Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My Member Connect Activity

I'll admit it, I go on Ancestry almost every day (usually to see what new databases they've released) and the first thing I always see is the "Recent Member Connect Activity" box.  I like the feature but I wish there were a way to track the stats of it because I know certain people come up far more frequently than others.  Some of the ancestors who appear the most often seem to be:
  • Henry Cobb (d. 1679 of Barnstable, MA).  I am connected to him through his daughter, Sarah, by his second wife, Sarah Hinckley which leads me to...
  • John Chipman (d. 1708, Sandwich, MA).  John was Sarah Cobb's father-in-law through her marriage to Samuel Chipman.  I descend through their son, Jacob.
  • John Howland, Stephen Hopkins, William Brewster.  I'm not at all surprised that these guys are popular people to have in a family tree, though I am surprised that their wives (especially the Tilleys) hardly ever show up on my member connect activity.  My descent from these three can be read about here.
  • Kenelm Winslow (d. 1715, Barnstable, MA).  My Winslow connection can be read about here.
  • A Bitfield.  I descend through two of Samuel Bitfield's (d. 1660, Boston) daughters, Ruth (who married William Sawyer) and Mary (who married Samuel Plummer).  One of the three show up regularly.
  • A Hudson.  They're one of my favorite branches to research, consequently I've got a ton of them in my family tree.  That's why it isn't surprising that at least one of them shows up in my activity feed almost every day.  My specific line goes: Richard>Richard>Robert>Peter>James>James>Daniel> Sarah (who married John Chapple Wellons in 1831 in Pulaski Co., Kentucky).  The family was originally from Virginia but came to Kentucky around the time it gained statehood.

With the exception of the Hudson family, everyone of these people is in my paternal grandfather's tree.  I filtered my feed for awhile thinking more people from the trees of my paternal grandmother and my father would show up that way, but nothing changed.  I think this can be explained by the fact that my paternal grandfather had a lot of New England roots, while my paternal grandmother and father don't have any New England connections.

I really wish Ancestry kept statistics related to the activity feed (like most popular record type, most popular ancestors, etc.), but I'm sure I'm the only person who would like to have this so I'm not going to hold my breath.  In the meantime, I watch the feed and keep mental notes, all the while hoping one of my elusive brick walls will show up there one day.

Disclosure:  I have a membership to Ancestry.com which I pay for but I am in no way affiliated with Ancestry.com or any other organizations under the Ancestry.com umbrella.  I did not receive payment of any kind to write this post from any party related to Ancestry.com or otherwise.


  1. I'm descended of John Chipman through their daughter Hannah Chipman who married Thomas Huckins. This is the line that leads to the Healeys (Rebecca Crosby who married Comfort Haley in 1808). Your side gave you Brewster and Hopkins, and mine gave me Doty, Standish and Chilton. It's amazing how those Mayflower families stuck together!

  2. I love the activity feed on ancestry. I think that, if for no other reason, this is a great reason to create a family tree there, attach the original records and connect my ancestors to other people's trees. I have come across some great information and photos, without ever having to search for it.

    And I would love to see more statistics. And perhaps more sorting tools? I can be difficult to find the older "connections."

  3. I use the RSS feed for the Member Connect activity right in Google Reader so I never have to worry about missing a possible connection. My only complaint on the RSS feed is that if more than one document was saved to a person in someone's tree, it doesn't always list the person's name.

  4. Member Connect has become the first thing I check, too. The more I add to my trees, the more activity I see. And the phenomenon you observed appears to be true for my MC, as well - the activity seems to be concentrated in certain families.


Thank you for commenting!