My issue with the shaking leaves is that they are meant not only to show links to possible online trees that match, but also links to documents in their collection that may refer to my ancestors. I have found that I have received very few leaves linking me to potential document matches and when I do it is for a census...and usually for an incorrect person. It seems like such a lost opportunity. The Ancestry.com databases are massive and it would take a lifetime to search each database for each ancestor. The leaves, and obviously the Ancestry search engine, are built to keep me from having to spend so much time searching, yet their results never seem to get me any deeper than census data.
This all came to the forefront this morning as I was reading the blogs I follow. One of my favorites, NARAtions, the blog of the U.S. National Archives, posted on Confederate Prisoner of War Records. This archive includes records kept by the Union Army on the Confederate prisoners of war they held captive at various prisons. The post mentions that these documents are digitized and in a searchable database on Ancestry.com. Sweet! I say. Of course I hopped over and in a matter of minutes I found four documents on two of my ancestors: Marcellus F. White and Samuel O. McGuire.