you accepted each hint. You miss out on the knowledge of other researchers for why they accept or reject hints.


It may slow down your research process with an increased benefit in your genealogy.


Since Ancestry doesn’t have a Help page on the support section of their website about the feedbacks, I have to wonder how long is this going to stick around?


Review of Ancestry Hints Feedback Option


On one hand, I want to help improve the research experience on Ancestry. If providing hint feedback can teach the algorithm how to review hints, I like that option. It might be the wave of the future genealogy tech, much like the new city directory technology on MyHeritage.


If the feedback can work more like reason statements over on Family Search, I definitely find value in it. If not, I can see very few researchers embracing the use of the option.


Decide for yourself.


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