Evolutionary relationships of protein families can be characterized either by networks or by trees. Whereas trees allow for hierarchical grouping and reconstruction of the most likely ancestral sequences, networks lack a time axis but allow for thresholds of pairwise sequence identity to be chosen and, therefore, the clustering of family members with presumably more similar functions. Here, we use the large family of arylsulfatases and phosphonate monoester hydrolases to investigate similarities, strengths and weaknesses in tree and network representations. For varying thresholds of pairwise sequence identity, values of betweenness centrality and clustering coefficients were derived for nodes of the reconstructed ancestors to measure the propensity to act as a bridge in a network. Based on these properties, ancestral protein sequences emerge as bridges in protein sequence networks. Interestingly, many ancestral protein sequences appear close to extant sequences. Therefore, reconstructed ancestor sequences might also be interpreted as yet-to-be-identified homologues. The concept of ancestor reconstruction is compared to consensus sequences, too. It was found that hub sequences in a network, e.g. reconstructed ancestral sequences that are connected to many neighbouring sequences, share closer similarity with derived consensus sequences. Therefore, some reconstructed ancestor sequences can also be interpreted as consensus sequences.