Ancestry.com

New Ancestry.com Homepage Update

Posted by Ancestry.com on July 30, 2008 in Ancestry.com Site

In my previous post, I discussed some improvements and adjustments we were planning to make to the new home page based on your feedback.  Here is an update on those promised improvements:

Quicker access to the Search box
 
Based on the feedback we received since my last post, we changed how we were planning to give you quicker access to the search box.  Several members suggested that that they would like to choose where each section appears on their home page- including the ability to move the search box up.  We agree that is a great idea and today we launched an improvement that allows you to rearrange the sections of the home page

To rearrange your page, look for the green “Customize this page” button in the bottom-right of the homepage:

Customize My Page

Once you click the button, you can move the sections up and down within their columns by using the arrow or by dragging them into position. When you are finished, click “Save changes”. 

Making it easier to add the links you really care about

We launched another improvement today that you may have already noticed- the new “Add to Quick Links” link located in the header of many Ancestry.com pages.  This handy tool makes it quick and easy to add a Quick Link to a page on the Ancestry site. 

To use this tool, navigate to one of your favorite pages, and click the “Add to Quick Links” link located in the header:

ql-main-header1.jpg

and

ql-mini-header2.jpg

You will be asked to name the link (optional) and save it.  The link will be automatically added to the Quick Links section of your homepage.

Additional links to commonly used content

As promised, we recently added some additional links to the Quick Links section to the Ancestry Card Catalog and the US Military Collection.  These links were added for everyone, so if you do not want them in your Quick links, you can remove them by putting your mouse over the link and clicking the trash can icon.

New Search Interface

In my previous post, I let you know that we identified a bug that switched some users into the new Search experience when they clicked on one of the Quick Links on the home page. This bug was fixed a couple of weeks ago. 

If you find that you are still in the new Search experience, and you do not wish to be, click on the Search tab, and click the link near the upper-right of the page called “Switch back to the old search experience”.  We are sorry for any confusion or inconvenience this may have caused you.

We really appreciate your feedback and patience as we made these improvements and as we continue to improve the homepage.

41 comments

Comments
1 Annette LeDuffJuly 30, 2008 at 9:44 am

What were you thinking????

You provide a record to make changes to my tree, but reverse the first and last name places on the new record SO IF I ACCEPT IT, THE NAME IN MY TREE IS INCORRECT and IF I WANT THE NAME TO SHOW CORRECTLY, I HAVE TO RETYPE THE FIRST AND LAST NAMES OF MY ORIGINAL RECORD!!!!!!

CHECK IT OUT:

EXAMPLE:
THIS SHOWS ON SCREEN:
***Review and save changes to your family tree

Data from this record that differs from the information in your tree is italicized and underlined in yellow.

Data in your tree that is new or changed is italicized and underlined in green.

Add To Your Tree or Cancel

1910 United States Federal Census
Your Family Tree
Creole Family Tree by Jerry and Annette Wecker LeDuff

NAME ON NEW RECORD:
Rachal Correne
(LAST name, FIRST name ORDER)
TO MAKE MATTERS WORSE, NOW
YOUR RECORD CHANGES MY ORIGINAL RECORD SO THE NAME SHOWS AS:
Perrier Corinne
(LAST name, FIRST name ORDER)
HOWEVER, MY ORIGINAL RECORD SHOWS THE NAME AS:
Corinne Perrier
(FIRST name, LAST name ORDER)

***So EVERY time we attach a record to our tree, we have to RETYPE THE CORRECT NAMES: FIRST, MIDDLE, NICKNAME, LAST NAME….

This is one HUGE BUG you have to fix or all the family trees will be a complete mess.

Please address this issue immediately.

Thank you.

2 Kenny FreestoneJuly 30, 2008 at 10:50 am

In response to comment 1…

Hi Annette,

We apologize for this bug. This was a mistake on our part, and we are working to fix it right now. I expect a fix to be on the site in less than an hour.

Again our apologies. This is a huge bug, and we’re on it.

3 PennyJuly 30, 2008 at 11:58 am

I have been unable to add content such as a wife to my uncle’s profile. Is there a limit of how many people you can have in your tree? Or is this an issue with the website today?

4 ReedJuly 30, 2008 at 12:19 pm

Well, it’s better, but…

(1) I still can’t make unwanted sections go away. For example: like many users I have no intention of creating or storing family tree information on Ancestry’s site; I’d prefer to make that section disappear. But I can’t. At best I can move the section to the bottom of the page; I can’t even collapse the section into a smaller size or—better yet—a hyperlink. I’m stuck with the whole thing, like it or not.

(2) And since I already pay hundreds of dollars a year for the benefits of Ancestry membership, why am I forced to have annoying, animated advertisements flashing in my face every time I use the home page? It seems the ads are awarded the second-from-the-top space in the right hand column by default, no matter how I try and reconfigure the page. (And frankly, I don’t know why the “Game Show Network” thinks that bothering Ancestry members while they are trying to do research will be a successful marketing strategy!)

So, Melissa, a step in the right direction, but it still doesn’t feel like “my” home page yet.

5 kkandtcJuly 30, 2008 at 12:21 pm

How do we remove the Family Tree File that Ancestry chose to put on our pages?
I don’t have a family page on Ancestry. The one you chose contains a family member of mine, but it is not my page, nor do I access it on a regular basis.

How were these choices made??? Nothing on that page has my membership information connected to it, except, being private, I had to email the owner for access.

6 Nancy RogersJuly 30, 2008 at 1:32 pm

I have to agree with Reed about the change and how interesting that it occured on the same day as the Webinar.
You state in the directions that if there is a link on the Quick Links area that we do not want we can put it in the trash, so that tells me that it is entirely possible to do the same with the some of the other unwated stuff that you have stuck on the page including the one on starting a family tree, and the advertisements.
Yes you have made a step in the right direction the question really now is are going to fix the new search and hopefully do the same with it that Coke Cola had to do with the “New Coke” several years ago. I will be most interested in seeing what the results of the webnair is tonight.

7 ValerieJuly 30, 2008 at 6:56 pm

I’m glad to see that you are responding to your customer’s comments and working to include their suggestions.

I hope that you will continue to develop the home page to make it fulyl customizable. For example: allow folks to add/subtract the boxes so that they can have either a very stark homepage with just search tools OR they can have more of a research + social networking site.

8 Jerry BryanJuly 30, 2008 at 7:29 pm

Today’s changes are an improvement.

GOOD THINGS:

A. I can move the tree to the bottom of the screen.
B. It’s much easier to add quick links than it used to be.

BAD THINGS:

A. The “Customize This Page” link is very hard to find. It should be moved from bottom-right to top-right.

B. If you don’t have your own tree and end up with somebody else’s tree (re: message #5), the only way to “sort of get rid” of the bogus tree is to create your own tree. I created my own dummy tree with no people in it, just to get rid of the bogus tree that doesn’t belong to me. It’s silly to have to do it that way. And now that I have done so, Melissa can say that instead of 5,000,000+ user trees on ancestry.com, there are 5,000,001+. If I don’t have a tree, then no tree should be shown.

C. Even though I can move the tree to the bottom of the page, I still want to remove the tree from the page entirely (as many others have said, re: message #4, for example).

4. I don’t seem to be able to delete my dummy tree. If there are any people in it, I can delete the people. But I can’t seem to delete the tree. So even if you fixed it so that no tree would show if I don’t have a tree, it would still show my dummy tree.

5. Quick links are on the Home page but not on the Search page. In general, I prefer the Search page to the home page, but if I use the Search page I do not have my Quick links. That forces me to use the Home page.

6. I have never encountered the bug where I was thrown unbidden from Old Search into New Search. But if I am already in New Search, I regularly encounter a bug where exact searches get morphed unbidden into fuzzy searches. When this happens, I don’t seem to be able to get out of fuzzy search very easily. That’s when I give up and go back to Old Search. This bug still needs to be fixed.

9 Jerry BryanJuly 30, 2008 at 7:44 pm

A quick comment on the Webinar: I found it very frustrating.

I already knew how to do all the things that Kendall demonstrated. The sample searches that he went through worked just fine. And indeed, the hits from his searches were mostly or even exclusively in trees rather than databases. So I didn’t learn anything about how to cope with the numerous frustrations that New Search throws my way when I’m trying to find real data in the databases.

I’m going to have to go back through the recording of the Webinar after it’s posted to be sure, but it looked to me like the first search he did was entirely circular. Which is to say, the search parameters were pre-populated from his own tree and the search then found his own tree. I apologize if I’m misinterpreting what happened, but wouldn’t that always happened if a search were pre-populated from your own tree? The best match would be your own tree?

I wish he had gone through some real examples of searching in databases that mirrored some of the problems that have been posted in the blogs, rather than just getting hits in the trees.

10 Jerry BryanJuly 30, 2008 at 8:05 pm

One more quick comment from the Webinar: I continue to be amazed and astounded by the statistics from ancestry that show that users prefer New Search to Old Search. It’s like if a political poll came out today that showed presidential candidate A is 50 points ahead of candidate B (no matter which of the two major candidates was A and which was B), I simply wouldn’t find the poll credible. I really wish the New Search vs. Old Search preference had been one of the survey questions during the Webinar. I think it would have been very insightful.

The closest surrogate to the New Search vs. Old Search question that was asked was the one about exact searches. I thought respondents showed a rather strong preference for exact search, and I think that most exact searchers also tend to prefer Old Search.

Ironically, one of the problems with New Search is that exact searches are “too exact”. For example, a generic exact search from the old home page that specifies the person’s birth and death dates will usually yield hits in the various marriage databases. The same exact search from the new home page will not yield hits in the various marriage databases because marriage databases typically do not include birth and death information.

11 Grady GreeneJuly 30, 2008 at 11:50 pm

Let me echo Comment #5: “How do we remove the Family Tree File that Ancestry chose to put on our pages?”

I don’t have a family page on Ancestry. The one you chose to place on the opening page after I log in contains only a couple of family members of mine out of over 1,000 names that are supposed to be on
there, but it is NOT my page, nor do I ever access it. Is this a bug, or can the webmaster remove it? I sure can’t!
If we don’t want it, why do we have to have it? I have asked this question before and have had no answer or results.

12 kkandtcJuly 31, 2008 at 7:29 am

Jerry,

Thank you so much for your info on creating a dummy tree. I no longer have a 4 image tree that would not stay closed across my browser. Instead, 1/3 of my homepage unusable. I do like the ability to customize and add/remove links. It’s a shame we can’t remove the ad or at least move it to the bottom 1/3 next to my useless tree.

13 JadeJuly 31, 2008 at 7:36 am

Jerry in #10 wondered why Ancestry appears to have stats showing user preference for New Fuzzy.

One factor in this is if you try to use New Fuzzy and give up in disgust, next time you return to Ancestry you are put into New Search, no matter what bookmarked link you may use. Even if you are able immediately to switch back to Old Search, it counts as a New Fuzzy hit.

This happened to me when, a day after I tried a New Fuzzy search for the purpose of providing an example for posting in another blog on this topic. I used a bookmark in my browser to get to the Births, Marriages and Deaths database, but was instead put into a New Fuzzy search page that simply would not allow me to specify a particular section of the BMD database – it is a wormhole.

14 BillieAugust 1, 2008 at 4:26 am

The Quick Link is not functioning for NC Marriage Collection 1741-2004. The county selection box covers the save box making it impossible to use. Thanks for this improvement.

15 MartinAugust 1, 2008 at 9:00 am

Where do I find the section now to input emails for access to my tree?

16 MartinAugust 1, 2008 at 10:16 am

#15 Found it

17 TonyCAugust 2, 2008 at 7:48 am

kkandtc #12

I’ve managed to move the Ad out of site, it doesn’t remove it just pushes it further down the page.

If you move the search to the top left and move the to-do list to the top right, then add a few items in the list the Ad disappears :)

TonyC

18 JUDY ADAMSAugust 2, 2008 at 2:15 pm

WHAT THE F***

I HAVE JUST LOGGED ON AND WHAT DO I FIND YOUR ******* NEW SEARCH. I DID NOT WANT TO USE IT I DID NOT ASK TO USE IT SO WHY THE **** DO I HAVE TO USE IT

NONE OF YOU HAD THE GUTS IT SEEMS TO SAY WELL AS OF AUGUST THE 1ST YOU WILL HAVE TO USE IT

THERE AGAIN WHAT MORE CAN I EXPECT FROM THE POWERS THAT BE WHO HAVE BURRIED THEIR HEADS IN THE SAND AND WILL NOT LISTEN TO US YOUR LONG TEWRM PAYING CUSTMER (NOT FOR MUCH LONGER AS THE DAYS GO ON I AM MORE SURE I WILL NOT RENEW) FIRST YOU FALSE THE AMT WITH ALL THOSE UNWANTED BELLS AND WHISTLES ON US MY REACTION I NO LONGER CONSTRUCT OR EVEN USE MY FAMILY TREE ON LINE … I USE TO IN OLT EXCLUSAVILY. THIS MEANS THAT MY TREE IN AMT IS ALWAYS AT LEAST 3 TO 6 MONTHS OUT OF DATE I HAVE EVEN REMOVED THE PHOTOS

NOW WE HAVE THE NEW PAGE AND IT SEEMS WE HAVE TO USE THE NEW SEARCH IT IS FULL OF BOXES MANY OF WHICH WE HAVE TO WAIT FOR A PORTIONED CIRCLE THING TO STOP SPIRALING BEFORE WE CAN DO ANYTHING . PROGRESS MY FOOT

ITS ABOUT TIME ANCESTRY HAD A CRISES MEETING AND THE POWERS THAT BE SACKED ALL THE JOBS WORTHS WHO DO NOT HAVE AN INTREST IN GENEALOGY BECAUSE RTHE ONLY WAY THEY WILL EVER GET IT RIGHT WHERE WE THE CUSTMERS ARE CONCERNED IS TO EMPLY PEOPLE WHO ARE INTERESTED IN GENEALOGY AND WHO WOULD THEREFORE UNDERSTAND WHAT WE YOU CUSTMERS WANT WITH IN A SITE DEDICATED TO GENEALOGY

19 SuzanneCAugust 2, 2008 at 5:10 pm

I have been assigned a family tree which indeed contains some of my relatives, but it is NOT my tree. How do I get rid of it; and, now I can’t see anywhere to start my own family tree?

This is totally Bogus!

20 SuzanneCAugust 2, 2008 at 5:14 pm

Does anyone ever get a response to these comments?

[...] A few weeks ago Ancestry rolled out a new homepage and with the help of customer feedback, they’ve made some improvements. You can now move the various boxes on the home page around within the columns so that the features you use the most are at the top of the page. They also made it easier to add your own Quick Links. You can learn more about these and other improvements that they made on the Ancestry blog. [...]

22 Mary Beth MarchantAugust 3, 2008 at 6:16 pm

Well, as to customizing my page, I found that dragging anything absolutely DOES NOT WORK. I was able to move the tree section down and replace that with the search section but that is as far as it goes. Looks like this works in only a limited way. Guess we are expected to be pacified with this. It would have been much better to have left it alone in the first place. I liked it the way it was before all the “beautification”

23 Judy RosenAugust 4, 2008 at 9:27 am

I don’t know why everyone is in an uproar over the advertising…one ad really isn’t that much to put up with and if it means our subscrip. rates can be kept down, then that’s a good thing. I think we all have to remember this isn’t a charity–they have to get money from somewhere to go on providing more data for us!!! And as far as the ads for things on Ancestry–I like seeing what’s on sale. Even if I don’t need what they’re showing, I like to remember that I’m not the only one looking at the site and someone else might need it. I think it’s great that Ancestry has gone this far as to let us rearrange the page to suit our liking.
Just my 2-cents.

24 Sue AllenAugust 4, 2008 at 3:09 pm

To # 18 Judy
I know you were angry when you made the posting as most of us are when we comment about this new program.
But at least check your spelling before posting. I found at least 8 misspellings. Plus many punctuation errors.

25 ConnieAugust 4, 2008 at 4:20 pm

Thanks for the changes; they are improvement

But there is still a major outstanding problem that needs to be fixed: There is no way to sort the Quick Links: I should able to at least alphabetize them! And to rename them. I am “stuck” with the sequence in which I added them. And why, oh why, do you have to append Ancesty.com to each quick link??

26 judy adamsAugust 5, 2008 at 3:58 pm

Sue Allen

i know this is not much of an exsuse but the reason for the spelling mistakes are simple i am DYSLEXIC
it was late there for tired (tiredness results in more spelling difficulties) but most of all i was very angry and not at all concerned with checking my spelling just venting

27 AlanAugust 5, 2008 at 4:13 pm

Is there any reason why I can neither see the Customise or the Quick Link button on the Home Page?

28 KathleenAugust 5, 2008 at 8:14 pm

I’m a patient woman. I can wait until all the kinks have been tweaked and fixed before I change to any new homepage.

What I would like to see on the new homepage is an area that I may keep the record searches of my choosing that I use almost daily; i.e., anything that pertains to the 5 boroughs of NY City.

I would also like an area where I may type in my top ten (let’s say, ten) places (town, city, state) that I’m always researching, so that when a new record gets released that pertains to one of my top ten places, there is a link (or one of those little green leaves) of the new record for me to click on to, to see the new information.

29 nancy tourjee mauroAugust 6, 2008 at 5:55 am

1. My new 2008 FTM is very slow to initilize.
2. Why do people post queries/trees that are not public? I have sent more messages out to people that don’t even bother to say they have no further info….I don’t know if they got the message or they don’t care. Why do genealogy if you don’t want to share?
3. I would like to see e mail address verified every year….maybe a person is no longer living…

30 Diane JohnstonAugust 6, 2008 at 5:53 pm

Is there a way to use the old homepage and old search.
The new ones are rediculous.
First, for some unknown reason one of our computers is still showing the old homepage and search while the other has the new home page and search. My husband and I did identical searches in both this afternoon and while my search with the old search came up with a reasonable number of results (27) of which our ancester was one of them, my husband’s search in the new search engine came up with a rediculous number of results, (over 38,000) too many to tell if our ancestor was there or not.
We have been customers for several years and until now have been very happy to pay the several hundred dollors for your world wide membership until now. If this is what Ancestry is going toward, we will not be renewing after our current subscription expires. I do not care how many clicks it takes to get to get the end result I am looking for as long as I can get the end result I am looking for. And I want an accurate search engine with several choices not an ediot proof thing that doesn’t even have a seperate place for a first and last name field, state, county,date etc.

31 LaurieAugust 7, 2008 at 3:32 am

QUICK LINKS Suggestion: Access to our Quick Links from any page. Perhaps a drop-down box of our own Quick Links next to the “Add To Quick Links” section that is on every page? That would be extremely useful – especially for those of us on dial-up connections. We wouldn’t have to navigate through several pages (waiting for each to load) just to get back to our Quick Links. I do like the new Quick Links, but quick access to them seems a natural progression.
Thank you.

32 Kids Printable CraftsAugust 9, 2008 at 7:19 am

I am not sure why this change was made to your site. The dragging and dropping no longer works in the site. I also had trouble entering information on my family! What’s going on?!?!

33 Millie LehmannAugust 9, 2008 at 10:00 am

How do I get rid of the Holt Family Tree which is automatically posted to the upper left of my homepage? It is no use to me.

34 KarenAugust 10, 2008 at 10:59 am

With all the discussion about unwanted trees on the homepage, the dysfunctional changes in the way tree are accessed seems to have been overlooked.

I tried to post a tree yesterday to share with someone and I can’t believe how cumbersome it’s become. Navigation from one function to another in the tree area has become so tedious that I could barely stand to finish what I started.

For example, there is no way to do anything multiple times efficiently. Just managing the trees is a big headache. If you want to add comments to your trees to make it easier to keep track of which is which, you have to return to the home page and start over just to change trees. Replacing a tree with a new GEDCOM (which requires the user to first delete the old tree then upload a new GEDCOM) takes about 4 extra screens than it used to. The old page to manage my trees was much more usable than anything in this new design.

Finding additional records for people was such a pain that I gave up trying to do it through the tree — if it doesn’t find a record you know is there, there is no way to specify the database. In the end, I gave up trying to work with the tree; I start from the (old) man search page and juse the Add button to add to someone in my tree.

All in all, it was a such a horrible experience that I hope I never have to do it again. Next time, I’ll find some other way to share information.

35 Donna DallmanAugust 14, 2008 at 8:56 pm

Well, I agree with all that is said about the search, whether old or new – there are great BIG problems with it.

However = as far as the new home page? = I LOVE IT. Now, I don’t get anybody’s tree but mine – so I don’t have that problem = and I have shoved things around and put on a couple of quick links.

Then I decided that I REALLY LIKE IT!!!!

I’m sorry that I can’t say the same for the old or new search. Neither of them pay any attention to the century or the continent that I asked for!

36 gene LamontAugust 24, 2008 at 8:21 am

I would like my Ancester tree to stay the same as when I added it to Anceatery.
I would like to be able to correct the name of the Tree when it comes up incorrect.Example: Some times when I go to Campbell Tree – - It comes up Burney ??
I should be able to make the change at that time.

37 sdgrangeSeptember 3, 2008 at 3:17 pm

Under family members the children’s years for birth and death are missing. Why? It was easier to look at them all at once instead of having to click on each one when researching or comparing dates.

38 Jim ReidSeptember 4, 2008 at 6:48 am

The new homepage is okay. But, to truly customize I would like to be able to remove certain sections. For one thing I find it frustrating waiting for all the sections to load every time I go to the page.

39 John AllbrittenSeptember 5, 2008 at 1:19 am

There is NOTHING about the new home page that i like.

40 Robert HSeptember 7, 2008 at 10:18 am

I agree with sdgrange (37) now you have to click on the child,wait for that page to load, look at the date of birth and death then go back to the father or mother of that child, wait for it to load again, and click on a other child to see the year of birth and death waiting for that page to load, if you have 5 or more children that is very time consuming.
Do the group of people that design these pages have a Family Tree that they work on, on Ancestry? Or is it A Ancestry thing to slow down your searching, get frustrated and say “the heck with Ancestry, I do my family tree some were else”
It would be nice to be able to search
for a person in my tree by there middle name, and by year of birth, that will be some thing useful

41 Taylor WhisonantSeptember 24, 2008 at 6:45 am

I agree with Diane Johnston’s comment. I do not understand why you change, when everything is working great.

Please, give the ones that likes the old search page a choice between the new and old.

Please, go back to the old search machine that you had in 2007,

Taylor Whisonant

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