Hints explained

Jump to: What are Hints?  How do I get Hints?  How do I use my Hints?  How do I know if I have Hints?

We can find your ancestors for you and help you build up a detailed picture of their lives. All you need to do is start your family tree at our site.

What are Hints?

Hints are our personal suggestions to help you make new discoveries about your family’s past. They’re unique to Ancestry.co.uk – no other family history website has them.

As you build your family tree, we're constantly searching behind the scenes, looking for information about your ancestors in our millions of family history records and other members' public trees. Every time we find something, we let you know in your tree.

How do I get Hints?

To receive Hints, you need to create your family tree at our site. Start with yourself and your parents, then add as much as you can about older relatives. Even if you’re not sure, it helps if you can include guesses of important places and dates.


As you build your tree, we use the details you add about each relative to search for them in our huge library of family history information. We have millions of records from all over the world to draw on - including UK censuses, birth marriage and death indexes, military records and immigration records - so there's a great chance we'll find something about your family.

We also look in other members' family trees, as long as the member has agreed to share their discoveries. Just a word of warning - make sure you check any details you find in these trees, as it's always possible that other people may make errors.

Every time we find anything that seems to mention one of your relatives, we give you a Hint. We let you know you have a new Hint by adding a ‘shaky leaf’ to your family tree, next to the relevant person’s name.


How do I use my Hints?

To view any new Hints, hover over your relative’s name and click on the shaky leaf. You’ll see a list of all the records and trees where we think we’ve spotted that person.

To see what we’ve found, select a Hint and click Review Hint. If you’re not a full member, you’ll need to either buy a membership or start a free trial to view the information.

If you are a member, you'll see all the details we've found - including any further relatives who appear in the same record or tree. Any new information, and anything that differs what you've already saved, is highlighted. You can use these details to check that this person is indeed your ancestor.

As soon as you're happy, you can save all this new information - and all the extra relatives - to your tree. Simply tick the details you want to include, and click 'Save to your tree'.

How do I know if I have Hints?

The main place to look for Hints is your family tree. Keep building your tree and adding any details you discover, then check to see if you have any new Hints. Start your family tree now

Alternatively, you can see a list of all the people in your tree with Hints attached to them. You can then filter this list to see only the most recent Hints, or particular types. Just select Tree Overview from your Tree pages menu, then click on 'All people with Hints' on the right-hand side.

We'll also email you regularly to let you know when you have new Hints. To make sure you receive these emails, check your preferences in your account settings. Check your Email Preferences now