Monday, May 22, 2017

Ancestry "We're Related" Mobile App and Private Ancestors

I haven't blogged for awhile about's mobile "We're Related" app for finding celebrity kin. Shortly after my list reached 100, I re-focused the app to find cousins for my wife. Lately it has been producing several ancestries that include "Private" ancestors. This makes no sense to me since the ancestors in question are all obviously deceased. I have "communicated" with Ancestry about it. By that I mean I have sent comments through their mobile app's feedback feature. I have received no responses. No indication anyone has read my queries. And this has been over a several month period.*

Anyway, today's "Possible Relative" is the most egregious of the examples. The "Common Ancestor" is marked private. So are the next two ancestors in both my wife's descent, and the celebrity's descent.

It would be cool if my wife did share a common ancestor with William Butler Yeats. It looks like the common ancestor might have the surname Taylor. However, in my opinion, whatever computer algorithm allows the app to even consider connections with ancestors that are marked 'private' should be eliminated from the code. Assuming the information comes from someone's Ancestry family tree, that they marked an obviously deceased individual as 'Private' should be a red flag that the information is questionable.

That said, my favorite part of the We're Related app is that it provides me with something to research. I like puzzles. In a fashion, this reminds me of diagramless crossword puzzles - which provide an even greater challenge than regular crossword puzzles.

* I sent feedback on this topic on March 21, April 29, May 8, and May 18. It's now been two months since the first message. None of these messages which I sent to the Ancestry Mobile App Team have received a response. The feedback on April 29 specifically requested some response to indicate someone was reading my feedback. The conclusion that I reach is that Ancestry has ceased supporting the app, even if they haven't made that announcement.

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