While reading the latest issue of Family Chronicle magazine, this situation was recounted by author Wendy Carlson:
Recently a woman contacted Wendy saying she had just started doing her family history and gotten a subscription to Ancestry.com. She kept seeing Wendy's name pop up while researching her ancestors. She explained that she was stuck and gave Wendy the names where her family tree stopped. Wendy explained that the woman was stuck because that was where Wendy herself was stuck in researching those families. Later, Wendy noticed that the lady had added many generations to that family line. Wendy contacted her asking how she had broken through the brick wall. "Ancestry did it for me!" was the woman's reply.
As many of you know Ancestry has a feature that pops-up with a little leaf when there is a possible match to your family tree. The woman had been adding these matches to her tree even though they didn't belong. Wendy explained the importance of verifying information and gave her a list of possible sources.
But how many unsuspecting people are out there, new to family history research and hearing Ancestry's commercial claim "You don't have to know what you're looking for, you just have to look!", believe it??? These folks are adding strangers to their family trees and adding chaos to other people's research.
It is time for Ancestry to "man up" and change their advertising. Yes, you DO have to know what you're looking for! And yes, you do have to know what you are seeing when you look at other people's trees!