Posted by on February 24, 2010 in Searching for Records

You’ve been asking for better ways to control your results. Over the next couple of months, we will be launching two new sets of filters in new search. One will be a name filter, with specific options for first and last names, and the other will be a place filter.

Here’s a quick preview:

  • Name filters: In new search, when you search for a name, you currently have two basic options: our default search or exact search, and you can manipulate either one with some clever use of wildcards. We are going to introduce options for soundex on last names, initials on first names, and other phonetic searches on both.
  • Place filters: Also we’ve been working to give you more control over how you search places. Let’s say you choose “Rockbridge County, Virginia, USA”, but you want to search Rockbridge County and all the surrounding counties, but nothing else. You’ll be able to do that. Or maybe you want to search Virginia and adjacent states. Well, you’ll be able to do that too. I’ve been doing some testing on it, and it’s very convenient, to say the least.

To get ready for these two new filters, which will give you a lot more control over your searches, we had to make some changes to the way the search form sends queries to the actual search engine. We added in the structure for these filters and while we were at it, we ran it through a large volume of tests for relevancy, and made some improvements there as well. You won’t see much difference, but on some of your queries you may see some changes in the order of results. These changes will be seen in new search and old search without the exact option. Old exact search will not change.

The changes to the interface will launch sometime on Friday and none of this will change how you use search. But the filter changes are coming, so stay tuned. :-D

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.

148 Comments

Virginia Duff 

Any plans to be able to search your own tree for city names, just first names, or date or year of birth?

February 24, 2010 at 3:29 pm
Andy Hatchett 

Anne,

I’m sooooo pleased to see this come to fruition!

To be able to search one county and adjacent counties without searching the whole state (or two states if it borders another state) will be a huge advantage.

Good work!

February 24, 2010 at 4:14 pm
Jan 

Pleas give me the old search back. When I click on “Old Search”, I still get the new search which I don’t like at all. If I already had the data I’m looking for, I wouldn’t need Ancesty.

February 24, 2010 at 4:47 pm
Diann Harpley 

I agree about the old search. Give us the option of using the old search if we want. I was perfectly happy with the way it was.

February 24, 2010 at 4:58 pm
Virginia Dunham 

Re.# 3 & 4…if you mean the OLD search, it is still available…after you log in…click on the search tab on top. When you get to the search page you will see in the upper right-hand corner “old search” … click on that…just be sure you also check off the “exact” search option…you are still able to do “wild-card” searches with that option.

February 24, 2010 at 5:23 pm
Quillen Wheeler 

How do I get past your Ad to join? My daughter joined your site and made me her editor on our family tree. I put in my user name and pass word and sign in button and just get your ad. I live on Soc. Sec. and have no credit card so am I allowed to go onto our site with out paying another $100.00 dollars or more. So tell me what to do?Does everyone in our family have to join Ancestry.com in order to see our family tree?

February 24, 2010 at 7:19 pm
Jan 

Virgina, Thank you for your response. I’ve done all that and still can’t get the old search. I’ve been on Ancestry for 10 years and there are features in the old search I prefer. Too much trial and error going on with the new one including the limited amount of data per page

February 24, 2010 at 10:27 pm
Chuck Willford 

Since you’re tinkering, can you please separate Historical info into Census info and Other facts??????

Can we not default to all four boxes checked, but leave to the last state I choose?

Chuck

February 24, 2010 at 11:20 pm
Pam Worley 

Thanks for making the change. And, I just noticed tonight that you moved the “add media” to the right side on the Overview screen – THANKS! It looks a lot cleaner and makes more sense.

February 25, 2010 at 12:15 am
Dale Renaud 

The last day or two it seems I’ve lost an option of looking at others family trees when clicking Search historical records of a particular person. Anyone know where it went to? Did it go the way of improvements?

February 25, 2010 at 3:22 am
Andy Hatchett 

Pam Re: #9

Yes, they moved it…
but you won’t believe the mess it creates when you actually add a media item! {shudder!}

Almost worse than the original implementation!

February 25, 2010 at 3:32 am
Bromaelor 

Dale, what makes you think that other people’s family trees are “historical records”?

February 25, 2010 at 4:31 am
Tony Knight 

Is this why it wont display results properly today?

February 25, 2010 at 4:46 am
Bromaelor 

I’ve just spotted the new ‘Merge Trees’ function from a search of Public Trees! “Ancestor Grabbers” must think it’s their birthday? They can now easily add the world to their trees (and are probably hard at it right now?). Another good reason to make your trees private???

February 25, 2010 at 4:50 am
Andy Hatchett 

Bromaelor Re :#14

Can you post a link showing that- I can’t locate it.

Thanks,

Andy

February 25, 2010 at 5:12 am
CONSTANCE 

When clicking on family trees tab this is all that comes up.
You are here: Family Trees

February 25, 2010 at 5:41 am
Nancy Bond 

I’ve just had a series of back and forth help desk emails to get straight which is the appropriate way to indicate in your database dates that are approximate (i.e., abt, bef, ) because in the public tree merge window I noticed that people had originally put this distinction in their tree at some time, but it was being lost somewhere along the line (either when they uploaded a GED or sometime after). The online help section said “Abt.” your own data said “abt”, your help person told me “Abt”. Now you have a new merge window that gives the example as “About”. Which is it????? Bad dates are being merged into people’s trees and passed on into infinity because they don’t know it’s supposed to be “abt 1900″ and not “1900″.

Thank you

February 25, 2010 at 6:57 am
CONSTANCE 

When searching directly from U.S. Federal Census Collection
this is all that comes up

You are here: All Search Results > U.S. Federal Census Collection

February 25, 2010 at 7:17 am
Bromaelor 

Andy,

In an ancestor’s ‘Overview’, click on ‘Hints’
If there are any Ancestry Family Tree hints, click on the new option “Collect all these hints together and review now”
Then just tick the boxes and they are in your tree!

February 25, 2010 at 7:25 am
Nancy 

Just tried the Merge trees function on a test tree–and I am in shock. In just a few minutes I could copy a whole family, complete with photos and stories. This is the exact opposite of what we have been asking Ancestry to do.

Guess this is in advance of all the newbies they are hoping to get from the TV show. All they will have to do is look for those shaky leaves and they will have complete trees. Of course, if they all just click, it will be a nightmare of junkology trees.

I would make my tree private,but so many have already copied my tree that I doubt it would make much difference.

But I am a VERY unhappy camper!

February 25, 2010 at 9:23 am
Tim 

What is up with all the “Check Back Soon” pages when I try to do searches. You people need to upgrade your servers to allow for the increased traffic now and when you’ll be getting in the next few months as a result of the ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ TV show.
With the prices I pay for a World Deluxe subscription I should get priority over free users who are just checking the site out. I shouldn’t have to ‘wait in line’ behind non-paying guests.
Please fix this problem. I have limited times when I can do my research and when I can’t do it then, that’s a waste of my subscription fee.

February 25, 2010 at 10:35 am
Don 

RE: the “check back soon” messages.
Hasn’t your management yet figured out the relationship between your system upgrades and your system crashes? You constantly add “improvments” as you call them but the subscribers are the ones who suffer while you fix the bugs you give us. You need to install more bandwidth so the subscribers get their money’s worth. And maybe install new programers while you are at it!

February 25, 2010 at 10:50 am
Lori 

I hate it that you have now “jumbled” all the trees together in the “Ancestry Hints”. I’ve learned to avoid members who don’t check the information they copy, and now it’s all one BIG MESS. I have to go to the “Search Family Trees” section to look at EACH MEMBERS TREE. You should have left well enough alone!!

February 25, 2010 at 10:54 am
Lori 

Opps.. never mind – I see that if I click On “Ancestry Family Trees” I can see individual trees.

February 25, 2010 at 10:57 am
Lee 

Regarding #14: This is precisely why I took my tree private almost two years ago. While I am looking forward to the show on March 5, I am also dreading the onslaught on “dilettantes and dabblers” and the inevitable slow down and crash that’s going to take place.

ENOUGH with the “Check Back Soon” message! This has been going on for at least 8 hours now.

February 25, 2010 at 11:01 am
Simon Cotgreave 

Well done, Ancestry. Yet more unannounced down time as I’m currently experiencing the increasingly popular Check Back Later page. I hope you are paying your IT director peanuts as (as a retired IT professional) it seems clear that he encourages his programmers to monkey around with the system whenever they feel like it. These days it should be possible to design systems that can stay up and perform well and which can implement changes with minimal interruption to service. Or perhaps Ancestry likes to keep its programming techniques as far in the past as the names that we might want to search for if the system was available?

February 25, 2010 at 11:09 am
Sara 

Ditto on the “Check Back Soon” messages. What is going on? And, to top it off, it is (mostly) the very popular databases – CENSUS records. Please, knock it off.

February 25, 2010 at 11:18 am
Robin Haynes 

I see you “improved” the site Feb. 24th and today Feb. 25th I keep having problems! I try to open a hint and there is nothing there, or it won’t open… and I’m repeatedly getting “We’re sorry but this feature is temporarily unavailable. We apologize for the inconvenience and ask for your patience at this time. Check back with us shortly.”

February 25, 2010 at 11:40 am
Anne Mitchell 

We are aware of the current issues with search and are working on a resolution.

February 25, 2010 at 11:47 am
Bromaelor 

We must disappear, we’ll be back here
Today, perhaps tomorrow
We’ll miss you too, it’s sad but true
That parting is such sweet sorrow
And when we’re in the distance
You’ll here this whispered tune
So long, fare-thee-well, pip pip, cheerio
We’ll be back soon!!!!!

February 25, 2010 at 11:52 am
Kenny Freestone 

RE: comments 14, 15, 19, 20, and 23–

I hear your concern with the changes to the tree hints flow, and think that with some explanation you’ll agree what we’ve done is an improvement.

Prior to today’s changes, when you clicked to merge a family tree hint, that hint would be an automatic (and somewhat behind-the-scenes) combination of any and all matching family trees combined into one.

We felt we were not making this sufficiently transparent to members, and that as a consequence some members likely were making poor-quality decisions about the information they were adding to their tree.

The change we made was to require that members review and select from the (potentially dozens of) hinted family trees those they judge best match their person. From there we go to the same page as we used to.

So what we’ve done is insert an addition page into the tree hint flow to put more responsibility on the member for the information they are adding to the tree. (You may recall that this page before today’s change was an optional page accessed by the small link to “view these trees individually” on the hints page.)

Is it a perfect solution? I don’t think so. Is it better than before? I think it is because it make it more clear what we have done and are hinting. We’ll continue to work to improve this flow.

I suspect some of us might continue to disagree on whether Ancestry.com should be allowing tree hinting at all, but I hope we’ll agree that this improves the likelihood that additional tree information will be merged responsibly.

Finally, to clarify a concern Nancy brought up in comment # 20, The process does not now (and did not before) allow a user to wholesale copy a tree complete with photos and stories.

The system facilitates the merging of names, gender, and dates & places for birth, marriage, and death. Photos and other information from the trees are not included in the merge process.

Best,

Kenny

February 25, 2010 at 11:52 am
Lee 

Regarding Kenny #31:

To quote Kenny:
“Finally, to clarify a concern Nancy brought up in comment # 20, The process does not now (and did not before) allow a user to wholesale copy a tree complete with photos and stories.

The system facilitates the merging of names, gender, and dates & places for birth, marriage, and death. Photos and other information from the trees are not included in the merge process.”

Then how did hundreds of my pictures and obituaries turn up on other trees WITH credit to me, as in “Originally submitted by Lee on x date”?

February 25, 2010 at 12:05 pm
Anne Jones 

I’m glad I saw this comment area since I had no idea what was wrong. As of now, Ancestry is useless to me.

Since I have a World Deluxe monthly I’m paying top dollar for the service. But I will stop subscribing if things don’t improve soon.

If there’s a TV show about genealogy the percentage of junk info (already high) will skyrocket so that is disturbing news.

February 25, 2010 at 12:16 pm
Ann 

1) I wonder if you will add a search option that lets us list a woman’s MAIDEN NAME.

2) I wonder if you will add a search option that will let us simultaneously use ALL the known mis-spellings of a surname and/or of a maiden name (see #1)

3) I wonder, as well, if you can add RACE to more of the search result pages. Altho I can get information by looking at results that pertain to the people who owned/may have owned us, I am frequently looking for only my family. I could eliminate a lot of work if I were only choosing people of our race from the search results page.

4) I don’t know if my next comment is due to the changes that are apparently going on today: each time, on different pages, when I’ve clicked on “terms and conditions”, the entire page has gone blank.

5) Thanks for adding so many new databases all the time! I could NOT have found out so much without my Ancestry.com. I KNOW I do not use enough of the features, tho. I will ask, tho: can you add more and more MANUMISSION records, and can you add any EMANCIPATION records that may exist? Since I’m the one asking, can you start with Virginia?! Thanks!

February 25, 2010 at 12:17 pm
Robin Haynes 

“Our search has been experiencing intermittent technical issues…”

intermittent ~ Stopping and starting at irregular intervals

No, has NOT been intermittent. It’s constant, and currently the site seems to be down completely!

February 25, 2010 at 12:52 pm
Annie 

I can understand why you do not want to allow comments on your post regarding site status, because the whining and moaning posts would fill the bandwidth pretty quickly:) It would, however, be helpful if you would put a timestamp on the messages you post to let us know how long the problem has been on your radar. Not asking you to give us an update every 5 minutes – would far rather your energies be spent on finding the fix.
Thanks.

February 25, 2010 at 1:07 pm
Kay 

Hi,

Just a quick observation – you would have less complaints about the technical problems if you had a banner on the homepage advising of the problem and that you are working on it. Looking at the comments on here it’s been happening all day.

Re the search filters you are incorporating into the search engine. What was wrong with the old one for the record collections? I love the idea of being able to modify the search on names and locations however.

February 25, 2010 at 1:10 pm
Annie 

To Lee #32:
Sounds to me as if someone or several someones have done a lot of work.

I’ve had quite a few items copied from my tree and I’ve copied a few items from cousins with whom I collaborate.

If you view the item, there is a button “add this to your tree” at the upper right. When it is borrowed in that fashion, it has the “originally submitted” tag. The reverse is also true – if you hover over the media item in your tree, you will see a tag showing who has saved it to his/her tree.

February 25, 2010 at 1:15 pm
Annie 

To #37 Kay – there is a message on the home page – it’s a bit in marketing-speak and about 1/2 down the page “It sure is busy around here.”
It’s been tweaked a couple of times, because they tried an off-homepage link to trees, but that didn’t work.

February 25, 2010 at 1:30 pm
Don Swafford 

I just wish you guys would decide on what format you’re going to use and stick with it!!! Also, the increasing downtime due to ancestry.com issues is really starting to be bothersome.

February 25, 2010 at 1:39 pm
Martine Kendall 

What about limiting search results by date? My last inquiry was “John Doe born 1760 died 1830″ and the first records that were listed were for a marriage in 1924. Appears an exact name match sorts before date and place matches. I strongly suggest this changes to exact name match over 20 years outside of date range entered doesn’t muck up results, regardless of a place match…

February 25, 2010 at 2:05 pm
ML Hunter 

Please resolve your IT issues as soon as possible! It is frustrating to spend hours waiting to access my family tree. I am paying for the deluxe version of ancestry.com. I am not getting my money’s worth lately! I agrree with a lot of other posters that you should stick to one format and stop changing things!!! I fear that after your TV program I will never be able to work on my family tree.

February 25, 2010 at 2:08 pm
L Beacon 

I would most appreciate a search within my own tree for city names. I often need to pinpoint all the relatives in a certain location, ie for burials, and right now its not possible to do this type of search, at least not that I am aware of.

February 25, 2010 at 2:16 pm
kympeck 

I HATE CHANGE!

February 25, 2010 at 2:17 pm
Annie 

#43 L Beacon
Agree that different search forms would be nice. One of my dream searches would be a way to filter all my male ancestors who would have been the right age for the WWI or WWII drafts. I’ve found that the transcribers of the draft cards have been more accurate than the census transcribers, and the information gives great detail, as to middle name, exact date of birth and often full name of wife.

February 25, 2010 at 2:22 pm
Sue Thomson 

I agree with Martine Kendall. It appears the date field is not used at all in sorting search results, yet it is often a critical factor. Please sort by it after name, or give us a way to set field sort order. Thanks!

February 25, 2010 at 2:31 pm
Don Swafford 

i also have the deluxe version and i ditto the responses from 35 & 42. i’ve only been researching my family for the last two months and already your hints and search engine are of little use to me. not a problem though. the last month i have researching other search engines and archives and bringing my results back to ancestry.com. it’s handy to have my ancestry.com family tree as a guideline to my off site searches. your system was fine until lately but when i have allotted time to do some research i find it beyond frustrating when i can’t even view my tree. i suspect that the so called upgrades are a marketing tool, but i think it will backfire on you if you’re not careful. have a nice day!

February 25, 2010 at 2:49 pm
Darlene Gardner 

Why can’t we access ancestry.com today?

February 25, 2010 at 2:51 pm
kympeck 

tinker, tinker, tinker, i was perfectly happy, why fix what aint broken

February 25, 2010 at 2:51 pm
Robin Haynes 

It would be nice if someone would let us know what is going on (what the problem is) and when it might be resolved.

February 25, 2010 at 3:08 pm
Angela 

I will be very upset if I loose any information on my family trees!! I’m sure I won’t be the only one..

February 25, 2010 at 3:09 pm
Vicki Cotter 

I have incorporated info from other trees while doing my research and I am fine with others using things I have found. Hopefully everyone is ensuring that the info they are copying is correct. Not everyone is what you would call an Ancestor Grabber. What happened to the spirit of sharing?

February 25, 2010 at 3:33 pm
Andy Hatchett 

Kenny Re: #31

You said:
[QUOTE]
I suspect some of us might continue to disagree on whether Ancestry.com should be allowing tree hinting at all, but I hope we’ll agree that this improves the likelihood that additional tree information will be merged responsibly.
[END QUOTE]

As you know, I am one who objects *very* strongly to anyone having the ability to copy *anything* from one tree to another

If you really want data “merged responsibly” then put is squarely on the shoulders of those who want to merge the data- make them do it manually one keystroke at a time.

I’d like to see a reasoned, logical response as to why someone else should be entitles to the fruits of my labor (and I am not talking about the research time, costs of acquiring certificates, etc.). I am talking about the time and effort I spent actually keying in the info into my tree.

I’ve no objections to anyone copying anything I have- as long as they spend the same time and effort putting it into there tree as I spent putting it into mine.

Allowing them to copy that information with no more than a click simply reduces me to an unwilling, unpaid, data entry clerk for someone else.

This applies to both public and private trees.

Thanks for your time and I hope your day gets better quick!

February 25, 2010 at 3:56 pm
Annie 

There are several sides to most stories.
When I come across a good hint from a tree, I try to recreate the path – not just copying the info, but following the research path, to see if the info is valid.
When I find multiple points of congruence with another member’s tree, I contact that member to discuss collaboration. I’ve actually connected with several fairly distant cousins, who have now become friends.
I don’t put anything on my tree that I mind someone else seeing, but I do like it when my courtesy is reciprocated.

February 25, 2010 at 4:04 pm
Robin Haynes 

Looks like we’re back up folks! :)

February 25, 2010 at 4:12 pm
kympeck 

WOO HOO!!!!!!

February 25, 2010 at 4:19 pm
Cheri 

I’m glad Ancestry is trying to resolve the search issues; however, whatever maintenance was done recently has made my search problems worse than ever (e.g., searching historical records related to an individual born 405/died 498 with specific name and country. The results I received: telephone directories, census data from the 1800s and 1900s — mostly from the United States. I receive NOTHING that relates to the specifics of my search, except maybe the name). I feel like I’m wasting my time working on my tree with the type of results I’m receiving. The old search was yielding far better results w/related data I could use. I agree with members #s 3 and 4, if this is what we can expect from the “new” search, PLEASE BRING BACK THE OLD SEARCH as the standard. I’ll try #5′s suggestion and see if that helps but why have a “new” feature that doesn’t work.

February 25, 2010 at 4:23 pm
Joan 

I have the same problem as #18 – Constance.
No results when searching the federal census and the info used to appear. What happened? Will it be fixed soon?

February 25, 2010 at 4:43 pm
Annie 

We’re back but there seems to be a serious new glitch which crept in either with the upgrade or during the crash/fix process.
I’ve already sent an email to help.
Short story -
Existing family in my tree of parents and several children.
Find them in an additional census after the fix/return to service – save does not recognize same names as same people and wants to add them as new spouse and offspring!
Has happened several times on different census years and different family groups.

February 25, 2010 at 4:53 pm
Cheri 

Regarding my comment 57 of today. After commenting, I returned to my tree and the search issue I was experiencing appears to be resolved. Perhaps they switched back to the old? I’m just pleased to find my search issues mentioned earlier today appear to have been resolved. Thank you.

February 25, 2010 at 4:58 pm
Elaine Shelton 

You ruined ancestry.com with your new “revisions” last night. Why in the world would you fix something that is not broken? It is very user unfriendly. Made one of my favorites hobbies – now my least favorite.

February 25, 2010 at 5:02 pm
alhashimi2024 

I can tell you that the issues on ancestry.co.uk (your British site) are not resolved. The latest glitch is on the census transcriptions only the person searched for is showing up; not the rest of the family. Its getting quite tiresome; we actually pay more over here but it seems any problems affecting your sites worldwide seem to affect the .co.uk site for longer…having said that I just looked for the same on ancestry.com just a minute ago and experienced the same problem. Sort it out please!

February 25, 2010 at 5:14 pm
Susan Barwick 

When a name is unknown, surname or first name, what is the best way to complete the entry? Should we use ??, unknown, ?, etc? What works best in searches.

Thanks, Susan

February 25, 2010 at 6:06 pm
Dale Renaud 

Answer to #12 post by Bromaelor:
Dale, what makes you think that other people’s family trees are “historical records”?

I’m going to take this as a leget question and not sarcasm? I don’t but when the link to others family tree are under the historical records link and I’ve used it for over a year then why would I not go there? If it was sarcasm: Thanks for not answering my original question but instead try to belittle someone and trying to make yourself feel superior. If you were sincere then I apoligize with all my heart.

February 25, 2010 at 6:24 pm
Susan Williamson 

I will not be adding any new material until some things get worked out. And I may go back to keeping everthing in a million boxes. What has happened to me and my tree today and in the last few days is a loss to ancestry and many people. I had hoped to publish some letters concerning a Mayflower descendant born 1771. This could have helped provide proof for many families of their Mayflower connection. There were other names in the letters besides my family.We have photos of nine generations for this Mayflower line, that I had hoped to eventually make public.
The work from my “private” tree was not private. Now I can’t even get the person off my member connect and my tree is lost in oblivion. I’m just glad I did not put the letters or photos on my “private” tree. I can’t find my honorable fellow researchers or their trees. Just as a hint if you don’t want the whole merged group of info that is now coming as a hint, hit ignore and back into it and you can find the trees you really want. Please find a way to keep things private but still give acknowledge me and help me find the individual family trees that I want to work with.

February 25, 2010 at 7:39 pm
Susan Williamson 

Correction on my posting, I have photos for generations from a Mayflower descendant.

February 25, 2010 at 7:46 pm
Cheri 

Re comment #59 — I take it back, problems are not resolved (i.e, back to the same problems I had earlier today at my comment #57).

Maybe I’ll sign off today and hope for the best tomorrow. I really get a kick out of doing my tree, and doing it well. but recently I’m very frustrated and losing my patience.

Also, an apology to those of you from whom I’ve copied tree information. I use it as a starting point in my research and check it thoroughly (or as thoroughly as I’m able w/all these problems) before it becomes a permanent part of my tree. I find it very helpful but there appear to be many who do not like this site feature. I leave my tree public to help others who need information and hope that they check my info. out as thoroughly as I’ve checked mine.

February 25, 2010 at 8:00 pm
Kirk Sellman 

Re #66
I also take information from other trees, but I make sure that the information is accurate and correct for my tree. I make my tree public because I want the work I’ve done to be attached to other trees as long as they are attached correctly. Yes, I spend a lot of time, money and effort to build my trees, but I certainly don’t expect others to do the same thing to duplicate my efforts. That would be silly. I’m just a caretaker for my ancestors, and not the owner of their heritage.

February 25, 2010 at 8:11 pm
Raymond Sanford 

Sounds great. I would like to suggest a future upgrade that would allow us to “set” the data for people in our trees so the we don’t have to keep going in and changing United States to USA. The program should be able to do that. It would be great if we could get everyone on the same page. I am using the suggested settings from Family Tree Maker 2010.

Ray Sanford

February 25, 2010 at 8:35 pm
Susan Williamson 

You must let people know that a tree they mark as private is not fully private. You must give a specific caution. Anything less is not honest and will not encourage trust. Your business depends on people trusting you. I understand that you want to help people find information. I want that also which is why I made five trees public. All I wanted was for the one “private” tree to actually be private.
I want to make things public but on my time and after I am sure they are accurate. Also I had put many of my sources in stories and photos which the people who view (what were) my public trees will now have a hard time finding. The stories are by far the most original material for most trees. Again I wanted some things public and some things private and I want to choose which and when.
The flip side to making things available against our wishes is you loose our trust which can lead to you losing your business.

I have a suggestion. Once you straighten things out, encourage new people to make one public tree and one private tree. Then make it so!

February 25, 2010 at 8:56 pm
Matthew High 

Website downtime is to be expected — it happens even the best best of websites. So I cut a little bit of slack – a few hours is not a major problem.

…But 12 hours later (as I type this), and searching family trees still yielding nothing….12 hours is more than just a “little” glitch. 12 hours starts to get…annoying.

But what is totally unforgivable is that there is *no* notice whatsoever on the main page or on the search results that there is a problem. You have to find the little notice in this blog to learn anything at all; and even then, it says “the issue is resolved”, when it clearly has not.

If you’re going to have such a major problem with the website, THEN SPLASH THE NOTICE ON THE MAIN PAGE. What is this, amateur hour at Ancestry with the web developers? Very, very unprofessional.

February 25, 2010 at 8:57 pm
Monica Irwin 

While you’re “fixing” things, keep “ignored” hints from reappearing time after time after time (etc.). If I want to view an ignored hint, I can just look in the ignored hint box; I don’t need to be reminded time after time after time (etc.).

Also, where can I check the sources for those merged family info boxes that have suddenly appeared instead of the individual trees?

And (again) why not emphasize the use of sources instead of overloading each line with “add media”

Finally, the new “add family member” box makes me dizzy.

February 25, 2010 at 10:11 pm
Andy Hatchett 

Kenny Re: #31

You said:
[QUOTE]
Finally, to clarify a concern Nancy brought up in comment # 20, The process does not now (and did not before) allow a user to wholesale copy a tree complete with photos and stories.

The system facilitates the merging of names, gender, and dates & places for birth, marriage, and death. Photos and other information from the trees are not included in the merge process.
[END QUOTE]

I guess that depends on how one defines “wholesale copy”

If, on the overview page, I can click the “More options” link and one of those options is to add that person to another tree- namely one of mine- and after it adds that person to my tree I can click in the box that shows the number of Historical Records, Family Trees, and Photos and Stories and click down that list and attach everything in those categories to the person I’ve just added to my tree then that, imho, is indeed wholesale copying.

If you allow that then you might just as well remove the restriction that allows only tree owners to download a GEDCOM as you have provided a quick and easy means for anyone to do an end run around that restriction. You have also provided a way to do an end run around your newly introduced feature that you believe will result in more “responsible merging”.

It is a variation of:
“I can’t give you what is in the treasure room- all I can do is give you the key to the treasure room”

February 25, 2010 at 11:26 pm
Margie 

OK, not sure if this is where I should post this, but here it goes…..
What Happened to the “view all family trees” when a hint comes up. I like to go in and see what the other persons “sources” are and see if they are the same as mine, of if their is some additional information they may have sourced before I go ahead and add the information to my tree. Too many times people just copy over what another has in their tree without really looking at how it was sourced. Now I cant do that because no matter if it is 2 or 10 other family trees that have information its all combined into just one result which isn’t always correct, just what the computer decides is the most “common” of all sources.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE bring back the availability of being able to see the trees on an individual basis!!!!! and let us decide just what we may or may not want to add in!!!!!!!

February 25, 2010 at 11:48 pm
Mike 

Just leave it alone and stop making all these so called improvements we just want to look up records its not rocket science you idiots

February 26, 2010 at 12:11 am
Carol A. H. 

Kenny, #31: You cannot force people to do responsible genealogy with software changes. There are some people who think this is just a game. These people will never have the integrity which is needed for a good work of family history. They will choose the easy way and not the hard way, which requires real research. They are not serious family historians. They are the ones who will play with it for a while until it becomes too difficult and they will give it up. They will leave havoc behind in more family trees of very poor quality thus adding to the already existing abundance of junk trees.

It is NOT a better solution. I have never merged a person from another tree. I have investigated the hints and found the historical records to be usually good, but not always. But I see errors in trees that remain for years. I also see abandoned trees that aren’t worth the space to store them. Your company is losing its credibility and becoming a hobby place for the non-serious. I won’t even call them genealogists.

The upcoming TV show will no doubt generate some new revenue for you but at a sacrifice to the honest, caring, dedicated family researcher. We will have more garbage to wade through if we follow these fickle people. Like a child who loses interest in a toy and leaves it outside to rust in the rain.

February 26, 2010 at 1:31 am
Tony Knight 

Its roughly 08.00 GMT and searching still returns nothing under Family Trees.

I am very much with Cheri and others who have commented on the need to check anything that you may download from someone’s research. As for the ” morality ” of using it, if you don’t want to help others by publishing it, then keep it on your own machine and not the internet

Sadly there is a huge amount of dubious material amongst the posted trees, mothers dead years before their children are born, wives included multiple times, images for events long after death to name but a few.

Housekeeping your tree is essential, be it of your own material or someone elses. Spend a little time each week cleaning up your details and tidy up merges as you do them. On merges the removal or restoration of privatised information is a good satring point.

February 26, 2010 at 1:58 am
Andy Hatchett 

Tony Re: 76

Helping others by publishing information and giving them free rein to click and copy that published information are two entirely different things.

February 26, 2010 at 2:12 am
Carol A. H. 

Kenny #31 Your reference to Nancy #20:

She wrote:

“Just tried the Merge trees function on a test tree–and I am in shock. In just a few minutes I could copy a whole family, complete with photos and stories. This is the exact opposite of what we have been asking Ancestry to do.”

And you say:

“Finally, to clarify a concern Nancy brought up in comment # 20, The process does not now (and did not before) allow a user to wholesale copy a tree complete with photos and stories.”

Are you saying what she says is not true. She wrote she was able to get ”photo and stories.” I don’t think she would say that if it were not true; regarding the photos and stories. But you say it was never possible.

February 26, 2010 at 2:43 am
Andy Hatchett 

Carol Re: #79

The difference is how Kenny defines “Wholesale copy”.

I think he means that term to mean you can’t get it all in ONE click.

The truth of the matter is that you can get everything any individual anyone has on any public tree with a few clicks:

One click to copy the person to your tree.

One click on the photos and stories link to their media gallery.

One click to select an item from that gallery to save to the person you copied into your tree.

One click to click Save to save that item to that new person in your tree.

Easy, Simple, Quick.. just the tool namegatherers need.

February 26, 2010 at 2:52 am
CONSTANCE 

Still not able to see results under family trees and when searching directly from US Federal census

‘sigh’

February 26, 2010 at 5:23 am
beth 

When I first began using Ancestry, it was FREE and BETTER than it is now.
I used to be able to search a specific first and last name in a specific state in the U.S., and get specific birth, death, or marriage hits. For several years now, $$$ years, if I do such a search NOTHING comes up. In order to find what I’m looking for, I have to do an all countries search, then pick through all the links to find the one or two that are pertinent.

February 26, 2010 at 5:41 am
Bromaelor 

Dale #64,

Yes I was being sarcastic or more accurately, cynical!

Ancestry themselves attach a warning to their Public Member Trees:
‘These trees are voluntarily submitted by Ancestry users like you. We take all tree data “as is” and cannot guarantee the completeness, accuracy, or timeliness of the information contained in this database.’

These trees should never be grouped together with “official” databases such as BMD and Census records (which themselves may not be perfect, but at least can be traced back to a genuine source). You cannot mix ‘fact’ with (what could be) ‘fiction’!

February 26, 2010 at 6:31 am
Madge Ray 

Anne, can you please answer this: Are all the problems solved? When I do a search, the public family trees are not showing up in the results. Is this part of the new format, or still an issue? Some have implied here that this is part of the “merged family trees”. If this is correct, I am not even seeing a way to get to that, or any of the public trees. Please make this clear.

February 26, 2010 at 6:37 am
Annie 

To Margie #74
Yes, you can still break out the separate tree. The links have changed position, as well as name.

Once you are in the hints area, click on “Ancestry Family Trees” instead of on “Collect all these hints together…” and you will see the trees individually.

February 26, 2010 at 7:52 am
Ruby Hardrick 

I want to find the birth mother of Brenda F. (thomas) Williams of Richland Georgia

February 26, 2010 at 8:07 am
Rita 

RE 85: I am also wondering if the problems are resolved or is this what we will have from now on? I really want some answer here about this issue. My subscription, deluxe, comes up in two weeks. I hate to throw good money after bad. When I enter a surname in the U S Census Collection I get a page that says:

You are here: All search results>U S Census Collection

However there are NO results, so please is this the future?

As to what has happened on the Trees, well it just defies good sense. The easier it is to merge information, the bigger the mess. I type in all my information and it would go a long way to helping the situation if everyone had to do so. My tree is private and I certainly hope you are not giving people access to merge my information, as some have reported happening to their tree.

February 26, 2010 at 8:09 am
Rita 

Sorry Ruby #86, I meant to RE Madge #85.

February 26, 2010 at 8:11 am
Rita 

Sorry. I can’t get anything right this morning. This has me so confused. Madge 84, Ruby 85. I am going back to bed.

February 26, 2010 at 8:14 am
Nancy 

Thanks, Andy 73/78/80 and Carol 76/79, for your assistance in presenting my position as to copying families from a tree vs. Kenny’s interpretation of “whole-sale copying.” As Andy outlines in post #80, everything including photos and stories is available with a few clicks and there the new tree has the whole family (parents/kids/grandparents with birth/marriage/death dates from the initial click, filled out from subsequent clicks with the events, the photos, the stories).

I have willingly shared my tree with others who want to *collaborate* in a give and take of ideas and research. I have met some wonderful people and have continued relationships with them. I liked this part of Ancestry.

But what Ancestry is doing now is just encouraging people to populate a tree with no thinking required, just lots of clicks. There is no thought, no sharing, certainly no research.

Carol’s statement is worth repeating: “The upcoming TV show will no doubt generate some new revenue for you but at a *sacrifice* to the honest, caring, dedicated family researcher.”

What the sacrifice to Ancestry may be remains to be seen.

February 26, 2010 at 9:20 am
oldbuckhouse 

Geez, it looks like nothing has changed over the last few months. This could be called the ‘empty promise forum’ or, ‘the novelty has worn off syndrome’. What more do you want? Unbelieveable.

Not one time have I had problems with the trees not showing, but today, can’t get my cousins. I rarely look at trees. I don’t know why anyone would rely on the data of someone’s tree. If it’s wrong, then you’re the fool. Is it greed? Is it that you’re a fake, and allow others to think your’re some kind hero for all the data you’ve accumulated. Uh, you’re nothing more than a thief.

For those that have trees on this site, or any other site, what did you expect? That people wouldn’t use your information that you worked so hard on accumulating?? Get real.

Ancestry originally saw this site idea as a meeting place to collaborate with other researchers. It wouldn’t surprise me AT ALL if Ancestry was storing the data for their own collection. Cynical? Of course, because they have shown all of us who they really are.

The sour note is…. they have the data, and most sites have one connection or another to Ancestry. Look at RootsWeb,USGenweb, Genealogy, Generation Network, etc, etc.

So, for all the shortcuts you want, all they have to do is type a few words in the blog, and you come back and say, “Good work”???? For what? Ancestry can’t even get the Search right, and you’re praising them for something that “might” launch today, and is most likely creating the current problems? They can’t fix the problems that have been going on all this time. What a trade-off. Yippee!Another, GET REAL moment. I have never seen this site so out of whack. It’s just getting worse.

Look, I have nothing against a company making a profit. I do have a problem when that company is slanting the issues to make it appear all is well.

Which reminds me… Earlier this week, I searched a not-so-common name, in a specific country and state. Some of the data, about 25%, had absolutely nothing, whatsoever, to do with my directive. Having to weed through it, is not what we’re paying for, is it? This has been a problem for almost 2 years, which should tell all of us, Ancestry is still handing out empty promises. The sad part? We keep coming back. As one customer service person said…”It’s better than traveling, or writing for the information. The one-stop shopping.” Hmmmm.

“Good Work” !

February 26, 2010 at 12:00 pm
Rodney 

Re: #91 oldbuckhouse

It’s a web site. You get real. Name one perfect web site. Maybe instead of being so concerned with documenting your family, you can go spend some time with them.

This goes for most people who comment here. Negativity does not equal productivity.

I appreciate those who have something of value to add to the message board, rather than whining and complaining.

February 26, 2010 at 1:46 pm
Carol 

i have ancestors who came here from places like Germany and Burmingham England. How do I access those records?

February 26, 2010 at 4:13 pm
oldbuckhouse 

#92

Whoa, Rodney. 90 other comments, and most are saying the same thing. I’ve done a lot for Ancestry in the years they have been up and running. You, on the other hand seem relatively new to the scene.If all you want is sunshine, then perhaps you can help them fix this?

Ok…. If I had my druthers, I’d find out why there have been complaints on the same subject for the last 2 + years. Then I would go from there, even if it meant firing someone.

Since the blog is a sounding board, part of a web site, we’re all obliged to “chat” and share. I don’t know what part of my comment that seemed to send you into a tizzy, but take it with grace. It’s all true.

You’re right about one thing… no web site is perfect. However, if one finds a problem, maybe the site owner doesn’t know, so you contact them. On several occasions I’ve done just that. And, you know, all thanked me.

I have assisted Ancestry so many times with calls, emails, etc. As I said, it wasn’t until 2 years ago, that others were being put-off with the same complaints. Many with serious legal complaints. I recognized the problem wasn’t going to be fixed. On the flip side of the coin, the squeaky wheel does get the grease.

What have you done?

February 26, 2010 at 4:32 pm
Susan 

I am not talking about the morality of people taking from a “private” tree. I want to know why hints are made by ancestry from a private tree. I respectfully ask that they look into this and either stop calling the trees private or stop building their hints from “private” trees.I am not saying it is intentional and I love ancestry.com but if I can figure this out so can others. Also another reason to have a private tree is because material is not ready. I try out things in a private tree that are never meant to get merged. There are people I add to my tree as peripheral people that later become more important. Frankly I do not do the same type of research for everyone. This is just a tool not. If stuff comes from a private tree without the owners choice don’t be surprised if you get errors in a merge.
I also want to get certain individuals off my member connect.
Also the family trees are like a newspaper. I want to determine the supermarket trash from a serious work. To do that I need to be able to identify the researcher and then check the work.
If you don’t use the family trees than you are missing the wills, probate records, letters, tombstones, etc. Seems like incomplete work to me. If these things are used in serious publications and organizations then I think they need to be looked at.

February 26, 2010 at 5:33 pm
Susan 

I know this is a blog but my comments are really to ancestry’s staff. I want all the tools. I want the historical references, the pictures and the family trees. I want it all. To me this is the best way to select what is the most accurate information.

I may be in the minority but I want new people coming in, even those with no experience because maybe one of them inherited the family Bible that clears up a mystery.

Some of what I put on my public tree is junk but it is a breadcrumb trail for me. And you know some people have taken my junk and made some great work from it.I just want the choice what to put out there. When I can’t validate something I try to make notes of that. Not my fault if people don’t read them or they don’t get merged.

And for those that mock that I put my tree on the ancestry site. What are you using. Ancestry can upgrade or eliminate their family tree maker anytime. Do you have your own website? Is that bullet proof.

Obviously I must be doing something right because my info is being selectively and systematically being taken into other trees even with the new merge format.

February 26, 2010 at 7:20 pm
Susan 

I forgot one thing. Taking the references without any mention of the family tree it came from is like taking a book and cutting out the author’s name.
With the hints set up the way the are it happens all the time and we don’t always even know it.

February 26, 2010 at 7:32 pm
Nancy 

Susan,

If Ancestry is giving hints from your private tree, none of your actual information should be given, only that you have certain individuals and if they have sources/records attached.

If you do not want this, follow these steps:
Go to your Profile
Click “Edit your preferences”
Under Activity Preferences, click “update your personal settings”
Uncheck “Personal Research Activities”
Here is the definition of these:
“This may include:
* Records or other content you save to your Shoebox on the site or to a private member tree (without sharing information from your tree)
* Favorites you add on the site
* Similar activity”

Hope this helps.

February 26, 2010 at 7:39 pm
Myrna Tuning 

I’m new to this and am not pleased with the changes the last 2 days. When I go to “trees” from hints, I want to see the individual trees and know who is giving the information, not just a composite. There are some trees I’m O.K. with copying, and some I wouldn’t copyif they were the only ones out there. Please give me back my individual trees to compare with.

February 26, 2010 at 7:48 pm
Susan 

I wish it were so. No, the hints are which census items I have selected, or the obscure book I found. Some of you smart computer people may be able to figure out the exact path but I had a couple items that were “practice items”. You can follow the path of the errors (which were not intentional but were items I was considering. Remember I did not intend these things to go public until I cleared these up. Anyway too late for me now. Just hope ancestry’s bright computer people figure out this problem. This really does hurt ancestry. Time to focus on the positives-I may get a lot of feedback and new insights.

February 26, 2010 at 7:55 pm
Annie 

To #98 Myrna See my note to
Margie #74. You can still see the individual trees, the links have just been changed/reversed/renamed.

February 26, 2010 at 10:53 pm
Denise Haga 

Go back to the old way of merging trees. This is a mess. We pay too much money for what you are doing to the site.
Should leave a good thing alone.

February 26, 2010 at 11:16 pm
Norton 

To Denise Haga:

You can still break out the separate tree. The links have changed position, as well as name of the link

Once you are in the hints area, click on “Ancestry Family Trees” instead of on “Collect all these hints together…” and you will see the trees individually.

February 27, 2010 at 8:34 am
BEE 

#98,if you click on “Ancestry Family Trees” instead of the other message below it, you will see all the individual “trees” the way that they showed before.
I would like to have Nancy explain more about “access to private trees”. I know that a while ago I clicked on “search the web” and found information about a person that could only have come from my tree, so I contacted ancestry about it, and it’s gone now. As far as I can tell, my tree could not be opened.
I have received many emails from people through ancestry, asking about a name on one of my trees, and have always responded – and made some wonderful connections, although that hasn’t always been the case when I’ve sent an email to someone with a “private” tree. At least send a response – “sorry I can’t help you”.

February 27, 2010 at 9:56 am
Nancy 

Hi Bee,

I’ll try to give a little more of my understanding of “access to private trees.”

Before Member Connect was introduced, in a search private trees came up with just the name of the person and whether that tree had any sources or records attached. I can’t remember if they showed that person’s parents and/or spouse. There was a link to contact the tree owner, and as far as I know no other information was provided anywhere.

With the introduction of Member Connect, it is my understanding that the tree itself is still not shown anywhere. However, if you leave the default profile settings in place, your activities are shown in Member Connect. For example, census records which you attach to your private tree are shown on the census record page and on the Member Connect page of those Ancestry.com members who have also attached that census record to their tree.

As far as I know, no information from your tree should be available unless you have given access to someone and they have copied it to their public tree. However, there may be glitches in the system. For example, I have seen people who have attached some of my photos to their trees to living people; that is, they have copied photos of living people which should not be visible to the public. I cannot imagine how this happened, and Ancestry is checking this out.

Anyway, if you do not want any of your information provided via Member Connect, you need to go through the steps I outlined in my post #97.

I have recently made my tree private so I do not know how many contacts I will get from my tree. In the past I have been contacted by many people, and also have made wonderful connections. However, like you, Bee, I have had mixed response from people I have tried to contact, with both public and private trees. I echo your request of at least replying that you don’t have any additional information or can’t help.

February 27, 2010 at 12:37 pm
Gail Jordan 

I preferred the ‘Family Tree’ hints the way they were prior to Feb. 25, 2010. I found it was good to know whos tree I was looking at since I knew which ones to ignore and which to accept.

I totally agree with comment # 23 by Lori. Please consider changing it back or give us a menu so that we can decide how our filters provide the final hints.

Thanks for your consideration.

February 27, 2010 at 2:12 pm
Peggy Sue Druck 

It is Feb 27,2010 and I am still having trouble with ancestry.com I am glad you all are working on it, but while I am searching records, looking at them they freeze up.I am also having trouble getting my tree to be public again!!!

February 27, 2010 at 2:17 pm
Carol A. H. 

Nancy #101: Good explanation. The private trees did NOT show parents or spouse as I recall, but did show the other things you mentioned.

You wrote:

“Before Member Connect was introduced, in a search private trees came up with just the name of the person and whether that tree had any sources or records attached. I can’t remember if they showed that person’s parents and/or spouse. There was a link to contact the tree owner, and as far as I know no other information was provided anywhere.”

With all the mess that is going on, I got real nervous and made GEDCOM files of my trees. I don’t have any media so that was no problem. I was UNABLE to make the trees private, something I have never done in 8 years. I deleted those trees, after a test to see if I could make a new tree and upload the GEDCOM without losing anything. When things settle down, I will put them back on Ancestry.

I too have made some good friends while sharing my trees. That is something money can’t buy. But I have spent too much time on my trees to chance a major screw-up by Ancestry. I may make the “new” trees private.

February 27, 2010 at 3:30 pm
Cheri 

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! I love the new alpha option for historical records search. This is a feature I’ve wanted since I became a member. It now takes much less time to search the lists. GREAT UPDATE!!!

February 27, 2010 at 4:41 pm
Susan 

Just as a hint. It did not seem like my stories were being made into hints so I tried doing that even with the census and references that I could have easily attached.

I also tried using just initials and I moved the birthdates into the description part but it did not stop the problem.

I also tried to distract her by working on a different line but to no avail.

I had changed the settings as Nancy suggested but I still get the one lady. I do appreciate Nancy’s help and respectful response. Part of the problems are the default. I got so upset with what was happening that I tried to “invite” some of my better connections and I sent it with the person as “editor”. They could have inadvertently deleted my whole tree in a few clicks.

I did reach two excellent tech helps who seemed eager to respond to my concerns. Also my trees which had vanished are back. And the problem with having to keep signing in over and over has cleared up. So thank you ancestry for working on these thngs.

February 27, 2010 at 5:01 pm
Tonna 

I’ve been researching for 30-years. I came to this website with over 30,000 names in my tree prior to putting it on this site. It is not my entire tree as that is on my laptop. I have added over 500 photo’s , BC’s, DC’s which I wish to share with everyone who may be related and I was under the impression that was why others add information so those of us who are also relatives may supplement our trees with relatives and ancestors we might never have known about. Many of you have helped me to breach dead ends in my tree and I have met many people who have helped me. I also in turn help out all those who ask if I can. I’m sorry that I’ve probably disturbed or upset you by my saving your photo’s to my tree. Personally, I don’t want everyone contacting me to say thanks for putting the pics online as then I wouldn’t be doing the more serious research but answering emails all the time. I hope you all enjoy them, I want to share them with you. In using the Ancestry hints I was under the impression that I am using your tree as a source, not downloading your whole tree. According to the numbers on my home page, I am not downloading your tree. I am not interested in everyone’s last relative, just those that relate directly to the many lines I am researching. I get teary eyed when I find that elusive person or picture I never even dreamed I would see. Sometimes I’m a little inconveinced, sometimes I’m stuck at a stoplight not working or behind an accident afterwork. Get over it. Stop whining, get back to your research and if you don’t want to share your research then don’t. To Ancestry.Com; maybe you should consider deleting all the people who complain, then you will have the bandwidth, more people who actually appreciate what your trying to do and whether we like the changes or not the serious researchers will still be customers.

February 27, 2010 at 10:05 pm
allan loder 

Should work on getting this part fixed first I have not been able to access my tree for a couple of days and I payed my fee do I get refunded for this not likley

February 27, 2010 at 10:25 pm
Andy Hatchett 

Tonna Re:# 106

There is a HUGE difference between “sharing” one’s work with another and an outside entity giving that person the ability to copy another one’s entire body of work or any part thereof to their own tree without having any contact whatsoever with the tree owner.

Perhaps the word “sharing” should be dropped and the phrase “exchange information” be used instead.

You, personally, may not be doing this but others are – and Ancestry is aiding and abetting them by providing the tools to do so.

February 27, 2010 at 10:52 pm
Removed 

Ancestry.com has decided to remove this comment due to disrespectful language. We appreciate your understanding and look forward to your continued constructive comments on this blog.

February 28, 2010 at 12:24 am
Mark 

I’ll have to admit, I’m struggling with the recent search changes as I think we’ve lost some critical features. More specifically with individual Census Record years, the ability to force ‘exact’ to individual search fields rather than being forced to use ‘all’ search fields. I’ve yet to figure out a different search strategy which accomplishes the same, but I’m hoping there is a way [beyond using the 'Search All Records' interface]… To me this is a major loss. Many times I have a good suspicion that an individual is in a specific location, but often the Given/Surnames are poorly transcribed or only initials are used for Given Name. Or if I’m really desperate, I’ll search on approximate Gender/age in a specific ‘exact’ location and browse thru the results of that Census Year. Sorry… but this change doesn’t work for me…

February 28, 2010 at 8:33 am
Jo Carpenter 

#1 – If you are going to launch all this publicity and increase your membership then you must do something about your actual service too. Searching has gotten slower, more tedious, and frankly less accurate.
#2 – Even with specific dates and places entered in a search, say 1850 to 1900 in USA TN, the search will still produce listings for foreign countries and dates way out of the range. If you check Exact Matches, that same search will often produce nothing, despite existing records. This search option needs massive overhaul.
#3 – Despite making my tree private, I discovered that under “Photos” the family photos and even whole scanned documents in my tree were listed with dates, names, and all the personal information in the description of those photos, which I considered a violation of my “Privacy” stipulation. Your explanation of settings needs clarification.
#4 – One World Tree is obviously gleaned from all the trees of ALL members, and clearly that includes information in “Private” trees. I thought I was making my tree “Private” to keep that information well private. It is my hard work and research and I would prefer to share that with those of my choosing, and because I am not sure of everything I enter and do not want to contribute to the flood of misinformation and would prefer to perfect my tree before putting it out there. Once those trees show up in your searches, thousands take that information as fact, whether you intend that or not, and that inhibits finding the factual information. You need to consider your responsibility here. And, you are not that up front and do not exactly say that “if you put in in your tree, we will take it and make it public, even if you don’t.” So if this is the way you work, to take all the research of everyone and make it public, then there needs to be an option for people who, like me consider this a violation.

I have been a member since approx 2004 and truly enjoy doing this research but feel that you need to be more accountable to members like me.

February 28, 2010 at 9:02 am
Andy Hatchett 

Jo Re: #111

The operative word where OneWorldTree is concerned is was- as in past tense. Nothing is being added to OWT and hasn’t been in quite a while, although you are correct that when it was initiated it was a combination of all the trees Ancestry had in their different systems at that time.

God, The Devil, and almost everybody else involved with genealogy for any length of time knows that OWT is a joke and should be done away with.

The individual trees it was made from are still available so it wouldn’t be like anything would really be lost- but is would remove the largest single junkology database known to mankind from the net.

Maybe when Ancestry matures enough to realize that numbers don’t equal quality they’ll feel secure enough to kill off that particular tree.

February 28, 2010 at 12:07 pm
Shelley Way 

How about giving us some new AMERICAN records??????

February 28, 2010 at 12:16 pm
Andy Hatchett 

Shelley Re: #113

You mean in addition to these that were either added or updated this month?

Social Security Death Index updated 25 Feb 2010

Connecticut Divorce Index 1968-1997 added 8 Feb 2010

Vermont Birth Records 1909-2008 added 7 Feb 2010

Vermont Death Records 1909-2008 added 7 Feb 2010

Vermont Marriage Records 1909-2008 added 7 Feb 2010

US Federal Census 1880 Schedule of Defective Dependents and Delinquent Classes added 7 Feb 2010

United States Obituary Collection updated 1 Feb 2010

February 28, 2010 at 1:10 pm
Anne Lee 

Until recently, the “search records” feature identified items that had already been saved to the file of the subject person were noted with a green marker. This made it easy not to keep adding the same information. Now, however, there is no identification of sources that have already been added; unless I write down all the sources I have already saved, I wind up adding the same sources over and over. Please change the search feature to once again identify those items that have already been saved to the subject person.

February 28, 2010 at 2:37 pm
BEE 

Thank you Nancy #101 for your answer. I have a couple of trees that receive many “hints”. Many times, these trees contain nothing more then a name and date – as many as 20 different “trees” with the same error in a name or date, and a check of the profile shows: “Member since 2008 – Last signed in: Over 6 months ago – Profile updated: Over 6 months ago” What does that mean? They had a “trial membership”, added some family names and dates, no “sources”; they have “living” people who were born well over 100 years ago, and now that “tree” keeps popping up periodically as a hint! Most times, it’s not even possible to figure out how or why that name got on their tree. Is it possible to put a time limit on these “inactive” trees?
Here is a good reason to check individual trees rather then “Hints collected all together” – on the two “individual” trees that can be seen by clicking “Ancestry Family Trees”, someone died in New Brunswick, Canada – ok, so they had him dying 10 years apart – minor detail – but on the “collected all together”, he died in Italy {abbreviation for “river” became “Rive”!} How long is it going to take for this misinformation to appear on dozens of trees?
Also, I second the request to “block” duplicate information. If I already have a census for someone, but the spouse is using a different name, so everyone has to be added individually, or the first spouse has duplicate information. Even worse, is having the children added minus a parent. Click, click, click, click!

February 28, 2010 at 3:38 pm
Andy Hatchett 

Anne Lee Re: #115

As far as I can tell (I just did several checks) my searches still show the little green circle with the check mark on records already attached to a person in my trees.

I’m using Firefox 3.6

February 28, 2010 at 4:02 pm
Andy Hatchett 

Bee Re:#116

If time limits were placed on “inactive” trees then OneWorldTree would be a thing of the past…

Hmmm… you may be onto something after all! *grin*

February 28, 2010 at 4:04 pm
Stacey 

It would seem reasonable, that Ancestry would credit all of us for our inconvenience while they continue to make changes during peak research hours. I am very concerned about the way all these changes are affecting me and my research. I am also sure that others have been able to pull photos and related research from my tree, long after I have made it private. I am happy to share research when someone asks for it, but I don’t feel it is necessary just to add things for good measure. I am happy with some of the changes, but I do not like the format for the census pages, I can’t seem to figure out how to look at the whole page like we could before, that made it much easier, especially when searching for families that lived close to each other without having to scroll along. If someone knows how to side step this, please let me know…Thank you!

February 28, 2010 at 5:17 pm
Carol A. H. 

To Tonna #106:

You wrote:

“To Ancestry.Com; maybe you should consider deleting all the people who complain, then you will have the bandwidth, more people who actually appreciate what your trying to do and whether we like the changes or not the serious researchers will still be customers.”

To complain is an American freedom. I don’t wish to take that away from anyone! Think about it, if we couldn’t complain, we could be in a Communist country. You have the freedom to complain about people who complain. The squeaky wheel get the grease.

Also people have a right to praise, and I wouldn’t take that away.

February 28, 2010 at 7:49 pm
Sandi 

EVERY single thing that used to make Ancestry easy to use is GONE.

1)The bar with the person’s info, including family members, no longer appears. Only their name, date and birth location show up, so you have to write down EVERY item you might need (IE, spouse, children, siblings) to see if a record matches.

2)The check marks that used to show besides records already connected to your tree are GONE. Now I have to check EVERY record to see if I already have it.

3) Those records, such as census, that you could easily narrow down by place, century, and decade. NO MORE. Now you get hundreds of pages of records with no apparent rhyme or reason to their order.

There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about these changes that in any way helps. It is worse than when I jioned 3 years ago.

As a paying member, I find the recent changes have made Ancestry.com an expensive, useless annoyance.

March 1, 2010 at 9:29 am
Susan 

Question?

Since the one person used my private tree items and acquired a lot of my most direct line, I decided to make my tree public. I did this in order to get the most accurate information out. The other person is not using my actual tree just my items so she has not attached my name or my stories. She does not have full birthdates, place names or even the correct names.
Here’s an example of the problem. The last census record indicates my person lived in Illinois at about the age of 70. This makes it look like he probably died there. But he did not. I scanned the will and probate record and put an exact copy of it in the photos and story section. This did not get on this ladies tree so she does not indicate he died in CA. The problem with this is her half copied person comes up on the search. I cannot find my version or even my trees on the search. An example of my work is that I have about 19 sources for a man born in 1771. A week ago the other trees had one source for him. Even the major genealogy groups I had talked with said this was a new line.

Would appreciate suggestions? At this point I’m just trying to get the public the accurate info?

March 1, 2010 at 9:45 am
Nancy 

Susan, if you just made your tree public, it may not have had time to get into the index yet–I’m not sure how long it takes. The other person’s tree will also come up, of course, but hopefully people will see all of your work and copy your tree instead of hers.

March 1, 2010 at 10:21 am
Terrence Glasgow 

Is there a way to eliminate record to prevent them from showing up again. Meaning when I determine a record to be useless and I search the particular name again I donet want the same set of records showing up again.

March 1, 2010 at 8:20 pm
jeannine richards 

I need advice for a Family Treemaker computer genious… I started on computer with Version 2, with 1300 names enterd, then Ver.,4-5-6-7-8-2006 and now whatever it is. three times I have been entering info in “NOTES”, screen turnes light blue, and a message in white letters tells me to turn-off computer. the second time it crashed my computer.
Bought new computer, entered 2006 again and enter 1300 names fresh, did not transfer from old computer.
. The same thing happened. I sent computer back to computer man and he got Family tree maker 2006 or ??? going again. Now I have about 2000 names of about 6800 more to enter and
THE PROGRAM IS duplication names and data twine in different generations.
Also, it duplicates names for NO REASON. What is wrong, I started the new computer from start instead of transfering data from one computer to another. Thisis a refurbished DELL, new Lexmark printer, high speed everthing.

What can I do to get this program straightened up??? HELP!”!!

Jeannine Hobbs Richards

March 1, 2010 at 11:13 pm
Andy Hatchett 

Jeannie Re: #125

You would be better off posting this the the Family Treemaker Message Board.

Follow this link:
http://boards.rootsweb.com/topics.software.famtreemaker/mb.ashx

One of the gurus there may be able to help.

March 2, 2010 at 12:14 am
Robert Allan 

Yet another filter I would like to see is to confine a search to what I ask for.

By that I mean if my my search is within a specific country, E.G. Scotland, I do not want to get dozens & dozens of results for U.S.A. This is always very frustrating.

March 2, 2010 at 9:45 am
Bromaelor 

Tonna #106
Constructive criticism, if taken on-board by Ancestry, can only result in an improvement to their product. Sycophantic comments are of little use to anyone!

March 2, 2010 at 11:48 am
Larry Oathout 

The only thing I can think of is that Ancestry is owned by the same people who keep tinkering with Facebook, rather than leave it in a workable form.

March 2, 2010 at 5:34 pm
Annie 

I don’t get it.

Posters who write foul/rude/obscene messages are allowed to post.

Posters who ask legitimate questions or offer legitimate replies to assist other posters are subject to “moderation” and messages never appear.

March 2, 2010 at 9:44 pm
Andy Hatchett 

Annie Re: #130

To the best of my knowledge there is no pre-screening of posts as they appear on the Blog almost as soon as one clicks the “Submit Content” button.

The Blog is not a mailing list and as far as I know there is no way to “moderate” someone.

Some posts have been deleted for language as soon as Ancestry staff become aware of them but this Blog is not monitored 24/7.

March 2, 2010 at 11:03 pm
Tony Knight 

Ancestry was down completely yesterday (Tuesday morning in UK) for some two hours without the warnings that are normally given). Although it returned by the evening it had slowed to an absolute crawl with repeated “check back soon” messages.

Sadly this seems to be the norm rather than the exception Some may be down to mucking about as they have done with FamilyTreemaker, but there would seem to be a capacity problem as well, which requires infrastructure not programing.

March 3, 2010 at 2:15 am
Annie 

To 131 Andy
Notice anything “missing?”

March 3, 2010 at 3:04 pm
Andy Hatchett 

Annie Re: #133

Indeed I do- and am very curious as to why since the info in that post is available right at the top of the page anyway.

btw- when you posted #133 did you again have to go thru your black and red screen?

I can be reached at agh3rd@aol.com

March 3, 2010 at 4:24 pm
Annie 

Andy,

Dropping the number, since so many messages have disappeared/reappeared that the numbering is no longer relevant.

No red on black “captcha” today, so far.

March 3, 2010 at 4:44 pm
Edith Marks 

I’ve clicked on each of the Alabama Marriage databases and the is no search form, nor is there one on the Alabama Deaths database, I sure hope you don’t expect us to browse all those records.

March 4, 2010 at 1:44 am
Tony Knight 

Edith #144

This seems to be a general problem, I am finding it, intermittently across the board

March 4, 2010 at 4:20 am
Nancy 

What is going on with all the deleted posts?

March 4, 2010 at 1:34 pm
Anne Mitchell 

Nancy, I’ve not deleted any posts, and I don’t think anyone else has either. And we only delete comments if they are spam or just not at all appropriate.

If you post comments one right after another or have some word that our spam filter feels is common in spam postings, your comment will be thrown into a queue for someone to approve, and it might take awhile to show up on the message board. I was called out of town unexpectedly on family business and was not monitoring my comment queue, which may have a couple of you wondering where your comments were.

Just a reminder, comments are supposed to be about the subject in the post, some how this became a free for all for trees! Naughty, naughty … you guys know better ;-) I have pointed the Trees Product Managers to the blog and they have reached out to a few people and posted elsewhere. If you cannot find a posting about the topic you would like to talk about, please go to the message boards and post there. You’ll find many a lively conversation, I promise! Or if it is a technical problem, please contact customer service.

I’ve seen here issues about missing data forms (as well as other places). As far as I can tell the forms are currently appearing, but we will keep an eye on it.

Happy Searching!

March 4, 2010 at 2:14 pm
Nancy 

Anne, please clarify your post. It is clear from the #s posts are replying to that there are posts missing.

And, you know that other topics have always spilled over to the current blog because there isn’t a blog specifically for concerns/complaints. Many people have posted to the blogs rather than the message boards because they are easier to find, etc. etc. I believe that we discussed this issue in Provo. Are you saying that you now expect all of the comments to be on-topic?

March 4, 2010 at 5:45 pm
Andy Hatchett 

Nancy,

There is no doubt that the Ancestry Message Boards are in dire need of re-organization and need to be more prominantly displayed.

One way that Ancestry could do this is to add the following boards as default entries on everyone’s Quick Links Menu.

Member Trees Message Board:
http://boards.ancestry.com/topics.ancestry.membertrees/mb.ashx

Ancestry Site Comments Message Board:
http://boards.ancestry.com/topics.ancestry.ancsite/mb.ashx

Ancestry Improvements Message Board:
http://boards.ancestry.com/topics.ancestry.ancimprovements/mb.ashx

Family Tree Maker Message Board:
http://boards.ancestry.com/topics.software.famtreemaker/mb.ashx

That way they are accessable with one click from almost any page.

Of course, until Ancestry does that, members can easily add them themselves by simply going to each of the above links and when the page open click the “Add to Quick Links” link at the right end of the menu bar.

I’ve added them both to my Quick Links and saved them as bookmarked favorites in my browser so even if I’m not on the Ancestry site I can still get to them with a single click.

There will always be spill over- and the “hotter” the topic the more spill over there will be, unless Ancestry resorts to pre-monitoring Blog messages (and I really can’t see that happening at all!)

March 4, 2010 at 9:46 pm
Annie 

Nancy,

There was an apparent crash of the blogs on Wednesday afternoon, 3 Mar. When the blogs came back, many of the most recent messages were no longer there.

March 5, 2010 at 11:23 am
Annie 

Andy,
Thanks for the links – good idea!

March 5, 2010 at 11:25 am