I read Randy Seaver’s blog, Genea-Musings. It’s one of my favorites. One of the things Randy does is he posts lists of the new databases coming online at the major repositories. Part of my job at Legacy is to keep our Research Guidance module up-to-date so I monitor these databases too. I sent Randy a message over Facebook with my observation that lately Ancestry has been adding databases that FamilySearch already has. I do know that Ancestry and FamilySearch have a partnership but I was bemoaning a bit about Ancestry not adding more unique databases. What I didn’t know is that Randy had just done a comparison of the four top websites. I get his blog by email and it arrives in my inbox a day or two after his blog actually comes out. He did an exact name search for “Seaver” on all four websites to see what results he would get. You can see his findings HERE.
It just so happens that I do a One-Name Study for a rare surname (Glaentzer and variations). I wanted to do something similar to what Randy did. I am not as industrious as Randy so I simplified my test. I recorded the number of hits I got on the top four websites for their documents side and their tree side and compared them. I did an exact search for “Glaentzer.” This is my maternal grandmother’s maiden name.
*Even though I told FamilySearch to do an exact search only, it returned names that were not exact when I searched the FamilyTree. I didn’t go through and count the actual number of Glaentzers. I recorded the total number but the real number is less than this.
On the surface it looks as through Ancestry has the others beat in the number of records but I haven’t scrutinized the hits yet. It was a very interesting experiment.
You will also want to check out Randy’s ongoing series about Ancestry's We’re Related App which has been very interesting. Randy looks at each of his matches and then evaluates the probability that the lineage is correct.
So far I have 61 matches, both to famous people and to Facebook friends. I have a barebones tree on Ancestry for DNA purposes but I might upload a more comprehensive tree just for fun. I happen to like BYU’s RelativeFinder which is similar in concept but uses FamilySearch’s FamilyTree. Both of these are more for entertainment purposes but you never know when you might get a valuable clue so I don’t discount them.
Copyright © 2016 Michèle Simmons Lewis