Treeshare - Ancestry Hints

The recent release of the 1950 US Federal Census and its free availability on Ancestry has thrown up a whole lot of new Ancestry hints to put RM8 though its paces.
A single census event can impact on several related individuals in the tree (Head, spouse, several children, etc) and several facts within each person (birth, residence, occupation, etc).
I have found the following:

  1. Treeshare seems to generate a completely separate citation for each fact for an individual (i.e., birth, residence, etc). I would have thought that a single, shared/copied citation would be more appropriate. Is there an option to do this?

  2. When accessing Ancestry hints for several people in the same family, unsurprisingly a separate set of citations is generated for each person. However it also creates a separate Media record for each person, even though this essentially contains the same information as for the rest of the family.

  3. More seriously, it also downloads the same image (jpg) file repetitively, even though the file name is already present in the Media folder, and appends the file name in brackets to the old one. For large families this can result in a ballooning of the Media folder file size and increasingly long file names possibly exceeding OS limits. My intention would be to rename the Media item and related Image file for the Household Head, amend all the others to point to this, and then delete the superfluous image files, but it is by no means easy or straightforward to do this.

  4. It seems to create a completely new Source for each set of citations. Although it is possible to correct this after the event by using ‘Merge Duplicate Sources’ this seems a somewhat long winded way of doing things.

Is it meant to be this way, or am I doing something wrong?

I don’t see that you are doing anything wrong, nor is there really a way to change it. You have to keep in mind that Treeshare involves dealing with the way Ancestry sends down the information and RM deals with that information the way it is handed down. To some extent, RM’s hands are tied. I really do not want the software to make decisions on my behalf.


For the reasons you describe and several other reasons, I only use TreeShare to obtain hints from Ancestry. I do not use TreeShare to download anything from Ancestry to RM. Instead, I download media files manually and I create people, events, sources, and citations manually in RM.


Same as Jerry. Work ancestry hints but never sync down only up. My FTM computer file is the master which gets hint data added manually and then syncs up to ancestry.


This issue is not new and has been a problem for me since TreeShare for RM7 was released. It now seems that my work methods may have caused the problem not realising the limitations that TreeShare has. I have always worked in Ancestry as my main source for my database and downloaded to RM to ensure that a). I had a working copy of my Ancestry tree and b). I can use the various tools that RM provides to ensure accuracy and integrity of my database.
I will now reappraise my methodology and try it the same was as mentioned above, even if it means a lot more hours of work.

Russhart: it should not be more work. you use ancestry hints and record searches to find documents and images. Then download to your computer. If you use Print and check the 3rd choice you get one pdf file with the document image, transcript and sourced citation!

Not just dumping finds directly from ancestry to your computer file avoids the tricky cleanup after-action caused by the differences between ancestry and RM data structures.

My experience in uploading sources and media to ancestry via TreeShare, have not been successful. Often the sources end up under “Other Sources” with only transcripts and no media. I have just now added a PDF to a person, ran TreeShare and this wasn’t even picked up as a “change”.

I currently have just under 28,000 media items and the thought off downloading those from Ancestry, adding them (individually) into RM and then uploading them in the hope they will sit in the right place with the associated source, causes me to have a major headache just thinking about it. Thanks for the suggestion but I can’t see it being a viable solution to my issue, when all it needs is a better implementation of how Ancestry and RM talk each other.

Unfortunately the onus of that is on Ancestry. They dictate what goes into their system through their API and while RM could send the media for the source, that may not be something that Ancestry’s API accepts.

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I understand that, and that is one of the reasons I prefer to download rather than upload any data, (although it does do both each time you use TreeShare).

My issue is the same raised in the original post where downloading media into RM causes many duplications and can’t understand why this can’t be fixed. Surely Ancestry and RM have a collaborative approach to development?

My current solution is to create a new RM tree every 6 months or so by downloading my Ancestry tree into a new fresh file and Media Folder. I then delete the old file and Media folder. I know this will not work for many of you as your Media folder contains files that are not necessarily added to by TreeShare, but in my case I add additional media to Ancestry and then download it via TreeShare.

We live in hope.

Not necessarily because in this case, Ancestry holds all the cards. Exactly two programs can directly interact with Ancestry in this manner. Is it beneficial to RM to start bucking what Ancestry has deemed to be ‘the way’? No, it isn’t because there could soon be only 1 program that directly interacts with Ancestry and said program is a competitor. Why Ancestry has not released their API to other developers, I don’t know.

Well, there is a current thread discussing automatic matching with a 600,000 person tree. I would guess they are not too keen on opening the floodgates to who knows what. They have to host all that activity and that costs.

This seems to have stirred up quite a debate. I think I was sort of aware of these issues, but it was thrown into focus for me by encountering a surge of new ‘hints’ arising from the US 1950 Census.

A few points:

  1. I also have an FTM tree which synchs with Ancestry. Its version of Treeshare and Webhints works slightly differently, but when downloading hints for censuses, citations for related facts like birth are created in ‘reused’ rather than ‘copied’ mode. It will also pick up facts for other family members, which the user can choose whether or not to action. All of this involves one image record and one downloaded image file.

  2. RM7, now 8, is my main working area. Partly because of the vagaries of Treeshare I have now more or less given up on trying to maintain a ‘clean’ Ancestry tree. It currently exists mostly to harvest new hints on major online datasets like censuses and parish records, some of which are free to access or can then be followed up through other channels. If I ever wanted a clean Ancestry tree, eg to share with other family members, I would probably upload a new one rather than try to tidy up the one I have.

  3. My current workaround for the census issue is to download the Ancestry ‘residence’ hint for the Head of household and then to copy this in RM8 to the other family members and facts. Citations can mostly be copied in ‘reuse’ mode unless there is some particular point of interest for that individual other than them simply being a ‘wife’ ‘son’ or ‘daughter’. Hints for the other family members are marked as ‘accepted’ but are not then downloaded - this also inhibits them recurring as hints within Ancestry.

That discussion involves FamilySearch which doesn’t charge for their service. Ancestry does, so the more people they can sucker into one of their membership tiers, the better.

Sure it does, but keep in mind who owned FTM until fairly recently. That is right, Ancestry! It was in their best interest to have their in-house product doing thing better than an outside competitor. I would not be surprised if eventually FTM reverts to something similar to how RM interacts. I would guess that MacKiev would have been smart enough to negotiate certain things like that, for at least some period of time. MacKiev would have been well aware of how FTM and Ancestry were coupled together as they had been developing the Mac version of FTM for some time.

Synching between your computer database and Ancestry differs significantly between RM and FTM. FTM’s data structure much more closely matches that of Ancestry (it’s former owner) and causes fewer problems. I still only sync up after manually downloading hint and record finds to my FTM file to minimize any required cleanup.

I forgot about the greater trouble Treeshare causes since I cannot use RM8 until the mac access violation crashes are fixed (if ever).