I’m pleased to announce that Ancestry’s new search preview is now available to all Ancestry users! Based on thousands of pieces of customer feedback, we’ve completed some new search features that we believe will make searching for records about your ancestors easier, faster and more effective. You can now switch to the new search and give it a spin by clicking the “Try It” link at the top of the main search page…
or you can just click here: http://search.ancestry.com/search/preview.aspx
Don’t worry, if you want to switch back to the old search (although I can’t possibly imagine why you would!? J ), all you have to do is click on “Switch back to old search experience” and you’ll be back to the old interface again.
Here are some of the features that I think make the new search a great improvement over the old search:
- Type-ahead tools
- As you type information into a search field, we forecast what you’re typing and make it easy to automatically fill out the search form based on the information in your family tree. If you don’t have a family tree on Ancestry yet, you should add one just to try this out. It’s really a time-saver. We also added type-ahead functionality to the location fields on the form so that you can search for any place out there, not just one in the limited dropdown fields in the old search experience.
- Image snapshots
- Now you can see a preview of newspaper and book pages highlighting your search terms so you can tell if a match is relevant or not without having to click through to it. This should be another big time-saver when you’re looking at books and newspaper matches.
- Site-wide search
- We’ve made it easy to search all of Ancestry at once without sacrificing a thing. You can also narrow down to improved categories and sub-categories of information. For example, you can narrow down to Births, Marriages, and Deaths, to see a lot of vital records, but now you can narrow down again to just the Births or just the Deaths, so you don’t have to wade through all of them at the same time.
- Powerful card catalog
- It’s easy to sift through the more than 25,000 titles on Ancestry with our new-and-improved card catalog. Now you can sort the information in the catalog, and narrow by location, time period, category or language of the content. It’s really handy, so give it a try. You can also search for a keyword in the title or description of a title as well.
- Advanced searching
- You can click on “Advanced” in the top-right of the search form, and turn on Exact match filters for each field in your search. This allows you to mark a specific field as “Exact” while leaving the others fuzzy—it’s very powerful because we’ve added this functionality to each database.
- Summary view of search results
- Now you can easily switch between sorting the results by their relevance or listing them out in a summary view that lets you see which databases got the most matches. It’s nice to be able to switch between the two views so easily, and it gives you the best of both worlds.
- Adjustable text size
- You can quickly adjust the size of the text so that it is easier to read.
We’re still working on even more improvements to search, so it should just keep getting better and better. Go ahead, give it a test drive!