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Kimberly Powell

Ancestry's OneWorldTree - Facts & Misconceptions

By May 4, 2004

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There's a lot of panic going on these days on various genealogy message boards and mailing lists regarding a new search service from Ancestry.com - OneWorldTree. Many are worried, upset and even disgusted that Ancestry plans to charge for access to GEDCOMs and family trees which were submitted by users to Ancestry World Tree or RootsWeb World Connect.

After receiving numerous emails and seeing many panicked messages posted to genealogy mailing lists I spent some time this week looking into the issue.

Misconception: Ancestry.com plans to start charging people to access GEDCOMS submitted by users to Ancestry World Tree or RootsWeb World Connect.

Fact: The OneWorldTree service is a search service, not a database subscription. The $49.95 annual subscription fee ($39.95 upgrade from the U.S. Records Collection subscription) pays for access to an advanced search feature that matches data from the free family trees and that found in other Ancestry databases, including their subscription records, and presents it to the subscriber in a neatly stitched together package. It will let you view all the relatives of the person you have found in pedigree format and will provide links to the source records - family trees, census records, etc. These source records, however, will still be accessed in the way that they are now. You'll need a subscription to Ancestry to view any census or other records included in their subscription collections. And the family trees which are turned up by the OneWorldTree are still free to search, match and submit through the free Ancestry World Tree service using the same tools that have always been part of the program. What your subscription to OneWorldTree will be paying for is convenience, not records - it is supposed to help take the guesswork out of searching and matching.

Misconception: I submitted my family tree to RootsWeb World Connect and was told that it would never be used for profit. Now it's being included in Ancestry's new OneWorldTree subscription service.

Fact: Any GEDCOM file submitted through Ancestry World Tree (whether through Ancestry.com or MyFamily.com) or World Connect are eligible to be included in the One World Tree service. As of right now, OneWorldTree primarily includes information from Ancestry World Tree and says that they plan to add new information quickly, including the 1930 Census index and other databases available from Ancestry.com. My assumption would be that this will also include family trees submitted through RootsWeb's World Connect at some point.

It is important to keep in mind here that all Ancestry World Tree submissions are included on RootsWeb.com's World Connect service and vice versa. They are all contained in a single integrated database. The only difference is in where they were initially submitted. If you do not want your GEDCOM files included in the One World Tree service you do have the option to remove your submissions, but this will also mean that they will also no longer be available to researchers to access from the Ancestry World Tree or World Connect databases.

Instructions for removing your GEDCOM from:
Ancestry World Tree
RootsWeb World Connect

To read more about what others are saying and asking about OneWorldTree you should check out the following message boards: Ancestry Site Comments and RootsWeb WorldConnect Suggestions. And, while it isn't overly descriptive, Ancestry has a few pages of information on the new OneWorldTree service.
August 14, 2006 at 10:46 pm
(1) Tom Myers says:

Ancestry has taken their liberty even further by locking me out of the extensive Oneworld Family Tree that I entered over a time period of almost 1 year! I can no longer add records or correct dates, it is as if they have taken it away from me. Looks like I have been used to input data and now am left adrift, even though I have subscribed at their highest level of membership. Whats going on?


April 21, 2007 at 4:22 pm
(2) Patricia S. Clauser says:

There are many mistakes in the tree I submitted to ancestry.com but they won’t remove it.

January 20, 2008 at 1:14 am
(3) Thomas says:

I removed files from ancestry world tree, but the files remained. I noticed this only much later, and had after some wrangling the files removed by ancestors.com. This week I found out they all are still at One World Tree. I did not even think of that, and was never asked about switching it over. The company assumes too much “implied intent” to be honorable. I am now trying to get the files removed.

May 19, 2009 at 5:45 pm
(4) Jane Hargrove says:

Ancestry and World Tree is a mere source of irritation and more money for me. Everything on there databank I have contributed already. Much of the information is now inaccurate. I see them as having a monoply on customer’s own research and one cannot learn more data.

March 19, 2010 at 10:16 am
(5) Dudley says:

They display the Better Business logo. Maybe all should contact BBB or their state attorney general’s office and file complaints. Maybe they will get the message. You can’t very many records without Ancestry taking your credit card number and charging for what was to be a link amongst non-commercial family research. They are getting names wrong, plugging people in where they don’t belong.

May 5, 2010 at 2:36 pm
(6) Heather says:

The place to complain about why things aren’t working on a web page is at that web page, not here. No one here can tell you why you no longer have access to your own tree. Go to them for help.

Another thing is, neither Ancestry.com nor OneWorldTree do ANYTHING “to” data. The information on either of those sites is all BY USERS. So if there are people in the wrong place, you have to find out who submitted that info and get THEM to correct it.

I have downloaded .ged files that contain gross errors – like a girl born in 1822, married at 1825, and first child at 1826. Or kids born before parents. Doubtful!!! People do not think before just adding data to their trees and then resubmitting it somewhere else.

If you have a well-fleshed out tree already, then a service like theirs might not give you any more data. I have exhausted my side of the tree, but my husband’s was essentially bare – now i have several branches tracked back to the Revolution. You cannot complain that they don’t have information that does not exist. We may never know who my hubby’s one last great-great grandfather is, but that is no fault of either site. Records simply no longer exist to identify him. Blame the arsonist that burnt down the courthouse, for heaven’s sake, but not these sites.

May 1, 2011 at 3:16 pm
(7) Theresa says:

Unfortunately complaining to Ancestry does no good so Heather’s advice to go to the website is useless. They also make it very difficult to correct information as was stated prior to her post. Ancestry says people have the right to be wrong (okay???) and they won’t remove incorrect information and it’s a mess. Ancestry is in it to make money and I can’t fault them for that but they’ll never see a cent from me. People aren’t blaming Ancestry for submitter mistakes they are saying Ancestry won’t allow the honest researchers to correct the mistakes, one typo can mess up a whole tree and Ancestry could care less. Read the posts Heather!

January 15, 2013 at 4:16 pm
(8) Phil says:

OneWorldTree is a bad joke, it’s so replete with uncorrectable misinformation. First of all, it accepts information as true based on quantity, not quality.

So for example, in my case I have a pension document signed by my great great grandfather in which he says exactly who his parents were. But because 17 submitters have accepted the same undocumented unsourced rumor with the wrong parentage, I am outvoted even though I have solid proof and they have absolutely no evidence, just someone’s unsubstantiated bad wild guess repeated over and over.

To make matters worse, it turns out that 16 out of the 17 submissions were by the same person! So by repeating the same unsupported misinformation over and over, he was given 16 votes and a permanent monopoly on the truth.

And, as I said before, it’s uncorrectable, so mistakes are permanently set in stone, which is very unscientific. It’s not genealogy, it’s a mindless computer program: garbage in, garbage out, only in this case, the garbage stays forever.

June 26, 2013 at 11:58 am
(9) Jo says:

A link was established on google by Oneworld to ancestry to get people to try the 7 day trial.. that link shows my grandmother married to the wrong man, and the only proof given is another page showing him married to her. If you follow the links there is only information showing them incorrect….I am furious that this has not been removed, and all I get from either company is that “it comes from other family trees”..well, it doesn’t,,it was “stitched together” and they could care less that it is completely wrong.

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