Improved Data Collection Search Pages

Posted by Anne Gillespie Mitchell on December 15, 2009 in Searching for Records

Over the coming months, we’re going to be looking closely at a number of aspects of Search, and listening to your feedback to improve them where appropriate. In particular we’ve heard that you want to have more control over how you search and browse into our data collections.

Tomorrow, December 16th, we’ll be launching the first of these enhancements, making it easier to browse and navigate right into the images of any of our collections, specifically, we’ll be making the following changes:

  • removed the ad to make more room for information about the collection,
  • moved browse up to the right and made it so you can navigate on the same page down to the specific area,
  • included the fuller description on the page, to help users new to a collection (we’ll be expanding this to more collections over time),
  • added help links and other information on the most popular data collection search pages,
  • added related links on some of the most popular as well.

Old Search and New Search

While the wrapper around the search form is changing in both old and new search, the one thing we did not change was “old search” and “new search” forms. If you are an “old search” user, you’ll still see it. If you are a “new search” user, you’ll still see that.

What it was and what it is

So where you once saw this on the 1850 data collection search page:

you will now see….


We’ve moved browse to the top of the page so you don’t have to scroll to find it.

The browse has been updated so that you will have the ability to browse down in the data collection on the page, instead of paging through many pages, which should be faster and more efficient. This works the same way it does on the enhanced image page.

You’ll start with a browse menu, specific to that data collection:

and then you will drill down to the area you wish to browse:

In this example from the 1850 census, choose the township you wish to browse, and you’ll be looking at images.

So it’s time to revisit your favorite data collections, or search out some new ones. Check out the new page and let us know what you think.

Happy Searching!


About Anne Gillespie Mitchell
Anne Gillespie Mitchell is a Senior Product Manager at She is an active blogger on 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.


1 Andy HatchettDecember 15, 2009 at 4:35 pm

Very Good!

2 Larry ChildsDecember 15, 2009 at 5:39 pm

These new pages are really useful.

3 ShellyDecember 15, 2009 at 6:01 pm

Maybe someone will see this here and hopefully correct it. I sent a message to Tech Support over 3 months ago and it’s still not corrected.

database description: “Holocaust: Survivor names printed in Sharit Ha-Platah, 1946

INCORRECT Source Information:
Volunteers of the Registry of Survivors at the U.S. Holocation Memorial Museum, comp. Holocaust: Survivor names printed in Sharit Ha-Platah, 1946 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2008. Original data: Shārit ha-plātah (Volume 1, revised). …”

Source description needs to be corrected to read “U.S. HOLOCAUST Memorial Museum…”

NOT Holocation (no such word in ANY language)

4 LarryN the LibraryNDecember 15, 2009 at 7:54 pm

It would be a major improvement to have the SEARCH button be located higher up on the screen. Every day we have users who have to slide the window down further to click on the search button. Yes, pressing the enter key also does that but many people like to use the mouse and still have to slide the search screen down.

5 Mellany IrbyDecember 15, 2009 at 7:56 pm

The new pages look really good, and I can’t wait to try them out.

6 BromaelorDecember 16, 2009 at 5:42 am

Excellent move! Will it be available on the UK censuses also?

7 Randy ParrishDecember 16, 2009 at 9:28 am

The new design looks great. Keep up the good work.

But one little thing… it would be nice if you improved your search algorithms instead of just the appearance.

8 Randy SeaverDecember 16, 2009 at 12:01 pm

Am I the only one that can’t “see” the new pages when I try to do an actual search?

The search pages for each census database look exactly like they did yesterday in both Old Search and New Search.

When will the new pages be available?

This looks like an improvement for those of us that want to search a specific census database and/or browse images for a specific county or ED.

9 Anne MitchellDecember 16, 2009 at 1:09 pm

They are coming today, just LATE today. I forgot the code roll is not until sometime this evening. I got ahead of myself I guess. :-)

This will be available on each and every one of our data collection search pages on every one of the properties, UK included.

10 Lora SellersDecember 16, 2009 at 2:12 pm

Is there any way to go back and do the search like it used to be…where you could type in the name and it give you the top results in Census, Birth, etc seperately on one screen (like 1850 Census 5 results, 1860 census 6 results, etc) instead of each individually? I liked that SO much better! It’s much more time consuming pulling them up this new way!

11 Lora SellersDecember 16, 2009 at 2:19 pm

Nevermind. I’m an idiot. All this time, and I just had to choose “Exact Matches Only”, sheesh!

12 BobNYDecember 16, 2009 at 2:26 pm

I am just waiting to see how this will work for the 1900 Federal Census when browsing New York.

Back in April you people “enhanced” the 1900 Federal Census and removed all of the ED descriptions within New York County, among others. Since townships do not exist within that county, I wonder how you will be able to (quoting Anne) “choose the township you wish to browse, and you’ll be looking at images.”
Also when I asked you, Anne, to look into this issue, your response was to hand it off to the Content Product Manager. Well, based on this blog, I can only infer that you are responsible for Search and for Browse.

The US Content Product Manager you foisted it off on is gone and now the 1900 New York census virtually useless to browse after ACOM removed the descriptions from over 1,000 EDs.

Does anybody want to fix this by returning what had been there before your “Enhancement?”

13 Anne MitchellDecember 16, 2009 at 2:45 pm

Bob, we do have a new Content Product Manager, Eric Horne, he posted previously in this blog.

In this version of the 1900 US census, you will see:

We are still working on the enumeration district issue that you are referring to, it’s on a list of things to address, but I do not know when it will be done.

14 MichelleDecember 16, 2009 at 9:49 pm

They look great, but will they be customised for each geographical location? ie not everyone’s country breaks down to County or Township?

15 ValerieDecember 16, 2009 at 10:04 pm

I’m still not seeing any changes? How late is late – it’s almost tomorrow (11pm est). Also do you anticipate any site issues with this change?

16 Andy NuzzoDecember 16, 2009 at 10:15 pm

I really don’t recall the year of the census, but the original was listed as East McKeesport, PA and in the Ancestry retyped version, the home was in East Deer Township. Is there any way to change that?

17 Jerry BryanDecember 17, 2009 at 10:22 am

The new enhancements seem to be up this morning.

1. In general, I think the new enhancement are a big step in a good direction. I’m very pleased.
2. I would like to see the processing of political subdivisions for the 1900 census to be restored to its pre-April 2009 status (re: BobNY #12). The re-indexing of the 1900 census seems to have done as much harm as good.
3. With the new “wrappers” around the search boxes, the ribbon containing the ability to switch back and forth between New Search and Old Search seems to be gone from most search pages. This ability needs to be restored as soon as possible. Also, the ability to switch back and forth between New Search and Old Search has really only existed on the various Search pages. The same ribbon needs to be placed on the Home page.

18 Jerry BryanDecember 17, 2009 at 10:32 am

This is just a “grin” kind of comment about Anne’s initial post in this thread. I was looking at Anne’s screen shots and comparing them to the actual pages that I can now see. Something just didn’t look right, and for the longest time I couldn’t figure out what it was. The “wrappers” from Anne’s screen shots matched the “wrappers” from the actual pages, but something about the search boxes themselves didn’t match between the screen shots and the actual pages.

I finally figured it out. Anne’s “before” screen shot has a search box from New Search, and Anne’s “after” screen shot has a search box from Old Search. Is Anne telling us that after these new “wrapper” enhancements are in place, we should all start using Old Search (grin!)?

19 D. DowdDecember 17, 2009 at 10:49 am

The main thing I love about is the consistant & continued improvements. This keeps me coming back each year as a loyal customer. Keep up the excellent service. Best regards, D. Dowd

20 jlbennett1938December 17, 2009 at 11:37 am

I think I’m starting to figure out the new parts of FTM/ I’ve worked with all this stuff for probably 30 years.

21 JUDYDecember 17, 2009 at 11:54 am


the mistake brought to your attention about the records for the uk transcript from the metropoliton archives concerning the london borough of lambeth has still not been corrected

once again

lambeth was orriginaly LAMBETH SURREY the ancestry transcriptions have it as ‘lambeth middlesex’ although today lambeth comes under the london borough of lambeth or greater london it is still in surrey

middlesex and essex maily covers the area of london north of the river thames. surrey and kent mainly cover the area south of the thames. lambeth is south of the thames and only 4 miles from my own home location in croydon.

PLEASE will you see that this is amended as soon as posible. others from further afield will likly not realise this and could end up in fruitless hours of search looking for records in the wrong place. just because those of us from this area know this fact others relie on your site to give the correct info as to district locations

22 Liz WaltonDecember 17, 2009 at 1:36 pm

When I put in a specific state, such as Alabama or Texas, can you fix it so no other states come up at the beginning except for the ones I want to see. I get Scotland, England, Pennsylvania, etc, instead of TX or AL and have to go through pages and pages before I see TX or AL listed. It is a great waste of time to have to go through all the unwanted pages to find the ones I need.

23 Andy HatchettDecember 17, 2009 at 2:58 pm

Liz Re: #22

Are you using marking the “exact”in your search?

24 Deena HerodDecember 17, 2009 at 3:12 pm

I have had continual technical problems for at least, I repeat AT LEAST the last six months to a year. It is just one seemingly little thing after another. Right now it is being UNABLE to access the “Lists of All People” on my tree as well as any others I might be visiting. When I call about any problem, as I did about this earler today–17 December 2009–I always, and I do mean ALWAYS!!! get the song and dance about using Mozilla or Internet Explorer. However, it does the same thing on those sites also. While I do realize that this might seem minor, it makes it pretty much impossible to actually find out anything by comparison. This has been such an annoyance, with all of these constant minor problems, HOWEVER, THERE IS NEVER A PROBLEM IN ANCESTRY.COM BILLING ME.

These constany “little problems” are getting to be a very big–A VERY, VERY,VERY BIG ANNOYANCE. I don’t know if everyone is having these same issues, but feel sure they must. And I for one would like a real answer, not just the same old “use another . . . . .”, I have used AOL, Mozilla Firefox, and Internet Explorer and I can assure you it is the same on each one of them. Could I please get a real answer?

Deena M. Herod

25 Anne MitchellDecember 17, 2009 at 4:16 pm

Jerry, old search or new search… both works :-) I’d be quite the grinch if I took that away at Christmas!

The Lambeth issue has been forward to our content team, and put into a queue, but I can’t give you a date.

Liz, while that feature won’t be in your Christmas stocking….well, let’s just say 2010 should be a good year for search.

Deeana, I sent your problem over to the trees for them to take a look at.


26 Kenny FreestoneDecember 17, 2009 at 5:09 pm

Deena, We’re working on a fix for this bug you describe–it should be fixed shortly.


27 BEEDecember 17, 2009 at 7:16 pm

Deena, I had the same problem with “Lists of All People” earlier today. It would drop down, but not stay. I was ready to report it, or mention it here, but it corrected itself. I use Firefox.

28 CherieDecember 17, 2009 at 8:32 pm

The “edit” search window seems to be malfunctioning.
When I select “edit search” the window only opens partially which makes it difficult to edit a persons name etc. Is this a problem that has been experienced by others…?

29 Ron LankshearDecember 17, 2009 at 9:51 pm

I do like getting rid of Ads. But I don’t see the new box until I drill down into a census without searching.

So in UK it means pick a census and then when census comes up go to bottom of page and pick which country.
Example pick UK 1901 and then on next window 1901 England. Then you see the box.
Before the places selection were at the bottom of screen


Frankly I don’t think this makes users any more aware they can Browse than the previous system.

Thats the problem people don’t know they can do this

Would be better If you could put the browse box on a list with search results which is
the way most people come into things

30 Jeff FordDecember 17, 2009 at 10:02 pm


I hope that you are sitting down, but from what I have seen here on the blog, it looks pretty good. Good job from a very hard to please critic!

31 Ron LankshearDecember 17, 2009 at 10:16 pm

New Search still seems to be the same as when I last looked at it months ago.
The results list takes up too much space.
Example 1901 England – old search is two lines per person. New is 4 – 3 lines and a space.
No need for space as the background colour is alternately different.
But why the narrow frame – it causes lines to wrap. As I’ve said before please increase the width of the results frame

32 Ron LankshearDecember 17, 2009 at 10:28 pm

New Search
UK census reference

old search has
Reference (eg RG12)Piece. Folio, Page #

New has dropped these which are the source citation
for different fields
Ecclesiastical parish
ED, institution, or vessel
Registration district
Sub-registration district
Household schedule number

Please restore the Source Citation to the search – this is how we can find records again

33 Ron LankshearDecember 17, 2009 at 10:32 pm

New Search
Thank You I see the results frame for UK census although narrow see 31.
But it does include the Image icon so I can immediately open an image. I recall it was not there the first time I looked at new search

34 Ron LankshearDecember 17, 2009 at 10:39 pm

new Search – Search box.
I am not really fond of having to click open a search box as I lose focus on results list and what I wanted to alter.
BUT the real problem is the font size. It is too small.
I will have to use browser zoom.

35 JUDYDecember 18, 2009 at 1:15 pm


i am as i write searching the english bmd images (old search of course!). yes it has helped with your little box and the drop down but i would like to see the letter option divided down even more that is. i am searching 1901 under W while there is only 54 images for jan-feb-mar (q1) and the other quarters have similar number of images it would be a whole lot easier to get to the correct image if there was an option to divide this down more like this

‘Wa’, ‘We’, ‘Wh’, ecetra

so we could find them quicker and with less clicks and guess work on how far in the name we want are

why i know that the transcrips are prity much compleat mistales are made and there are still admitions in those transcribed by freebmd

of course i am not just thinking of the uk images but all images.

just a request

36 BEEDecember 18, 2009 at 2:44 pm

What is up with the video/commercial to the right of my screen, and when I try to view something, I get this message: Bad Request
I keep clearing my history, cache, etc but it’s been going on all day.

37 Rick DavisDecember 19, 2009 at 1:21 am

Anne, on the search feature, is the Township, Enumeration District, Justice Precinct, or whatever smaller division within the county required? Because normally I don’t have these refinements for my ancestors–Heck, I’m not even sure what Election District I live in now. Is this going to be an “improvement” that makes things more complicated?

38 Tony CousinsDecember 19, 2009 at 10:13 am

Rick #37

We need to answer this one from our own experiences. Given the bad spelling, handwriting, image quality or transcription errors we’ve have found the ancestors beacause we looked at the Enumeration district or Justice Precinct of preceding or following census years. It doesn’t happen often but it can.

BTW – we don’t know our enumeration district either :)


39 Don RangeDecember 19, 2009 at 1:01 pm

I think a major problem has recently cropped up in the operation of the “Exact matches only” feature of Old Search. It no longer seems to find all the exact matches in several searches I have performed. An example: search the 1870 census using Old Search with “Exact matches only” checked for name William Carson residing in Ohio, spelling “Exact”, all other boxes blank or at default values. No hits are found. Now uncheck the “Exact matches only” box and repeat the search. Fifty hits are found, eight of which are for Ohio. These eight should have been found with an exact match search. I’ve had several exact match searches fail to find exact matches recently, so I believe it has somehow become broken. I have had multiple dialogs with but they just keep telling me to uncheck the Exact search box to get more hits, so I’m posting the issue here where other customers with similar experiences can comment.

40 Larry Van WormerDecember 19, 2009 at 1:36 pm

Re. #39, I just tried the search and got 54 hits for William Carson in Ohio, exact search, in the old search. Then got 49 hits for Ohio with the exact search unchecked. (However I did not check any more than the next page of hits to see if there were any Ohio entries there…)

41 Larry Van WormerDecember 19, 2009 at 1:38 pm

Re. #39, I just tried the search and got 54 hits for William Carson in 1870, Ohio, exact search, in the old search. Then got 49 hits for Ohio with the exact search unchecked. (However I did not check any more than the next page of hits to see if there were any Ohio entries there…)

42 John WhalenDecember 19, 2009 at 3:14 pm

I initially could not run the ” update ” in the help section of 2010
new installation. It asks for administrator rights on Windows 7.
Right click the desktop 2010 icon and click for the rights.
Also make sure your Explorer 8 is on either 32 or 64 bit. Mine is 64 bit. My 2010 registration would not work
until changing Explorer to 64 bit.

43 Don RangeDecember 19, 2009 at 3:54 pm

Re # 40, 41. Thanks for trying to replicate this Larry. Odd that our results differ. I just repeated the example with the same result I reported in post # 39. I used these steps:
1) Start on Ancestry home page, search box for Historical Records tab
2) Enter name William Carson and search
3) From the many results, choose 1870 US Census, note that 649 hits are found
4) At bottom of first page of the results, see that “Exact matches only” is checked and add residence state of Ohio
5) Click Search button, get message that no matches found
6) Use browser Back button to go back one screen, uncheck “Exact matches only”, search again
7) Observe first page of hits (50), of which eight are in Ohio
There are hundreds of hits when I do not use exact match, and that’s why I use exact match to limit the search to those in Ohio (the only ones I want to see). Until recently I never had a problem with exact match searches, and I find them much more efficient than non-exact, especially when combined with Ancestry’s wildcard feature. But I have found several cases lately like this example where, for me at least, exact search doesn’t work correctly.

44 Patricia OrmanDecember 19, 2009 at 4:56 pm

I entered today and for a while it was as it always was — i.e., listing the different types of historical records and letting me choose which area I wanted to follow. Then, all of a sudden, I attempted to change to another person to search. This time you intermixed all the historical records and included people having the correct surname, but adding many people with different given names. I want to get back to the original way, but cannot figure out how to do it. I do not like this intermingling of historical records and the inclusion of other given names. I have been using for 7 years — I am not a newby. Help! Thank you. Pat O.

45 Larry Van WormerDecember 19, 2009 at 6:53 pm

#43, Interesting results, Don!

I tried following the same steps you took, might have done them wrong, because when I did step 3, I noted a results list of 43,296 (!)

Then following your step 4 & 5, got my 54 results again… After your step 6, I got 49 hits…

So, same as before, I thought it worth mentioning in case it gives a more expert person an idea as to what is wrong.

FWIW, I’m using Windows XP and the Seamonkey 2.0.1 browser on this computer.

46 Steve StoneDecember 19, 2009 at 8:39 pm

I don’t understand why a simple search for an individual person results in a huge amount of data that seems to have NOTHING in common with the original search parameters. It frustrates the heck out of me.. then again I’ve been writing SQL for 20+ years as a data analyst. I am baffled by the results and totally disappointed with the new and old search application. You need a better drill down interface that pays attention to what is being entered in the search argument. If I look for some one who was born, lived, and died in Germany in a 100 year window why am I presented with results for the USA that includes data that does not reflect ANYTHING included in the search argument, and sometimes totally outside of the window and any potential family members ? A great way to keep people stumbling around, burning up subscription dollars, but other wise from a professional aspect a huge disappointment.

47 Jerry BryanDecember 19, 2009 at 8:58 pm

Re: search for William Carson, 1870 census, Ohio, exact. Using Old Search and exact, I searched for William Carson in the 1870 census in Ohio and got 54 matches. I tried it a number of different ways – starting at the 1870 census, starting at the Home page and drilling down, etc. The results were the same in all cases.

I did the same search with New Search and got 49 matches.

I use Firefox 3.5.6 on Windows/XP with all upgrades and patches installed to both.

This problem has been reported before. I don’t remember if there was any resolution.

48 T HobbsDecember 19, 2009 at 9:48 pm

New interface or not – it is disconcerting to go to get a copy of the actual schedule (Mortality – Hunt Co. TX 1850) and find that it is not there. This schedule was on the site at one time – not now. New user interfaces and bunches of data that are not requested in the search do not make up for not having something you once had.

49 Ned BoyajianDecember 20, 2009 at 2:11 am

Hi Anne,

The pages look nice. Here’s a suggestion for a general enhancement that would help a lot (sorry if this is a bit off topic). After having used your system for a couple of years, I’d say its biggest weakness is the indexing. For example, just a little bit ago I found the name Afrothid Pampeyan indexed as “Grosehed” Pampeyan. Not helpful. OK, so we all know that the handwriting on records too often is hard to read. But your indexing process can be improved. Indexers can compare names that are hard to read with the entries on other records and create alternative suggestion lists. (For example, say a name in the 1930 US census really does look like Groshed, compare it to the corresponding entry in the 1920 census or other records that pop up and create a list of alternative names – or just fix it if the name is clear in another record.) Also you could provide your customers with an interface to report erroneous (or suspect) indexing. There probably are other steps you could take; these are what come to mind.

Thanks and regards,

Ned Boyajian

50 JadeDecember 20, 2009 at 9:38 am

Don, #39, your experience with failure of Old Search to find exact matches in US Federal Census enumerations in particular has been reported many times and for several year, but there has never been a response from regarding whether there will be a fix.

This is particularly a problem now, since someone has recently changed the search code to include “soundex” equivalents when “exact” is not checked in Old Search. There was also a change in the ‘ranking’ protocol, so “soundex” equivalents very often appear above those for the exact surname spelling in the search argument. This is exasperating, since when I am searching for “Barnhouse” I get results for “Barnes” and other even more dissimilar surnames listed above “Barnhouse” results.

If I wanted to search by Soundex I would have used that option within the “exact” search in Old Search.

Is deliberately making Old Search even less functional in order to force us to use the still very wonky and frustrating New Search?

Is it necessary to remind the techs that a large number of irrelevant ‘hits’ is **not** a better result than a small number of relevant hits?

51 Don RangeDecember 20, 2009 at 1:47 pm

Re # 39, 45, 47, and 50: Thanks to all of you who have tried to replicate my problem, and thanks Jade for pointing out that this is a previously reported but unsolved problem. Those of you who noted what browser you used led me to a discovery – this problem is BROWSER-DEPENDENT, at least on my system. When using Internet Explorer 6.0.2900 exact search in old search still fails to find any William Carson residing in Ohio in the 1870 census, as I reported in #39. Running exactly the same search in Firefox 3.5.5 on a Windows XP PC finds 54 hits, as does Firefox 3.0.10 on an iMac. The same search on an iMac running the Safari browser also finds 54 hits. So the problem seems to be confined to Internet Explorer on my system. Perhaps the recent changes in the search code pointed out by Jade in #50 aren’t supported by my older version of Internet Explorer. I normally use IE for Ancestry searches because sometimes clicks in Firefox fail to be recognized by Ancestry (other sites don’t have this problem, and the problem with Ancestry is recent), but I will have to use Firefox if that is the only way to get reliable exact match searches. As others have pointed out, when exact match is not used so many inappropriate hits are found that it is very frustrating to wade through them. My hope is that someone in Ancestry who monitors this blog will see that this is a big issue with customers, most of whom will never see this blog, and escalate the priority of the exact match failure problem with the technical staff.

52 Bonnie MaxwellDecember 20, 2009 at 7:34 pm

I’ve been using Family Tree Maker since February of 2001. I’ve gotta tell you, it IS the best vehicle for a family tree. And in the 9 years I’ve been a member of ancestry I haven’t gleaned as much info as I did in the first few days with 2010. I’m awed at the ease of the websearch and merge from within FTM 2010. But the search should return you to the place you were. When I have say, 8 names in a census, and I’m viewing the original doc, I can’t tell which of those 8 identical names I just searched. And I miss the all-in-one tree. Thanks!

53 Nancy KellyDecember 20, 2009 at 8:31 pm

This is all I can get to work is the comment part. Is this suppose to work or are you asking if we like the way it should work! I’m confused and want to do research, time is money for us all!

54 Richard BottenDecember 21, 2009 at 4:38 am

A useful and informative article.

55 BobNYDecember 21, 2009 at 2:24 pm

#51 Don,

I tried your search using IE 6.0.2900.2180 and got the expected 54 hits. Maybe it is a combination of OS and browser. I am using Windows XP v 5.1, Build 2600 w. SP2.

This combination, BTW, has no difficulty in saving, printing, etc., which seems to baffle many other combinations. It also keeps the crappy wrapper off the census image pages.

56 David ArmstrongDecember 21, 2009 at 8:54 pm

Just tried to use the ‘Historic Land Ownership and Reference Atlases, 1507-2000′ database which I have used for quite some time. (In fact I created a tiny url that goes right to the page for people in societies where I give presentations.)
The images appear to be better for a few townships and counties that I checked, however many of the images have disappeared. Entire counties are gone.
An old feature that was useful was the ability to see the list of available atlases in each state. If this feature is available it is not obvious. It was also very useful to browse through entire atlases because other good genealogical information, other than just maps, was available in the pages. This feature also doesn’t appear to be available any longer.

Am I missing something or did the improvements cause the loss of some data?

57 Don RangeDecember 21, 2009 at 11:13 pm

Thanks BobNY for your comment #55. I also have IE 6.0.2900.2180 and Windows XP 5.1.2600 with SP2, so it’s something else different between my system and yours that is causing the problem for me and not for you. I just rebooted and retried the test case – still getting no hits when I specify Ohio in a search in IE for the 1870 census. I tried a few other states and see that they also fail to find any hits in the 1870 census even though when no state is specified the hit list shows that name has hits in that state. Interestingly, 1880 and 1900 exact match census searches DO find hits for William Carson residing in Ohio. So on my system the problem is both browser and database dependent.

58 MarcyDecember 22, 2009 at 10:30 am

I find that the City Directories are the biggest waste of my time. Even though “exact” is checked I get entries for first name only, last name only, streets by the name of the person, advertisement with the name, parts of the name. Very frustrating.

59 JadeDecember 22, 2009 at 1:49 pm

Please Delete Soundex Code Search in Old Search non-exact.

This is making Old search nearly as wonky as New Search.

When I search for ‘Barnhouse’ I do not want ‘Barnes’ and sundry Polish names appearing ahead of ‘Barnhouse’ surname results.

When searching for Marcene J. D. Nay I do not want:

Mike Mc Navin
Charles Ayrs
Josephine Denicker
Nancy Knee
James Mc Nawn

Please find out who changed the search and ranking code a few weeks ago to bring up this mess and twist their ear until they change it back.

Thank you.

Oh, and happy holidays to you, too.

60 JoDecember 22, 2009 at 9:39 pm

Yes, please do as Jade said in her #59 post! And then please leave old search alone!

61 Randy ParrishDecember 23, 2009 at 8:02 am

Re: #59, #60.


I’m starting to wonder if this place is worth the money I pay, if it’s going to perform so badly. Before you do anything else, how about if you fix the search function first?

All those lovely databases are useless if we cannot find what we’re looking for, exact match or no exact match checked!

62 FranDecember 24, 2009 at 3:46 pm

My subject is WWII Draft Registration Card, Ancestry has had this not on the images for the pass couple of years. when is this issue going to be fix?????

Note regarding the images for the states of PA, MD, WV, and DE. These four states were scanned at the National Archives facility in such a way that the back of one person’s draft card appears on the same image as the front of the next individual. The result is that when you click to view the original image, you will see the correct front side of the draft card, but the back of the previous soldier’s card. Ancestry is aware of this problem, and is working to correct this issue.

63 Daraleen WadeDecember 27, 2009 at 2:50 pm

Searching has been a thorn in my side for some time now and is worse than ever now that New Search has been added. You can’t tell me there are no “Smiths” in any given state in any specific year, but Ancestry does. I then go to search for a specific name and state (no year specified) and usually find my target by picking the census year I’m looking for. Why, Oh Why, can’t I arrow back once I’m onthe census page. It just keeps going around in a circle and I have to call up Ancestry again to get out of it. Of course, then I have to go thru the rigamarole of getting back to Old Search and remember to check the little box on the upper left for exact search. Otherwise I get every Tom, Dick and Harry in the US/world even tho exact search is the choice on the right hand side of the box. Two positives sure create a negative I’m also puzzled as to why two computers, side by side, using the same ISP but different Ancestry subscriptions get differing results. There is a new feature I really like and that is being able to edit any field, especially the surnames. Some of the names are so far out in left field you’ll never find them without some kind of help.

64 billyDecember 27, 2009 at 4:49 pm

Type your comment here.

65 Shirley ScottDecember 27, 2009 at 5:06 pm

In th e Michigan Death index there has been a misstake made
The death dates are before the birth of the person. Please make correction. Thank you.

66 Shirley ScottDecember 27, 2009 at 5:13 pm

In th e Michigan Death index there has been a misstake made
The death dates are before the birth of the person. Please make correction. Thank you.
No This is my first Time sending. . I am sorry, if you are receiving more than one complaint that should let you know that your site is being used and your concern would be to correct what ever the problem is.

67 Patty T.December 28, 2009 at 1:31 am

What the heck happened to Before you all started making all these changes I could do a search and find most anyone I was looking for…even if the name was misspelled. I could type in my search criteria and narrow the search by state, county, first name, last name, etc. I could pull up all the Elizabeths living in a certain county and find the one I was looking for even though the last name had been mispelled. With this new search fiasco I can’t find ANYTHING. Ancestry was an invaluable tool in my genealogy research…now it is a pain in you know what. PLEASE put back the old search criteria options…I don’t need 7000 items found on a search when none of them are for the place or person I am looking for. Furthermore, what good is the convenience of computer indexing if you have to look thru 1000′s of names…I might as well spend my time looking at microfilm and such at least that way I can get in the right state. Even the changes you all just made still didn’t get me to the right place or name. I searched for a gilliam and got a rice…what’s up with that?

68 BEEDecember 28, 2009 at 10:33 am

Just want to keep alive the request to PLEASE keep “Old Search” – I still try to use “New Search” now and then, but looking at it gives me a headache! As do so many of the “hints” that pop up. Most are “family trees” filled with unsourced information and glaring errors – some of which could be corrected if people would only look at the document they’ve attached to a person, instead of just adding it because the person has the same name as their ancestor!
An occasional “historical record” pops up for which I am most grateful, although for a while, things were really crazy, with documents popping up that had the names of other family members, as well as wrong names entirely, so hopefully it was just a “glitch” that has been corrected.
I check “Recent Additions” daily, and while I too wish there were more U.S. records, I hope to some day see records from Poland, but that probably won’t happen in my life time!
A Very Happy, Healthy New Year to all!

69 Ron LankshearDecember 28, 2009 at 7:19 pm

I just tried using the new Browse census by window on the right – which is announced in this blog post.
I found it very unstable.

I was in 1841 England census.
Previously we had open menus on the page which worked perfectly well.

Now there are these pull down menus.
I opened Middlesex (ie London) and in District picked ones I was interested in. Then clicked the View description.

Was not one I wanted so came clicked browse back to return to list and it was wrong.
I had a different list of something area I had looked at previously clicking the district got me nowhere.

Only way to restore was a Page Refresh.

So next time I used browser select to open images in a new tab.

This was in Old search using firefox browser

Please stop playing with pull down menus and restore the full list by page. Much easier to follow

70 Patty T.December 29, 2009 at 1:51 am

Hello? Are you all even listening to what we are saying? I have been a member of Ancestry for several years. Give me what I am paying for…something I can use…currently this site is a waste of my time and money!!!!

71 Tina BurtonDecember 29, 2009 at 8:47 am

what happened to showing what records you have already attached to a person? They used to be be marked, now they are not?

72 Nancy Ann NormanDecember 29, 2009 at 4:14 pm


73 BEEDecember 29, 2009 at 6:44 pm

Wishing everyone a Very Happy and Healthy New Year!

74 BakerDecember 29, 2009 at 6:57 pm

the new search features don’t function as efficiently as the previous version. the change is not an improvement. and the cosmetic changes are confusing.

why do i have to keep changing the country to USA? the search screen used to remember what i was doing.

i have a lot more complaints but too many to list here, will just struggle thru like everyone else seems to be doing.

75 BakerDecember 29, 2009 at 7:08 pm

CORRECTION to my earlier post, would have deleted it but you’ve not given me an option to delete…that i can see anyway.

i got the search screens confused because the OLD Search screens popped up on me today and i’m not familiar with those.

the New Search screens are what i’m familiar with and they work fine.

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