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Tree-to-tree hinting: everything you need to know

From July 1, the deceased ancestors in everyone’s trees will become shareable as hints – making family-tree building a more conducive, collaborative experience. It’s a win-win for everyone but more importantly, it’s completely optional. Have a read and see how it works.

Frequently asked questions

What is tree-to-tree hinting?

From the 1st of July, we’ll send the ancestors in your tree to Findmypast members who might share common ancestry. We’ll only send them information on your deceased ancestors – no living relatives, and it’s completely optional.

What’s the benefit?

Many people, often unknown to each other, share common ancestors within a few generations, and those people know different parts of the family tree. By joining forces and connecting this knowledge, we can all discover new parts of our family history – parts we never had access to before.

What’s in it for me?

Provided your settings remain ‘shareable’, in the future, you could receive ancestral hints sourced from others’ trees, too. If they look right to you, you’d have the option to add them straight onto your own tree. Making it grow faster, with information already researched by Findmypast members. Plus, you never know – that member could be a like-minded long-lost relative.

Is this common practice?

Yes, most major family history sites do this. So to make researching British and Irish family history an even better experience for everyone – from beginners to expert genealogists – we’re introducing it too.

Are you allowed to do this?

Our Ts & Cs allow us to share information published on our platform with other members. However, we will not be sharing the details of living relatives. If you’d like more information, have a look at our privacy policy, which we’ve updated to reflect our stance on tree-to-tree hinting.

Can anybody see my tree?

No, they can’t. No-one will be able to ‘browse’ or ‘search’ other trees on Google, or within the Findmypast site. It’s just the information on deceased relatives that can be shared as hints and even then, only to Findmypast members with common ancestry.

Will anyone else be able to edit my tree?

Definitely not. Your tree will remain your own, and nobody will be able to change it.

What if my relatives don’t want their details shared?

We won’t share any information on anyone who’s still alive – they’ll stay private. We’ll assume any relatives born more than 110 years ago are deceased, and regard them as shareable ancestors.

What information will be shared?

Shareable information on your deceased ancestors will include:

Facts and events, together with sources and attached records

Information for living people will not be shared.

Will my photos be shared?

No. We understand that people may have more stringent privacy and ownership concerns around photos of their ancestors. However, should this change in the future, we’ll communicate directly with members who have photos in their trees.

When will this change happen?

We will update the settings on trees to make all deceased ancestors shareable on July 1st. But we won’t be using these trees to create hints before then. If you don’t want your deceased ancestors’ information to be shared, you can choose to opt out by unticking your tree sharing settings.

I want my ancestors to stay private. How do I do that?

If you don’t want to share your ancestors, open your tree, select ‘Tree settings’ (cog icon near the top right), untick the ‘Share deceased ancestors’ box and save the changes. It unfortunately means you could be cutting yourself off from a valuable source of information. So if you ever change your mind, you can turn it back to shareable at any time.

What if I change my settings to private after July 1?

If your ancestors’ info is shared after the deadline, and you later choose to switch to private, you won’t be able to retrieve the information already shared as a hint. Therefore, if you want them to remain private, we highly recommend changing your settings before the 1st of July.