For those of you who like your family tree "just so"—and kept that way—don't look now, but there's another change afoot at Ancestry.com.
I'll have to admit: most of the changes coming our way from the various genealogical giants on the for-profit side of the equation have been, at the very least, benign. Many are outright helpful. Not so, this latest addition to the Ancestry.com toolbox.
I happen to prefer viewing a document and deciding for myself whether the person featured is indeed my ancestor—not just taking someone else's word for it. When building my tree on Ancestry, I always look at the document in question before clicking to make it part of my "footnote" column on an ancestor's profile.
It used to be such a simple process. View hint. Click through to view document. Examine evidence. Choose yes. Or no. And move on to the next hint.
Now? It takes a tango with a jungle of transcribed information sliding into view from yet another page before I can get to that small, hyperlinked "View Record Page" key to access the stuff I wanted to see in the first place. Tedious.
I'm sure someone means well. It's quite obvious with another recent addition—the "tour" of the 1940 census—that Ancestry takes their calling as educators to heart. They want their product to be usable, and with so many newcomers taking delight in discovering their roots, the company surely understands their responsibility to enable customers to benefit from their product.
But it would be helpful for customers to have a way to decide whether an upgraded option is helpful—or simply more clutter standing in the way of attaining our research goals. After all, so many ancestors, so little time.
Why call for yet another step to coax me into doing what I already do without fail, anyhow? If I could find the switch to turn that option to "off" and dispatch this new feature to the ignored hints bin, I'd gladly do so.
Perhaps for some, options like this are necessary training wheels. I appreciate the "app" feeling shaping the research behavior of new subscribers. But when we're ready to start pedaling on our own, it's nice to not have to lug around those extra wheels as baggage.