Ancestry.com

Updated Groups Page Design & Formatting

Posted by Laura Dansbury on February 23, 2010 in Ancestry.com Site, Searching for Records

We have updated our group pages to be more useful and efficient for new and experienced members. These group pages can help you quickly find individual data collections that share a common characteristic such as census records from a single country.   For example, you can access all the US Federal Censuses from the US Federal Census Collection page.   All of the United Kingdom and Canadian censuses are organized similarly.

The forms have not changed. We only updated the content around the forms. Below is an example of the US Federal Census group page:

US Federal Censuses

The group pages contain:

  • A search form
  • A list of data collections below the form
  • Help links
  • Introduction text to describe the group, explanations of typical data found in the group, and historical context
  • A sample image of a famous person or place that is included in the group

From Ancestry.com, you can access the US, United Kingdom and Canada Censuses pages from the left side of the search homepage here:

You can also access them from  the left side of our Census and Voter lists page :

Census and voter list category

These pages give us the capability to group different collections together in a way that makes some topical search strategies easier.  We hope you find the improved formatting and access to these pages helps make your searches more efficient.  We are expecting to make more of these available throughout the year.

Laura Dansbury

25 comments

Comments
1 Andy HatchettFebruary 23, 2010 at 5:40 pm

Very Good Laura!

I was wondering just when this was going to roll out- now I know!
*grin*

2 Diann HarpleyFebruary 23, 2010 at 6:11 pm

I preferred the old forms – for example, in the Kentucky Death Records for location – when you try to put in a specific county as you could in the old form, it may give you locations that aren’t even in Kentucky!!! Why is this helpful???

3 Jerry BryanFebruary 23, 2010 at 10:19 pm

I think the navigation to get to the U.S. Census collection and other such collections is much improved. And much appreciated!

However, the U.S. Census collection page itself is extremely unfriendly, and has been for a long time. Your screen shot at the beginning of this blog doesn’t really render the page the way it’s rendered in the real world. Which is to say, my screen cuts off at about where the father is in the the Family Members section of the search box. I can barely see the box to enter the father, and I can’t see anything below that at all.

The search box is spread W-A-Y out, like nearly everything else in the New Search interface. Even with precise scrolling I cannot get the entire search box for the U.S. Census collection on the screen at the same time.

Second, the list of census years requires considerable scrolling to see. It should be visible with no scrolling at all. Which is to say, the list of census years should be on the right hand side of the screen where the “About this collection” text is now – the way it used to be on Old Search. And for that matter, the list of years should be just that – a list of years. It’s a huge waste of screen space to say 1790 United States Federal Census, 1800 United States Federal Census, 1810 United States Federal Census, etc., one year per line. It should just say 1790 1800 1810 1820 1830 etc. all on one line, like it used to on Old Search.

4 Jerry BryanFebruary 23, 2010 at 10:27 pm

Re: Diann #2: I agree totally with you about the problem you cite in specifying place names. It’s a problem with New Search. The way you specify place names in Old Search is much superior to the way you specify place names in New Search.

However, this particular blog is not about New Search and Old Search. This particular blog is about navigation to groups and collections. I think the new navigation to groups and collections is a good bit better than the old navigation to groups and collections.

5 Virginia DunhamFebruary 24, 2010 at 12:54 am

Please advise me what size monitor I need to purchase in order to navigate your new search screens?
What size monitors do you use when designing these screens?
I won’t even get into what the resulting searches look like…your new way shows about 9 results on my monitor compared to a minimum of 18 to 19 search results under the “old” search. I did several side-by-side searches of old and new search methods just to see the difference…you might want to do the same.

6 Pat SecordFebruary 24, 2010 at 6:13 am

Not sure if I missed something, but what happened to the place where we could check off “exact” ??

7 Jerry BryanFebruary 24, 2010 at 5:52 pm

In Old Search, the place to check off exact is always there.

In New Search, you first have to check the Advanced option. After the Advanced option is in effect, you will see the exact option.

8 JanFebruary 24, 2010 at 7:26 pm

Please someone, tell me how to get the old search. I click on the “Old Search” and still get the new search which I do not want The pages and pages of results waste my time.

9 Virginia DunhamFebruary 24, 2010 at 9:49 pm

Old Search:
1) Log onto Ancestry
2)From Home Page: on bar on top it reads:
Home Family Trees SEARCH
3) Click on Search – All Records
4) If you are at the “new search” screen with it’s pretty yellow & green colors…look up in the right hand corner. It should say “old search”(underlined)….CLICK on that…it will take you to the OLD search format.
5) Where you enter your search terms (ie first/last name) you MUST check “Exact matches only located in the upper left of the search box.
What is confusing is that when you are on the “new search” page…it reads “old search” up in the corner.
If you still have a problem you may email me at geistdnham @ cfl dot rr dot com
Virginia

10 Carol A. H.February 24, 2010 at 10:35 pm

While you are in “Search,” the words Old Search OR New Search are under the “Add to Quick Links” in VERY TINY fonts. Hard to notice but it is there. Upper right hand corner.

11 Chuck WillfordFebruary 24, 2010 at 11:25 pm

When will these and the changes to new search reach FTM 2010????????????????????????

Chuck

12 HUBERT KAYLORFebruary 25, 2010 at 11:52 am

DEAR LAURA, ITS PRETTY, BUT IS IT REALLY FUNCTIONAL, ON OUR SIDE OF THE TREE END. THE FORMAT IS CLUMBSEY, IT WILL ONLY ALLOWS ME TO DO WHAT YOU WANT DONE, AND HOW ITS DONE. ……? NOT THE TREE END USER…..! STILL HAVE TO GO THRU A SCROLL FEAST TO FIND OTHER STATE INFO. IT STILL PRODUCES DUPLICATE NAMES IN THE FILES. NOW, LISTEN.. WE NEED A RELATIONSHIP INDEX THAT APPLIES HOW THIS PERSON RELATES TO THE HOME PERSON, COUSIN,MOTHER,FATHER,UNCLE, ECT. I DEFY YOU TO TRY WITH 6 or 7 THOUSAND NAMES OF PEOPLE IN YOUR FILE TO SEE HOW ANY NAME IN THE TREE BELONGS TO ANYONE. PERIOD. LESS PRETTY FU, FU, AND WINDOW DRESSING AND MORE COMMON SENSE TOOLS THAT APPLY. IF YOU GET RID OF 500 ACERS OF GREEN SKY AND WINDOW DRESSING AND INFINITE SCROLLING UP AND DOWN I WONT HAVE TO BUY A 40 INCH MONITOR. YOU CAN COMPRESS THE FILES AND REALLY ESTABLISH A FINE STANARD LIKE FAMILY TREE MAKER , IT CAN BE DONE. YOUR MEMBER CONNECT PROGRAM IS IN THE WAY…….!!! HOW MUCH SPACE DOES THAT ONE CONSUME ……? X TIMES MILLIONS. GET RID OF IT. WE CAN TELL WHO HAS LATCHED ON TO OUR DATA AND GO DIRECTLY TO ITS SOURCE ALREADY, I SEE IN MOST TREES THAT PEOPLE ARE RUNNING ABT. A 30% RATE OF DUPLICATES OR MORE. WHY…..?????? BECAUSE THE PRESENT SYSTEM MAKES THEM. AND OFFERS NO STREAMLINED METHOD TO MERGE OR ELIMINATE THEM WITHOUT TARING UP AND CHOPPING UP YOUR TREE. WHY…????? THIS DUPILCATE SYNDRONE CARRIES OVER INTO THE CENSUS INDEX`S AS WELL. PUT A BLOCK ON THEM IF THEY HAVE BEEN LOGGED IN ALREADY. DA. I HAVE SPENT MORE TIME CLEANING UP MY TREE FROM ANCESTRY MISTAKES THAN SPENDING VALUABLE TIME RESEARCHING. THE OTHER PROBLEM IS DOUBLE RELAITIVES, IN OUR OLDER FAMILIES MANY TIMES 1st COUSINS & 2nd COUSINS HAVE MARRIED, OR CHILDREN OF GR. GRAND PARENTS HAVE MARRIED BACK INTO A THIRD COUSIN. THATS WHY THERE NEEDS TO BE A CALCULATOR IN PLACE TO LOGG THE DOUBLE RELATIONSHIP IN WITHOUT HAVING TO STAND ON YOUR HEAD. LISTEN: ALL IN ALL YOU FOLKS ARE THE BEST IN THE BIZZ. AND YOUR STAFF WORKS HARD, BUT THEY CANT FIX THE TECH. PROBLEMS. LOADINNG CENSUS DATA: HOW ABOUT IF I HAVE A BUNCH OF CENSUS FORMS, LIKE 1910, 1920 , 1930: LETS LOAD THEM ALL AT ONE STROKE, AS IT IS NOW WE DO EVERYTHING ONE AT A TIME TIMES X 10 CHILDREN AND MOTHER AND FATHER, YES THATS 36 INDIVIDUAL ENTRYS I MAKE INSTEAD OF RESEARCHING. COMMON SENSE CAN GO VERY FAR. THANKYOU HUGH KAYLOR OF KAYLORS OF THE MENDOTA.

13 Laura DansburyFebruary 25, 2010 at 12:23 pm

#2 & #3 – The forms did not change with these group pages, only the content around the form.

#3 – Thanks for the input on the location of the list of data collections. The placement of the list was considered for both locations. To help you get the list of data collections more quickly, there is a link on the right hand side entitled “View all collections included in this search” which will take you to the list of collections under the form.

#11 – You should be able to see these pages from FTM 2010.

#12 – It is a huge help if you use regular capitalization for only the first letter of a sentence rather than every letter in your commment. All caps is very difficult to read.

14 kathleen schroederFebruary 25, 2010 at 1:52 pm

This is something I have wanted to do for years and am having so much fun learning about relatives and family history even though i’m just getting going.

15 Jerry BryanFebruary 25, 2010 at 10:46 pm

Re: #13: “To help you get the list of data collections more quickly, there is a link on the right hand side entitled “View all collections included in this search” which will take you to the list of collections under the form.”

Well, yes and no. On my screen, the “View all collections” link is not on the screen. I have to scroll down to see the link. If I have to scroll down anyway, I might as well just scroll on down to the list of census years.

You also said: “The placement of the list was considered for both locations.” I respectfully suggest that the least useful placement was chosen. The list of included collections is vastly more important than is the “About this collection” narrative. Additionally, if the list of census years was compressed as suggested, there would be room for much of the “About this collection” narrative on the screen immediately below the list of census years.

One of the most persistent complaints about New Search is not its functionality, per se, although there are definitely functionality problems. Rather, one of the most persistent complaints is simply screen layout, wasted space, and excessive clickiness. The most relevant information is often displayed least prominently and vice versa, and there is often a huge amount of wasted space. The layout of the U.S. Federal Census Collection page is a prime example of these problems. As one of the most used collections, the U.S. Federal Census deserves better.

16 Valerie BledsoeFebruary 25, 2010 at 11:14 pm

Not happy with some of the new changes & it’s NOT making my search easier. In fact it’s slowing things down & I’ve lost info. in my tree.It seems I have to use a few more steps to get the same info. I’m not happy & reconsidering to not continue service. I’m too frustrated with the changes that take more time. How about working on your server & speed that up.

17 Mary CarrFebruary 26, 2010 at 6:53 pm

Feb.26,2010…I hope you HURRY and fix the site.I can’t stand the way it is today.I really, really hate it.I don’t even want to do anything on it !!!!!! PLEASE….

18 Carol A. H.February 27, 2010 at 4:20 pm

Jerry Bryan #15:

You are so right about the huge space Ancestry uses for New Search. Then they started it in the trees. They have however tightened the space in the trees. However, I notice text notations do not always wrap around. It bleeds into the area for sources/add media.

I think Ancestry spreads out everything because they are in Utah and that state is really spread out. They are used to w-i-d-e open space. I happen to like Utah, but I don’t like the spread on my computer screen.

19 Susan BarwickMarch 1, 2010 at 7:04 am

Stop the craziness of people just clicking on records and adding without actually looking at records! I am finding so many incredible errors in families and am spending too much time writing advising of errors. One person places wrong info and then soon it is showing up in other trees.

There are many of us who have been reseaching for years, way before everything would be pulled up for you to review, hints (love it for my research). Those who have actually had to pour for hours thru records undestand how tricky finding info and correct info can be and proceed with more caution.

Too many new people who do not actually research are propragating incorrect information. There are many who do mostly click and attach.

I think everyone should have to review the actual records (census, death, etc) before attaching.

Also, many are just attaching records to women and throwing in their married names and not specifying that their maiden names are not known. Soon it is going to be a mess if not already, with all these married names attached to females not showing their maiden names or maiden name not known.

I love the family tree program here, but it is great for real researchers.

I fear when the tv show begins to air this week, that many will join ancestry.com, then jump in on the trees and start clicking their way through and adding without researching. I fear that when this happens many family lines are going to be greatly corrupted as wrong info is copied over and over.

I just found where someone had attached the wrong person to my father! I have it clearly documented who my parents are and their family lines are….yet, there it was…someone had my Dad married to my Mom’s sister. My Mom died just over 1 and a half years ago so this is not old info that could be twisted thru time.

Please somehow create reminders and restraints on how people grab information, before family lines become full of incorrect data.

Susan Barwick barwick.susan@gmail.com

I would love to hear from others who are running into these same situations.

20 Susan BarwickMarch 1, 2010 at 7:14 am

There needs to be some type of pages before a person can begin adding and using the family trees that stress hugely how important it is for everyone to input accurate info and copy accurate info. It is up to each member to make sure this fabuluos project is kept as accurate as possible.

This is not a recreational project, but a historical project.

Sometimes wading thru incorrect entries here on the trees is as difficult as when I began my research. When records were hard to find and involved traveling to even find the records.

Susan Barwick

21 Andy HatchettMarch 1, 2010 at 1:16 pm

Susan Re: #19

The ability to copy from another person’s tree into you own tree is a subject of constant debate and comment on several of the Message Boards, particularly the Member Trees board, the Ancestry Site Comments board, and the Ancestry Improvements board.

In fact, it is such a re-occurring theme it almost needs its own message board.

Hopefully, at some point in the near future, Ancestry will see the error of its way and cease to allow this practice which only aids and abets the generation and distribution of one click junkology.

Andy Hatchett
agh3rd@aol.com

22 BEEMarch 2, 2010 at 8:23 pm

How many times today the name of a spouse wasn’t recognized on the “review and save” for a census because of misspelling of a name; a first name and just an initial instead of the full name or vice-versa – so the 8 to 12 children in the family could not be added from that particular census, even if all names were recorded from a previous census. I have to keep returning to the record, bring up each name individually, remembering it as it appears on the tree, or switching back and forth between tabs to view it on the overview. If I click on the name of the “spouse”, it shows as “New Person”, but I can’t find a way to correct this to the “old person”{spouse}. If someone knows a way around this, please clue me in! It’s almost as bad as having to delete information that has been added more then once, because there is nothing to block a census entry that has already been recorded!

23 NancyMarch 2, 2010 at 9:45 pm

Bee #22,
That is a problem, and it is the reason that you see so many trees with multiple spouses with the same children–people don’t realize that the names aren’t recognized and just click to add them anyway.

I don’t know of anyway around it. The programmers would have to give us the ability to select from people in our tree–and I doubt that that is high on their to do list!

24 innerjujuMarch 3, 2010 at 6:35 pm

#19 Ms. Barwick, I have to agree with you. I attach documents, photographs, etc to support my facts. But it never ceases to amaze me how many ‘unsourced’ family trees are out there AND that show up at the top of the lists. ‘Sourced’ trees will be available but appear much further down the list. Newbies don’t alwasy look, or know to look, for sources. Ancestry is already corrupted. The question is how to clean it up.

25 GerriMarch 8, 2010 at 6:42 am

Accurate family information is extremely important It seems when the “leaf hints” were added, the problem became worse.

The television advertising of Ancestry shows a person without any “real” research, can in minutes find their ancestors….just click and you have it.

If you contact the person who actually doesn’t belong in your tree, they rarely remove themselves from it. Contacting Ancestry doesn’t help they say they can’t remove incorrect information from anyones tree, it’s too involved.

Ancestry has lost sight on the importance of accuracy of information for ones Family Tree.

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