The Ancestris Genealogy search identifies common ancestors with other Ancestris users and then lets you contact them to learn more about these ancestors.
This is an Ancestris innovation
The idea behind this innovation is to exploit the data of the Ancestris user community without everyone having to give the data away and without putting it on a server.
The objective of this tool is to find and establish a connection between users likely to have information to be shared.
This search allows you to cross-reference your data with others without having to transfer it to a server, in a simple and immediate way with just a few mouse clicks, in complete security, and keeping control of your data, which is the key principle of the Ancestris community we form.
The interest is double.
- Not only does it allow you, in a proactive search, to identify the users likely to have information of interest to you for your searches
- But it also allows you, in an active listening, to identify these same users.
Either you find them or they find you. Either way, you should be interested.
We can say that there are two search modes: the 'proactive search' mode, and the 'active listening' mode.
Once users are identified, information in the form of mini flash lists is displayed. You then have to contact the users to find out more. You know then the person you are dealing with and are free to establish the contact or not.
Research is carried out in complete confidentiality and following a proactive approach by users who "share their tree".
None of your genealogical data is sent to a server. Only the minimum amount of information is exchanged to identify users with information that may be of interest to you.
- Only users who agree to share their data can also search for data from others, and only by cross-referencing the data they agree to share.
- The data that are cross-referenced are the data of non-private individuals, as a flash list content: family, firstnames, place, date ranges. Nothing else. These are what we will call here the flash data.
- Only computers exchange flash data with each other. This data is visible to another user only if he has data that looks like yours.
In other words, if you want to see a bit of other people's data, you have to agree to show a bit of your own.
No one can have access to your computer. The search works like a phone call. Your computer chats with the other person's computer in the same way you would if you were calling the other person yourself. Just because you call someone on the phone does not mean they can see what is going on in your home.
In this Genealogical search, other users identified by Ancestris as having information that may be of interest to you are called Friends. Ancestris has been able to identify a "match" between your data and theirs.
In its main display area, the Genealogy search window shows the matches identified between your open Gedcom files and those of the Ancestris friends.
The title of the window indicates in brackets the number of users, other than you, currently connected to the Genealogy search and therefore available for a search.
In fact, searching is only possible between active searchers and active listeners.
Identified matches between you and Ancestris Friends
The central part of the window is almost empty at launch, and gets populated with objects according to the results of the searches you make. We describe them here as they appear in the window at the top of this page.
The Gedcom files opened by Ancestris are displayed in the column on the left. There is one box per open Gedcom file that looks like this:
When the Genealogy search window opens, only one Gedcom file is probably displayed, but please note that the search can be done in all open Gedcom files at the same time.
This box indicates the name of the Gedcom file in the header, the number of Individuals and Families included in this file, and the number of those open for search or sharing.
At the top left of the box is displayed a small button with a blue bubble. It displays the description of the Gedcom file as described in the file properties (File/Properties Menu), and the location of the file on your computer. This ensures that you are on the "right" file.
Two check boxes on the right indicate whether the file is open for search or not, and whether private information is hidden or not. By default they are. The definition of private information is done in the Ancestris Preferences.
Also in this box, the two buttons at the bottom of the Individual and Family columns indicate the number of each of these entities that have found matches with Friends. A click on the button displays them in another window.
In the example above, we can therefore say that, following the search that has just been carried out, the Harper.ged file has 23 Individuals and 10 Families potentially in common with Friends out of the 2169 Individuals and 766 Families open for search.
Friends that Ancestris has found a match with will be displayed on the right hand side of the area in boxes that look like this one:
There is one box by Friend, with the nickname in the header and the friend's picture.
The photo can be clicked. It displays the profile details, allowing you to get in touch with the person by e-mail.
Like the Gedcom File box, this box shows the total number of Individuals and Families being shared by the Friend, excluding private entities.
In the example above, we can therefore say that, following the research that has just been carried out, the Friend Steven has 117 Individuals and 62 Families, out of the 120 and 62 that he shares, potentially in common with yours, for all the Gedcom files that you share.
For each of your Gedcom Files, there may be a match with one of the identified Friend. This match is also represented by a box that looks like this:
This box is visually linked with one of your Gedcom and one of your Friends. It indicates the number of Individuals and Families potentially in common between the Gedcom file and the Friend. A click on each button displays them.
In the example above, we can therefore say that, following the research that has just been carried out, there are 23 Individuals and 10 Families potentially in common between your Gedcom File and the Friend Steven.
Each of the above objects, Gedcom File, Friend or Match, can be minimized by clicking at the top right of the box, in which case it will be placed at the bottom of the window like this:
The boxes, open or minimized, can be moved in the main space to view the matches as you wish.
The toolbar looks like this during use:
Connected Users Button
This button displays the number of current connected Ancestris users. Clicking on the button brings up a drop-down menu listing their nickname.
Your nickname is displayed in bold.
The check boxes allow you to authorize or temporarily block your Gedcom search files from the users.
This button sets the duration your files will be shared for others to search.
When you open the search mode, Ancestris sets a time limit for this sharing. By default, this duration is 12 hours.
Clicking on the watch sets the current time, and the Up and Down arrow buttons increase or decrease the part of the date and time on which the cursor is located.
Private Data Button
This button hides the private data for all Gedcom Files. The padlock is either closed and yellow or open and blue. If the padlock is closed, your private data is not shared.
Start / Stop buttons
These two push buttons go together. The green button opens the sharing mode. The red button stops the sharing mode.
These buttons do not perform a proactive search, they are intended to put you on active listening and to declare you as a searcher. Your nickname then appears in the "Genealogical search" windows of other researchers, at the level of the Users button described above.
This button launches a proactive search through all the users shared Gedcom files that have pressed the Green button.
The search may take some time and as results appear, Friend and Match boxes will appear as the search is successful.
This button resets the results of the last search performed. The statistics are kept (see next button).
Clicking on this button makes all the Friend and Match boxes that were displayed disappear and it is no longer possible to retrieve them.
Connection Statistics Button
This button displays other users results statistics on your data.
The 3 indicators on the right indicate respectively the number of search attempts you have had during active listening, the number of different users this represents, and the number of positive results found by these users.
In the example above, during the listening mode, I was searched 3 times by 2 users, who found one positive result.
Tidy Window Button
This button realigns the boxes in column, the Gedcom files on the left, the Friends on the right and the Matches correctly arranged in between.
This can be useful after you have moved or minimized the different boxes on the main space, so that you can re-display everything neatly.
Configure view Button
This button customizes your profile and search settings.
See the Customization section below for more details.
The purpose of the search is to find Friends among Ancestris users or to be found by them, Friends being those who will have information in common with your Gedcom files they share with you.
Verify that other users are connected
The first thing to do is to check that other users are connected.
- You can see this with the Users button on the toolbar.
- Also check that their box is checked. Unchecking a user prevents them from searching with you, but it also prevents you from searching with them.
Turn on sharing mode
- Open one or more Gedcom Files
- Make sure that their "Gedcom Open" checkbox is checked for each
- Make sure the "Private hidden" checkbox is checked if you want to hide your private data. In this case, you will not be able to find matches with other users regarding this private data. You can also do it globally with the padlock on the toolbar.
- If necessary, set the clock to the maximum duration of the listening mode. By default, this will be set to 12 hours
- Then press the green button .
Now, if people from the Ancestris community are looking for matches, their Ancestris application will be able to search your flash list data : lastnames, firstnames, places, date range.
If you have not filled in your profile or if no other users are connected, a click on the green button will give you a message: either fill in your profile or wait for users to connect.
Start the search
- If you do not need any previous results anymore, first click on the broom button to clear them out.
- Then click on the Search button
The search begins. You can see the little wheel turning and the nickname of each user whose flash list is being probed.
Wait for results
The matches found are displayed as the users flash lists are successively probed. When Ancestris has finished scanning all users, the search stops and the last results are displayed.
If no results are displayed, it means that there was no match, or that the search criterion set in the parameters was too demanding, or that the number of sharing users was too small.
If a positive result is displayed, you see one or more friends with data potentially in common with yours.
For example, this one:
By clicking on one of the two buttons of the found entities, the following result window is displayed:
In this window, you are on the left, and the friend is on the right.
Matches are listed below.
Each match is listed indicating whether it is an individual or a family, and whether the match is exact (3 stars), probable (2 stars), or approximate (1 star).
Change in the scope of analysis
Clicking on the friend's photo brings up a drop-down menu listing the other Friends with whom matches have been found.
If another Friend is selected, the list of matches with this Friend will be displayed instead.
When opened, the window is initialized with the results corresponding to the clicked button. Here, the individual is checked, for the Friend Steven and with the Gedcom Harper.ged for you and Collins.ged for Steven.
By selecting other Gedcom files in the drop-down menu, other Friends in the Friends drop-down menu, and all or some of their Gedcom files, you can vary the scope of comparison and display the corresponding results in this window.
You could also have opened the results window from a Gedcom file or a link, this would have had the same effect. Well almost, since the choice of your Friend's Gedcom file is only possible from the results window.
Contact a friend
After analyzing these results, you may decide to contact one of the Friends discovered by Ancestris.
To do so, click on the friend's photo. Their profile will appear, just as you filled in yours.
All you have to do is complete the email and send it.
Check the existence of "Finders".
Whether or not you have had results from your search, you can also check whether other searchers have found matches with you. They are then "finders".
If finders have found matches with you, then you have matches with them!
It is indeed possible that while you were away, searches were performed on your flash list data, with Ancestris users who have since logged out, or rather, stopped sharing.
Nothing is lost, you will be able to find them again. When you come back, you have traces of their search, even if they are no longer connected. These are the connection statistics.
To check if "finders" exist, then check the statistics. The 3 indicators will allow you to know if there have been connection attempts, for how many searchers, and how many finders.
Description of the statistics window
This window lists the different researchers who have attempted to search your flash list data. There are two in the example.
The first column shows the number of search attemps they did. There was 2 for the first researcher, 1 for the second.
The second column shows the nicknames of the researchers.
The third column shows which researchers found something. The first one is a finder because the Match checkbox is checked.
The next two columns indicate the period during which the searches took place.
The last column shows the profile picture of the researcher.
Contact a Finder
Using the previous window, you will be able to get in touch with the finder and any other researchers.
To do so, click on the picture. The profile will appear, just as you filled in yours.
All you have to do is complete the email and send it.
It is possible to customize your profile, adjust the quality of searches, and manage the list of Known Friends.
It is in this window that you enter your profile. This is intended to serve two purposes.
- To inspire confidence and thus to be able to carry out research with other researchers and Friends.
- To be able to be contacted if one of them wishes it
Of course, you can indicate anything and put the picture of Zorro if you like. But as with social networks, you will be quickly disqualified and no one will want to let you look at their data anymore.
Moreover, your IP address is visible to others (see below), no matter what information you enter here. So it's easy to be recognized if you change your nickname.
So it is in your best interest to give the right information if you want to benefit from this search feature.
Setting the search criteria
Two parameters can be set.
- A checkbox, checked by default, that indicates whether your private data is automatically hidden or not when you share a Gedcom file
- A drop-down menu to set the type of match that triggers a positive result
- Exact, possible, approximate match
- Exact or possible match
- Exact match
The more approximate the match is (choice 1), the more easily you will see Friends appear at the end of a search, but the lower the probability of a good result it will be.
Conversely, the more precise the match (Choice 3), the harder you will see Friends appear at the end of a search, but the better the results will be.
List of known researchers
In this window, you can see all the researchers (or members) known to you, i.e. who have made attempts to search your Gedcom Files, or with whom you have made searches.
Only the Pseudo and IP addresses are kept. Profile data is not kept. If you wish to get in touch with one of these friends, you should have kept their profile at the time the result appeared.
There is a tutorial on this genealogical search tool in PDF format and in French.
It corresponds to version 9 of Ancestris, but the main part is still current. At that time, this tool was called "Tree sharing". Its name has changed since then, as well as some of its labels.
The document shows you in detail with many examples how to search with this tool.
You can download it here.