Do you use Ancestry.com ©? Whether you have a paid version or use it at a local library, let’s look at a few hints, tips, and tricks.
First off, if you have an account and a tree and are accepting the hints (green leaf), watch out that if the new information has something different that you do not write over what you have. For example, you have the wife by her maiden name but are now accepting a document with her married name, if you are not careful, it will change her name when importing. Once you say yes, a pop-up sidebar appears with the details from the record you are importing on the left under the blue header and what your tree has on the right under the green heading. Here are two ways to not change your tree, you can click on the Was under the name or you can click on the Save as an alternate option or both.
Additionally, when a person has had more than one spouse and children by both, make sure you select the correct other parent when importing them. By the same token, if you have accepted the wife by the married name and then find the marriage record to accept, be careful that you import the information as the same wife and correct the previously used surname and not as a new person.
How about adding new information and media which you did not get from an Ancestry.com-owned brand? From the facts section, you can add a new fact and upload the media or you can add a weblink to the information.
Another hint that you might see is the Potential Father/Mother. I suggest looking to see if there are any attached sources and what those sources are. You cannot click on the source to look it up but you can capture that information look it up through regular search features. If there are no sources, I take as suspect, if the location(s) being suggested do not line up quite right, you might want to hold off until you have done more research. If the location information and dates look reasonable, then go ahead and accept it provisionally. Then after accepting the information, you must research the person thoroughly to make sure it is correct. It could be that your Georgia ancestor who was born, lived, and died, was fathered by a man born in South Carolina and died in Alabama. However, you need to ensure that he stopped off in Georgia long enough for your ancestor to be born and reach an age where he could be on his own before the father continues west. If you end up accepting a Potential Parent and it turns out to be incorrect, simply delete them.
What if you find a tree that is private and you want to contact the owner? Click their name and see when they last logged in. If within the past 30 days, you have a better chance of hearing back, if over a year, then they probably either died or let their membership lapse. But do not be disheartened. Get their username and any other information then Google their username. Many, many people use the same username for multiple apps and you might find an actual email address.
Next, whether you have your own account or use the library edition at a research place. When using the library edition, if you log in, you are actually using the home edition, if not, then strictly the library edition (LE). The LE will not allow you to create a tree or make any changes to a tree. You cannot send messages to people who own a tree.
However, you can and should do all the traditional researching and download documents, along with the source citation information, and save it to a USB drive or email it to yourself. When finding a tree where you want to reach out to the tree owner, click their name and get their information and Google them for a possible email address.