Indexing and DNA

Over the past year, I’ve blogged several times about issues regarding the indexing of my Ancestry tree. That is just one of several Ancestry issues discussed by Randy Seaver in his blog post, Dear Are You Fixing These Problems?

In addition to the problems mentioned in his blog post, I have been encountering an issue with my DNA matches that I believe is related to the tree indexing issues.

I have known cousins who have an Ancestry tree and appear on my DNA match list. When I look at their match in my list, I do not see a shaky leaf. When I view our match, it shows the tree for this cousin.


This cousin descends from Alexander Briles and Sarah Rush, thru their son Robert A Briles. I descend from Alexander Briles and Sarah Rush thru their son Noah Briles.


One might argue that our two trees must have a difference since Ancestry isn’t matching up our common ancestor. However, I manage my mother’s DNA test. When I look at the match for my mother, the trees are matched up.


I have reported this issue to Ancestry twice. The first time was with a different cousin and somehow now displays the comparison of our trees. The second time, I reported this match and it still isn’t displaying correctly. Since I have a large tree and a large number of DNA matches, I have no idea how many 4th or distant cousins aren’t showing up as having ‘hints’.

Note: I just tried searching for my tree and the expected 24 trees are back — but my tree is now missing from the results. I tried the following search on my account and on a free account.


This search results in 24 trees — all containing my great-grandfather, Judson Foster Crawford. Missing from the list is my Heartland Genealogy tree.


I have worked hard over the past year to accept Ancestry hints so my tree would be indexed. I currently  have 7,074 records attached to individuals in my Ancestry tree.


I use RootsMagic’s TreeShare to upload data from my database to Ancestry. I currently have 50,832 citations attached to individuals in my RootsMagic database. Those citations are copied to Ancestry and appear as ‘Other’ sources.


Thus, it looks like the indexing of the trees is broken again.

So, I join with Randy Seaver in asking When are you fixing these issues?

Issues Searching Trees

Do you wish that everyone who took a DNA test had a tree attached going back to at least their grandparents? Do you ever search public member trees hoping to find a cousin with the family Bible or family photographs? I have a lot of family photographs, documents and even a Bible that I want to share with family members. I have a public member tree and I want others to be able to find my tree.

As I discovered yesterday, the vast majority of my tree may now be found. However, there are parts of my tree that still aren’t indexed. Randy Seaver reminded me of this possibility in his reply to my comment on his blog, Has Indexed Ancestry Member Trees Yet. It appears that the entire tree isn’t indexed. Instead only individuals with sources are indexed.

In order to verify this, I had to go to a section of my tree where I had not worked the Ancestry hints. I selected the John Minnick family to test this theory. My Heartland Genealogy tree contains Ancestry sources for John Minnick.

When I did a search of public member trees for John Minnick with a death date of 1903, my Heartland Genealogy tree appeared in the results.

I then looked at one of John Minnick’s children, Wilson Minnick. Even though I have sources attached to Wilson Minnick, they are all OTHER sources and not Ancestry sources.

I then tried a search for Willson Minnick with a death date of 1914. My tree did not appear in the list of results. This supports Randy Searver’s finding, ‘an individual must have an source attached to be indexed‘. (Until a person is indexed, the tree they are in won’t appear in the results of a search for them in a public member tree.)

Having found some issues with searching public member trees, I wanted to see if I could use a different search to find the trees containing my CRAWFORD family. Thus, I tried a search for my grandfather, Leon Crawford who died in Dodge City, Kansas.

This search returned a total of 3 trees, including my Heartland Genealogy tree. Even though the other 2 trees contain my CRAWFORD family, they are not close cousins. The trees for my close cousins are not listed in these search results.

I then searched for Leon’s father, Judson Crawford who also died in Dodge City, Kansas.

Again, three trees are listed including my tree, Heartland Genealogy. Missing from these search results are the other two trees that appeared in the search results for Leon Crawford: McNeil Family Tree and McCutcheon Murray Family Tree. Thus, the question, why does a search for the son show different trees than a search for the father.¬† When I looked at Leon Crawford in the Wells Family Tree and Michael Borck’s Family Tree, they both had Ancestry sources attached to Leon.

Thus, the question, why did the Wells and Brock trees show in a search for the father, but not in a search for the son?

Even though most of my tree can now be found in a search of Ancestry’s Public Member Trees, I believe the inconsistencies in the search results hamper my ability to connect with other’s researching the same lines.


Finally Indexed! But ?

Due to my husband’s fight with pneumonia, I have been away from genealogy for a couple of weeks. This evening, I decided to see if my tree would show up in a search of public member trees. (See Ancestry Indexing Update from Aug 2018)

To my surprise, my tree, Heartland Genealogy, appeared in the results.

Since I’ve been waiting over a year for my tree to be indexed and thus show up in a search of public member trees, I should be celebrating. Unfortunately, I’m not sure the search mechanism is working correctly. For the past year, I have been using this same search (for Judson Foster Crawford EXACT all fields) and getting 24 results. Thus, I believe there are at least 25 public member trees with Judson Foster Crawford in them. Thus when the same search provided me with 104 results, I was very excited – until I scrolled down a bit and realized that the EXACT part of the search did not work.

Even though the search produced 104 trees, it did NOT find all of the 24 trees that had been showing up in my search results for the past year. Thus, I tried another search to try and find these 24 trees: Judson Crawford with a death year of 1949 (EXACT). This time, the report indicated 1 result but showed 3 trees (including my tree).

One of the 24 trees that isn’t showing up in the results list is the tree maintained by my dad’s first cousin. I found that tree and verified that it contained Judson Foster Crawford with a death date of 1949.

So, Ancestry, thank you for indexing my tree.

BUT, could you fix the issues with searches pulling trees that don’t match as well as not pulling trees that do match the search criteria.

Still Not Indexed

Do you search public member trees for hints?

Do you search public member trees to try and connect with others researching your ancestor?

If so, did you realize that only trees with Ancestry sources attached to the tree will appear in the list of results? It doesn’t matter how many other sources are attached, the tree won’t appear in the search results.

Did you also realize that any trees created since October 10, 2017 won’t appear in the list of results. That means that the search results won’t contain trees created by DNA testers in the last year.

I have no idea how many public trees are hidden because of the lack of an updated index. However, I do know that my Heartland Genealogy tree is one of those that is hidden.


I would love for others to be able to find my tree.

I called Ancestry support (again) about this issue. The support technician was very sympathetic. She verified that it has been a year since indexing occurred. She also stated that Ancestry is ‘overdue for indexing’ of the public member trees.

For those that haven’t been following this issue, my blog post, Ancestry Indexing Update, summarizes the issue.

Hopefully, trees will be indexed soon and my wait will be over.