Now as the title suggests, this post is all going to be about Ancestry hints, but why would I do a post on something specific you ask? Well, there's one message that I do want to make sure is clear and that is: "Do NOT take every hint on Ancestry as gospel. A large percentage of the time, they are somewhat accurate but you have to be careful with the small percentage of times that it isn't correct.
There are two instances that jump to mind when I think of Ancestry hints being incorrect. There was one when I was looking at other peoples' trees to see if they matched up to me, one was for my paternal great-grandmother, her name was Ellen and had married John and a hint that she had used that I didn't have was a passenger list, that said she emigrated alone as a spinster at 48 to New York in 1932. (I could tell that was wrong because she had her 8 kids by the age of 38) Another hint for her was a U.S. Directory for a John & Ellen Loftus that said they lived in Newark, New Jersey in 1904 - they married in March 1911! The fact that she never even emigrated in the first place made me dismiss them immediately (that highlights the importance of FACTCHECKING!)
The second instance was for my maternal great grandaunt. She was a Mary (Maisie) Whelan but in this case she was supposedly in about 14 people's trees nearly all of them had confused her for an Anna-Marie Whelan and had put all of my great grandfather's family in there, and almost all of my hints were for an Anna Marie Whelan who emigrated, lived, married, had kids and died in America (again, she never emigrated to America - she was born, had married, had kids, had lived and had died in her hometown in Dungarvan, Co. Waterford) Someone had a picture of "Maisie" in their tree so I compared it to one I had, no resemblance! (I ended up reaching out to one of the tree owners and we discovered it was a case of mistaken identity.
So to highlight again, please factcheck Ancestry hints and make sure it's correct! Or else you could end up researching the wrong family! Stay tuned for more!