Monday, October 24, 2016

More Thoughts on Ancestry's We're Related App

Since downloading Ancestry's We're Related App, and receiving an initial list of a handful of famous kin, almost once a day I get notified of one new relative.

I wonder how long they can keep this up.

Am I being too cynical?

As I mentioned in an earlier post, if I am descended from Rev. John Smith of Barnstable, I am certainly cousins with President Obama. (With my cited sources being two highly respected genealogists.) We're Related hasn't mentioned Obama yet to me. I find it very difficult to believe that he isn't in their initial list of celebrity genealogies. On day one they whetted my taste with five celebrity kin. I have no clue how the coding in the software works, but it seems to me if they can connect me with Celebrity X through Ancestor Y, any other Celebrity with Ancestor Y could be instantly revealed to me.

But that's not happening.
One celebrity a day.
I'm wondering how long they can keep this up.

Don't get me wrong. I completely understand.

If I got a list of 100 celebrities on Day 1, and no new celebrities for several months, I'd lose interest in the app. It makes perfect sense. From a marketing perspective.

I am not as negative against the app as some. While the accuracy of the relationships is as reliable as the accuracy of information in online family trees in general - not so much without sources - it does provide the family historian potential end-of-line research hints. Yes, many will input the information into their family trees without additional research. This already happens with the online family trees that Ancestry has mined for this app. But for the careful genealogist, this isn't an issue, and for the careless genealogist, they're going to be careless anyway.

I also think the truly beneficial use of this app is the 'Nearby' function allowing you to see who is related to you within 500 feet. This could be used at genealogical society meetings and conferences to quickly find cousins who are researching the same ancestors.

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