Posted by on January 15, 2009 in Ancestry.com Site, Searching for Records, Site Status

For those of you that use the old search ui, you may notice that the links to the State and Country pages are now going to the new Card Catalog. First, be assured that your searches will still be in the old search interface, that has not been changed.

So why did we do this without telling you? As I’m sure many of you noticed the first few days of this week were not stable at times for the site. One of the culprits was the old state and country pages. They are based on code that has not been touched in about 5 years (that’s pretty ancient in terms of code and technology). These pages were incredibly inefficient and we made a choice between pulling those and getting the site more stable, or leaving them up and dealing with continuing site issues.

When you click on a link, say Texas, you will see all the titles we have that relate to Texas. Then you can use the “Filter By Collection”, “Filter by Location”, “Filter by Date” or “Filter by Language” or any combination of those to narrow in on the types of titles you are looking for.

You can also type a word into the Title search box or the Keyword(s) search box up on the top left hand corner to try and find specific titles as well.

About Anne Gillespie Mitchell

Anne Gillespie Mitchell is a Senior Product Manager at Ancestry.com. She is an active blogger on Ancestry.com and writes the Ancestry Anne column. She has been chasing her ancestors through Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina for many years. Anne holds a certificate from Boston University's Online Genealogical Research Program, and is currently on the clock working towards certification from the Board for Certification of Genealogists. You can also find her on Twitter, Facebook and Finding Forgotten Stories.

97 Comments

Jade 

Anne,

So why does ‘filter by . . .’ still not work for US States?

Just in the first few pages of Texas listings are totally irrelevant US Revolutionary War rolls and service records, and the following:

Scots in the Carolinas
Marriage Notices 1785-1794
Early Virginia Families Along the James River
Togographical Dictionary of 2885 English Emigrants to New England 1620-1650

Not to mention the generic padding: all the US Census Enumerations, Directories, etc.

There still is no way to **sort** such a listing, such as by date or by actual relevance (that is, every specifically Texas database *first*–vital records indexes, newspapers, state census enumerations). The list still comes up randomly assorted.

It should take one genealogically-knowledgeable person at most 2 days to get rid of the erroneous inclusions for all 50 States, if need be by adding boolean exclusionary code for the filtering search.

This was extensively commented on at your request last summer.

January 15, 2009 at 4:34 pm
Connie Norheim 

“As I’m sure many of you noticed the first few days of this week were not stable at times for the site.”

That’s an understatement. It’s Thursday at 5:30 PM and I haven’t been able to get on the site all week. Just tried a few minutes ago again, keep getting the Come Back Later message.

January 15, 2009 at 4:35 pm
Anne Mitchell 

Connie, the site is up and has been up for quite some time now. Try clearing your cache and your temp files. I suspect that you have cached the Come Back Later message. Or try a different entry point, such as search.ancestry.com and see if that doesn’t get you to the site.

And Jade, I don’t there are categorization issues. First priority right now is making sure the site is running.

January 15, 2009 at 4:39 pm
Kay Schmidt 

So how can I search for a particular person in a particular state? I can’t figure out this new ui and I’m farily competent with computers. My first impression of the new search method is not favorable. Before I could easily go to a state and search for a partiuclar person. The list of record types was more compact for a quick review. I want to look up people, not titles. Very frustrating.

January 15, 2009 at 6:52 pm
Debbie 

This is a pain. I used to be able to click my link for Texas and then click on the TX Death Index and have it appear within seconds. Now when I click my TX search link, it takes forever for the page to load, then the results only have 1 result which is specifically related to TX, so I have to click again on Birth, Marriage and Death in order to filter the list, then wait for that list to appear in order to scroll through the list to find the TX Death Index. It takes much more time to search this way. Why can’t just a list of results specific to Texas appear when I click on Texas?

January 15, 2009 at 7:08 pm
Jade 

Anne, re: #3 –

I don’t know what you mean by “categorization”. Try the link as you suggested, and try filtering by “Texas”. Results, largely generic padding, arrangeable by ‘popularity’, by ‘date uploaded’ and by other completely irrelevant factors, adopted from the New Fuzzy Search UI even though supposedly I was operating in Old Search UI mode.

And the 8,000+ results did indeed include the erroneous unrelated items I listed, as well as many many others.

January 15, 2009 at 7:23 pm
Jade 

Kay, your #4.

You cannot search by State. Many many people would like to do just that.

In its present setup, you can’t even get a list of just-Texas or just-Nebraska databases.

You cannot search by state using New Fuzzy Search User Interface in the global search, either. The search engine tends to disregard place-names (if you enter Texas in both birth and death places) and you cannot sort results by any usable category. You will still get all the irrelevant post-death Census listings, wrong-place newspapers, post-death military records, etc., all arranged by number of erroneous hits.

January 15, 2009 at 7:28 pm
Shelley Way 

I have been a member of Ancestry.com for years but with the types of changes made lately things are getting to complicated. This new change is certainly frustrating!

January 15, 2009 at 8:04 pm
Mary Beth Marchant 

Boy, talk about a mess. This one is an absolute mess. Why in the world would I want to seach by POPULARITY or by DATE POSTED. Ancestry Anne-instead of making things better for people, you have just made things so much worse. As the others have said, when I want to search for data bases in Texas(or any other state) I don’t want New York data bases of English Emigrants to New England. I want Texas records. I was absolutely appalled when I found this a couple of days ago. Why would you do this. Haven’t things been bad enough, and now you go and mess up something that was working!!!

January 15, 2009 at 8:38 pm
Mary Beth Marchant 

By the way, I do not want to go to the Card Catalog. If I wanted the Card Catalog, I would select Card Catalog. I won’t be using this anymore I can tell you.

January 15, 2009 at 8:41 pm
MARY CARR 

I WOULD LIKE TO GET SOMETHING THAT I’M LOOKING FOR.ALL I SEEM TO GET IS ENGLAND WHEN I’M LOOKING FOR SOMEONE WHO WAS BORN AND DIED IN THE USA!!I THINK THE UK SITE SOUNDS GREAT BUT PLEASE BRING BACK THE USA!!

January 16, 2009 at 12:19 am
Ron Lankshear 

yes of course the code falls over – you have been trying to run the old code that worked in conjunction with NEW SEARCH that is full of problems so you impact the code that was working.
I recall your previous blogs in which errors were highlighted by customers but never any feedback on any fixes.
Now you are forcing the new code.

Previously in UK I used to be able to search Pallots marriage index and see couples and years and parishes of marriage. The parish column is still there but no churches ever show. Why?

the new search just seems to removing what we had before.

I hear your talking about filters but when I start a search I expect if I say someone lives in England to receive hit lists re England not Texas etc

January 16, 2009 at 1:33 am
Jim Livermore 

So, 5 year old tried and true code was the cause of recent site stability problems?

Do you think we are stupid?

January 16, 2009 at 3:29 am
Mike Shingleton 

If this new search is implemented and the old search withdrawn I will not renew my subscription.

We already have lousy indexing and, in the case of one UK dataset, erroneous data, I think its time to subscribe elsewhere.

January 16, 2009 at 4:08 am
Barb Snow 

I can answer Mary Beth’s question about why one would want to sort by date posted: If you get 897 hits on a name in January and in February you get 899– you want to quickly be able to find the two newly added hits.

I didn’t know we now had this sort capacity. I’ll check it out. If it works as I hope, I will call it an enhancement.

January 16, 2009 at 6:38 am
Carol Bellis 

Anne,

You have said that the site has been up and running for “some time now”. This was yesterday at 4:39 pm. It is definitely not running correctly. Can I get on? Yes, in a round-a-bout way. But, when I click on “home”, the “Check Back Soon” message still appears….so have to do things differently…when will everything really be working correctly?

January 16, 2009 at 7:58 am
Mary Beth Marchant 

This search interfaces is not to search for surnames but for states. When I am looking for data bases for a particular state, I don’t care about which data bases are the most popular or which data bases have been posted when-I am looking for the data bases for that state-getting 8000+ hits does not make my day at all.

January 16, 2009 at 8:03 am
Connie Norheim 

I know this isn’t the right place to post this, but it’s where my original problem was posted and answered.

Anne, I’m still having trouble getting onto my ancestry site. I received a notice this morning that someone had posted photos on another tree, and by clicking on the “see the photos” I was able to get onto ancestry and do searches, etc. However, even once I was on it, when I click on “home” I get the Come Back Later message.

January 16, 2009 at 8:50 am
Connie Norheim 

Anne,

I found where to “clear the cache” and it’s working now. Thanks for telling me how to fix it.

January 16, 2009 at 8:53 am
Del Williams 

This totally sucks. I can’t get to any of the databases I need and it is totally ridiculous that one would have to click their way through 8000 databases just to find the right one. I used to be able to click onto the state I want, NORTH CAROLINA, and then the list of databases come up and I choose from those. If I wanted the darn Card Catalog, I’d use it, I’m not interested in it when I know what database I want. Why on earth do you guys keep making these so called refinements without actually trying to use them yourself? Or do you? I want my list of State databases available with a click of a mouse, I don’t want all of that other baloney, now I don’t even have the time to do my research because I’m too busy trying to find the databases. This is stupid.

January 16, 2009 at 1:18 pm
Sherrie Barber 

I thoroughly, thoroughly, thoroughly dislike this card catalog thing!! This is considered efficient? It’s actually easier to simply go to the search page than work thru the card catalog page. I simply want a listing what is available in a particular state and would like to click on the map (which is now useless in my estimation) for such a simple list. Hey, I’m a seasoned, well seasoned researcher and am working on 2 huge publications. I don’t have time for nonsense and this card catalog is nonsensical! At this point I’m taking long routes around the new card catalog page – you’ve done wrong on this one!

January 16, 2009 at 1:31 pm
Hal Hutchens 

Amen!! I was equally frustrated yesterday (Jan. 15) when I clicked on a particular state to look at some birth and marriage databases for that state. The new UI that appeared was purely obnoxious. Nothing appeared for the state I was looking for. So, I clicked on a date filter and I got results…The list of 8000+ was reduced by the census reports that didn’t fit the date I selected.

There’s an old saying…”If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” From my perspective, the problems started a year, or so, ago when Ancestry.com changed the homepage UI. My satisfaction with Ancestry.com has steadily declined since then. Now it’s gotten significantly worse.

Hal

January 16, 2009 at 1:55 pm
James Turner Harris 

You have suddenly come up with this new Ancestry Catalog. Well what was
wrong with the way it was which was very convenient to be able to
immediately go to the state we wanted and see what is for that state or
locality rather than having to search through hundreds of other database
titles to get to what we know we want.

It is like you are trying to force your “skills” on us. If there are
new people joining, let them be the ones who have to learn to use your
site and let those of us who have been using it continue to do so
without this constant hassle.

So, put the search back the way it was and abandon the Ancestry Catalog.

All change is NOT progress.

January 16, 2009 at 3:18 pm
N. Sam Hill 

I totally agree with my friends assessment of your “new changes.”

If you think people are going to accept your ridiculous innovations.

to .. degradations ..

You are mistaken. Quite a few of my friends have indicated that they are
going to go shopping for other providers .. you may think you have a lock
on ancestral research resources .. but think again .. in this day and age many
folk will not put up with this kind of nonsense .. especially when they are
paying now hard to earn money for them.

Please wake up and go back to what worked and was convenient and makes
sense to most of us before it is too later for you.

I have a question. Who thought up these changes? Was it you the researchers
who program and seem to have forgotten how us everyday people think, work
and what skills we have .. well if that is true. You have lost contact with the
real world of research. We are not “techno-geeks” like you evidently. We are
ground pounders in the library’s, court house, cemeteries etc.

January 16, 2009 at 3:28 pm
Anne Mitchell 

This change was in no way about progress, or new features or anything like that. It was all about site stability.

The code was over 5 years old. it was a total database hog. The site has grown considerably in the amount of content and number of users which causes a lot more traffic on all of our existing systems. Old, poorly written code has a way of wreaking havoc on your system when you least expect it…this code did just that.

I would have rather left it where it was — in fact, I use it, or used it.

The Card Catalog allows you to find data sets based on Locale and other criteria — it was the best substitute we had.

Again, I understand your frustration, but if I have to choose between site stability and a feature that only a very small percentage of our users actually use, then I have to choose site stability. If we can bring it back without hurting the site, we will, but I simply do not have a definitive answer on that at the moment.

January 16, 2009 at 3:28 pm
Margaret 

I absolutely hate what you have done with the “search” function. When I click on “Texas,” I want the old list to come up. Have you never heard “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Anne Mitchell will be hearing from me.

January 16, 2009 at 3:37 pm
Sherrie Barber 

Come on, Ann. Give me a better answer than “a feature only a small percentage use”. Someone, in the powers of being, thought up this fancy substitute when the issue of stability arose. You need to simplifiy, simplify, simplify…..do it!! I’ve used Ancestry for years….back since ’99 and this is the worst choice you all have ever made. I’ve plugged along with your new stuff and and always wondered who your programers are…….they certainly do not think simple. Remember the old adage…KISS!! Keep it simple!!! You better start listening to your users.

January 16, 2009 at 3:52 pm
Anne Mitchell 

Sherrie, the Card Catalog that we are currently pointing to has been on the site and used by many for well over 6 months.

It was the only alternative we had other than just taking the pages down completely.

January 16, 2009 at 3:54 pm
Carolyn 

WHERE has the ‘old’ search function gone? Bring back the ‘old’ search function where people could actually find what they were searching for.

When I am looking for records that are available for the state of Massachusetts, THAT’S what I want to see. NOT the records that are available in the other 49 states!

Either bring back the previous search function or refund my money. The current search function is terrible.

January 16, 2009 at 4:02 pm
Sherrie Barber 

I realize the card catalog has been around for several months BUT it has not been used when you simply click on the US map expecting to see simply listings of what each state offers. The card catalog has it purpose but not as a sub that it’s being used for. Simplify the search features once more!!!!!! Make it easy to know exactly what each state offers….like you did before. Obviously I am not the only one that is thinking this way.

January 16, 2009 at 4:39 pm
Del Williams 

It’s pretty stupid to force people to use a card catalog that takes forever to work one’s way through it, when before all one had to do was make one click. What kind of progress is that? I never had a problem with it,and don’t know what you’re talking about “site stability”. If you thought it was unstable before this new crap, I’ll bet everyone trying to use it now thinks a lot worse of it than you may have thought before. This is so ridiculous, what is so difficult about putting up a page where people can just click directly onto the State and Database that they want? I’ve been using Ancestry for years, and this is positively got to be the worse mess I’ve ever seen, it’s even worse when you changed the Home Page to reflect Family Trees that weren’t even mine, and boy was that a doozy. I haven’t seen one person complimenting you about how much they like this new feature, I’ll bet you’re getting nothing but complaints left and right. How about doing something to fix this, I can’t work with this stupid card catalog thing, I have no intention of plowing through some 8000 databases to find the ones that I use.

January 16, 2009 at 8:54 pm
Chris 

Very curious, Anne – we aren’t hearing any of your usual slop about how interested you are in our opinions, how dedicated Ancestry is to making the site work for us, or how there are major, mind-blowing changes and improvements just around the corner.

What we ARE hearing is that this “browse by state” interface is here to stay, as-is.

What we ARE hearing is “take it or leave it”.

What we ARE hearing is just what we’ve heard for the past decade.

Gone is your short-lived slogan “We’re here for you”.

January 16, 2009 at 8:58 pm
Steve Searight 

Anne,

Are you kidding me? The search by state is now totally useless. Ancestry keeps making research harder and harder, not easier.

Who’s brilliant idea was this anyway?

January 17, 2009 at 7:32 am
Chris P. 

Anne,

I think you can see a trend here.
We, who are taking the time to write are just the tip of the iceberg. There is a lot of intense dissatisfication amongst your members. And taking a defensive stance is not helpful.

More than once, over the last couple of days, you have been given very specific examples of how the State Search data base does not work.
Why won’t you address these problems?

My membership is up for renewal soon. Your take it or leave it attitude is encouraging me…to leave it!

January 17, 2009 at 12:19 pm
Michelle Woodham 

“Again, I understand your frustration, but if I have to choose between site stability and a feature that only a very small percentage of our users actually use, then I have to choose site stability. If we can bring it back without hurting the site, we will, but I simply do not have a definitive answer on that at the moment.”

I’ve never been one to complain, but the current situation is not acceptable. I believe if you took a survey, you would discover that a LARGE percentage of subscribers use the “state search” option.

Perhaps new code could be written to create state pages similar to the previous ones.

January 17, 2009 at 12:40 pm
Ken 

I have been a subscriber for about six years and have seen quite a few changes good and bad at Ancestry. Unfortunately, it seems that in the last couple of years or so, our new owners have started upgrading the site out of existence. I have never seen a group of people who insist on fixing something that is not broken. What used to be an easy sight to navigate now takes forever. This goes hand in hand with the Familytreemaker fiasco. I have already stared using a new genealogy program, now I guess I’ll have to find a new site to use for reasearch. Like others have stated, if I had wanted to go to the Catalog, I would have selected it. There is no way you can convince me this was the only way you had to upgrade the code. Competence and Customer Service have left the building. Say goodbye to another customer.

January 17, 2009 at 1:16 pm
Donna 

If this is an option, I’ve not yet found it. However, something that I would like to see is the option to filter non-relevant hits so that we can do a more focused search. In other words, if we’ve provided a lot of information and perhaps we’re looking for additional records for that individual, we don’t want to wade through 5,000 irrelevant individuals. I personally get overwhelmed and finally give up my search.

A recent search: I was looking for a marriage record for my 4th great grandparents that took place in Texas. When I did my search, not only did other states enter the picture, but many, many individuals and years were displayed with zero relevance. They were married in 1858; I had the correct county; yet I had results for ALL years and counties to go through looking for them. I finally gave up.

January 17, 2009 at 3:29 pm
Jade 

Anne, in #25 you say “The Card Catalog allows you to find data sets based on Locale and other criteria — it was the best substitute we had.”

That is really the problem. Thinking that the New Fuzzy Search Interface with Card Catalog is equivalent is mistaken. The filters do not work well and the search results do not return all databases related to a given State, which is more irritating than that it returns all the results irrelevant as to time and place.

January 17, 2009 at 4:02 pm
Mary 

I’m impressed by the records ancestry.com has added over the years, but really, your search methods are abysmal. I put in “Samuel Foster b. 1720″ in the Records Search, expecting only to get 1790 Census (at best) and instead I get 1920 & 1930 Census data. It’s a complete waste of my time. Instead of trying to figure out how you might have indexed this record I have to spend my time figuring out how to at least get records within 200 years of the date frame I inputted.

I suggest you don’t put in dates fields, if you can’t return a search result for it.

January 17, 2009 at 8:58 pm
Arlene Miles 

It is great to get a list of results but they are not the results I expected. Your search engine does not seem to be able to find the information as I put it in the search fields. Names are bad but places are even worse. Not to mention dates. Maybe you can try a simple ‘search within’ similar to Google. Or ‘sort by’ first name, last name, birth place, birth date, death date, death place, etc….

January 18, 2009 at 12:14 am
Ron Lankshear 

Just trying to search England & Wales, Death Index: 1984-2005
for someone called Mildred Amelia but I don’t know if she married so surname blank born 1922 was supposed to have died 1992 – I was trying to check if this was fact.

Using Old Search no names come up with Mildred Amelia and those years. Without the years 41 women. All called by both names.

New Search and both years 50 hits includes any one called Mildred and anyone called Amelia or with A as an initial (that A but is acceptable)

Take out death year and 1094 hits again anyone with one of the names.

Also removed the birth year and 24,558

Which version is unstable?

January 18, 2009 at 1:22 am
Ron Lankshear 

Type your comment here.

January 18, 2009 at 3:44 am
Ron Lankshear 

I still find errors that I reported last year – do you mean you are deploying this new search without fixing the known errors.

In 1871 census England – do a search for Rity Cooper – note she was born in Shoreditch.
Now enter Shoreditch in birth location and search.
Whoops no hits – even if I use the pull down selection for Shoreditch London England etc

Works swell in OLD Search.

January 18, 2009 at 4:35 am
Ron Lankshear 

A few months ago I reported what I regard as s major downgrade in the search results.
That same search for Rity Cooper in 1871 – the new search puts a frame around the results. The Old search has no frame and the results list includes a direct link to the census image. With new search we have to click the view record and then we can get to the image. So new search is taking facility away.

The frame around the list also cuts down on the use the browser window so the list takes up more lines

Please have a results list like the old one

January 18, 2009 at 4:43 am
Sherry 

Why did you change the look of the search page. It was so much easier to use as you had an index of all available in easy to read format.

I use to search Canada / Ontario and get a list of all that you had. Now I have to toggle down through the pages.

I wish you would have left well enough alone.

If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.

January 18, 2009 at 5:33 am
Karen M. 

The Card Catalog allows you to find data sets based on Locale and other criteria — it was the best substitute we had.

It’s not good enough and anyone who thinks it is doesn’t do any actual research. When I click a state link on the initial search page, I expect to get a list of resources related to that state. Any other “solution” is not acceptable. If you can’t figure out a way to categorize the results by state, you should restore the old system until you do figure that out. Right now, there is little point in filtering by location since the “sort by” doesn’t include a “relevance” option.

It’s clear that someone, somewhere decided that searching by state was important to him/her and therefore decided that it didn’t have to be included in the design for the dysfunctional new search.

Also, if searching by state was under-utilized before, perhaps that’s because it was hidden below the fold. Instead of dropping it, you should be looking at how to make it functional for more users.

January 18, 2009 at 6:55 am
Margaret Ann 

Please explain why it is that if I click “California” on the initial search page then add “marriages” as my keyword on your card catalog page and search…the first title listed is “New England Marriages Prior to 1700″!

The same thing happens if I include California in the keywords. What is the point of specifying the state anywhere at all if the search program ignores it?

I don’t buy this business of it being “old code”. I’m using other applications elsewhere that are 10-15 years old and they do exactly what the users need. The problem here is that you at Ancestry decided that you want a shiny new page and ignored the obvious need to rank by location.

You have your priorities and I have mine. If you can’t get this fixed before my subscription expires in April, there will be one less user to impact your site performance.

January 18, 2009 at 7:08 am
jean 

its like sitting in a bath of water that is draining when we subscribe to this site.

its about time some one in authority put the plug back in by listing to what we the subscribers actually want not what those in employment by the owners think we want.

because if it is not we will dissapare slowly but surly down the drain into the sea of the internet where we are sure to find owners of sites who are not going to unplug their bath.

January 18, 2009 at 1:16 pm
Chris P. 

I wasn’t going to point out the obvious, but it is clear from everyone’s notes and comments that Ancestry.com has lost touch with it’s constituency, us, the researcher.

And for those few of you who have not had the “pleasure” of enocountering a computer programmer/geek, consider yourselves blessed!
Computer programers have a knee jerk need to constantly fix what is not broken.
There are two basic reasons for this…

First, They have a child’s need to be dazzled by flash, swoosh and complexity. Especially, if they don’t have to use the product.

Second, to paraphrase the actor Ronnie Cox; “…who cares if it works! There will be millions of dollars and years of work remaining for us just to fix the original program!”

Ancestry.com has been taken over by the programers!
A sad state of affairs. Sadder still, because they still won’t get it after we have left.

January 18, 2009 at 1:41 pm
Debi 

Hadn’t been on the site and just left a comment about this on a different thread before I even knew this change had been made or saw the after-the-fact notification on the blog. I’ll reiterate here: “What in the world did you do to the “Browse by Location” feature? I checked “Ohio” and expected the usual list sorted by Census, BMD, Military, Directories, etc. Instead I was routed to the “Card Catalog” which informed me there were 9,423 databases from which to choose – including every census. I hardly think so. If I’d wanted to use the Card Catalog I would have gone to it directly. How frustrating to try to bypass the horrendous “new” search and go to a smaller database set, only to be rerouted to a list of 9000+ entries. I have my upcoming subscription expiration date prominently marked on my calendar – after many satisfying years, cancellation now is a distinct possibility. It’s obvious the paying customers are at the bottom of the food chain.” Perhaps expressed less succintly than some of the more computer-literate commenters, but just as passionately, I assure you!

January 18, 2009 at 2:22 pm
Ron Lankshear 

Hi Chris P
Talking about the politics of what is happening from an IT project stand point I would say the bean counters have taken over and that they want to reduce their IT costs.

The ideas I have heard over recent months on these blogs is that a standard search interface is wanted that runs across all databases including family trees.

Avoiding having to pay programmers for new searches. And meaning that they will not have to keep having work done.

I would say that some of database constructions do not meet this aim.

Ancestry has always had Very Fast searches. And screens that open fast – now with new search I see hiccup – clicking View Record in that lousy frame and the new page I can see if forming.

Personally when I am searching for Data I want data not soneone’s family tree.

January 18, 2009 at 2:43 pm
carolyn watson 

Iam using the free 14 day trial and my daughter bought 3 months for a gift for me….
Without reading all the details and not realy knowing where to look, am i going to be able to search for relatives on back several generations and the history (like about them kids–events-ect….) i only know information as far back my grandparents …. im finding this is realy difficult to use…

January 18, 2009 at 3:02 pm
Darren 

The new search ‘experience’ is not one of the better experiences I have had. It is almost unusable, and I would recommend that the ‘old search experience’ be made the default option.
If I click on UK Census Collection, I get a long list of irrelavent databases, most of which my subscription would not allow me to see anyway. Thankfully, the old search experience still takes me to the appropriate databases. Please do not remove this option!

January 18, 2009 at 3:11 pm
Jade 

Just for kicks I tried the New Fuzzy Search UI to the Card Catalog, filtering by State of Delaware.

8,584 items were listed. In the first 64 pages of listings there are exactly three relevant entries.

As pointed out last summer, “1770-1790 Census of the Cumberland Settlements” is about **Tennessee**.
There never has been an area of Delaware known as “Cumberland” (village, hundred, stream, valley, etc.).

And “Delaware Trails: Some Tribal Records, 1842-1907″ has to do with the Lenni-Lenape who were removed first from PA in the 18th century, then from points West. Nothing at all to do with the state of Delaware.

None of the highly erroneous approach to State Databases has been fixed. This is appalling.

TGN has a dozen or so genealogists on staff who (after a while rolling on the floor laughing) could tell the Techs what to remove for each State (most of the listings).

Jade

January 18, 2009 at 6:13 pm
Mary McGoldrick 

Absolutely hate the Card Catalog, it is cumbersome, slow and brings back mostly irrelevant junk. It seems to me the instability of the site coincided with the arrival of the card catalog. I have been a subscriber for years and while more information has certainly been made available we have also been inundated with useless junk and banner ads.
We pay serious money to access this site, please take us seriously. I for one don’t need all the foo-foo stuff (calendars, coffee mugs, bonding with other users etc). What I would appreciate is fixing glaring errors, for instance, I reported in July of 2004, September of 2004 and May of 2007 that the 1870 Elk County, Pennsylvania census is mostly missing. It is now 2009 and nothing has changed.
Bigger is not necessarily better.

January 18, 2009 at 8:39 pm
Beverly B. Hill 

I think your new Ancestry Card Catalog is for the birds. I used to be able to just hit the state: Utah and it would come up with a list that included Utah Death Records and Utah Cemetery Records, and now you want me to go through 8,607 records. Why can’t you keep things like the were? It is just ridiculous!

January 19, 2009 at 12:53 am
Ken 

We have all vented and told our tales of woe, now it’s time to act. I propose that we, as the customer, demand what we paid for, a useable website. If the state and county pages can’t be restored to the previous easy to search, and usable results, our money should be refunded. It’s bad enough to have this situation, but we got it with no notice or warning. I hate having things shoved down my throat. Until everyone gets together and take action, all we are going to get is corporate spin, no acceptable apology, and a continueing decline in usability. Someone above mentioned a survey about the situation. I don’t think TGN would do a survey, make the raw data available to the customers, and abide by the customers wishes. If a survey is done, you will never know the final results, you’ll get the corporate spin to justify their decisions. TGN seems to be getting new subscribers with the new “bells & whistles” but serious resarchers, I believe will be leaving or have already left. So TGN, step up to the plate and do the right thing for a change.

January 19, 2009 at 6:46 am
Jerry Bryan 

1. When I put Tennessee into the Title field of the Card Catalog, I get 105 matches, which is surely too few matches to be a good source of Tennessee resources. When I put Tennessee into the Keyword field, I get 8,680 matches, which is useless. New York Passenger Lists pop up earlier in the list than anything that is specifically related to Tennessee. I think we need to give ancestry the benefit of the doubt on the site stability issue. I’ve been a computer professional for over 40 years, and all kinds of crazy things can cause system failures. I’ve done stranger things in the name of getting a system working again than what ancestry did with the state pages. But the Card Catalog is only ok as a replacement for the state pages in the very short run, not in the long run. The Title facility in the Card Catalog is ok. But the Keyword facility in the Card Catalog is essentially useless, whether as a replacement for the state pages or as a service in its own right.

2. I wonder if we could prevail on Anne to give us an update on the big picture of New Search vs. Old Search, where she thinks it stands, what she thinks it would take to make New Search into a viable replacement for Old Search, etc. I’m obviously not privy to ancestry’s plans nor to their usage statistics, but here’s my take. I try to use New Search as much as practicable, and I probably use it maybe 1/3 of the time. New Search has some really good features, and ancestry has been responsive about fixing some of the most egregious problems with New Search. But New Search is still a pre-beta product. It isn’t even good enough yet for a limited public beta. Unless there are major improvements in New Search, and unless those major improvements appear extremely soon, then I think that Old Search needs to stay around at least two more years, maybe three. I think that’s a realistic timeframe to get New Search into good enough shape that it’s a viable product. But I suspect that ancestry has a much shorter timeframe in mind. Indeed, what if there were a serious stability issue with the site a month from now that led to the premature withdrawal of Old Search from service? That would be a true disaster.

January 19, 2009 at 5:34 pm
ann 

I know this is not the correct blog to comment on but your blogs are like your website recently – impossible to get to the correct place without having to go to a million pages first.

Recently I entered a persons name, birth date, etc, etc. The only thing the search engine got right was the surname and English county. The search results actually numbered
3,015,536 – no comment!!!

Why bother having search fields for first names, birth dates, etc. when the search engine ignores them.

Like so many others I paid my subscription and expect reasonable service. So much time is wasted trawling through results that it’s a wonder your subscribers have the patience to continue. I am not surprised that there are so many frustrated users out there.

As others have pointed out ‘If it ain’t broke – don’t fix it’.
And that refers to the FTM program as well as Ancestry. What is the point of adding new features when the old ones don’t work efficiently?

January 19, 2009 at 7:18 pm
Jim Livermore 

Jerry says in #56:
“Indeed, what if there were a serious stability issue with the site a month from now that led to the premature withdrawal of Old Search from service? That would be a true disaster.”

This is exactly what I’ve been thinking. This Card Catalog business I believe is the first pruning of the old system. TGN will move users forward whether we like it or not, all in the name of fixing the slow parts of the site. And only they ‘know’ what those parts are.

Personally, I have canceled my subscription. We’ll see what changes between now and May when that expires.

January 20, 2009 at 4:11 am
Jade 

Jim said in #56 “This Card Catalog business I believe is the first pruning of the old system. TGN will move users forward whether we like it or not, all in the name of fixing the slow parts of the site. And only they ‘know’ what those parts are.”

Ancestry staff have not said what the purpose was of the code ‘push’ around the 7th of January.

It did have a noticeably adverse effect on site stability.

It has not had a noticeable effect on many users’ experience of site slowness.

It did not have anything to do with improving the miserable performance of the New Search UI template.

At least they did not remove access to the Old Search Style Card Catalog, at this time – they do indeed plan to do this. Who knows whether the New Search UI will be made functional before then? No improvements have been made to it exept the very minor tweak of enabling some keyboard navigation shortcuts.

The standard Card Catalog page is here:
http://www.ancestry.com/search/rectype/alldblist.aspx?sourceLink=,d,da,dau&firstTitle=0

You must click on ‘return to old search’ in the yellow banner before trying this URL. Since the very defective New Search UI has been made default throughout the site, if you use an old bookmark and *then* click to return to old search, you are automatically taken to what is (for me) a useless global search page instead of to whatever bookmarked URL you started with. Just another frustrating feature of the New User Experience.

January 20, 2009 at 5:56 am
Athena 

First, be assured that your searches will still be in the old search interface, that has not been changed.

As far as I’m concerned, dropping the state filters changes everything. I’ve been a subscriber to Ancestry for almost 3 years now and that’s how I have always started my searches. When the personalized “Quick Links” were added to the home page last year, I just added the URLs for the states I use most. I’ve never, ever used the card catalog because I could never figure out how to find any usable database that way.

Like many here, I am mystified by the function of the “location” filter since it does not seem to have any significat effect on the results list. Get a clue TGN! If a user selects to filter by state and a birth, marriage, death records, the very first databases on the results list should be a databases for that state; not the SS Death Index or any other “popular” general database.

Since there is no way to rank the results according to their relevance to the specfied filters, why are they there? What is the point of clicking around to input criteria that seem to be ignored?

January 20, 2009 at 1:08 pm
Pamela Slaton 

I find myself extremely frustrated and dissapointed. I hate the new set up – I want my old search experience back. I spend hours each day researching as a professional genealogist and in the last week I have spent more time trying to get to the right data bases then actual work. I am a member since 2000 and can assure you that I will not be renewing this year if things aren’t returned to normal pronto !!!!

January 20, 2009 at 1:17 pm
Anne Mitchell 

I’m hearing you guys loud and clear …. in fact, I even felt your pain this weekend. I was doing research on my Virginia ancestors and was more than a tad miffed not to have my Virginia page.

I can’t turn the state/country back on, site stability is an issue. But I don’t think this is an either/or situation.

I’m working on another solution, and hopefully I’ll have more news tomorrow.

Jerry, you raised some interesting questions that sort of summarize some other stuff I’m hearing in this post and elsewhere, and I’ll address those in another blog post.

Stay tuned.

January 20, 2009 at 1:24 pm
Shelley Way 

I agree with Ken #55..just don’t renew.
There are plenty of other sites to find information. No sense in spending money on something that you can’t navigate and if they can’t figure that out just let them lose their customers.

January 20, 2009 at 1:26 pm
Connie 

Sorry, but count me among those who don’t believe that the link from the state pages is the reason for site instability…(part of it, perhaps, but not the sole reason). I’d be more inclined to believe it is complete and total bloat caused by this USELESS (yes, I’m shouting) New Search and overall New Look.

It cannot possibly be that difficult or time-consuming to write new code to link the state maps to relevant results.

But then, it can’t possibly be that hard to write code to return search results that are relevant to the input criteria. Other sites, whether related to genealogy or not, are able to provide relevant, easy to use, results, even with what I consider to be too many flashy, useless graphics: why can’t Ancestry?

Do you not have at least one librarian on staff or contract? The librarian can tell you how to catalog titles. Start there. Truly, if Ancestry would spend a small fraction of the money they are spending on TV advertising to re-catalog their titles properly (which has always been a problem; it did not start with New Search), half the problem would be solved.

Then devise or purchase a search engine which, if the subject is Texas, gives you titles related to Texas.

Then create a hyperlink from the Texas map to the search engine results. (That piece even I could do in 5 minutes).

It ain’t rocket science…

January 20, 2009 at 2:36 pm
Janet Scott 

If I was new to Ancestry.com, I would give up looking by state because of how hard it is to use. Even knowing exactly what I am looking for is tedious.

January 20, 2009 at 2:45 pm
j kissinger 

I am very discouraged with the new
index. It seems all I do is plow through material I did not request
and waste additional time trying to drill down to the core of the earth.

Do I really need the Canadian, British and US phone listings?

I am seventy years old , I do not have the time for this layering.
BE CONCISE!!!! Get Right!!

Family Search is looking better an better!

January 20, 2009 at 3:18 pm
Cathy 

Let’s see….Used to be able to click on a state, choose which category I wanted…then choose the DB I wanted.
Now I click on a state, get to look at all the DB, then choose a category, then choose a DB.
Sounds good.
Only it takes three or four or five times the amount of time it used to.
That’s progress?????
Or is it a giant step backward?

January 20, 2009 at 10:38 pm
Jennifer 

It is mentioned all the computer problems and search problems. The big question: Do you plan to bring the OLD search/results format back?

A second comment. I’d think that you would test your new programs before putting them up for everyone to use.

January 21, 2009 at 4:25 am
Ron O'Brien 

I think the new look Ancestry is terrible and simply does not work. Ancestors I found via the Ancestry site simply do not exist any more, and this is true of my wife’s family also. Why on earth did Ancestry have to fiddle about with the site when it wasn’t necessary. In England we have a saying: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.
I will not be renewing my subscription later this year

January 21, 2009 at 12:09 pm
Paul Younger 

My girlfriend has been using Ancestry for about two years and certainly in the last year it has undergone so many changes. We have found that people we looked up and found yesterday no longer appear today, we find your database ignores what we ask i.e. look for O’Grady in Liverpool and you get a thousand in Yorkshire also listed. It is also extremely tiresome to discover that today we can find O’Grady, but tomorrow we will probably not, unless we drop the apostrophy – Irish names have been around for a few thousand years, you could at least make it so you can search them more easily.
We are very disappointed with Ancestry and will probably move to Findmypast in a month or so.

January 21, 2009 at 12:18 pm
James Turner Harris 

This is only my 2nd blog posting. I am remiss for not doing this every day. I got lazy. To be honest with you, I am reasearching every day – mostly for friends & I do it for FREE – but I HAVE TRIED TO AVOID the new FILTER SYSTEM .. why .. it is about the most worthless thing Ancestry has tried to ram down our throats. I noticed that it was done just before the weekend .. why probably to let us cool off before the next week and try to make us accept this piece of junk willingly. Hello Ancestry, if you are reading the blog submissions .. how people are raving about this NEW IMPROVED INNOVATION .. like NONE. If you did not have an almost MONOPOLY on the data bases “we” need to access .. you would be toast by now. I am like the late Gen. Douglas MacArthur .. I shall return .. hopefully everday until your “programmers” (who I have been told are researchers also – and if they are – they are completely out of tune with the general populace) come up with an option to go back to the old way or at least give us a choice or make “the new way user friendly.” Can you honestly tell me why when I want to go to any particular state’s records such as “marriage” that I have to hunt through the maze of junk just to find where to start? Please do not try and patronize me and say “well you need to start filtering.” Look I don’t smoke so I do not need filters on any “coffin nails” and I DON’T NEED FILTERS TO TRY AND FIND A STATE’S MARRIAGE RECORDS when that is all that I want to do. I feel like I am being ripped off and cannot do anything about it .. i.e. does the name Bernie Madoff ring a bell with you Ancestry people .. he ripped off $50 billion .. and how many subscribers are you ripping off? A lot I will bet. “I shall return!”

January 21, 2009 at 3:34 pm
James Turner Harris 

I returned quickly for a “p.s” or an addendum to my last posting. My last comments were addressed primarily to the “Ancestry Card Catalog” change .. notice that I did not say new and improved etc. If I was to label it I would say the latest in a total lack of caring about the wants and needs of the subsribers.

What I want to address now is the “New Ancestry Search.” Well it is new for sure .. but a search .. yeah like I have to search how to get where I am going before I can even start researching. Trying to use the New Ancestry Search to me is like trying to have a wisdom tooth or a molar pulled withoug novacaine. Aargh! Yikes .. this is PAINFUL AND I CAN’T STAND IT. Luckily when I have logged on .. I have the magic escape to the tried and true proven way to research. Would I pay good money to use this new junk .. yes if I AM A COMPLETE IDIOT.

One last comment for now. The optical scanning allowed for many records to be added to Ancestry much quicker than my the old method .. but what happened .. complete and total messing up the intergrity of the census images themselfs. Yes the enumerators did not have the best pensmanship and the photographing of said census records was not always the best .. but at least when it was done manually .. you could find your ancestral line with maybe only difficulty. Now it has to be a miracle in some instances. My surname and middle name are my family lines and should be easy to find in Ancestry .. yes .. but now NOT!!!!! I know about automatic scanning of information .. I worked with it for years .. I can prove that and all I can say is that it works if the original data is very good and easily interpreted. The U.S. census data a lot of times is not easily interpreted and even a person familiar with the English language would have troubles if they are not familiar with American names. Ancestry do you hear me .. sending that out to .. other places .. to me was not a good idea and you are finding that out now. You made a mistake there and now with your Ancestry Card Catalog change you are going from bad to worse. Do any of you in Ancestry know or remember the history of Sears and Roebuck? Well at the beginning of the 20th Century .. THEY WERE BIG DOGS AND MAYBE THE ONLY DOGS .. where were they at the end of the 20th Century .. almost off the face of the retail map so to speak. To me does Ancestry want to be the Sears & Roebuck of genealogy or the Wal-Mart of genealogy research. Keep this up and Sam Walton will come out of his grave and get you … he will you just wait and see!

January 21, 2009 at 3:51 pm
Andy Hatchett 

OK boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen… and others.

It is past time to end this comedy and there *is* a simple two step process to do it.

1). Do *NOT* post your complaints on *any* Ancestry Blog or message board.

2) *DO* post all complaints to as many other public genealogy sites as possible and write letters of complaint to as many genealogy magazines as possible. Make Ancestry’s general failure a known fact not only to the genealogy community but to the general public.

Let’s make Ancestry a household name!
That should see some REAL changes in Ancestry- or its demise… either of which is preferable to the present situation !

Andy Hatchett

January 21, 2009 at 11:57 pm
Ken 

After no clear concise response to my previous posts (see #36 & 57) I decided on Januaru 20 to call Customer Service. Make this fiasco number 3. It seems that TGN doesn’t want to talk to their customers. They now have the Customer Service telephone number buried in FAQ file in hopes you will give up before you find it. Once I place the call, I must say the representative did his best to get answers but got the same “stone wall” the rest of get. He did however give me an email address (msfeedback@tgn.com) to air my problems to “someone who will get you an answer and will respond to you.” After thanking the rep, I told him that I doubted very seriously if I would hear from anyone
at TGN. Well guess what, I was right. No response except the post by Ann about answering some question. To me, the questions have not been answered. I am copying my email at th eend of the post. In the email I stated that this (the email)would be my last comment. I apologize for mis-stating and will have to make this my last comment unless something major (like actual customer service and clear,concise answers) occurs. Best of luck to all who continue to put up with this garbage. I am in full search mode for a new provider.

Dear Sir/Madame,
Below you will find two post I made to the Ancestry Blog. I know that upgrades must be made but at the same time there must be a viable alternative while the upgrade is in progress. Unfortunately, you don’t have that. When the state search link went down, the new search, which at best is pre-beta, is unusable due to too many irrelevant results and no way to get the desired results. Now the state links take you to the Card Catalog that is too cumbersome to use and the filters are utterly worthless. If I had wanted to search from the Card Catalog, I would have selected it. Databases that last week I could find in seconds can now take several minutes if I can find it at all. The state sorted databases need to be reinstated ASAP. The service I am know receiving is not the service I paid for. Just because I can get to the website doesn’t mean it is usable. There needs to be a date certain for reinstatement posted prominiently on the website. The new search engine need to be removed as the default search engine until such time as it is at least a beta program.
I am fixed income, so when I don’t get what I pay for I want answers, a credit to my account for lost time or I consider going elsewhere. For me, that means ordering microfilm, driving 25 miles to the library, paying for the shipment of the film and $.25 per page copied. At the cost of my current subscription, I can do a lot of that but not as fast with the site.
Someone at corporate needs to really listen to the customers. This, on top of the FamilyTreemaker fiasco, has given TGN a bad reputation for customer service/satisfaction. I imagine you are losing a lot of people who are so frustrated they don’t even want to talk with you. This will be the last time I comment.

January 22, 2009 at 6:21 am
N. Sam Hill 

Ms. Mitchell and whoever else in Ancestry land may see this,

on 1/16/2009 you made this comment ..

“This change was in no way about progress, or new features or anything like that. It was all about site stability. …. The Card Catalog allows you to find data sets based on Locale and other criteria — it was the best substitute we had.

Again, I understand your frustration, but if I have to choose between site stability and a feature that only a very small percentage of our users actually use, then I have to choose site stability. If we can bring it back without hurting the site, we will, but I simply do not have a definitive answer on that at the moment.”

I am not a computer programmer but I know enough about computer programming to “know – i.e. believe” that you had more than one option when you changed from the old format to the new format. My opinion is that is not a correct statement or that pertinent details have been left out to cover Ancestry’s real motives.

To me Ancestry was trying to go or look “high tech” but why I do not know. “If it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it” .. and I might add please do not try to sell me the “preventive maintenance theory.”

I broke in with main frames circa 1978 and pcs by the late 1980s .. I was a “user” not a “creator” but I know my way around computers to some degree.

I am of the opinion that Ancestry is trying to ram this junk down our throats like Microsoft tried and is still trying “to sell one of their latest upgrades.” Did you read the news today (1/22/2009)- “Microsoft to cut up to 5,000 jobs
Posts 11 percent drop in second-quarter profit, short of expectations” … why because of the economy but also because USERS are switching to OTHER PROVIDERS. If Ancestry keeps up the not satisfying their subscribers .. get the “Home For Sale” signs ready.

January 22, 2009 at 11:13 am
Erin 

I have to agree with everyone who finds the new search engine ineffective. Not only is it very non-user friendly, the results don’t come close to the seach that you requested.

And what happened to some of the useful information? When I used to be able to go to New Jersey and actually find the New Jersey Census, 1772-1890, I could search for names and the actual year would be given in addition to the county. Now, all I can get is the source, New Jersey Census, 1772-1890. What good does that do me when I am trying to narrow down when an ancestor showed up and the migration pattern?

Give us back the old search!

January 23, 2009 at 2:13 pm
Tony Cousins 

Andy #75, what a very good idea, it may have more impact on TGN than the many subscribers who are considering stopping their subscriptions.

Anne – on 1/16/2009 you made this comment ..

“This change was in no way about progress, or new features or anything like that. It was all about site stability. …. The Card Catalog allows you to find data sets based on Locale and other criteria — it was the best substitute we had.”

This is a load of, well – rubbish.

Many people think that computers are really clever – they are amongst the most stupid devices / things on this earth. They can only do things that the programmers tell them to do through the code they generate.

The computer can not think for itself – well not the file servers TGN is using. Once a computer has been programmed to performa a task one way that is the way it will always do it – until another programmer tells it to perform another way.

That is when the problems start, including site instability.

Over 30 years, starting as a programmer taught me that. If you dont change things then they continue to run – so just what did TGN / Ancestry do to cause the site problems?

TonyC

January 23, 2009 at 3:17 pm
Jade 

Tony C., re: #79 — heheheh, they probably installed some whomped up cribbed-on version of Vista, with all of its little java-related weirdnesses that are not back-compatible in really stupid ways. My working mental image of what happened is trying to nail a corn crib to the top of the outhouse, but getting it backwards. Some stuff does actually ‘trickle down’.

January 23, 2009 at 9:44 pm
Ron Lankshear 

What good point in New Search is a new field Siblings in family matters. In UK census Old search did provide for father mother and spouse. So Siblings is an excellent edition. I can see how it works for one sibling but how do you enter more than sibling?

If is possible to search for more than one name, could the search panel be written to show how?

January 25, 2009 at 5:25 pm
Ron Lankshear 

In New Search for a UK census what does Lived In (Residence) and subtitle Location mean?

Is it street address as far as I know you only provide that for 1881 census.

I tried it with a area name like Southwark and got no hits – so what does the field search. I moved Southwark to Registration district and got hits. SO Southwark was a resience!

January 25, 2009 at 5:41 pm
Ron Lankshear 

In new search how is the field
“Household schedule number” to be used

The Old search has the fields Piece Folio Page
which relates to source citation
such as
RG10; Piece: 1262; Folio: 78; Page: 65
Class: RG9; Piece: 2256; Folio: 91; Page: 11; GSU roll: 542944

If I know these I can get to a census page again and that is what genealogists use.

How Ancestry is proposing dropping the piece number etc and replacing with citations ED number and Household schedule. Why do this – that is a major change.

of course no one would know this data unless they had found the data previously

Except Piece numbers are useful for searches of area and I do use. Now Piece numbers etc are being dropped from search. It is hard to understand why

January 25, 2009 at 6:03 pm
Tony Cousins 

Ron #83.

I hope you are wrong about TGN / Ancestry removing the piece number from the search – that would be disastrous.

The piece number is an extremely important part of the UK census record. From the British Genealogy web site I quote:

“In which Registration District is a place?
Important! : Census Registration Districts do not coincide exacly with county boundaries!

Registration Districts may contain some places in other counties, and may omit some border places in a county.

Registration Districts are a PRO classification that applies to census records and also to birth, marriage and death registrations.

To find out which Piece Number covered a certain PLACE, use the PRO online catalogue.”

Further evidence of how important the piece number is follows:

“Census Pieces and Folios:

One of the most important things to know about censuses, are the ways that they are referenced. Knowing the right reference for a census page lets you go straight to that page.

But censuses are not referenced by book and page numbers.

The references are by Piece and Folio, for example 2422/25,
or more accurately, RG9 2422/25 as the RG9 tells us that it is the 1861 census.

A census Piece is a collection of many individual enumerators’ books for a district.
A census Folio is a sheet within one of those books
(note: not a “page” – a folio is the front and back of a sheet, in other words, two pages)
Each enumerator had a pre-printed book that he had to fill in. A book may have anything from about 20 sheets up to about 40 (double sided). Those books were collected, and were later bound into combined books of between about 50 and 200 leaves. It is this combined book that is a census Piece.

After binding, the books had the folio number stamped on the upper right corner of every sheet. (The back of the sheet was not stamped). This stamped number is the Folio number.”

We need confirmation from TGN / Ancestry that they are NOT going to corrupt the reference to the UK census records.

TonyC

January 26, 2009 at 9:58 am
James Turner Harris 

I am back again and this time to inform Ms. Mitchell and any other Ancestry folk who happen to be interested in how others who do not want to write in and complain feel about Ancestry of the present time. I sent out an e-mail to about 100 people who I have “made genealogical” friends with since beginning my research in 2002. Not one of the Ancestry subscribers are happy with the changes. I would describe most of them as “female and of the silent majority type” – i.e. good every day kind of folk who do not like to make a fuss. Why so many females .. I actually do not know and maybe somebody has done a demographic study but that is beside the point. I and the do not like the changes. Of the ones who do not belong to Ancestry .. they said they are not interested in paying hard earned money (hello – the 2009 recession – anybody remember that we are in one?) on some thing that is getting progressively harded to use and is (to me) user “unfriendly.” I actually had reports that several of the subscribers that I correspond with on a regular basis tell me that they are not going to renew their subscription. Is that what Ancestry is trying to do .. lose subscribers? If so, just quit and go out of business it is quicker. Maybe Ancestry is interested in doing the slow death routine. Some thing is going on and is isn’t good or to me even logical. I am waiting for some interprising person to provide an alternative to Ancestry and then color me gone.

January 26, 2009 at 12:27 pm
Leonard 

The “filter by” is the biggest pain, I’ve ever seen. Even said, it takes forever for the page to load and then you have to sift thru all these entries.

This is just too much padding and too complicated. I do not need to sort thru all this to get to relevant entries for a certain state.

January 26, 2009 at 3:23 pm
Ron Lankshear 

Yes Tony re 83 and 84

I cannot see Piece number etc on New Search panels.

The following is from 1861 census
OLD search has

Residence
County or island – Civil parish – Town

This seems to be Residence in New Search see my 82.
But it is not broken up into the 3 boxes.
County in old is a pull down box in New you have to type and a guess ahead will appear but be careful as its world wide

And then Old search has
Census
RG9/ Piece Folio Page #

yes all the fields as you mentioned that we can look up at PRO etc

Whereas New Search has

ED, institution, or vessel

Relation

Registration district

Sub registration district

Household schedule number

Ecclesiastical parish

I would have thought put ED and Household number together
And cannot understand why Relation is in that group why not put up with people’s names
People need Help with looking up census – they will not know the Reg district or parish

Removing the drop down menu of County is serious as particularly in London folk do not know if Middlesex or Surrey should be used – London is not available in 1861 and if people put that they will fail.

There is no ability to enter County except perhaps in Residence field

Everything is being changed and I cannot see the why and wherefore

January 26, 2009 at 6:12 pm
Mary Ellen Toillion 

I find Ancestry Card Catalog very frustrating and time consuming. At the present time you no longer can just get a list of databases for a specific state. Where has the search function gone. In the old search system the list of records was much more compact and easier to use and to find what you were looking for. Now it takes twice as long to find anything and when you do it is not what you need.

In my opinion the new search system leaves a lot to be desired. You should have left well enough alone

If the new system is implemented I will not be renewing my subscription.

Ancestry is making research harder and harder and that is to bad since it used to be such a useful site.

January 26, 2009 at 7:46 pm
Leslie 

I am so frustrated by the search by state. Please change it back. I see by reading this that I am not the only.

January 26, 2009 at 8:03 pm
Leonard 

My second message. Being self-taught on computers, after my message yesterday, I decided to have my computer checked as possibly part of my problem with the “new updated Ancestry” was my system. I paid $113 for this, they telling me the problem was with the Ancestry site. No problems with my system. I came home, tried again and after 3 attempts I finally got in. I decided to be calm and went to the new Card Catalog Page. I tried the “new filter to SC”; however, again all the listings. I finally gave up and quite. If this is new and updated, I hate to see what is in the future. After two weeks of frustration, the other sites are looking better every day. I will keep all this in mind, when my subscription comes up soon for renewal. Bring back the old search system.

January 27, 2009 at 7:59 am
Donna K Miller 

I have to agree that this new & “improved” feature is most definately a disaster for users. It takes 3 times as long to reach a site within any given state. I am not sure just how it was known that few people used the by state feature and more used the card catalogue, but speaking for myself this is not true. I very rarely ever used the card catalogue, the search by state was so much faster. Most of my researching friends also used the ‘by state’ feature on a daily basis, as did I.
This is a serious mistake on the part of Ancestry. I am afraid that many subscriptions will not be renewed. There are other sites out there that are getting better all the time.
I have not seen a positive comment yet concerning this new feature.

January 27, 2009 at 1:04 pm
Tony Cousins 

Donna #90

I really think there are some positive things about the new and improved TGN / Ancestry, positively used in the same context as absolutely, certainly or definitely.

It is positively a disaster and almost impossible to find an ancestor from among the thousands displayed after a search.

It is positively appalling that TGN / Ancestry keep pushing something that doesn’t work for the majority of serious researchers.

It is positively shameful that TGN / Ancestry is spending huge amounts of money on mass advertising to attract new subscribers when the current load is too much for the servers or network bandwidth.

It is also positively deplorable that they spend those huge amounts on advertising but can not find enough to buy the rights to possibly the greatest genealogical collection to come available for a number of years – the 1911 UK Census returns.

It is positively inexcusable to keep blaming the ‘old’ code for the recent deplorable response times on the site.

It is therefore positively scandalous that TGN / Ancestry continue spiraling out of control, positively irritating, infuriating and frustrating long time subscribers.

This may sound a little tongue in cheek but it isn’t – it is the positive truth that many of us see clearly but TGN is wearing rose tinted glasses and fails to understand the damage they are currently doing.

Is it time for TGN to conduct a survey asking relevant questions and publishing the results, maybe not – but it is long past time that they started to listen to their long time subscribers who have been a part of Ancestry’s climb and don’t want to be a part of their decline and failure as one of the leading Genealogical Research sites.

Is that enough ‘positive’ for you Donna? ;)

TonyC

January 27, 2009 at 1:47 pm
Anne Mitchell 

This is NOT a new & improved feature. I’ve been very clear about that. It is a temporary stop gap until we can solve the stability problem it has caused.

And I’m not going to debate whether old code can wreak havoc years later. It can and it does on many sites.

Bottom line, the state and country pages should be back with the next few days.

I also take issue with the statements that we are pushing new search on anyone. It’s there if you want to use it, as is the old search interface. I’ve also stated that algorithmic changes that are upcoming will be available in both. Both search interfaces will be available for quite some time.

So, the state and country pages are coming back. And I don’t see old search going away any time soon. And IF it does, I promise you there will be a whole lot of discussion and changes before that happens.

January 27, 2009 at 2:14 pm
Tony Cousins 

Methinks some varlet touched a nerve :)

TonyC

January 27, 2009 at 2:55 pm
N. Sam Hill 

Re: Comment # 93 by Ms. Anne Mitchell, finally it “sounds like” some sense is being “talked” at Ancestry. Now please “let’s see Ancestry – walk the talk.” If not, A.M. and Ancestry will just be spouting rhetoric and trying to set smoke screens hoping the issue will go away. I can tell you .. my negative comments will not go away until I see Ancestry regain some sembalance of what it once was .. a decent operating data base most of the time.

Re: Comment # 94 by Tony C. me thinks your comment has extreme merit it it. I am wondering which of the 3 definitions I know of for varlet are you refering to .. but no matter .. I hope the worm is turning or the wheel shall squeaketh (squeak)louder and louder until the “Vista” (re: read up on the Bill Gates XP replacement status)shall improve or be changed. “Don Quixote” version 2009 is waiting in the wings and this time he shall not run into windmills and lose but champion the cause of we the disatified subscribers until Ancestry returns from the land of the lost.

January 27, 2009 at 3:47 pm
Leonard 

Frustrated again last evening in regards to Census Records. I keep seeing the comments from AM, that the site is “stable” and “running.” Running, yes. Stable leaves a lot to be desired. Over two weeks of frustration and I’ve seen nothing that I would call stable or this word is being used in a context, of which I am not familiar. All the years I’ve been using Ancestry, I never recall using the Card Catalog. Also, just for AM, please forget all your new updates and try using Ancestry as normal, being the average user as myself and others, then tell me you think the site is stable.

January 28, 2009 at 7:49 am
Anne Mitchell 

This blog posting is now closed for comments. My latest posting is:

State and country pages”

January 28, 2009 at 8:40 am