Online genealogy is a wonderful way to collaborate, and I highly encourage you to put your trees online and take advantage of the research hints that many database services provide. I love receiving clues about new-to-me records about my ancestors. I am especially ecstatic when there is a newly discovered photo of my ancestor in my hint queue.
What I cringe at are pictures of trees, flowers, and flags! STOP posting these unnecessary graphics on Ancestry.com. You're wasting the hinting feature resources and causing a lot of eye-rolling over here.
|How exciting! New Hints for my 5th great-grandmother|
|The hints for my grandmother on Ancestry.com|
|State Flower of Pennsylvania|
|Random flower for Amelia|
When I prepared to share this post counseling you to not share unrelated photos of your ancestors on Ancestry.com, I hadn't expected the third graphic hint for Amelia.
|I'm so confused why this is on Ancestry.com for Amelia|
What do you mean "The End"? The end of the line? The end of the discussion of her lineage? The end of what? If this is a note to yourself in your research, why is this photo public? Erg. Poor Amelia, she's "The End" but yet only the beginning.
|So my ancestors are now flags and seals?|
Where do I start with flags and seals? This ancestor lived in Virginia, but guess what! The flag shown here was not adopted at the state flag until 1860. Good thing because the state would be entering the Civil War a few years later and would need a banner to hold aloft to rally the troops. But my ancestor with this images? Yeah. He didn't live during the Civil War. So, why are these flags used? He didn't hold Virginia public office. He didn't create the seal or the flag. So my ancestor should not have these images in his media gallery. They do nothing to tell his story because it's a symbol not seen during his lifetime.
Please avoid adding or uploading flags for your ancestor's profile unless they have a story that directly relates to its creation. I mean, if your ancestor raised the flag of Iwo Jima, then maybe that flag should appear in their media gallery. But for most people, they don't have a direct connection to the state flags so, don't post them!
|Unspecified Ship Images on Ancestry.com|
While I'm talking about my ancestors not being flowers, trees, or flags, let's discuss the ships people attach to their profiles. A random ship as a graphic in the media gallery on Ancestry.com is pointless if there is no ship name attach to said image. And it's also visually misleading to add a ship graphic that likely did not resemble the ship your ancestor rode on across the ocean. Tell the visual truth, please.
Sure ship photos are added to suggest to the profile creator/viewer that the person in question was an immigrant. In fact, some people make it clear that the ship graphic has that message.
|My ancestor is an immigrant 'generic' media graphic|
If you do discover a visual representation of the ship on which your ancestor sailed, then, by all means, add that photo and then use the caption feature to explain the connection. Otherwise, please stop adding these images.
Finally, if you come across images such as these, please don't add them to your tree.
|What if your lineage changes based on new information|
now you have a misleading image
|You thought I was kidding when I said my|
ancestor wasn't a tree!
To sum up, don't turn our ancestors into trees, flowers, and flags on Ancestry.com. You're wasting hinting resources and creating a lot of grumblings for researchers on the other end. Makes those Ancestry.com family trees less appealing which defeats the purpose of sharing your tree online - to collaborate with potential cousins!
Instead, share photos that truly connect your relative with a place or time. FYI: Most of those photos will be modern.