Tuesday’s Tip: New persons/timeline issues in Ancestry.com

A light bulb

It's the little things...

If you have a tree in Ancestry.com and you want to add a new person, how do you usually do it? Do you add them through the overview panel of an existing individual, where you can click on a button to ‘add a spouse, child, sibling’, etc.? Or do you do it from a record you’ve found? It works either way, but did you know that doing it the latter way can cause a problem in your new person’s timeline?

That’s right, if you choose ‘create a new person’ when you find someone in a record, like a census for example, that person will be created with the record attached, but it may not show up under their timeline. In fact, mine usually don’t. I assume this is a glitch, but it can be an important one for me. For the person I’m currently working on, instead of making a new timeline by hand, I will usually use this timeline in their overview to figure out mentally where to start looking for records next. If I see a hole for the 1920 census, for example, I may start searching for them in the 1920 census without realizing I already had it and had used that census record to create them as a new person. But because it was used to create them, ancestry.com doesn’t put it in their timeline. It’d be wise, of course, to check all the records attached before I go doing that, but I often forget to. This wastes a lot of my research time.

The solution I’ve discovered is this: If you use ‘create a new person’ when you want to add someone to your tree from a record, do that as your normally would, but then go to that event source and remove it. Immediately go back and add it. It only takes a few clicks, it seems to reset the system and everything shows up where it should. Ideally, this wouldn’t happen, but if you’re like me and you use this timeline to do your research, it’ll help a lot in the long run and save you time.

© 2011, copyright Genealady & JustFolks

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