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Is "Ancestral Surnames" broken?

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  • Is "Ancestral Surnames" broken?

    Originally when I started here, years ago, I entered all my known ancestral surnames into my profile. Today I wanted to make a simple change in the spelling of one of my ancestral surnames. I went to the 'settings' tab to do it. The box that is used to record my surnames is now completely blank, although I haven't erased or altered anything on the settings page. Why is this? Do I have to start entering all the names, all over again?

    I've grumbled in the past about people that don't enter their ancestral surnames. In my case more than half of my matches haven't provided any ancestral surnames at all. Maybe it is because this might be a system problem? Or is it that the way to do it is so user unfriendly that most people can't figure it out?

  • #2
    My entries look normal and those in my match list look normal. Nothing looks broken to me. I found the entry of the information to be very user friendly.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Jim Barrett View Post
      My entries look normal and those in my match list look normal. Nothing looks broken to me. I found the entry of the information to be very user friendly.
      When you open your account settings tab, and you look at "My personal story" where surnames are to be entered, what do you see?
      All I see is a blank box that says "Please post your ancestral surnames and locations in your profile. Doing that is helpful to others in facilitating and determining relationships."

      I don't see any of the many ancestral surnames that I had previously posted.

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      • #4
        Carpathian, when I view "My Personal Story," it does not show the statement you quoted. It may have provided a place to do this in the past, but I know there was a time that "My Personal Story" was out of use for some update, and it is not the same as it was before. Certainly one can, even now, enter surnames in this area. But, in your Account Information, when you go to Genealogy > surnames, does that show surnames? That is where I have entered surnames for the accounts I manage. This is a feature that could use improvement, as in the past adding a new surname would put it at the end of the list, with no option to put it in alphabetical order.

        There used to be a way within your account to view your profile, and a public view of it, but I don't see that option now. The profile view showed Contact information, Haplogroups, Surnames, Most Distant Ancestor, and Projects (not all in public view).

        Since I manage several accounts for close relatives, they show as matches in each others' lists. There, I can see that the surnames I have entered for them are shown in the far right column, under "Ancestral Surnames." Perhaps you (or a match with whom you are in contact) might be able to see from another account if any surnames show for you, as a match.

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        • #5
          Carpathian, I went to my FTDNA account HOME page and see no 'settings' tab anywhere.

          I click on "Manage Personal Information", then "Genealogy" tab, then "Surnames" tab to view my list of surnames and locations.

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          • #6
            I went to settings to see my surname list and found it under settings. It was interesting to see all the names I had so carefully added and ALL the names that FTDNA had also stuck in. Boy, am I going to have to go in and reduce the size of that list. Why FTDNA decided it needed to stick it's 2 cents into my list, I don't know, but I certainly don't appreciate it.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by keigh View Post
              I went to settings to see my surname list and found it under settings. It was interesting to see all the names I had so carefully added and ALL the names that FTDNA had also stuck in. Boy, am I going to have to go in and reduce the size of that list. Why FTDNA decided it needed to stick it's 2 cents into my list, I don't know, but I certainly don't appreciate it.
              Yes, I had this experience over the last day or two. I added trees to several kits that I manage, and found when I check the surnames (under Account Settings > Genealogy tab > Surnames) that almost every one was duplicated, plus it added a couple of "unknowns." A tedious time devoted to removing all that, over and over. . . I'm sure FTDNA's tree coding is programmed to add the surnames when a .ged file is uploaded, but that doesn't work well when you've already added a surname list!

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              • #8
                This is confusing as FTDNA must be showing different home account pages to different customers.

                My FTDNA home page says "Welcome to myFTDNA" on the upper left hand side.
                Under "Welcome to myFTDNA" is my profile and under my profile in a small orange font is "Manage Personal Information". This leads to the "Account Information" page with a "Genealogy" tab and then to the page with the "Surnames" tab.

                On no page do I see "Account Settings" or "Settings".

                My surname list is still as I entered it with no changes by FTDNA.

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                • #9
                  1. On the left side of the page, under the contact information, there is a link "manage personal information"
                  2. In the upper right corner, if you mouse over your name, you get a drop-down with the option "account settings" (+ the usual gear symbol)

                  Both paths take you to the same place: the page with all the tabs across the top. The second tab from the left is "genealogy"
                  Once you are in "genealogy", there are two sub-tabs: "earliest known ancestors" and "surnames"
                  and yes, your carefully edited surnames list will get completely messed up if you upload a gedcom file.

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                  • #10
                    abuelita, Thank you very much for pointing out where the "Account Settings" is. I looked at every thing on the Home page except my name in the upper right corner.

                    Rant to FTDNA: This is very poor web page design. Why do I have to put my mouse over my name to see "Account Settings" and "Learning Center" ? I already know who I am and my account number so I have no reason to put my mouse over my name. You must know this is a problem or "Manage Personal Information" wouldn't be under my profile.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by jimbirk View Post
                      abuelita, Thank you very much for pointing out where the "Account Settings" is. I looked at every thing on the Home page except my name in the upper right corner.

                      Rant to FTDNA: This is very poor web page design. Why do I have to put my mouse over my name to see "Account Settings" and "Learning Center" ? I already know who I am and my account number so I have no reason to put my mouse over my name. You must know this is a problem or "Manage Personal Information" wouldn't be under my profile.
                      I initially used "account settings", and yes it does generate the same page. That one is relative easy to find, because we all see it on the same menu where "sign out" is located. But I didn't know that I would then need to click on the "genealogy" tab to find the surname editing tool, and the reason is this: Since I first saw the empty box that mentions "ancestral surnames" in "My Personal Story", the implication is that that is THE box in which to enter surnames. However the real surname editing tool is located on a different page, under a different tab, and that is obtuse and misleading.

                      I notice that on the main "Welcome" page the "Your Account" section on the left provides access to "edit image" of an avatar. Since surnames are of much greater importance, IMO that is where a link to the add/edit surname tool should be displayed.

                      As is said in tech design, "If nobody is using it, there's a reason". Similarly, if a relatively low number of people are displaying surnames, they might not know that the add/edit tool exists, or where to find it. Also, being urged to list one's ancestral surnames through a box labeled "My Personal Story" might cause some to shy away from listing any surnames at all. This might be contributing to why newcomers don't list any surnames or locations.

                      I hope this matter is brought to the attention of the administration, because improvement or correction of this potential deficiency would make for a better site, and that would benefit both FTDNA's business and their clientele.

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                      • #12
                        Carpathian, although you say you are seeing a place to put surnames in "My Personal Story" (for me, this is on the first page I get whether I use the "Account Settings" link or the "Manage Personal Information" link on the home/dashboard page), I am not seeing the same thing. I see only a box to enter text under the heading "My Personal Story," with no indication for surnames. I do recall that this page used to have such an area for surnames, but it doesn't now, at least for me.

                        I have looked at the page with "My Personal Story" using three browsers (Safari, Chrome and Firefox, all on a Mac), for two different accounts, and it's the same. I even removed the existing text in one account temporarily, to see if the default text mentioned entering surnames, but it did not. It would be interesting to see what other forum members are seeing. It seems like that page does not display the same thing to all users.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by KATM View Post

                          Yes, I had this experience over the last day or two. I added trees to several kits that I manage, and found when I check the surnames (under Account Settings > Genealogy tab > Surnames) that almost every one was duplicated, plus it added a couple of "unknowns." A tedious time devoted to removing all that, over and over. . . I'm sure FTDNA's tree coding is programmed to add the surnames when a .ged file is uploaded, but that doesn't work well when you've already added a surname list!
                          I added a list of names before I added a .ged file of my pedigree tree. The programming just added any name that was on the file to my surname list whether the basic family name was there already. I now have Dennis Sr., Dennis Jr., Dennis, and the Dennis of Yarmouth; Farley Sr., Farley Jr., Farley and Farley VA; Riffe Sr, Riffe Jr., Riffe and Riffe, WV. It's bad enough that the names I'd added were all duplicated but to have a unnecessary repetition of any name that contains Sr. or Jr. is just ridiculous. As is the placing of first names when the surname isn't known or a ? as a surname.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by KATM View Post
                            I have looked at the page with "My Personal Story" using three browsers (Safari, Chrome and Firefox, all on a Mac), for two different accounts, and it's the same. I even removed the existing text in one account temporarily, to see if the default text mentioned entering surnames, but it did not. It would be interesting to see what other forum members are seeing. It seems like that page does not display the same thing to all users.
                            If some of us are seeing instructions that may or may not appear, as you report, that is a serious problem that needs to be corrected by the management. I hope that they look into this and respond in this thread.

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                            • #15
                              Well, I can say that the box labeled "My Personal Story" has nothing to do with where I entered my ancestral surnames. I've never added anything into that box and it always totally empty. It's got nothing to do with my surname list....... I've finally cleaned my surnames up by deleting all of the duplicated and unneeded extra copies of a name. The list went from 19 to 10 pages which is surely enough for my bare bones pedigree tree. I wonder what the program would have done if I'd added the 8,000 something relatives tree that I have over at Ancestry. I hate to think of the clog that would cause.

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