Ancestry Member Trees – A New Look for the Person Overview or Profile Page

Posted by jhodnett on October 19, 2012 in Site, Family Trees

You may have noticed that the Person Overview page has a new look (the page with the details for an ancestor in your tree).  The intent of these visual changes is to start moving toward a simpler design that is more subtle than the previous design so that it more effectively showcases the content about your ancestor.  This is just our first step and we plan to make updates based on feedback.  With these design changes we worked hard to preserve the same functionality of the page and to keep most features located in the same place.

We’re interested in your feedback so we’ve set up a specialized survey for it.  If you have feedback for us please share it through our survey here.

We also recognize that the Person Overview page is very heavily used and that changes of any kind can sometimes be frustrating.  We are really trying to improve the site for all our users.  We’ve gotten a number of helpful suggestions already, but the main concern we’ve heard is that there is sometimes a greater need to scroll with the new design than there was with the old design.  We wanted to reassure you that we’re actively working to address that.

If you have additional feedback you can share it through our survey here.

UPDATED 10/24/2012

We appreciate the feedback that you’ve provided over the last week after changes were made to the person profile/overview page in Ancestry Member Trees.  In response, we’ve made a few tweaks that we hope will address the majority of the concerns.  Here’s a list of the key changes we’ve made:

  • We’ve added a subtle gray background color around the different page elements
  • We’ve reduced the font size of the events and dates in the timeline
  • We’ve reduced the spacing around the timeline elements
  • We’ve added boxes around the sources and member connect containers on the right side of the page

These changes should help reduce the amount of scrolling, help to differentiate between the various elements on the page and help to increase the contrast.  Please let us know what you think of the page with the latest updates by leaving feedback here.


1 scwbcmOctober 19, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Okay so I am hearing that this is “just our first step” but I do not understand the intent. You said “moving toward a simpler design that is more subtle than the previous design so that more effectively showcases the content about your ancestor.”

Is this stricly to simplify or to simplify to add something or improve something else?

2 scwbcmOctober 19, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Okay so I am hearing that this is “just our first step” but I do not understand the intent. You said “moving toward a simpler design that is more subtle than the previous design so that more effectively showcases the content about your ancestor.”

Is this strictly to simplify or to simplify to add something or improve something else?

3 DianeOctober 19, 2012 at 3:17 pm

So far, I’m not liking what I see. The page looks very bland and is actually harder for me to distinguish between the different subjects of information on the page.

4 RebeccaOctober 19, 2012 at 3:39 pm

I agree with Diane. The space usage seems to be about the same on the screen and the look is horrible. I thought there was a problem with my connection this morning and that it would go away later in the day…..WHY? What was the purpose? I will definitely take the survey and hope there is room for comments after I review the ‘new’ Overview more… that I know it is not all a BIG MISTAKE on the part of the developers!

5 peggyOctober 19, 2012 at 3:43 pm

what struck me right off is that the text size seems smaller…the page is harder for me to read somehow. i tried zooming in but there is much more ‘white’ space’ than before so i end up with just great amounts of blank space and have to scroll all over. With my 11.5 ” Mac Air, this is very frustrating!
i was happy with the OLD layout!!
I think a major thing that needs to be addressed is that it is very difficult for people to initially learn how to use ancestry, i.e for the family i invite to join the tree as contributors…they’ve all given up because it was too confusing….they don’t have the time or interest in spending days learning to navigate
ancestry. com the way i did when i started.
Addressing THIS would be a major help!! I’d like it to be easy for people to contribute the occasional photo or story, and they aren’t.

6 LindaOctober 19, 2012 at 4:17 pm

The Quote “the intent of these visual changes is to start moving toward a simplier design”. I know I am reading between the lines, I believe there is more to this than is being said. Heaven forbid that there is more steps to come ..and I dislike the facebook messages. The page is a complete mess, I hate it!! Hard to read. Feel like I am in a snow storm with complete whiteout!! No contrast what so ever and having to scroll endlessly. I am usually very receptive to change .. but this is just horrible, please change it back or give us an option of using the old

7 BobNYOctober 19, 2012 at 4:54 pm

“The intent of these visual changes is to start moving toward a simpler design that is more subtle than the previous design so that more effectively showcases the content about your ancestor.”
First of all, the poor grammar makes this sentence unintelligible. Without a subject for the verb “showcases” it makes no sense.

Also, the use of “so that” implies a cause and effect. Why do you think a subtle design will be an effective design? Why was the old version ineffective?

With all the needed fixes that have been “reported to the developers” why in heaven’s name do you devote scarce resources to this cosmetic change.

Finally, you somehow have concluded that the major gripe is “a greater need to scroll.” NO . . .NO . . .NO . . .No.

The 2 major concerns that are rampant on the Boards are:
1. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
2. Don’t just throw it against the wall and see what sticks; test it and get feedback before putting it into production.

8 HaroldOctober 19, 2012 at 4:56 pm

The new overview isn’t that bad after you get used to it. Two things I would suggest, shrink the size of the box around each item so we don’t have so much white space and this will shorten the scroll problem some. One peoblem I find is after working all day on my tree the excess of white background on the whole page wears my old eyes out. Would it ever be possible to provide users with a color theme selection so they could customize their page with a choice of colors/backgrounds. I’m thinking like the Yahoo “MyYahoo” type of page. Maybe you could give a Font size choice also.

9 Frank SperlingOctober 19, 2012 at 5:09 pm

To be honest, I’m still not sure what you’re asking us. By your blog, i assumed you were talking about your software product, Family Treemaker. Not until I read the comments did I realize you were talking about the online trees on Even now, I don’t know what the Person Overview page is. Is that what the online tree calls “View Profile”?

Honestly, if the quality control and peer-review that went into writing this blog is similar to that employed by your products, then I am very concerned.

Once you clarify what you’d like us to give feedback on, let me know and I’ll be happy to respond.

10 jhodnettOctober 19, 2012 at 5:11 pm

BobNY – Thanks for pointing it out the error in grammer in the blog post, I’ll fix it now. The change to this page doesn’t mean we are not working on improving other features. We have received a lot of feedback requesting that we don’t put so much space around timeline events from a large group of people and we are working to tighten it up so there doesn’t appear to be so much white space and people won’t need to scroll as much.

Frank – I’ll add some clarification to the title of the post so that it’s more clear to what the post refers.

11 Frank SperlingOctober 19, 2012 at 5:19 pm

Thanks Jen. I appreciate your prompt response.

12 Michel BrysonOctober 19, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Is there any way to not reload the entire page when switching from one tab to another? Nothing above the tabs changes – is it possible to leave it and speed up page load?

13 scwbcmOctober 19, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Thanks for responding and for this “we are working to tighten it up so there doesn’t appear to be so much white space and people won’t need to scroll as much.”

14 MagenOctober 19, 2012 at 6:06 pm

The only problem I have with the new look is that every time I do a search it takes me away from website and puts me on the website.

This makes it very difficult to do accurate searches.

15 MagenOctober 19, 2012 at 6:22 pm

It appears that my problems are due to lack of support of Google Chrome, please fix it! It’s one of the most popular web browsers.

16 BEEOctober 19, 2012 at 6:32 pm

From the sound of it, “if it’s not broke don’t fix it” is not a consideration with these people!
Besides the awful white background, I have to search all over the place for everything!
Of course, I’m still using the far more user-friendly “old search” {IMHO} so that shows how much I like “change”.

17 BCarrollOctober 19, 2012 at 6:39 pm

I’ve been a member of ancestry since 95. I usually moan and groan when changes are made BUT this time I actually want to say that I LIKE the new look. The typeface you are using is cleaner and easier to read, i.e. Residence, Birth, etc. etc.

I like it!

18 MonikaOctober 19, 2012 at 7:24 pm

The harsh reality is that does as they darn well please by claiming to do it to do us a favor. They know that, after a few days, we all stop bitching and get used to the changes, while they have done “busy work” to substantiate their salaries. There are issues that actually interfere with their policies (see the last blog about the FTM) which I have been told have “been sent to the developers”. I guess the developers pick and choose/prioritize what they want to work on, whether it needs fixing or not!

19 SLKOctober 19, 2012 at 8:27 pm

This: “the main concern we’ve heard is that there is sometimes a greater need to scroll with the new design than there was with the old design” is an understatement. There is almost *always* a greater need to scroll.

I don’t believe changing the design has anything to do with “more effectively showcasing the content.” Rather, I suspect it has to do with server load, and/or being more mobile/app friendly.

I don’t object to a simpler design. Nor do I object to making the site more mobile friendly. I do object to design changes appear to be simpler from a visual standpoint but are not simpler from a user standpoint – or changes that improve the mobile experience at the cost of the desktop/laptop experience.

20 julwiscOctober 19, 2012 at 8:43 pm

Bland was also the first word that came to my mind. The use of white is overwhelming to my aging eyes. I would prefer more color.

21 RonOctober 19, 2012 at 8:49 pm

This new format is crap. There’s no contrast just a white blob, looks cheap. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it! Spend less on TV advertising & buy more powerful servers.

22 CathyKOctober 19, 2012 at 8:56 pm

I like the new look and the white background. I think it is cleaner look.

23 GraciousStretOctober 19, 2012 at 10:36 pm

This new format is horrible. The white screen is hard on ones eyes. The muted color of the previous person view was easier to work with and easier on the eyes.
Surely, you can add an option for a muted colored background for those of us who cannot tolerate the witness of the screen!
Another thing that has ticked me off is that there is content that has been removed and I am having to replace it. This does not make me a happy Ancestry customer.
In addition, I think that the time and money spent to come up with a bland white screen format could have been better spent in adding more content your site.
It seems that I find only mostly ‘updated’ documents. Does ‘updated’mean that one letter has been changed?
Seriously, we need older content here and in you UK site.
My supscription is coming due and I am looking at other alternatives that may be more helpful to me. I don’t really need a tree on line but I do need content.

24 jeanOctober 20, 2012 at 12:49 am

thanks very much for making it HARD TO READ for this very disgruntled DYSLEXIC. colour accentually helps us to read, as it helps us to focus. this stark (almost) black and white look is why a lot of dyslexic have difficulty reading books!

add to this the large font and unnecessary amount of BRIGHT white space which means we have to scroll more makes us break our concentration and LOSSE our place.

for a dyslexic its akin to making a non dyslexic read a book (for instance on a kindle) while a page moves up one line each second. there is no way most would be able to full read what’s on that line let alone the whole page with out frustration. which is why programmers do not make that happen!

you can try and emote to a dyslexic by thing of a bike and a sports car at the base of a steep hill we both have vehicles but it is only with more hard work and determination that the bike gets to the top a long time after the car!

thanks ancestry you have now taken my bike away!

and besides i feel that ancestry has come out with all guns blazing in their defence on this blog and message boards after the fact because they know they ***** up so badly and they are trying to back peddle by snow screening us into defeat.

if this was not so then WHY did they not beta the change or even survey us on the proposed idea or even explain to us BEFORE they made the change !

and what about a mock up of how ancestry proposes the screen to look like.
‘we plan to make updates based on feedback’

tells me straight away that ancestry made the change with no real plan at all

they mucked up pure and simple!

25 Jayne BaylissOctober 20, 2012 at 1:30 am

Absolutely terrible and Im with someone else on this, is there an ulterior motive? If there isnt, I cant believe anyone would chose to produce a page which looks as it does. A team have no doubt been paid huge amounts of money for this new ‘design’, which is basically a white page with some text on it! I was proud of my tree, which has been on your site for several years and now it just looks a mess, thank you for that!! You only have to look at facebook to see, not one single person likes it. If the changes are ongoing, you should have waited until the final product was ready, otherwise you are going to have lost huge numbers of people before that happens.

Also why has that horrible facebook link reappeared? It had been removed!

Finally Ive noticed you have only replied to one comment and really avoided the criticism!

26 DianeOctober 20, 2012 at 2:23 am

Whoever thought this up should be sacked

27 Susan RobertsonOctober 20, 2012 at 2:42 am

Are we paying subs. to be guinea-pigs to have half-thought up ideas thrust upon us. How high-handed!
Does J.Hadnett not have a supervisor or line manager? Is he/she allowed to use their initiative on such major issues. If so, the outlook is poor.

28 robOctober 20, 2012 at 3:10 am

Susan its not J.Hadnett who is at fault he / she has been the one stuck with the task of writing and answering this post to try and shut us up. the persons to blame will be the one who passed the work done, and the one person whose stupid idea it was in the first place to fix something that did not need fixing instead of concentrating on do what has been request all to earn browny points. i hope that those plus every single point that the persons concerned are taken away and they are all give the biggest rollicking of their lives and someone with a bit of common sense put in charge

29 CazOctober 20, 2012 at 3:19 am

Absolutely terrible, cheap looking (subscriptions are not cheap) extremely difficult to work with (please start thinking of those with poorer eye-sight), much much much too clinical (we don’t want clinical stark white clean for our ancestors who didn’t live in clinical clean stark white times). Here’s hoping so much you just may listen to ALL the feedback and change it back as quickly as you changed it!! You changed it in seconds how about changing it back in seconds …… like NOW

30 John HowesOctober 20, 2012 at 3:29 am

I seem to be in a minority in seeing this as a step in the right direction and am pleased in how Ancestry is planning to move to a simpler design. I have always thought it was cluttered and distracting.

On the other hand, I do use Family Tree maker as my main tool, with Ancestry pages open to check other trees/member connect, searches from scratch, shoebox (and the pleasure of viewing in Firefox rather than FTM’s built-in IE). And it is disappointing that Ancestry doesn’t seem to have the resources to do user testing before launch of new features/tweaks.

31 JuliaOctober 20, 2012 at 3:35 am

Why are you changing it at all? The old look was perfectly acceptable. I’d be interested for someone at Ancestry to tell me what benefit I get from the change in design for the life of me I can’t find one. ‘A simpler design’ is not a benefit, its just fiddling for fiddlings sake. Have you had thousands of complaints about the old design? If not, why change?
May I suggest a solution? We have the choice to search by the new or old method. Can we choose to move over to the new layout or retain the old one?

32 PamOctober 20, 2012 at 3:44 am

Once again Ancestry has made unnecessary changes.
How many more times do I/we have to repeat:
“If it ain’t broke don’t fix it”
Why are members not given the choice to choose whether we want these so called “improvements”???
And from reading the comments, how cruel are Ancestry to the people who suffer reading difficulties?
It seems you put the ability to ‘scroll’ over the ability to read.
The new look is really insipid:
Definition: dull, uninteresting
Synonyms: anemic, arid, banal, bland, characterless, colorless, commonplace, drab, driveling, dry, feeble, flat, ho-hum, inane, innocuous, jejune, lifeless, limp, mild, mundane, nebbish, nothing, ordinary, plain, pointless, prosaic, prosy, slight, spiritless, stale, stupid, subdued, tame, tedious, tenuous, thin, tired, trite, unimaginative, vapid, watery, weak, weariful, wearisome, wishy-washy

33 Brenda MillerOctober 20, 2012 at 3:45 am

I haven’t renewed my membership and won’t be doing if the this design stays, much to bright why on earth did you change it, it was OK as it was

34 lalkavOctober 20, 2012 at 3:52 am

‘More subtle’???? How on earth can a glaring white screen be more subtle? I’ve now got my family tree on as I can choose my own settings/colours/background/layout etc – and it’s free!

35 lalkavOctober 20, 2012 at 3:53 am

‘More subtle’???? How on earth can a glaring white screen be more subtle? I’ve now got my family tree on as I can choose my own settings/colours/background/layout etc – and it’s free!

36 gillian mcluckieOctober 20, 2012 at 4:01 am

Ancestry, I’ve posted feedbacks and comments on your facebook pages, but the reply is always the same, and now we are being told that the only complaint that Ancestry can see, is that people hate the fact that we have scroll down the overview pages. Would you please read the complaints properly. The scrolling is just one of the horrendous features, but it is more to do with the font sizes and that the boxes are far too big. There was nothing at all wrong with the old layout, so why change it.

I have noticed in the comments posted not only here in the UK, but in America and Australia also, that this new layout is causing folks to have headaches and eyestrain with this new layout.

Congratulations on to whoever thought up, and okayed this monstrosity,as you’ve now got so many unhappy customers.

37 Jeannette HarringtonOctober 20, 2012 at 4:05 am

Not only does the new layout look a complete mess, as if it has been done for a child for children, but because of a certain health problem (which i have no intention of mentioning on here) i cannot use the site anymore, i signed up with you because of this, it was easy on the eye and i was able to see what was needed without too much scrolling, i have spent 1 hour in short bursts since you first did this awful change and have had terrible headache’s, when you first put on the “new view” for census i thought i was going to be in trouble but thankfully we still have the old one, however this is very serious for me and i would like to know before i have to ring you if i can get a refund on my subscription which was taken out in May or June, previously to this i have always been more than happy with your service and have said so, i do think you haven’t treated your customers with the respect they deserve over this matter.

38 JuliaOctober 20, 2012 at 4:06 am

I have just realised why some folk would think this is okay. If you don’t have any media/images attached to your facts in timeline then it doesn’t take up that much more space. If however, as I have, you have images attached to most ‘facts’ then the page becomes unwieldy – huge. Further, I have my direct line ancestors names in CAPITAL letters to make them easier to find. This means that text for the fact ‘Marriage for THOMAS PENLINGTON’ wraps in the box making it bigger still. Most members would have some sort of image of the person in the heading and this also has increased in size – not good.
This design is by someone who clearly does not use it.

39 JuliaOctober 20, 2012 at 4:08 am

Course, I could always remove the images but that would make a mockery of your previous ‘improvement’ to attach media to the timeline!

40 Jeannette HarringtonOctober 20, 2012 at 4:13 am

I have just added a comment and it disappeared, what is going on.

41 JudyOctober 20, 2012 at 4:20 am

This is the ugliest layout I have ever seen.It’s far too stark with no contrasting colour to soften the page.The fonts are too large to be able to read the page in one swoop. There is no definition to the text boxes for facts. Changing the family members boxes to grey was a mistake, too.
Your branding seems to be green and cream, which is a pleasant and appealing combination – why on earth have you messed about making unnecessary changes to the layout which worked perfectly well as it was.

42 Moira FidlerOctober 20, 2012 at 4:50 am

What are all these changes really about, whom or what are they supposed to benefit, your customers or your company?
As far as I can tell they are nothing more than an effort to re-brand genealogy as cool and trendy, accessible to all, using modern technology as the hook to reel in a younger audience. Totally pointless as the vast majority of younger people simply don’t have the time or money, hence are unable to provide the dedication needed to do the job properly, consequently the result will be even more poorly executed trees cluttering up cyberspace, with no benefit to anyone, as researching your family tree correctly takes diligence and determination, it’s a vocation, not the latest five-minute-wonder computer game.
I find it appalling that after all the feedback you have received over the last 48hours you have failed to pick up on nearly all of the salient points made by your customers, not just the fact we now have to do a lot more scrolling. That’s just a minor irritation compared to the fact that the changes are causing many people to suffer eyestrain and even migraine headaches due to the excess whiteness of the page and oversized fonts.
I am all for change when change is an improvement, but sadly your recent effort has resulted in changing something that worked perfectly well, to a user unfriendly experience.

43 Sue FowlerOctober 20, 2012 at 5:09 am

Is there a choice ? Is there a settings option to change from the old or new layout so that everyone can choose there own preference.I thought i had clicked on a button & changed the settings by mistake.As said by other people here the overview page is now to long & its too bland i dont like it at all.It would be best to give customers the option to choose which ever page style they are happy with.

44 MoonOctober 20, 2012 at 5:28 am

Why did you feel you needed to change the layout? It’s awful – too much white – too much space – why increase the font size, if people need bigger fonts, they can increase it using their OS. Your money would have been better spent correcting errors in transcriptions and incorrect connections in records. Improving searches would also something that could be improved, being able to sort results would be much more helpful. If simplification was to enable it to load on the app better then forget it – far too much scrolling required. Please don’t tell me to go to your developer site, already done and the survey. We the customers who pay for your site are expressing their disapproval – time for you as a service provider to listen.

45 IreneOctober 20, 2012 at 5:32 am

I really do not understand why you have changed the layout, why fix something that wasn’t broken, Ancestry should be listening to their paying customers, because I for one will not be a paying customer after my subs run out, I don’t see why I should pay to have a blinding headache, we should at least have the option to be able to view our profile page on the old layout.

46 JBosworthOctober 20, 2012 at 5:43 am

I have “noticed” a few changes on the profile pages. I like the placement of the “add a family member,” “add media” and “add a fact” buttons. But sorry, NOT, NOT, NOT a fan of the changes to the timeline portion and the color scheme. There is way too much open/white space and with too much scrolling involved to be efficient or effective. I thought the old format “showcased” by ancestors MUCH better than this new style. It’s very bland and too spaced out. Please make some adjustments, especially to the timeline portion. I think you should have taken a survey, with a screenshot of the new format, BEFORE you made these changes. New isn’t always better.

47 BillJOctober 20, 2012 at 6:23 am

You may want to consider making the facts list configurable with an option for compressed view, traditional view, and large sized (which is there now). Many of my family members have 10-20 facts. There are times when I need to go back and get an overall sense of the person’s life when trying to establish a fact with them or another person. The old style was good enough for that, compressed would be best. I can understand the need for large too. That shouldn’t be too hard to do and will give people options that work for them.

48 BillJOctober 20, 2012 at 6:26 am

and BTW, I initially thought my browser wasn’t loading properly so I refreshed a couple of times. Lots of white space = something is missing in my browser experience.

49 MaryOctober 20, 2012 at 6:44 am

I don’t like it. It’s glaring and a strain on the eyes. Many genealogists like to do a lot of research and anything that hurts the eyes is a problem. I was puzzled when I first saw this and thought there was something wrong with my computer, strange that Ancestry did this deliberately without first testing it with real researchers.

50 Steven MurphyOctober 20, 2012 at 7:25 am

I can only add to the list of commentators that Ancestry have taken a backward step in visual presentation. The volume of white space now present in the Overview is poor for the eyes, never mind leading to unnecessary scrolling. The old style worked well and if one wanted bigger fonts then it is perfectly possible to adjust the browser. By all means freshen things up via revised buttons but overall a retrograde step.

51 Todd CarnesOctober 20, 2012 at 7:32 am

I absolutely, positively HATE it. so much so that I am actually considering dropping my subscription and leaving

First of all, it’s just plain ugly.

Second, there’s WAY too much white space now. Those of us who access with netbooks (or smaller devices) want to see data, not whitespace. Whitespace is wasted space.

Finally, and most importantly, I want my search box back. You have made it a very laborious process just to search for a particular person in our own tree. Now, it has become a real pain in the ass to look someone up in my tree. Bring that search box back ASAP!

52 Nancy BondOctober 20, 2012 at 8:12 am

1-should have announced the changes the day before you were going to implement – i thought something was wrong with my computer graphics
2-too white, too bright, hard to look at all day
3-too wide, too spread out (i see others are saying it’s too small, mine seems too big, even though i have made no change to my computer ZOOM level)

53 KeithOctober 20, 2012 at 9:00 am

I agree with most people on this thread; there is too much white space on this page, reminiscent of how Google redesigned Gmail. A darker-themed page would be welcome as well.

I would much prefer to see improvements on how to make more efficient use of left and right-side display space, instead of being constrained to a narrow table.

Lastly, the smaller font sizes used for person facts, tabs, family member names and text under the Member Connect section are distracting.

54 SusanOctober 20, 2012 at 9:18 am

I am now embarrassed to invite people to see my family tree. I will have to start searching for a new web site to display my years of work. I am not a developer or programmer, but I imagine I could create a better-looking web site than what you have here today.

55 Sean FOctober 20, 2012 at 9:56 am

While I’m not opposed to change, I have three thoughts:

1. The enormous padding in the new layout makes for very inefficient use of screen real estate, and the lack of contrast makes it harder to delineate sections. Perhaps there was some actual improvement Ancestry was going for here, but if so I can’t figure out what it is.

2. If your HTML coders are looking for something to do, how about improving compatibility with iOS & Android browsers? The app on iOS is great but so many features are not included (ad-hoc search, messaging, etc.) that could be accomplished on a mobile browser if the site allowed it.

3. Remember your demographic skews toward people who are not normally computer users. They don’t like change. If the change actually provides tangible benefit (e.g. new search vs. old search) then OK, but even there how many people are still using the old search despite the clear improvements & advantages of the new? Change for change’s sake is not going to go over well with your customer base.

56 BEEOctober 20, 2012 at 10:09 am

I read all the comments earlier, so I don’t know if this has been mentioned before, but I just noticed the “how is this member related” tab is gone – something I found useful.
Also, I don’t know if anyone else is having this problem, but I mentioned it on a blog last spring and someone from ancestry did get back to me on it and “looked into it”, but all these months later it still persists.
When I finally go through all the “hints”, there is still a number showing. One tree that I finished checking has no further hints, but shows 10. The other tree is back up to over 200 “hints” so I don’t know how many will show when I finally check them all out, but the last time I cleared it, there was still something like the number 74, yet there were none.
I guess it’s something very low on the list of “problems”, or too much to deal with when there are more important things to do, like messing up the OVERVIEW page.

57 JanOctober 20, 2012 at 10:10 am

The redone look of the person overview page is tacky. Why change what didn’t need changing? That being said, I would like an option to open the program to the profile page for an individual rather then the tree view. I generally access to do research, not see a whole family tree. Opening to a profile page would be much more useful.

58 BEEOctober 20, 2012 at 10:17 am

Jan, I agree – I’m always having to change from the “tree view” to the “view profile” – but I came back to say “that’s weird” – the “view relationship to me” is on some trees, but not others!
I also find “living on facebook” annoying. I don’t do facebook, twitter or tweet!! All my trees are “private”, so in some cases, I just click “deceased” to be rid of it, especially since most of them probably are!

59 PattiOctober 20, 2012 at 10:21 am

Julia is correct. On the pages where I have no media attached, it is much cleaner (although categories are too spread apart). But the profiles which contain media and paragraphs of information, are disasters! Move the media gallery to the right of the profile pic in the BLANK half section SPACE, move the ‘Timeline’ (how I’m beginning to hate that word) up, move the Source citations in line with the Birth, Death, etc category word, move the Add Media to the bottom of the box where the word photos appears (once you add media), which would allow any text to extend to the right margin of the box, thus streamlining the whole category back to a clean rectangular shaoe and not a bulky box. The FB link in the profile box? My comment would be censored, so I will just say this: Move it below the Edit This Person key. Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if this stark look has more to do with merging Facebook profiles over to Ancestry and, perhaps to accommodate even further ‘surprises’ down the road, than trying to make things easier for their subscribers.

60 PattiOctober 20, 2012 at 10:24 am

“Clean rectangular shape” not shaoe :o

61 PamOctober 20, 2012 at 10:28 am

Hi Sean F,
‘old search’ is a very valuable tool, which I use regularly. I was one of the people that posted comments to Kenny on Ancestry Blog, pleading for the availability to use this search function.

I agree with your comments, and of those already posted regarding dislike.

I, and many, many others have spent a great amount of money researching Family History, be it subscription fees, sending off for certificates, or indeed travelling to the birth place of our ancestors.

As I believe Ancestry is mainly subscription based, I can not understand how you can make major changes like this without your members consent.

For me, is a wonderful, wonderful site, and I have spent time working on the Ancestry World Archives Project…. BUT, please stop making unnecessary changes.

Appearance and ease of use is most importent to us.

It would be far better to spend time and money on giving your subscribers access to more records, otherwise, I think you are going to lose out to other genealogical websites.

62 PamOctober 20, 2012 at 10:45 am

Sorry Sean F,

On reading my last post, it appears that all my comments were directed at you – this is not so.

Only the ‘old search’ tool comment was in reply.

All comments were directed to the Ancestry Team.

63 SusanOctober 20, 2012 at 11:29 am

I agree with SLK:
I don’t believe changing the design has anything to do with “more effectively showcasing the content.” Rather, I suspect it has to do with server load, and/or being more mobile/app friendly.

I don’t like the new look at all. Hard on the eyes, too bland and harder to navigate.

64 SharonOctober 20, 2012 at 11:30 am

As usual, it would have been really smart to announce a major design change BEFORE implementing it. This is not the first time that Ancestry has done this. I think they are still smarting from the “new search” debacle. I love Ancestry, but I can’t understand why they keep shooting themselves in the foot again, and again, and again.

If Ancestry would announce upcoming significant changes BEFORE they were implemented, along with a comment that “we are very interested in your suggestions/feedback” it would go a long way toward cooling customers’ ire. You might even turn the whole thing into a positive experience!

65 kayOctober 20, 2012 at 11:43 am

Glad to find this blog and that I hadn’t done anything to mess up my pages and that I am not alone in disliking the redone overview page. Why don’t you fix someting that really irks me – the thousands and thousands of results of a search that have no connection to who I am searching for.

66 RinaOctober 20, 2012 at 11:44 am

Bland, too much white space & illogical placing of the “add family member” & “add fact” links. Far from showcasing the content, it severely detracts from it.
Who came up with this & why, why, why???

67 klkOctober 20, 2012 at 11:53 am

This blog post actually makes it worse for those of us who dislike the new design (and judging by all the comments here and at facebook, that’s the overwhelming majority!). First of all “may have noticed” is a bit insulting. “More subtle” is nonsense. “Just our first step” is ominous. The “main concern we’ve heard is that there is sometimes a greater need to scroll with the new design than there was with the old design” is clearly not representative of the hundreds of comments that I’ve read. This is a paid subscription site and many are very unhappy that there was no sort of testing phase to elicit feedback before rolling out this big change. As Sharon noted, you had a fabulous opportunity to turn this into a positive experience but you really blew it.

68 JoOctober 20, 2012 at 12:06 pm

I have sent feedback twice and commented on the message boards but I also agree with 31. Julia and everything she said in subsequent posts, and with 54. Sean F. A couple more observations: I was here the last time you updated the Profile/Person Overview and it seems you’re now undoing some of the very things you did then so this is really aggravating and seems like change for the sake of change, just to shake everything up for no apparent reason. I am also one who would like to know what the complaints were that instigated this change, and who made them, and where? I saw none on the message boards. In fact, I personally don’t even believe there were any. Also, even without media, the new design stinks. I have some people with lots of media in the gallery & the timeline, some with it only in the gallery & some with no media at all. It all stinks the way it is now. I would also like, and have asked for it many times, the option of opening to a person’s Profile/Person Overview (there we go again, please pick ONE official name for that page and USE it and do away with this confusion!!!) and that would be an improvement no one would complain about. Also, how about allowing us to rearrange the order of pictures in the gallery, which is another change asked for repeatedly that never gets done and instead these unwanted changes are foisted on us. And finally I’m another one who dislikes the connection to Facebook and if it goes any further (gets more intrusive) I will remove my trees from Ancestry and put them somewhere else. I’m not currently a paid subscriber due to financial problems but I fully intended to be as soon as I was able. With the speed of other sites offering free databases, though, I may not come back to Ancestry if I do end up removing my trees.

69 CarolOctober 20, 2012 at 12:12 pm

I don’t like it either…’s hard on my eyes to distinquish with the bland light colours as I have MS….much prefered to how it was….really a strong dislike!!! Mind you I did think how nice it would if we could customize our own pages, colour, fonts etc lol

70 LindaOctober 20, 2012 at 12:18 pm

I was wondering if the inner staff at Ancestry had access to this change before implementing, I am sure most of them do research and have their own trees posted, but maybe they had no say just like us paying customers or they shut up for fear of losing their jobs. The people on the phone lines had no idea of the change and could not answer my questions, just took down my complains, very poor public relations Ancestry!! My conclusion is that the persons who developed this new view has no concept of creating a family tree. I spent the last year uploading two family trees … not gedcom .. I did it manually and it was rewarding to view it and invite guests .. I can’t say that it is pleasing to view anymore .. I find I can only sit and work at it for about an hour before my eyes give out. Ancestry please revert to the old or give us an option. I had cancelled my subscription and was about to renew .. no thanks!

71 MWBOctober 20, 2012 at 1:20 pm

Isn’t this about researching your families past….why are you spending so much time and effort to a profile page…you should be going over what you already have and make them more user friendly (less scrolling)

72 MoiraOctober 20, 2012 at 1:25 pm

I don’t like it either…far too bright… and very sore on the eyes!!!
Some off your customers have been with you for years and enjoyed doing their Family Research through Ancestry, but this change has caused a certain amount of distress to them, which is a shame!!! I hope something can be done to resolve this….

73 KatieOctober 20, 2012 at 1:33 pm

I consider myself a minimalist. I like clean websites. This change is too much, though. The contrast with the green was perfect. It distinguished between separate parts of the page. The simple white to gray fade in the media gallery box and others like it was enough color to not be washed out with too much white. The text size and color was perfect and could easily be enlarged, if needed.

Now, there is no separation between different boxes. Everything is white. This is too much for my eyes and I can’t look at it for a few seconds without my eyes starting to hurt. The spacing is pointless and the font size is too big. The difference in font (randomly bold or italic) with no reasoning is silly. The size of the text is all over the place, too.

I understand changes on Facebook and how complaining about that is pointless. It’s not a service for which we pay. Many of us have put a lot of money into Ancestry and kept using because we liked what we were paying for … but this change came from nowhere. Very few people seem to like it.

Please allow those of us who don’t like the page to change back to how it was. Those who like it can keep it. Perhaps make things more customizable? There are things that are repeated on my page. I have source information in the timeline, so there is no need for the extra “Source Information” box. I’d like to click an x and remove that from my page. Others might want to keep it, so they should be able to. Same with the Member Connect and Web Links boxes.

Please don’t continue making changes like this when it is obvious your paying subscribers overwhelmingly do not like them. At least give us the option to choose or customize.

I had planned to spend the next week updating many people, as I’ve received lots of new documents … Being unable to spend the time needed on those pages without getting a headache, I don’t think it will be possible. I’m not even sure if it is worth keeping my subscription if this is going to be the new norm for the site.

74 Sharon DayleyOctober 20, 2012 at 1:40 pm

I adamantly agree with the majority of those commenting here–THESE CHANGES ARE AWFUL! Everything said about the stark glare of the white background; the unprofessional, cold style, empty space, non-intuitive functions, etc. is spot on!! I can’t imagine those who made the changes ever use this site as we do–for hours at a time, every day. Nor do they have any understanding about a huge block of Ancestry users who are retired people (because that’s who has the time to devote to genealogy research) with their attendant eyesight problems. This “modern” style page is not only non-pleasing to our psyches, it is downright distasteful! (I was going to say DISGUSTING, but thought better of it, although I think that describes my feelings more clearly.) This is the first time I have found something so displeasing that I’ve taken the time to complain, though I doubt venting here will make any difference. If nothing else, please put back some color, or at least give us the option of adding our own through customizing. A choice of type fonts and size would be equally helpful. I can’t emphasize enough–I am NOT, NOT, NOT happy with this! Putting together a family tree is like making a creation. I used to look at each overview page with pride. I feel like someone vandalized my tree.

75 TomOctober 20, 2012 at 1:42 pm

please stop terrorizing your paying customers with such crappy changes to their tree pages.

76 Sharon DayleyOctober 20, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Having vented my feelings above, I have to encourage anyone at Ancestry who has any ability to make changes, PLEASE LISTEN TO KATIE (comment 72). She has very articulately expressed some of the problems, and without the emotional elements in some of our posts. You can tell, however, that we don’t take our work on this site lightly. We are MORE than monetarily invested.

Thanks, Katie!

77 scwbcmOctober 20, 2012 at 2:27 pm

For Katie’s suggestion I would really prefer not to have the source information area removed. The sources are my reason for being on ancestry.

I know there are a lot of people, such as Katie, who do put those in the timeline so we need that area also.

Burying the citation page has been my least favorite ancestry improvement of any since I have been a member.

Please do not diminish the emphasis on the sources and citations and let people continue to have the choice how to handle this.

78 KatieOctober 20, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Thanks, Sharon. I’m young and have really good eyes and this change causes a lot of problems with my eyes. I do have issues with migraines, though, and the snowstorm on the new page isn’t something that will help that. I can’t even imagine how bad this is for people who do have problems with their eyesight.

And scwbcm, I understand that a lot of people do use those different things. I think it should be something already available on all pages … like it currently is. For those of us that don’t use it, a way to simply remove it. There is an option like this on the main page to edit it a bit to the user’s liking, removing some of the boxes we might not use. Something like that on the Person Overview pages would be nice.

I have a feeling that Ancestry has received many “really dislike” votes in the feedback, so I hope they actually listen to us and go back to how it was. I hope they also listen to all the feedback and see why it is we don’t like it beyond just the scrolling.

If I knew it would get to the right people, I’d love to do a mock design in Photoshop (screenshot style) for the page and have it looked it.

79 RowenaOctober 20, 2012 at 3:08 pm

I think the new look is awful, so wrong and not fair my son can no longer use the site due to his irlen syndrome, and i for one am getting headaches, i understand i may be addictive to family research but you cutting my time down takes the buscuit!, why change something that isnt broken and focus on the transcription errors that are so wrong, i for one am countlesly tired in sending you emails and posts on the West Yorkshire parish registers that are incorrectly labelled the wrong church, i know these are wrong as i live in these area’s, but so unfair for those that dont know where the church is and will be looking for a church that simply does not exist!. these should be priority and not the colour and format of the page

80 SusanOctober 20, 2012 at 4:04 pm

I had to laugh when I saw the change. In my mind it screams “we are trying to make your site smaller(cheaper), so it fits on fewer servers” and to accommodate Facebook/mobile services. As an ex-HTML programmer I understand the need for small graphics and quick download times. But in the last few weeks the speed of the Ancestry site is getting slower and slower, and the often I cannot sync my FTM because “it’s getting crowded in here”. I get bombed out of the DNA results site with annoying consistency. Did we change IT management? or just management? Did we run out of money?

81 TraceyOctober 20, 2012 at 4:05 pm

I have no eyesight problems, apart from using low-strength reading glasses, but the excessive white on the screen caused me to have a severe headache all evening yesterday after trying to use the new layout for just half an hour. This makes it impossible to use the site and, therefore, my subscription is pointless.

I teach family history and have recommended Ancestry to my students simply because of the timeline feature for individuals. As you have now made it look hideous and be headache-inducing even to someone with good eyesight, I shall no longer be recommending Ancestry.

On top of that, to change the layout without warning, without the ability to customise it or to revert back to how it was, simply beggars belief. Surely, any company so reliant on customer subscriptions must want to avoid upsetting its loyal users?

Please listen to us!

82 BEEOctober 20, 2012 at 4:06 pm

Kay #64 – if you are using “New Search”, go to the “SEARCH” drop down, click “search all records”, and in the upper right corner you will see “go to old search”. Of course, mine says “go to new search, because I’m always in “old search”, not that I haven’t tried “new search”.
I find “old search” much more “user friendly”, easier on the eyes, and far less confusing!
I search many ethnic names, and if a document is there to be found, I’ve had success in finding it, no matter how poorly transcribed.
As a Deluxe member for a number of years, I would be very upset if “old search” is taken away, although not knowing the workings of such things, it’s possible it’s “there”, but not supported? Or something like that!

83 Tracey SwiftOctober 20, 2012 at 4:07 pm

I’m not given to making complaints but I really feel I must add my protest to the many who have already voiced their opinions concerning the so-called ‘improvement’ which we have had foisted upon us.
How can you possibly believe that the biggest issue with this nightmare layout is the font size??? Yes – it’s ONE of the issues but the biggest problem by far is the extreme, eye-watering, headache-inducing glare that is experienced each time we work on our trees!!!!!! It’s all too bright, too empty and too stark by a long, long way. My eyes are streaming everytime I look at it for more than a few minutes – and I don’t have any eyesight defects so goodness how those who have must be feeling
It seems to me that your design team has chosen ‘style over substance’ (the Minimalist look is clearly very ‘in’ in your office) with very little (if any) thought to the practicalities of using the page on a daily basis. You have thrown together an unusable, unattractive, unimaginative, uninteresting Overview page which does indeed give a nod to ‘simple’ design but which, unfortunately, completely ignores the requirements of the end user.
I despair at the high-handed arrogance with which this ‘improvement’ has been made. No prior consultation, no notice, no option, no respect, no common sense ……… and, quite probably, no backtracking from a Company that believes it’s too large to be affected by the ‘little people’ and their gripes. You’re probably right – but you have, in the process, belied your true selves …… and it’s not pretty. I am completely disillusioned with you and I sincerely hope you can dispel my cynicism by making an open apology to your customers and, more importantly, by speedily making significant improvements to your ‘improvement’ so that we can get on with enjoying your product and doing what we do best – genealogy.

84 DianeOctober 20, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Are you taking the green off of all the pages? I commented before about not liking the new pages, too much white. I was scrolling through all the comments on here and noticed it was bothering my eyes. Then I saw that it’s the same color combo on this page too. Huge dislike!!!!!

85 JodyOctober 20, 2012 at 4:14 pm

Someone may have already suggested this (there are a lot of posts!) but perhaps using alternating color backgrounds for the timeline entries would improve readability. It would be similar to that found on the results page (white alternating with a soft shade) when the “search records” function is used.

86 Ida May NobleOctober 20, 2012 at 4:28 pm

I don’t like this new look at all, and agree that there is far too much “white” space and scrolling. I could previously view the profile page at a glance, depending on how may facts were listed for the person – now it’s much harder to view, definitely NOT “effectively showcasing the content”, quite the contrary. Miss the color which aided in distinguishing people/facts. You moved the + Add Fact tab which took me a while to locate. Nothing here is user friendly.

87 xxcasxxOctober 20, 2012 at 4:46 pm

Have just printed out an ancestors ‘Profile Page’… have printed it before and it took three quarters of a page and looked nice and neat in my files, now it takes a page and a bit – 2 sheets of paper – I DON’T WANT THIS……

88 StephanieOctober 20, 2012 at 4:55 pm

How about you keep your pages whiter than white if you like the snow blindness effect and add colour option buttons for us to choose for our own tree, same for text size and font. Then everyones happy.
Shifting things around is not a bother for me… I will find it eventually, but colour, text and size is.

89 Ida May NobleOctober 20, 2012 at 5:01 pm

Suggested IMPROVEMENT –I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. One improvement I would like to see is in the Media Gallery – Photos should be for photos only – make a separate gallery for Documents. Have a true Photo Gallery and a separate Document Gallery for each person’s profile page. One could look at all documents added for a person in a Document Gallery, and all pictures added in a Photo Gallery. A marriage license or death certificate is NOT a photo of a person, it’s a document. A photo of a person is an actual image of that person, not an obituary or a land record. I certainly could use the Media Gallery more efficiently and EFFECTIVELY. This separation of Photos and Documents is long awaiting and a much needed improvement, at least I think so.

90 JadeOctober 20, 2012 at 5:35 pm

Stop removing functional stuff from the Overview Pages. Restore the “add citation” links to **each** Timeline item on this page. Get rid of all the white space. Restore the lines and color blocks that visually distinguish the areas of the page. Get rid of all the extra white space. Make the Person Name at top half the size it is now; it was just fine before you made the change. And get rid of all the extra white space. Get more servers and routers to handle the traffic instead of making stuff less usable and less functional.

91 Christine WarrenOctober 20, 2012 at 6:25 pm

I wrote a one line comment on the survey page and clicked next, assuming there would be more specific questions – and that was the end of the survey.

I am curious about what was “subtle” about the new design.

I do like the idea of having options with the format – the old way and the new. – which caters for those who like and those who don’t like the new format.

I found that with photos the first page of profile ended halfway through the information I had written in “Birth”. Profiles that were nicely contained on one page now take two – not user or printer friendly.

92 PammyOctober 20, 2012 at 6:42 pm

Do you know when you go outside and it is a bit bright and you see floaty bits in your eyes [ fluff ect] well that is what it’s like as I am sat here looking not only at my Tree but also this page, then I turn my head and look at my Beige colored wall my eyes go back to normal.I have 20 / 20 vision but I am finding it difficult to concentrate and focus.I have turned the brightness down on my computer to zilch as far down as it will go but it is still brighter than my Energy Saving Bulbs in my light fitting.I use a lap top 15 ” screen so probably sat a bit nearer than I should but before the change on Ancestry and FB everything was fine even with the brightness up halfway.The lack of color is like being in on a UV Sunbed without the protective goggles not good at all.
Scrolling is tedious as you survey the profile page even worse when you have a page full of census ,births, christenings ,deaths,army records ect ect it can go on forever.I would like to see the Parents and details moved up accross to the right hand side of the person who’s profile it is, as at the moment there is one big emptiness.The children of that persons profile also moved up so that they could be seen when the page is first opened.
The Media Gallery could be moved down the bottom as we already can see the photos and cert’s ect on the timeline and to see them twice in a small space is well annoying.Then the timeline would be in the middle instead of near or at bottom where it has ended up now also annoying.
Member connect can stay where it is as it also will move up and so be just in view with a scroll or 2 if the children are moved up.
Some of the buttons could also be reconfigured and moved around within the spaces that are there at the Top so as to gain some space or withing the Top portion containing the Profile name .
But most of all give us back the Color to soften the Glare we have at the moment ………….All in all really I think it needs to be put back as it was Please

93 Cindi MichaelOctober 20, 2012 at 7:31 pm

The is NOTHING I like about the new “subtle” format. The only positive that will come from it is to decrease the time subscribers spend on the site or increase the number of subscribers who do NOT renew their subscription.

94 JeffOctober 20, 2012 at 8:33 pm

Too much white space. The choice of fonts isn’t real good either. Ancestry may try to pass this off as “new and improved”, but it ain’t. It reminds me of Windows Vista.

95 Long time userOctober 20, 2012 at 8:52 pm

So much has already been said, I don’t know if I can add anything new. The new profile is UN-USABLE!!!!!!! WHAT IDIOT CAME UP WITH THAT AND WHAT IDIOT OKed IT. YOU BET, I’M SHOUTING!!!!!!

The new person profile/overview is terrible! Put it back the way it was (puky green and yellow and all if necessary). Actually Ancestry tried this stupid idea once before and then they went back. I’m getting weary of them always shoving unnecessary changes at us. They are not improvements. The language I could use to describe what I really think would be unprintable!!! I’ve seen 10 years of dumb changes which are not helpful.


Yes, I find I can add something new to add to this post. Printing a profile page is a nightmare. If I want to see one person’s profile on 1 (one) piece of paper, I have to change the scale to 50% to get it all included. That is one random person with 10 (ten) source citations and a one or two line descriptive note. When it does print, I get teeny tiny text fonts with huge white spaces. I don’t want to make my profile prints more than one page. That’s not GREEN! Ancestry get a F- for that. Enviormentally hostile.

The whole profile/overview page just became inefficient. Disgusting!

96 NancyOctober 20, 2012 at 9:27 pm

Oh, my. Not a good change. Besides all the other things mentioned, there’s a problem of movement on the page as the banner is coming on. Have missed my target a few times because of it and clicked on something else. Very annoying and it makes me a bit dizzy as the page jumps around. I find the ads so bothersome that I scroll down before they finish loading so I can avoid looking at them.

The new format looks unprofessional, like a cut and paste website (and many of those look better than this).

97 Ann WeightmanOctober 20, 2012 at 9:30 pm

Major fail, Ancestry. It’s cheap looking, too white and a host of other problems. Admit you made a mistake and can it. Instead of spending money on this piece of junk, it would have been better if you had upgraded or added more servers. Every time you run a contest or promo of some sort your loyal customers can’t access Ancestry because it’s jammed up with potential customers. You have no regard for the customers who have paid a good amount of money to use it only to find that there are some days where you can’t access it all.

98 P SawyersOctober 20, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Too white! I’ve a splitting headache after trying to work on the website for less than 15 minutes. At least give us the choice of changing our view back to the old one. As someone who is visually impared, unless the changes are rolled back, I won’t be wasting my money on a subscription that I cannot use. Keep your paying customers happy and listen to the feedback, Ancestry!

99 MWBOctober 20, 2012 at 10:04 pm

everyone is going about this all wrong, we should be telling them how much we love this new format, and that we don’t want them to change it…because we all know that anytime we really like something on here they change it

100 gillian mcluckieOctober 20, 2012 at 11:05 pm

Well Ancestry, I’ve just gone back onto my tree this morning, and I’m already back off it. The glare and all that white, large fonts etc is already causing me to have a headache. The reason most of us chose your site, was because that the old layout was soft and kinder to the eyes, and you could see the whole profile at a glance. This new layout just does not work, and please don’t say we’ll get used to it in time.
Also Ancestry, you are a business, and as such, you need to listen to your present customers, as we are the ones who really know what works for us. You are seriously in danger of losing a lot of custom, old and new, as I won’t be renewing my membership and I will also not be recommending your site to anyone who is new to genealogy, not unless they want to have constant headaches and eyestrain. Perhaps you might take notice if you start losing customers. I’m afraid your reputation as the top genealogy site could be in ruin, and may be difficult to regain.

101 KROctober 21, 2012 at 12:19 am

I thought my pages were broken this morning until I started investigating. Did I miss the notice of this upcoming change to the format?

As a loyal member, I have always yearned that Ancestry allow the user the option of customizing their pages to suit their needs – color of choice, maybe larger print for those with eye site impediments, ability to remove features that are not used…adjustments that are akin to other websites and various browsers. The ability for the site to recognize and alert people that the person they are adding may already be in the tree would be nice too.

If you are going to take away the color, maybe consider going back to the original black/white/blue page color configuration which was easier on the eye than this variation? I do not recall the full reason given to Ancestry members for changing to the current, now defunct, “green page format” upon its implementation but “easier to read” comes to mind.

I firmly agree that without color the new change to the “Person Overview” page is very bland and makes it actually harder to read and distinguish between the different subject and informational areas on the page. A very unprofessional look at best. I also agree with my fellow members, remove the Facebook link, it’s irritating to see. I have no idea what service it provides especially since FB has options that when ‘turned on’ prevent unknown persons from searching or obtaining information from a person’s page w/o their permission. At the least move it under a tab. May I also suggest moving the “Media Gallery” to the bottom of the page. It has always taken up too much space in its current placement. Repositioning would make scrolling easier and if you want to access it quickly use the ‘Media tab’.

My daughter does this for a living her first question before even seeing the new format was “what’s‘s demographic profile”. I took a guess. As a look of shock came over her face. She said, “If you are correct, they missed the mark. It looks like a first-year student’s project. It’s a start, but there is room for improvement if they’ll consider their users and their habits”.

102 Susan RobertsonOctober 21, 2012 at 12:59 am

It is Sunday morning here in the UK and also the weekend over most of the world so none of us are likely to see our profile pages revert to normal before tomorrow.
To the person responsible for this joke “Enjoy your free time and lets hope you have lots more spare time to spend doodling on your home computor -unpaid of course”
Did you not realise your wasteful meddling would bring international condemnation down onto you!!
If you are allowed to continue in this employment, what will you spoil next?

103 Sue FowlerOctober 21, 2012 at 3:54 am

With over 100 replys will we be getting a reply from this blog to the questions the members have asked ? Quite clearly the new page layout is causing the majority of people who have replied to get eye strain problems.Will ancestry give the members the option of choosing the old or new style format.

104 Morag HughsonOctober 21, 2012 at 5:15 am

Giving that you are currently working of support for the iPad, changing the design of the website so that it is much worse for those of us with a smaller screen is a backwards step.

You have also deleted a very important button – the Add Fact button from the bottom of the overview page. So if you have to scroll to the bottom to see what you’ve currently got before adding something, now you have to scroll all the way back to the top again to press the button. Please add back in the Add Fact button at the bottom.

It is also much harder to see where the various areas on the page start/stop because all the boundaries have been removed, and everything is more spread out, so more scrolling as well as being bad on the small screen as mentioned.

In short, a step in the wrong direction. There was nothing wrong with the website design before so I don’t understand the need to change? There are lots of other things that you have been asked to odd to the website that you haven’t yet done, so why not concentrate on doing things your users ask you to do, instead of tweaking things that upset your users.

105 John ManningOctober 21, 2012 at 5:16 am

I believe you Ancestry may be in breach of UK and EU disability discrimination and health and safety legislation. The legal responses could be very interesting. Has anyone noticed the number cf complaints about the new look causing head aches!

106 Ginger FinkOctober 21, 2012 at 7:34 am

I have already submitted an answer to the survey, but i would like to make it known that i am very unhappy with the change. Not only are the above comments true, my pictures have a distorted look, and the color is no longer the same. If this continues, I will no longer be a subscriber the next time around.

107 PattiOctober 21, 2012 at 8:05 am

Something I didn’t mention in my original comment was that I was working on my tree for hours, the day after this change went into effect. I had read about those professing headaches and thought to myself…awww c’mon, this is ‘monkey-see, monkey-do stuff. I am not prone (at all) to headaches but the next day (yesterday) nursed one annoying head pain, right between my eyes and temples. Absolutely true. I was really shocked. There MUST be (more that subtle, but less than bold) contrasting colors on these pages to ward off the sheer whiteness.

108 Louise QuigleyOctober 21, 2012 at 8:46 am

I too find the page extremely difficult to look at. Not just the glare, but the timeline is a mess. For me the most important piece of information in the timeline is FIRST the date of the event, and then the event itself. The colour of the text of the date makes it almost disappear on the white background. Really is the poorest design I’ve ever come across.
Ancestry really have shown us that they care very little for their customers AGAIN.
I would have liked to see Ancestry spend more time rectifying poorly transcribed records in the 1911 Census for England & Wales, and putting right the missing indexes for the UK BMDs.

109 kayOctober 21, 2012 at 8:53 am

I usually provide my feedback to Ancestry privately rather than a public forum, but I must make an exception here. Over the years there have been periodic changes to user pages. Some I liked and many I didn’t. Regardless, I got used to the changes.

This is different. I simply cannot use your new format without hurting my eyes. I don’t think this is something I can get used to or work around and it is very sad to me.

I planned a weekend of research, but have been unable to use the new format without the watery eyes and discomfort mentioned by many others. I do have a solution. Since I can no longer use my online tree, I will migrate it all to a software program and stop using my online tree. I hope the developers understand it is difficult to maintain a tree at more than one place due to the time involved in data entry and sourcing. If I take the time to truly move my tree and record my research through my home software, I will no longer maintain my tree at Ancestry. I will continue to do research as I need access to the records.

I plan to use the time I set aside for research this afternoon to migrate my tree. The exporting by gedcom is easy, but it will take awhile to deal with the media and format of my citations. There will come a point fairly soon where I will not return to my online tree. At that point, it will not be in my intersts to have my tree at Ancestry even if you return the format.

I do not want to do this or I would not be writing. I just hope Ancestry will understand the urgency of this situation and will act quickly. The loss of online trees would change many things including Member Connect that I have found to be a unique and productive service.

110 IdaOctober 21, 2012 at 9:08 am

I agree 100% with everyone. Our ancestors have entered the white light… we are not ready too!!! Please get rid of all the White Space and really why don’t you ask us first? We are the ones using the product. My gosh you send out enough surveys but never on important issues like this. Geeshhh

111 BeatriceOctober 21, 2012 at 9:44 am

It is very hard to read and want it changed back!!! It’s not working for my eyes and If you don’t change it back, I have to leave even it is sad for me :-(

112 Rick BiskerOctober 21, 2012 at 10:36 am

@108 Kay

If you do decide to migrate your family tree to a software file by a GEDCOM file you will notice another change that ancestry has done. The birth order of the families children will become random and you will have to go back rearrange the children to the correct birth order unless you done care.

113 John ROctober 21, 2012 at 10:50 am

What a complete mess! The major change in appearance has now made using Ancestry an unpleasant & more time consuming experience with no apparent benefits. A classic case of change for the sake of it.

Like others I thought there was a system problem initially. Why did Ancestry not bother to email subscribers about the planned changes? Was there any meaningful consultation beforehand?

This is a prime example of how not to treat your customers, a major marketing failure! I want to see an option to revert to the previous appearance without delay, otherwise I will consider my own options.

114 adamsfamily1October 21, 2012 at 11:13 am

until the change on Thursday i was working on my tree here on ancestry for around 12 hours at a time. with the new design i have spent less than 4 hours since then!

it is so difficult to concentrate on anything on the tree now and unfortunately that is what the new design is forcing me to do. as a dyslexic i can only echo what Jean said on #24 with the lack of colour and clearly defined areas and the large font and white space meaning more scrolling and the eye blinding effect of the whiteness it has truly as Jean said made it very hard to read.

# 100 said

My daughter does this for a living her first question before even seeing the new format was “what’s‘s demographic profile”. I took a guess. As a look of shock came over her face. She said, “If you are correct, they missed the mark. It looks like a first-year student’s project. It’s a start, but there is room for improvement if they’ll consider their users and their habits”.

very true in fact i think my 15 year old could come up with a better concept than the team who produced this utter total mess that was aloud to go live. if the page is not changed and if as i fear the rest of the pages follow suit i will simply remove my tree sooner rather than later and when the sub i currently have runs out in march i will migrate to another site.I’ll be able to get a good deal at the who do you think you are show from another company. i all ready have my tree on one of the leading company’s here in England two site and also on tribal pages and have for years kept my tree on my computer. so my tree being removed from ancestry will hurt you more than me!
consider your selves on notice of losing a use of 12 years+ if things are not changed within a reasonable time.

115 rmetz54October 21, 2012 at 11:47 am

I echo everyones unhappy comments and add this one: Is anyone else having trouble searching records by maiden name? All of a sudden nothing is popping up for me when I look for any record with a maiden name. I have to go back to the main page and search by her married name to get the records, then save it back to the maiden name. This is just crazy and extremely time consuming. I hate it.

116 Joseph BackesOctober 21, 2012 at 12:42 pm

The layout change is terrible. I want the old one back. You people made a mistake. You should admit it and apologize.

There should be a simple solution to this. allows users to choose from a series of templates for the look of an individual’s blog. And even after choosing from that list you can do more customizing to improve the look of your blog. subscribers should have the same ability. Allowing individuals to change the layout page for their ancestors in their tree would be a better approach. If you cannot do this then please bring the old layout back.

117 kayOctober 21, 2012 at 1:19 pm

#111 Yes, I do care about the order of children as well as other details. Thanks for the heads up. Happily, it is one of the easier things to deal with as the software program I have requires two mouse clicks to sort by birth order. I am far more concerned about migrating media and how the citations will transfer. There is no question a change will take time. Still, I can’t use the Ancestry tree in its current form more than a few minutes because it hurts my eyes. I simply see no other alternative if I want to continue my research. I still hope Ancestry will address the issue, but this is a wakeup call at the least. If they fix the problem quickly, I can decide if I will continue to use the Ancestry tree or continue the migration. Ancestry remains a primary resource for records and I cannot imagine dropping my subscription. I think there is value in having my tree online. This is what I am sad about possibly losing.

118 Donna ChristiansenOctober 21, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Children need to be indented from parent or some other alternate design to distinguish from the parent. All the extra space makes for more scrolling.

119 PamOctober 21, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Further to my previous comments expressing my dislike to the new look overview page, I would like to add that I have since this change I am finding a lot of the images are now blurry and out of focus. When I typed this into Google I found another Ancestry Blog dating back to August 2012 extolling the new Apps available for iphone, ipad, and every other ‘i’ device.
It seems that Ancestry has made the changes to the overview page to suit these new Apps.

This type of technology is not going to be used by people dedicated to serious Family Research, as previously commented by Moira in comment #41.

And why people would want to ‘tweet’ their findings is beyond my comprehension.

I only came across this Blog Article by Jen Hodnett by “asking” Google about the change to Ancestry site – this Blog is not on the UK site.

Can I also bring to everyones attention that as well as sending feedback on this Blog site, you can also repeat on the actual overview page, however you can only do this once per computer!

120 Debra PegalisOctober 21, 2012 at 5:36 pm

I am an early adopter of technology and making things simple. I have been an Ancestry user for many years and many dollars.
Things I don’t like:
1. If you are a laptop user (I have a 13″) you cannot look at the “meat” of the information. You have to scroll down even for people you don’t have much info on.
2. Too much white wasted space

3. Unless you can see all of the info on the same page you may not realize that you have something in there twice…again you would have to scroll back and forth…TOO CUMBERSOME
Did you have to scroll down to see the rest of my message??? That is what I feel like looking a each person’s page.

121 DominicOctober 21, 2012 at 7:32 pm

Since implementing this change, which by the way is an eye-sore, the records are taking an age to come into focus – always it seems on the name I am researching. I am also having to constantly refresh the page when saving a record to the tree. Please return The Person Overview to the way it was.

122 Lynn Williams-MurphyOctober 21, 2012 at 7:53 pm

I agree with what has already been said about the lousy new profile page. I filled out that “huge” survey you gave us. What is sad is that since you changed the profile pages, I haven’t even attempted to do any research. Just doing a quick look was enough to make me want to go somewhere else to display my trees. Like many others, I am planning to look into my other options and will seriously consider dumping Ancestry.

I was a programmer/analyst for years. Do your IT project people really spend so little attention on customer satisfaction? It’s frightening.

123 TiffanyOctober 21, 2012 at 8:03 pm

Though I appreciate what is trying to do, I agree with the majority of other posts saying that these changes are a really bad idea. Sections used to be distinct, such as the Member Connect and Source Information, but now they all run together. Also, the indention between spouse and children needs to be greater; it now looks like a long list of spouses. It’s harder to read facts because there’s no color distinction. The new layout is simply bland and boring. It certainly doesn’t inspire one to spend time on a profile.

However, I disagree with a few of the posts which are really negative toward younger genealogists. It’s really discouraging to someone like me, just starting my research, to see something like, “Totally pointless as the vast majority of younger people simply don’t have the time or money, hence are unable to provide the dedication needed to do the job properly.” True, I don’t have the money to have a paid account (hoping for a Christmas gift), and I have a full-time job, therefore I must do my research in the few hours I have after work, but does that mean my research is pointless or improper?? It’s extremely valuable and meaningful to me and my family members with whom I’ve shared my findings. My father has thanked me countless times for finding information about our ancestors. I’ve connected with about half a dozen close cousins I didn’t know, all thanks to Not bad for less than a year of research. I understand the point regarding demographics, and I agree with it, but it’s really discouraging for someone to assume that I’m not doing the job properly just because I’m young. But I digress.

Also, there are a few comments such as, “technology is not going to be used by people dedicated to serious Family Research.” That’s a false assumption. I like that it is an option and not forced upon users. If we want to send a tweet that we found something, it’s nice that we can do so easily. I’ve only used the direct posting option maybe twice, but my choice. It doesn’t detract from the layout. And guess what, I have many family members who are also on Twitter and Facebook, and thanks to my posting the information, they’ve added it to their own records. One of those family members is actually the president of their local genealogical society. But he uses the same technology which was just claimed to not be used by those “dedicated to serious” research. Right…… I’ve learned many helpful research tips by following’s Twitter feed. Technology isn’t the problem, and it certainly has nothing to do with the level of someone’s dedication. The problem is that made a change without doing the proper research regarding what its users want. Changing the layout just to accomodate apps (or whatever the goal may be with this change) is a big mistake.

124 AnnOctober 22, 2012 at 12:04 am

Sorry, can’t write much of a comment, I’m suffering from snowblindness. Bland, bland bland. Infantile and unprofessional-looking too – looks like the school assignment of a child who’s just learned how to insert tables rather than the work of highly skilled professional designers of these things. Shame noone thought to add a ‘go back to the old view’ button – again.

125 Susan RobertsonOctober 22, 2012 at 4:10 am

Tiffany – 122 – I was not the person who made the remarks regarding younger researchers & I think the original writer was just making the point that to many retired people (myself included) family history has replaced their careers. It is very
frustrating to find that something you have spent years and money on has been vandalised at the push of a button. My profile page was a showcase for the rest of my tree apart from being useful to me. I really feel now what is the point of carrying on putting the tree on ancestry. What will they “improve” next? There are plenty of genuine glitches which need fixed. Almost every day there is a breakdown or fault occurring which we have to grin and bear. Ancestry management must get their priorities right if they want to keep loyal customers.

126 Miguel FernandesOctober 22, 2012 at 4:38 am

The new look is completely pappa and with your continual attempts to foist Fartbook upon us I assume you intend to drive away your traditional customers.

127 GarrybOctober 22, 2012 at 4:56 am

Im maybe a little different from some of the others. I dont really care too much about the layout… but the white is killing my eyes.

128 Jan GrantOctober 22, 2012 at 5:29 am

The old page was so easy to work with. The new page is a killer. I can’t work for more than a few minutes without getting a headache. I hate it. I feel I’ve totally wasted my money….not just the cost of the “Worldwide” subscription, but the added expence of FTM 2012. I really think the problem is age related….the whizz kids who come up with these ideas tend to be 20 somethings, whilst the majority of researchers fall into the 40+ age range, with 40+ year old eyes

129 BarbaraOctober 22, 2012 at 5:34 am

I thought something was wrong with my computer. I called my son to see if he had the same format. Please change it back. I’ve been a customer since 2002 and trying to read this mess really hurts my eyes. No contrast, more scrolling, where’s upload photos, everything was at my finger tips now I have to search everywhere trying to figure out how to insert my photos. If you have nothing better to do with your time I have a few windows that need washing.

130 Ken HindsOctober 22, 2012 at 5:55 am

1. Way too much white space, which hurts my eyes.
2. The padding in the boxes around timeline items is way
too big. It could easily be cut in half.
3. No boxes around Source Information or Web Links, which
makes them hard to see/read.
4. The grey color around parent and spouse names is way
too close to the massive amount of white. It needs more
5. The list of children needs to be indented from the
spouse name.
6. Why does the “View family tree” default to descendant
view? I never use that view. Can I set my preferences to
default to pedigree view?
7. Surely there are better uses of your programmers’ time
than this.

131 BEEOctober 22, 2012 at 7:04 am

I couldn’t agree more with each and every one of the above comments about the “OVERVIEW” page, and I won’t be satisfied until it returns to the way it looked before this white-out!
I have spent the last six+ months cleaning up all my trees, removing things I no longer needed or wanted, making sure there was no duplicate information on the “overview” page, etc. so I have spent a great deal of time on I don’t know if anyone else is having this problem, but I finally went through all the hints on one of my larger tree, and this is what I’m left with: “There are currently no People hints” – yet it says “All Hints” – 198. My largest tree says the same thing, with 10 hints that aren’t there.
Am I the only one with this problem?

132 SmogDogOctober 22, 2012 at 7:34 am

I don’t like the change. Perhaps partly because it is a change, but I also believe there is a lot of merit in the specific objections voiced in the the previous comments.

It was working just fine before. The impression I get is one of deteriorating quality. I would be much happier if it were changed back.

133 Pat SecordOctober 22, 2012 at 7:57 am

#130 Bee, I’ve had that happen as well. However, if I go on to something else and come back to “hints” it shows them. Not the right answer for you, it shouldn’t be happening at all. But, at least in my case, they do show up again.

134 BEEOctober 22, 2012 at 8:17 am

Thank you Pat, glad to know that I’m not the only one, but it’s been constant and ongoing.
Someone “looked into it” months ago, but I guess for now? it’s one of those unsolvable problems!

135 JudyOctober 22, 2012 at 8:33 am

Now read this!From Dick Eastman
I thought that many newsletter readers might want to know about this:
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Inc. will be acquired by an investor group led by European private-equity firm Permira for nearly $1.6 billion, or $32 per share. Reports added that the $1.6 billion value of the agreement accounts for vesting of outstanding options, with the $32.00 per share price representing a premium of around 40% from where the stock was trading in June.

The Journal reports the buyout is a bet that family-history research is more than a niche market and that the subscriber base can swell with technological innovations, deeper archives and a wider international audience. People familiar with the buyers’ plans said that expansion in western Europe is a goal.

You can

136 BEEOctober 22, 2012 at 8:40 am

If you aren’t a WSJ subscriber, you can find a little more information here:$1.6-billion-report-says/

137 ValerieOctober 22, 2012 at 8:49 am

First off, I agree with pretty much everyone that the new layout is bland and has too much white space. It looks like a step backward technologically speaking.

However, I don’t understand the negative comments about the younger generations or technology. Quote: “This type of technology is not going to be used by people dedicated to serious Family Research”

If you don’t understand how Facebook and Twitter might be used for genealogy, try it out. Search “#genealogy” on twitter and you’ll find a ton of people sharing their finds and helping each other with their research.

And as for the comment about the family tree apps – if you have an Android or iPhone and a family tree on Ancestry you should have this app. Now, I’m not saying the app is perfect. Much like the family trees here, they keep doing “updates” which I think make the app worse (can I please have my horizontal tree view back!). However, when you are at an Archive or Library you can pull up your family tree on your phone. Much smaller than a laptop and more organized than a bunch of pedigree charts and family group sheets!

138 Deborah ThompsonOctober 22, 2012 at 9:28 am

Oh PLEASE do somthing! I HATE the new changes…I always look forward to “something new”, but this time thought my computer was dying. It was that “shocking”.

139 BEEOctober 22, 2012 at 11:04 am

137 posts here on this subject with no response?
I guess we’re supposed to move on to another subject??

140 JohnOctober 22, 2012 at 11:21 am

I don’t like it either. First reaction was I was having bandwidth issues and whole page was not downloading. Things seems more and more spread out. I use sources feature a lot and is become less accessible — that just discourages people from getting in habit of documenting their sources — something that will both help with their recall down the road and others decide how much confidence to put in their work. Change for just the sake of change is not good. Did you bother to prototype your changes with a test audience.

141 AnnOctober 22, 2012 at 11:57 am

Their FB page seems to be implying that the changes were made to benefit users of tablet and mobile devices. Too bad for the rest of us then.

142 jhodnettOctober 22, 2012 at 1:21 pm

Sorry it’s taken so long to respond. There were a lot of things to look through this morning and I still haven’t had a chance to look at every comment.

For those that are concerned that your feedback is going unheard, we will be making changes to the overview page that we hope will help address the most common complaints.

To those that are concerned that features are missing or not working – The only functional change to the page was to consolidate the add photo, story, audio and video links under one action button. There were no other feature changes to the page so if something on the site is not working or missing, it is unrelated to the visual changes on the person profile page.

143 KathleenPowersOctober 22, 2012 at 1:35 pm

To Jen Hodnett—

I agree with Tiffany’s comment about the lack of indentation for the children and the children now appear as many spouses.

Also, #76 scwbcm — KEEP the source area – I use it frequently

#103 Morag Hughson — Agree especially with the lack of boundries, and I also like the little flip calendar on the dates.

I did do the survey and added feedback.

My other big gripe other that the bright page, scrolling and everything else above is the lack of consistancy with the font size, it is driving me crazy! the layout is crappy and not following the basic principals of design… Please — consider your audience.

Oh – time for research, let me grab my sunglasses.

144 LindaOctober 22, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Thank you for responding to our concerns, there are other functional changes .. ie the “Add Family Members” and “Add Fact” … especially the Add Fact, it is now at the top of the page, needs to be moved back to the bottom of the Timeline.
When will we see the changes? I also noticed today that my pictures are blurry .. what is that all about?

145 SharonOctober 22, 2012 at 2:32 pm

What’s the deal!?! I click “view family tree” and get a descendant chart, not a pedigree chart! WHY? This makes no sense. If this is something some people want, make it a choice. Must we be subjected to the whims of whoever thinks they know the “best” way? This is getting distressing.

I also agree with others, the photos are “smudgy” and seem dark. This isn’t the professional look I signed up for 3 years ago. Does think they are so far ahead of other research sites that we are “trapped” into accepting whatever they decide to do, and will eventually just acquiesce? I’ll definitely be reconsidering a fourth year.

146 Mark StickleOctober 22, 2012 at 2:44 pm

It’s no accident that the “new look” and the Facebook link were announced at almost the same time as the sale of the company. The goal is to position ANCESTRY in the supposedly ‘hot’ social media space. The investment bankers think this is great from a revenue standpoint — the site will supposedly attract a lot of hip young urban types with lots of disposable income, and little serious interest in genealogy. The bet is that the new revenue will more than offset the loss that will be experienced as longtime users (like me) get fed up with the sloppiness and arrogance and go elsewhere with the ‘trees’ that we have worked so hard on for so many years.

147 jhodnettOctober 22, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Kathleen – thanks for the detailed feedback. I appreciate the summary of what you think needs changing.

Linda – the “Add fact” button has always been at the top right corner of the timeline. It was not moved. The “Add family members” was moved to be consistent with all the other “add” options.

Sharon – If you’re on the tree view in the upper left corner, you can select between “family view” and “pedigree view”.

To both Sharon and Linda – I don’t know what is causing your photos to appear blurry or dark. We did’nt change anything on the site that would distort photos. Feel free to contact member services and ask them to help you resolve the issue as they will have the resources to help.

148 Todd CarnesOctober 22, 2012 at 3:27 pm

Well, well imagine that… A big announcement today. has been bought out by another company. I need to check out some other sites.

149 Todd CarnesOctober 22, 2012 at 3:29 pm

I included a link to a story about the buy-out, but Ancestry stripped it from my post.

150 Mary Ann BeyerOctober 22, 2012 at 3:33 pm

I truly dislike the new version.I thought my computer was having issues and I had accidently increased the magnification. You can on longer see as much on the screen as you use to which is annoying. The add family members which is generally more children is at the top. It is truly bland without any contrast and delineation between dates and locations. I think it is MORE difficult to read, creates more eye strain, and requires more use of page up and page down to get to areas. Did they ever think about test cases and comparisons before they did this?

151 Todd CarnesOctober 22, 2012 at 3:38 pm

@jhodnett You said “To those that are concerned that features are missing or not working – The only functional change to the page was to consolidate the add photo, story, audio and video links under one action button. There were no other feature changes to the page so if something on the site is not working or missing, it is unrelated to the visual changes on the person profile page.”

This is not true the search box that used to be in the upper-right corner of the page that allowed me to do quick searches for people in my tree is gone.

152 jhodnettOctober 22, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Todd – I’m not sure what view you’re in or what browser you’re using, so it’s hard to properly diagnose what’s causing the “Find someone in my tree” search box to not appear for you, but I assure you that it’s still there and working for me and was never intended to be removed.

153 BEEOctober 22, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Todd, check out my comment #135.
jhodnett, I think what people have been asking is why can’t our trees be opened to the overview of the “Home Person” – at least that is what I would prefer.
Although I can understand the “add family member” move to be consistent with the other “add” options,
I think the majority of this long list of comments is saying, there was nothing wrong with how the “overview” page looked, and we want it back, not “tweaked” or toyed with!

154 LindaOctober 22, 2012 at 4:09 pm

jhodnett, Sorry I got mixed up with the “Add Fact” .. I think it was because I have to scroll so much to get to the bottom of the timeline to see what fact I need to add (ie so much white space)… it wasn’t that difficult with the old vision .. I think I will just wait until the New Picture Show arrives .. no sense going on and on with different aspects of the this view, I just cannot work with it as it is .. so I will wait to see what Ancestry comes up with .. hopefully I will be able to work with it. … thank you for coming into the blog and keeping us updated.

155 KevinOctober 22, 2012 at 4:26 pm

The previous design had way too many boxes around everything, but you’ve fallen for the same painful redesign that Google used…including tons of whitespace and low contrast text.

Do you understand that reading gray text on white background is hard on the eyes?

156 BethOctober 22, 2012 at 6:16 pm

I agree with a lot of people here. I do NOT like the new setup. I spend hours going over pages. This new format takes up so much space that it is very distracting. Family History is very tedious work. So keeping with a format that everyone is use to is very very helpful and therefore takes less time to do. I do not have “old eyes” but it still very hard to look at. I do not wish to work with all these stark colors. Even reading just this page, I find myself squinting. It wasn’t broke before.

157 jnOctober 22, 2012 at 6:53 pm

Too much white! I prefer the old design.

158 ConstanceOctober 22, 2012 at 7:32 pm

It is plain ugly, hard to read and distorted. I just upgraded to the global subscription and purchased the Family Tree Maker..which my largest tree no longer syncs – I am feeling buyer remorse.

159 Mary Beth MarchantOctober 22, 2012 at 8:22 pm

Re: Jen Hodnett’s post “Linda – the “Add fact” button has always been at the top right corner of the timeline. It was not moved.” You are right, the one on the top was not moved but the one on the bottom was deleted requiring us to all go to the top for the “add fact” button.

160 Long time userOctober 22, 2012 at 9:54 pm

To Jen Hodnett:

You may say Ancestry did NOT change some parts of the profile/overview page, but whenever Ancestry changes anything, it does affect some folks in strange ways. For example: The new image viewer doesn’t work well with my system but the old Enhanced Image Viewer was perfect for me. Having to change to the new one caused my system to not function well, and in some cases not work at all.

So when folks say some things have changed that you say were not changed, believe them. Why would they lie? I have already expressed my dissatisfaction and the reasons for the new profile/overview page.

What is all the hub-bub about Ancestry being sold? Even my neighbor who is not a subscriber asked me about it.

161 Long time userOctober 22, 2012 at 10:27 pm

#134 Judy and #135 Bee:

Oopsie! Sorry. I hadn’t read your posts when I did #159. Thanks.

162 Carol SpencerOctober 22, 2012 at 11:53 pm

Really dislike the new white look, it’s too hard on the eye and hard to quickly discern information. Ancestry are spending huge amounts advertising for new subscribers but have cheapened the look of the site. Maybe this new white out look takes up less space on their servers – which had slowed down and almost stopped some days. Come on Ancestry .. give us the service we pay for !

163 AnnOctober 23, 2012 at 1:16 am

Exactly how many complaints do you need to receive before you take notice? So far that’s all I’ve seen, complaints. Are you getting the message yet?

164 Ancestry DaigOctober 23, 2012 at 2:40 am

I have been an Member since 2000. I’ve seen the site go through many changes, many quite disconcerting. It was agreed, the last time major changes were made, that users would be informed before hand, so they could finish what they were working on and then updates could be done. This didn’t occur. Suddenly, I couldn’t finish what I was right in the middle of, and it was extremely aggravating… Many don’t have a great deal of time to learn this all over again…
Then, the next day I went in to the site, and all of a sudden years are now in BOLD large print! CAN’T STAND THE NEW LOOK. Ok, so I thought, let’s be positive and see if this works better. Nope. Instead of being able to add new sources in easily, near then middle bottom, I now have to go UP to the top of the page for every single addition and click on “family members”, “Add media” and especially “add fact”. Before something new gets released you should “beta test” it, like you are doing with AncestryDNA. That way, the bugs are shown and can be fixed easily. This is affection 2 million users negatively. Additionally, I can no longer email a suggestion, but have to call on the phone… The only other option is is make my concerns known here. Not a happy camper. WHY FIX SOMETHING WHEN IT DOESN”T NEED FIXING? My suggestion is to put things back the way they were last week and create a function on the main page where we OURSELVES can change the look of our own trees in the way we choose. Similar to the “Home Page” set up. Give us choices, not arbitarily change the look and not even ask your paying customers… Let’s say you were buying a Coffee Mocha at the local coffee place and one day the owners decided to stop serving coffee mocha. What would YOU do? I hope I have made my point clear.. Regards, Ancestry Daig

165 Ancestry DaigOctober 23, 2012 at 3:11 am

May I make a simple suggestion? There must be a cache history for the programmers to look at, and see how things were done in the early days of – through the massive changes – to what we now have today. We have already been through all the redesigns already. People have voiced their concerns, changes were made, then corrected, and this is how it all got to where it was, UNTIL it was just changed back to what didn’t work before. Yes, this kind of layout was tried before. The site worked fine the way it was a few weeks ago. I do understand, if you are a new user, that it looks VERY overwhelming when you first are using the site and you don’t know how to “get around”. There are tutorials at the top of the page, so it gets easier every day you use the site.
I also notice on the right here, it says “commenting is open until Friday, 2 November 2012″
Do you know that many on this site don’t even know how to get to this section yet? There would be way more feedback. Anyway, just a few thoughts…
Oh, one last thing. I personally like more contrast when working with photos, stories and dates. I have even gone so far as to change all these myself so I can view things easily again. Might be nice to have a “function” which will do this… Happy trails… Ancestry Daig

166 Sue FowlerOctober 23, 2012 at 3:59 am

JHodnet Can you give a specific answer to the bright white background that is affecting so many people eye problems & headaches.Can it be toned down,Changed back how it was or another colour added if so will it be done in the next couple of days ?

167 EviecatOctober 23, 2012 at 4:49 am

I hate the new layout as it is a strain on my eyes. Is it designed so that we won’t spend as much time on the website.I must agree with Ann 162 and also Carol 161 Come on Ancestry .. give us the service we pay for!I hope I can look forward to a return of the old pages or a vast improvement on the current one.

168 FairyOctober 23, 2012 at 6:57 am

I totally agree.
Logging onto the page this morning was a shock. All white, too much to scroll through, nothing presented so you could see the ‘timeline’, (I dont like that word) easily. I thought I had changed a setting without realising it.
I agree about pedigree charts and the add a fact button.
I now have a is ‘XX on facebook?’ link/button. I know my Auntie is dead, I just cant find her death record … so I doubt very much she is a facebook user! Life does not revolve around facebook.
Thank you to the person who pointed out ‘add family members’ had moved, I would have thought I was having a senior moment!
Printing is a nightmare. I often like a hard copy for my file. For my profile page thats not too bad, one birth and a marriage, (Im not dead yet) one page of large type. For my great granfather … birth, christening, census records, marriage, war records, census records,my own personal notes on his retirement date from the post office, his death and his probate record …. I need a tree worth of paper!
As someone else said use your resources to correct the 1911 census transcription records and update the search facility.
I also agree with the comment that hardly anyone knows where this page is, so you wont get a true picture of feedback.
Maybe you could put some ‘like’ buttons, being as you want us all to be facebooking, against the comments that have been submitted on here. Not everyone is comfortable with giving written feedback.
What a waste of your time, our time and our subscription money.

169 jhodnettOctober 23, 2012 at 9:15 am

Sue – The background color was not changed, we think that it just appears more white because of the extra padding/spacing around the different elements on the page combined with the removal of the green headers.

For everyone – We have read the feedback and are continuing to read the feedback and we will shortly be making changes that should address much of the feedback.

170 Nancy BondOctober 23, 2012 at 9:25 am

also-it seems to be making the photo space on the individuals in the tree very smashed and elongated, hard to see whatever has been uploaded there – photos, obits, etc..

171 Jeannette HarringtonOctober 23, 2012 at 9:54 am

Excuse me jhodnet, what exactly do you mean when you say that the background was not changed, what a load of rubbish that is, if you look on Ancestry uk fb you will see the comparison (before & after), this change is affecting people badly, causing migraine’s eye strain and also without a warning other things that are downright dangerous, i am unable to use it for more than a few minutes. I honestly don’t think you can be reading peoples complaints or taking us seriously to come up with a comment like ” the background colour wasn’t changed” please listen and take note or just say that you have no intention of softening the background so that some of us can take our custom elsewhere, i’m very annoyed with the whole thing and this page is very hard on the eye’s also.

172 jhodnettOctober 23, 2012 at 10:03 am

Jeannette – I didn’t say we weren’t going to make changes to soften the background. I’m also not discounting that people are bothered by the whiteness of it. I will continue to try to reassure you that we’re listening and working to respond to your feedback.

173 scwbcmOctober 23, 2012 at 10:05 am

Jhodnett. I do not believe that the issue with getting the family view instead of the pedigree view was an intentional part of your updates but it happened at the same time. And I do know how to switch them but once I have switched it, it should stick which it is not doing for me. I now have to switch it to pedigree almost every time. The setting is not sticking. I do not believe this is affecting everyone but it is happening for me and possibly some others. While I enjoy the visuals of family view and it is beneficial for looking at a particular view, I want to have the pedigree view open because it is easier for me to pick out my home person. I would appreciate some adjustment to this to help the setting stick. Thanks.

174 jhodnettOctober 23, 2012 at 10:07 am

Scwbcm – you’ll have to contact member services about that issue then as there’s likely some issue that is account specific and they’ll be able to get your information and help you.

175 Sue FowlerOctober 23, 2012 at 10:12 am

JHODNET Thank you for your reply

176 bobthirsk21October 23, 2012 at 10:27 am

I find it too bright and hard to read finf needs to be BOLD. positions ofrelative moved . I AN NO L#ONGER THE HOME PERSON which most annoying.

177 MonikaOctober 23, 2012 at 10:32 am

#162 – Don’t you get it? merely gave us this blog so we can let off steam! When the steam has subsided they will continue to go about as they darn well please. At least this is the way it has been since I joined They know that for every one of us who does not renew their subscription, there are two new people coming on board. Heck, they won’t even admit that the background color has changed, as you can tell from their last message. And it took almost 170 messages before they “contributed” THAT information! If they DID care about our feedback they would have heard the thousands of messages they have received over the last few years saying “please notify us in advance” and “if it isn’t broke, do not fix it”. (I am one of these people who did not use for two days because when I went in and ended up with this magnified version of the profile page (yes, that is what they used to call it at one time…not sure why this “rose” has to be renamed every so often) I thought that I either had done something wrong on my computer or that was having a temporary glitch! It is not until I saw the messages in the blog section that I realized that this “glitch” was here to stay! This is not the way a member should find out that such a change has occurred! Or, at least, give us an honest explanation about why you felt that this change was necessary so we can at least sympathize with you. P.S.: Having said all that, when I went to the “printer-friendly” version I DID like the way that page looks now when it is printed out! However, I dislike what you have to do to add a new spouse or a child now. I liked the old way much better.

178 bobthirsk21October 23, 2012 at 10:36 am

I cant even see my mistales on this glaring page.
Customer Service is by Phmne and I am hard of hearing,and failing eysight.

179 JudyOctober 23, 2012 at 11:13 am

jhodnet “we think that it just appears more white” isn’t exactly a scientific definition.Whoever is responsible for making these changes should be aware of the base colour, the tints and hues used. I’m no designer but I can tell you which colours I use and how to change their saturation and lighten or darken them.Sometimes I even make a note of their numbers so I can achieve consistency.We dislike the apparent white background as the comments on here have made plain. What part of please change it back is so difficult to understand. Okay someone will have egg ( usually bright yellow )yolk on their face for such a huge mistake but admitting you were wrong is not a sin and may be applauded.

180 Tracey SwiftOctober 23, 2012 at 11:43 am

Can I just say that there WERE originally 2 very useful ‘Add Fact’ buttons on the Overview page – one at the top and one at the bottom.
Although the one at the top still remains, this last few days has made me realise how much I used the now defunct bottom one ……. because I keep hitting the ‘Add Comment’ button by mistake!

Please can we have it reinstated before I do serious damage to the ‘back’ key on my keyboard???

181 Donna GoodwinOctober 23, 2012 at 12:07 pm

I am in the minority. I do like the new look. But it does require more scrolling. I would like to know why when I could barely get a hint, now all of sudden I get 15 and they are of absolutely no use. If someone is living and died in Maine, why hints for MO, TN and CA? The hints are off the wall.

What is happening with the sale of Ancestry and what does it mean to the users.?? Anyone??

182 Sharon AtkinsOctober 23, 2012 at 12:52 pm

WOW….Ancestry….Can you hear us??? We, your customers..(the people who pay the salaries)…are SCREAMING at you….CHANGE IT BACK!!! Do the right thing…right away…in fact as quickly and quietly as you made this mess appear…CHANGE IT BACK!!! I am paying $30.00 a month X 12…$360.00 a year. Now, multiply that times the number of people who have complained here…179 as of this writing…that is $64,440. Does this $ sign make you want to please us?

183 Sally MontgomeryOctober 23, 2012 at 12:53 pm

Might you not simply be moving towards unemployment, loss of revenue, numerous complaints , disgruntled customers , requests for refunds on grounds of health and disability, complaints re disregard for the DDA.
Sorry cant elaborate more, not because of my using my iPhone, been doing that with no issues for over two years but do feel a migraine coming on now so am off to a more suitable user friendly site .

184 Donna GoodwinOctober 23, 2012 at 4:08 pm

Back again. # 181 Sharon, that is a very good retort. I just had to say after 2hours of getting more USELESS hints I think I have had it. This has just started this weekend following the change of the system. What a waste of my time that I AM paying for. Ancestry please give me a way to stop all of these stupid hints….and to top it off none of them are the census’ that I DO need. PUT everything back the way it was and leave the system alone.

185 JuliaOctober 23, 2012 at 4:11 pm

JHodnett or any Ancestry person

Why can’t we have an opt in/out of old and new design – problem solved!

As others have mentioned there are plenty of websites who allow their users a certain amount of control over their own settings. Surely that’s not beyond the realms of possibilities at Ancestry?

186 JuliaOctober 23, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Nothing much being done about the white out. With quite a few people complaining of headaches/migraines I would have thought that would be the first thing to be rectified.

187 MaryOctober 23, 2012 at 5:23 pm

I hate the new look!

188 CaroleOctober 23, 2012 at 5:56 pm

When all is said and done, programmers ALWAYS tweak the product, not because someone requested it, but just because it’s there to tweak. Think Facebook. OR, they start work on a new product and let the original alone no matter how many people ask for help. Think everything else.

189 Andy HatchettOctober 23, 2012 at 7:19 pm

Attention All Readers

The recent changes weren’t all written in a day so it stands to reason that to write new changes won’t be written in a day

I hate the changes as much as anyone and agree it could have been handled much better…

Something like:

In any case, I’m willing to give them a bit of time to take care of the worst flaws in this new display. I also recognize the fact that once Ancestry makes a change they have *NEVER* reverted back to the old display.

190 Andy HatchettOctober 23, 2012 at 7:22 pm

opps! link in #188 should be:

191 PattiOctober 23, 2012 at 7:44 pm

“…once Ancestry makes a change they have *NEVER* reverted back to the old display.” That’s distressing. I agree it will take time, as they were likely weeks or months in the planning. Thanks Andy. And, thank you for commenting jhodnett. I hadn’t looked at this blog since yesterday. Good to see there is some input for Ancestry. Tip for anyone interested — as far as the hugeness of the page, I’m finding that just by changing my view in Mozilla from 100% to 90% when working on my profiles helps much. At least, I can see the spouse name, and even a kid or two. Just writing on this blog is harsh on my eyes, but if I were to have on a lamp, either to the side or back of me, it would take away the dark around my computer, and balance out the monitor glare, I would think. Anyway… just another half-cent worth :)

192 Jayne BaylissOctober 24, 2012 at 12:20 am

Wednesday……still waiting for some improvement!

By the way does this mean this hideous overview is going to be rolled out over the whole site?

193 KROctober 24, 2012 at 3:00 am

Ms. Hodnett:

#118 Pam & #143 Linda state that they are finding a lot of their photos blurry and out of focus. I was struck by this and had to take a look. Not recalling exactly where on the site they refered, I found that when looking at the “Person Overview” page the parent/spouse/children’s “primary photos” do indeed appear blurred (zoom & they’re still burred)and they print this way also. Their resolution may have been accidently throw-off by the reduction of indention, photo size, or change to the font. Very common mistake, an easy fix for your IT department. (They may wish to revert this section back to it’s original configuration with the larger photo.) Can you forward this to them or should it be reported to “whom”?
Thank you, K

194 JuliaOctober 24, 2012 at 4:06 am

#188 agree there is little likelihood of reverting back to the better format. There are 192 comments here currently some posters have 2/3 comments in the list. How many members worldwide do Ancestry have? Sadly, this group is but a grain of sand, and they know that.

Time to find somewhere else to have my tree. As it happens I prefer Find My Past for records so leaving Ancestry is no hardship.

195 JudyOctober 24, 2012 at 5:52 am

I agree that no change will probably be made. My daughter just showed me how to minimize the screen – hit control, minus! Works great.

196 adamsfamily1October 24, 2012 at 6:11 am

is there going to be an update made to the system seeing that Thursday morning will be upon us in less than 24 hours?
if so what is going to be UPDATED next or more to the point will our concerns be addressed in any way at all within the next 24 hours?

i paid to use this site even though i am now unemployed due to ill health and i would like to be able to use/ view the profile page with out any difficulty once more!

197 cassie yarskyOctober 24, 2012 at 6:32 am

Please, please keep the new font size. I know no one likes change but the page really hasn’t changed that much. The boxes could be smaller but I like the that the font is larger, especially the dates, which makes it easier to see. I did notice that when you print the page the media gallery box no longer prints. I keep note books as well because when you travel many places you cannot use a computer. Having the media gallery helps me know what photos I have on that person. Do others just sit and stare at the overview page? If you are actually searching for information you would just be using it as a base. The change is not that big of deal.

198 JuliaOctober 24, 2012 at 7:43 am

Just been using FTM instead of Ancestry. Timeline on there is MUCH better! I can see NINE facts without having to scroll.

199 JuliaOctober 24, 2012 at 7:47 am

#194 Judy – Even if I reduce the page for an ancestor with media attached all I can see when I go to their profile page is all the Ancestry stuff at the top, person details with media (birth and death dates, place of birth/death), then media thumbnails below that, then not quite the whole of the first fact which is ‘Birth’ and that box has no media attached :-/

200 JuliaOctober 24, 2012 at 8:04 am

All the other tabs eg Facts & Sources, Media Gallery etc are all still in the old style with the green livery. Are they also going to be changed to a white out?

201 PattiOctober 24, 2012 at 9:46 am

Cassie (@#196 :) I wouldn’t mind the font to be just a point smaller, still larger than the last. I’d be okay with that. If they have only upped it a point, I’d be very surprised. That date could be trimmed a bit…maybe two points! Kinda bad when the font size in the boxes — all sizes, are larger than the spouse and kids names. But…if nothing is to be done (I certainly can’t imagine that) it wouldn’t ruin my day. Make me a little more irritable perhaps, but ruin? Nevah :)

202 PattiOctober 24, 2012 at 9:47 am

what a goofy smile on that smiley. haha remind me not to do that again… : )))))

203 PattiOctober 24, 2012 at 9:53 am

Sorry…Cassie forgot to say, that when I am working in the hints (have over a thousand, trying to trim) it is very important to have a tighter profile page, because (as I mentioned in a prior comment here) it is maddening to have to scroll down to be able to see the spouse name and/or kids to know if I even have the correct person for the hint! I went stir crazy working with hints a few days ago, and get depressed thinking how many I have to go…with many more added each day. I don’t have a touch screen, and have to use a mouse or a touchpad to hit the scroll. Headache time.

204 BEEOctober 24, 2012 at 10:00 am

Maybe it’s my imagination, but it looks like they are “playing” with color, and tightening up the spaces somewhat.

205 Steven MurphyOctober 24, 2012 at 10:40 am

Jen Hodnett ~ the tweaks are certainly welcome ~ thanks.

206 kayOctober 24, 2012 at 11:06 am

It’s definitely better. Thank you!

Now that the spacing has changed, I actually do like seeing the dates and ages more clearly as you have done with the new look.

For what it’s worth, I think the color of the surrounding page (what looks gray but may be gray/blue) is part of what makes it look harsh. Even if you don’t return to the green, is there something you can do with the background around the page to soften the tone? Again, thank you for the changes.

207 LindaOctober 24, 2012 at 11:48 am

Thank you for the latest update changes .. I agree with Kay it is much better, although I still find the Timeline area too bright and harsh .. also some of my events within the timeline are not separated with that thin grey line .. hence the they run together, it was like that before these latest changes, also would like the “add fact” put back to the bottom of the page … all in all I am grateful for these changes, thank you for listening to us.

208 PattiOctober 24, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Haven’t worked with it yet, as I had to log on to do ‘real’ work, but at a glance, it looks wonderful. Thank you for taking so many of the comments into consideration. It shows. Much appreciated!

209 Pat SecordOctober 24, 2012 at 12:09 pm

Well, that’s better!

210 JuliaOctober 24, 2012 at 12:15 pm

Much better. Thank you for listening. However when I click on ‘facts and sources’ I’m greeted with the old livery and its better still! In fact I fancy that layout for my timeline.

Still one request that hasn’t been answered and that is the ability to opt in or out of changes. if its not possible would someone say so and tell us why?

211 JuliaOctober 24, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Sorry, I’d just like to add your Kennedy example is not really representative because there are is no media within the timeline. Adding media to timeline was a change in the not too distant past, surely you want us to use that facility? Can we see your sample page with media in timeline to get a true representation of a timeline?


212 Sue FowlerOctober 24, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Adding the gray has done the job.Its toned down the glaring bright white,Thank You

213 AnnOctober 24, 2012 at 2:58 pm

K, it’s better than it was yesterday, but not as good as it was before you started messing about with it! I don’t usually mind the changes you make because usually they’re for the better. Can’t see the logic at all in this one though I’m afraid – you just seem to have wanted to alienate your client base by making such a drastic change without warning, which doesn’t make sense at all.

214 KROctober 24, 2012 at 3:01 pm

For Julia #210,

I went to a cousin’s page that makes heavy use of the add timeline media feature. Her tree reflected that the “media” is now between the date and the facts thus throwing off the alignment of the facts. The media is also blurred, as is that on the far right for family members. I know you were actually asking for a visual example but I can’t provide a screen capture here. Do you know of someone that actually uses this feature where you can see that format? I hope that this answer helped?

~ K

215 JadeOctober 24, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Dislike new version less. Appearance is less confusing to the eye for navigating the page sections. Font sizes better. Still needs tightening up the form padding, less white space. Still could use more than 54 characters allowed in Event Description field. Still want “add citation” restored to each Timeline Event area.

216 Long time userOctober 24, 2012 at 6:05 pm

Some of my comments will have been already cited in this blog, but I will post anyway.

I printed a person profile/timeline/overview page of a person that I had done previously and compared them.

Yes, this page needs to be tightened up more. It still is too spread out and has too much white space. The fonts appear to be closer to what they were. The year fonts in the timeline are better than they were. Bold and clear, and we don’t need the little boxes around event dates, so that part is ok. You could drop the little empty boxes in the Source information column, but keep the description because that tells a lot.

The system should recognize if there is NO media such as photos, or other icons indicating a document, story and etc., then Media Gallery should not show or print. That would save space.

I don’t add any media because it isn’t included when I make a GEDCOM backup of my Ancestry trees. I do however add to the description when I add an event or source document whether from Ancestry or another source. This is useful for accuracy, and a good reference as to whether to accept a hint or not.

I did notice that in some folks’ trees, the photos are not as good quality as they used to be. Dark and in some cases, they look like the picture was taken with a cloth over the lens. You can see the warp and weft. This was not the case previously.

A really good utility for the Ancestry trees would be for the system to recognize that a man can’t have children more than approximately 9 months after he died or in the case of women, immediately after death date. (They do die in childbirth, of course) Also people would be unlikely to be married before puberty.

Giving us option preferences for color would go a long way to make many people happy. Just like the Windows operating system. Not everyone wants the default colors or shades. It does help to have lamps on near the computer just as it does when you watch TV.

217 BEEOctober 24, 2012 at 6:53 pm

While the “white” has been softened, it still is bothersome after a while even with a light nearby.

218 Long time userOctober 24, 2012 at 8:09 pm

I personally would like a soft beige background. That works for my Windows. Better yet of course is the ability to have choices or preferences. I’m sure there are folks who just love a wild color scheme. They should have it.

219 KROctober 24, 2012 at 8:12 pm

Thank you for the recent tweaks.

New observations:

1. The family “media” on the right – very blurry (even when zoomed) and are now are so small that some ‘icons’ have become indistinguishable; may have been accidently scaled during formatting.

2. date/age fact — if it were even ‘darker’ (bolder or colored) it would help with the glare & delineation problem

3. Indention of family members –- needs to be slightly ‘greater’ to distinguish that they are not spouses when printed

4. “add media” (in timeline) — when implemented in its current format it ‘throws off’ the alignment of the facts. It looked much better on the right of the box.

220 Long time userOctober 24, 2012 at 8:20 pm


“•We’ve added boxes around the sources and member connect containers on the right side of the page”

I don’t see them and they don’t print but they WERE there on 9/26/2012. But I don’t care about that. I have one big box for the source documentation. Good enough for me.

221 Vera McHaleOctober 24, 2012 at 8:34 pm

The Chicago Tribune on line had an article Oct 22, 2012 stating that was sold to a European private equity company named Permira Advisors LLC. I do hope this is not true but I have to believe it is. My info, our census and more recent addresses and phone numbers, high school annuals all put in familial context by us the users, never suspecting it wold be sold on us.
Please address this. We were not warned it would happen. It is unthinkable and I hope you say they it was an erroneous story. We should have been notified ahead of any sale of our work. I am long time customer who feels American’s best interest have not been served this way. Is this true?

222 Andy HatchettOctober 24, 2012 at 9:18 pm

@ Vera #220

The long and short of it is this. Any company can be told at any time for any reason. Read carefully the Terms and Conditions in the agreement that you accepted when you signed up for the service.

News that Ancestry was placing itself on the market has been in the news for a month or more. That is usually all the warning anyone gets most of the time when a company is going to sold.


223 Long time userOctober 24, 2012 at 10:45 pm

#216 Bee:

Can you make adjustments to your monitor’s brightness and contrast settings? I assume from what you said in your posts that you have a desktop computer with a separate monitor. I have a 17″ ViewSonic and it has buttons for adjustments. I totally forgot about that. A little more tweaking.

224 ADAMSFAMILY1October 25, 2012 at 3:49 am

don’t like the brown but at least we have some colour to help break up the fields. the white still seems a little to bright. the spacing could still be tightened up some more.

i have not loaded any media in my new version of my tree yet. but as has been stated when i do i will only to so to the media box at the top as adding media to an event in the time line pushes the event text to the left so misaligning it from the events that do not have media added making the time line in my opinion not only look untidy but also hard to my dyslexic brain to read for some unknown reason (it should in fact make it easier but does not don’t ask why as i cant tell you.)i would as already mention rather see the media added to the right rather than the left in the time line until then my time line remains media-less.

i would also like the ability to add more characters in the event description line with the ability to line break.

when it comes to relationships we need a way to show that two people were not married but were just partners as it is we can only pick marriage and have to add a comment in the description that no marriage took place yet a hint is given to others that these to persons are married with out checking the tree they could spend hours looking for the marriage event. its becoming more and more likely to day that a couple do not marry and then of course there are the same sex relationships.

the add fact needs to be re-added to the bottom of the time line (as well as the top)

225 ADAMSFAMILY1October 25, 2012 at 4:14 am

ok i left this to a septate comment and this is by far my (and many others) BIGGEST GRIP

the much hated ugly FACEBOOK BANNER intrusion you insist on placing at the top of our time line ((and else where) also now coupled with the ‘are they on face book link)

in all the comments here, the message boards and ironically facebook complained bitterly about the wasted space along with the large font on our time line making more need to scroll and you have gone some way in addressing this within the week just gone. but the banner it self is also taking up an UNNECESSARY block of area at the top of our time line.

use an unobtrusive statement at the top saying the source we just added was successful (all though in my opinion still not necessary) could be lived with, but to place the facebook banner is nothing but an eye sore and extremely annoying and totally unnecessary as is the ‘is this person on facebook’ link on our profile page.

i am not going to guess on how many do and don’t use facebook and how many of those that do actually have associated their trees but i believe as others that the facebook and other links should be placed under a tab which could be labelled facebook if you so wish to accommodate both facebook and non facebook users

in doing so you would get ride not only in my opinion an ugly unwanted institutional advert for facebook which i don’t belong too nor would ever but it would free up relestate on our time line where our facts in our time line should be!

226 MWBOctober 25, 2012 at 6:46 am

Do any of the anc. tech’s ever just try to sit down and navigate around the site, like going through records,etc.etc. for hours and hours…I don’t think they do because if they did they wouldn’t worry so much about its appearance and just make it easier…make things closer together, less scrolling and scrolling and scrolling for everything you do its ridiculous.

227 JudyOctober 25, 2012 at 7:01 am

My private tree now has a bunch of hints/people I have never heard of, not any of my lines at all. Anyone else experiencing this?

228 JuliaOctober 25, 2012 at 7:33 am

KR #213 Thanks for your reply. Media was always between date and fact for me? I don’t have blurry images/icons. On my ancestors where media is heavily used I am concerned about the amount of space is takes up. If there is no image the box looks fine, add an image and any text is squashed into a small space in the centre. If all the links for ‘media’ and ‘source citations’ were at the bottom of the box instead of to the side it would resolve the problem.

I’m more concerned about the usefulness rather than how pretty it looks.

Judy #226 This is been happening to me for some time. Some of the ‘hints’ I get are laughable!

229 JuliaOctober 25, 2012 at 9:16 am

I also agree we don’t need the media thumbnails at the top. There is a tab you can click on if you want to see media.

The current layout uses too much space

230 PamOctober 26, 2012 at 11:38 am

Sorry, but I still do not like the look of the overview page, even after your recent ammendments on 24th October 2012.
Please, if you are not going to revert back to the original style, could you put the date and age section on the left hand side in the Timeline Section back into the ‘Green Boxes’.

231 PamOctober 26, 2012 at 11:48 am

Also, there is Still Not Enough COLOUR.

232 adamOctober 27, 2012 at 3:18 pm

I will avoid the “why did it ned changing”; the issues I have are fundemental designer issues:

There is too much deadspace, users want as much main info as possible without scrolling, reducing the margin around elements will help.

Why is media at the top, I would suspect most people want to see facts more often than a list of their media files, move it to the bottom

Oh, now when I create a new person and go into overview I cant add a fact. You have associated the add fact button with the timeline webpart so if I dont have any timeline events I cant add a fact (yes I know I can go to the fact tab, but users dont want to switch windows for basic functions)

233 MonikaOctober 27, 2012 at 11:11 pm

Why is it so difficult to get back onto the profile page of the parent now when you add a child! What am I doing wrong? What have you done that makes it so difficult to get back to the parent when I add a child?

234 MonikaOctober 27, 2012 at 11:19 pm

NEVER MIND! I just figured it out! I have to scroll ALL the way back up the page each time I want to add a child! Whose “brilliant” idea was that?

235 Susan RobertsonOctober 28, 2012 at 9:47 am

To J. Hoddnet – We are rapidly approaching 2nd November, 2012 on which day comments regarding your changes to the profile page will no longer be accepted. Lucky you!
For not much longer will you have to listen to those pesky paying customers. You will get your own way and we will have to put up with your “I know best” ideas.

236 Tree UserOctober 28, 2012 at 9:58 am

“•We’ve added a subtle gray background color around the different page elements

It looks nice in the image attached to this article…
However it is light pink in my tree using IE & Firefox.

237 Long time userOctober 28, 2012 at 2:19 pm

To Jen Curry-Hodnett:

I’d really like to know why Ancestry cannot seem to give the customers the options to change/customize the appearance of the various pages on the trees on its site. This seems like a simple question. For years I have begged and pleaded for more OPTIONS to no avail. I don’t even get an answer of any kind.

At least half of the complaints would go away if we had OPTIONS and PREFERENCES to the simple things such as the colors and font sizes. I’m not even talking about functions, which is a whole other topic.

For a week I have tweaked and adjusted and fiddled with what I can on my end. While Ancestry has made some improvements, (mostly back to what we had) I hate to think that every couple of years we have to go through this exercise and waste time that could be better spent researching.

What part of “Give us appearance preferences and options don’t you understand?”

238 Todd CarnesOctober 28, 2012 at 5:02 pm

I have to say the adjustments you’ve made are definately a step in the right direction, though I still think there’ too much whitespace. Although not “perfect”, I can definately live with the “corrected’ version of the new look… Thanks.

As for my issue with the missing search box, you were correct. It seems to be an issue on my end. When I view the site from my linux/firefox netbook, the search box is missing. when I view the same page with my windows/ie desktop computer, the box is there where it always was.

239 Todd CarnesOctober 28, 2012 at 5:06 pm

Oh, one other thing. I agree whole-heartedly with those who have said the Facebook crap NEEDS TO GO.

240 BEEOctober 29, 2012 at 11:00 am

I would like to see the “white” color inside the boxes – subtle or otherwise, replaced with the color surrounding the boxes, and a color between that color and the one used for the name boxes and wider background, used in the area around the boxes.
Same goes for the “white” on these blogs – it’s still too “white” and glaring, and hard on the eyes.

241 Brenda PulleyOctober 30, 2012 at 7:22 am

I don’t like the way we have to go to the family group part to add children. After I add the children, I have a lot of trouble trying to get back to the individual’s page. Also, why is the print so hard to read? Why can’t it just be in black and dark enough to read easily? This pale color you use for the font is so difficult to read. Also, I agree with most of the members, too much white space.

242 TomOctober 30, 2012 at 9:13 am

I agree with the people who want more color and separatiom in the timeline area. for instance..the dates in color boxes as it was before the page was changed. There is still too much white..toned down or not…. old liverey was better. Oh yes…get rid of facebook ads and messages…I really am steamed about that crap. All in had a good page layout that people were used to; also all thefamily members that were invited to our trees have a hard time figuring out how to navigate through a tree….it was difficult for them before, but now it’s worse. Put it back the way it was.

243 JohnOctober 30, 2012 at 10:23 am

I have a more basic question — why did get itself in this position in the first place. Why given the huge number of customers they have and the negative feedback they got to these changes, did they NOT first test the new format with “test group” and find out like/don’t like features before letting it loose on all its customers. It is like they never heard or either alpha or beta testing. Does not speak well of management.

244 JuliaOctober 30, 2012 at 5:10 pm

my eyes! my eyes! only been on there 10 minutes :(

245 A suggestionOctober 31, 2012 at 2:37 pm

#242 John”

It is possible that ancestry makes use of its paying and non-paying customers in lieu of paying beta testers or test groups because it’s cheaper. Make the changes and see what happens? If enough members complain, take notice. If only a few complain, do nothing. They have done this before. If enough folks make enough noise, they may make some changes.

When you think a about it, it can be a good way to find out what to do. After all, we are the ones who use the site. We know what we need and want.

When they brought out “new search,” there was a big ruckus. Fortunatly, for many they did not eliminate the “old search.” Improvments were made only to new search. However there are many folks because of the systems they have, still use the old search and get good resuslts.

I think the best results are obtained when the indexing is good. That will always be a problem because script which was used for so many records will always be subjective. Even printed or typed records can be wrong and be indexed incorrectly. So the indexing is the foundation of all the databases.

You must have heard of “garbage in – garbage out?”

I have heard (can’t confirm) that teaching kids to write by hand (script) may possibly be eliminated in schools becuse they are using electronic devices for taking notes, more and more.

Well, off my soapbox…for now.

246 JuliaNovember 1, 2012 at 11:46 am

Media overkill. There are 3 (unnecessary) ways to view media. Media tab, that’s all that’s needed. Then there are the thumbnails – why? Bottom left and right of the thumnails are two links ‘# of photos’ and ‘view all’.

why, why, why, why, why?

247 PamNovember 1, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Oh well, nearly cut off period for our “comments”.
Though in this case it has been COMPLAINTS. (Yes I too am shouting)
There has been no further update from Ancestry since the 24th October – since when, we are still not happy with their ammendments.
I personally would love for the Date/Ages section in the Timeline section to be encased in the coloured boxes as before – but no response from Ancestry since my last request for this in comment # 229, 6 days ago.

248 PamNovember 1, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Also in response to comment # 244, I agree with what you have said, but it is such a shame that we have to complain.
As you say, why do Ancestry not ask subscribers our thoughts before making changes, and ask us to trial test.
Regarding the “New Search” change, I was one of the people that contributed to the ruckus!!
“Old Search” has many, many optional searches that far outweighs the “wildcard” search. Due to transcription errors, (which I can fully appreciate, handwriting can be very difficult to decipher, I have found many census records by using “Old Search”.

249 PamNovember 1, 2012 at 2:35 pm

Okay, now in response to the comments about the Sale of, which we had to find out in the media, rather than a courtesey email from Ancestry.

I sincerely hope that this info will not be deleted by

With reference to an article in the Daily Mail newspaper (UK version) dated Thursday 25 October 2012:
“ has been bought by the British Group ‘Permira’.
This is a private equity group, leading a consortium of investors who want to buy the business and its international websites, including
The head of Permira’s California office has said that is “an exciting investment opportunity for the Permira funds”.
Permira co-owns Saga and the motoring organisation AA. Other investments include: Hugo Boss, TV firm – All 3 Media and the Birds Eye frozen food group – Iglo”

This is an abridbement of the article.

250 BEENovember 1, 2012 at 2:54 pm

I totally agree on the subject of old vs new search.
I just finished a search for a family with a very difficult ethnic surname to follow – first letter and third letter changed, with two of the three census I found not even coming close to the original or the “new” spelling. Also, the father changed the spelling of his ethnic first name, and used an “anglicized” name on one.
Luckily, his wife had a simple “anglicized” name, and at least one child with a less than common but simple name that made it easier to find.
I actually went to “new search” to try to find the two documents that I can’t find, but no luck there either. I don’t know what I would do if I had to use “new search” instead of what I consider “user-friendly” old search.
And yes, “white” is still too white!
Thank you #222 for the suggestion about the adjustments on my relatively new HP monitor. I know they are there somewhere, but I prefer to leave well enough alone, since this is the only place I have a problem, and since so many others do to, I would call it “their” problem, not ours!

251 PamNovember 1, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Bee and Everyone – there is still at the moment the availability to send feedback on the overview page.
I have realised that you can send the feedback on each person in your tree!!!!
Rather than just the once.

Hopefully Ancestry are still analysing this feedback.

252 BEENovember 1, 2012 at 6:58 pm

Thank you Pam! I went to all my trees and copy and pasted my #239 message on each one!

253 Long time userNovember 1, 2012 at 9:07 pm

The message board on the new pofile/overview/timeline page does not have a closing date.

It is:

However, as with any message board be careful if you post, about checking the little box that you wish to be notified when new posts are added. On an active popular board, there will be hundreds of posts and your message connect activity section on your home page will become flooded with notices. I learned that the hard way.

254 Long time userNovember 1, 2012 at 9:15 pm

One last time: The event boxes are too large and too white!!! Please let us tone it down. Give us some color options.

255 BEENovember 2, 2012 at 8:18 am

Same old message! I would like to see the “white” color inside the boxes – subtle or otherwise, replaced with the color surrounding the boxes, and a color between that color and the one used for the name boxes and wider background, used in the area around the boxes.
Same goes for the “white” on these blogs – it’s still too “white” and glaring, and hard on the eyes.

256 PamNovember 2, 2012 at 12:59 pm

Long time user, thank you for this info, I went to the link you posted, and lo behold people are complaining too!!!


257 PamNovember 2, 2012 at 1:02 pm

ooops typo error:

258 PamNovember 2, 2012 at 1:32 pm

Now closing time for comments is imminent, I would like to close on a positive.

We started our investigations into our Ancestral past with very limited information.

With the access to the Ancestry Sites we have built some amazing trees.

We have found that our Ancestors were much travelled, in the UK and Abroad.

So I would like to sign out on a Thank You, for all the records that have thus far been transcribed and uploaded

259 BEENovember 2, 2012 at 7:05 pm

I agree Pam, the information I have found with my deluxe membership on ancestry has been amazing, not to mention the people I’ve met online. When I first started working on family history, I had to drive an hour and a half to the nearest National Archives {now closed} and sometimes having my time on a machine limited, depending on the day of the week. Some of the machines were “manual”, so tedious to use.
How great to search in the comfort of my own home, whatever time of day I wish.
So yes, a big “Thank You” to

260 Mary Beth MarchantNovember 2, 2012 at 10:27 pm

And now another new thing that nobody has asked for-changing the way we cite or record a census. Why do you people just keep on changing things. Stop already. Haven’t y’all done anough damage with the last big thing that virtually every body hated. I like recording the census just the way it is. I do hope we won’t be FORCED to accept the new changes. Looks like y’all did not learn your lesson. At least you are asking. So-I DO NOT LIKE THE CENSUS CHANGE. THERE, I SAID IT. Now give us a way to talk about this on the blog. I’ve already sent my feedback.

261 LindaNovember 4, 2012 at 1:02 pm

So is this it … no change?

262 Long time userNovember 4, 2012 at 8:47 pm

I guess what you see is what you get…

263 BEENovember 5, 2012 at 5:23 am

One more time – PLEASE!! I would like to see the “white” color inside the boxes – subtle or otherwise, replaced with the color surrounding the boxes, and a color between that color and the one used for the name boxes and wider background, used in the area around the boxes.
Same goes for the “white” on these blogs – it’s still too “white” and glaring, and hard on the eyes.

264 BEENovember 8, 2012 at 5:11 am

I keep checking this blog. Today is Nov. 8 – almost a whole week from the “closing date” shown above. The fact that we can still add a comment makes me wonder if anyone is monitoring this topic, or worse yet, doing anything about the “problem”?

265 BEENovember 8, 2012 at 1:22 pm

I guess I’m the only once checking back! Of course that should read “not doing anything about it”…….

266 Long time userNovember 9, 2012 at 12:26 pm

You have all our complaints, requests and suggestions. Please respond. We want to know what Ancestry is planning regarding this topic. Not hearing from anyone leads us to think the worst. It is common curtesty to let us know what is happening.

I am surprised this blog is still open for posting, but I won’t repeat any requests. This is not just a casual blog.

267 BEENovember 13, 2012 at 5:45 am

November 13th – nothing has changed, and this blog still open? Does that mean that no one is paying any attention to all these complaints?

268 BEENovember 13, 2012 at 6:31 pm

I think they heard us! ‘ray!

269 BEENovember 13, 2012 at 6:35 pm

uh-oh, something strange is going on! When I try to access a document it goes to “rootsweb” and an error message, and a “search”, also goes to “rootsweb” and says “no matches found”!

270 TomNovember 14, 2012 at 9:39 am

here we go again……this time it’s Beta…not like with the person page problem though. “We simplified way to attach records to your tree”..It is another Ancestry change to a page that no one complained about. The changes there have made it more difficult to see what one is doing with a lot of clutter; and please Ancestry… not a choice of more poorly transcribed info out of the records. The changes also force one to make extra steps to attach record to a person profile. The changes there also imply that people are blind…because they use large bold fonts. Ironically they have no prblem addin color or separation in this change…unlike on the person profile page. Will they keep it the old way and give us a choice like old search…while it is in beta we have the choice. Again we live in fear!!!

271 BEENovember 15, 2012 at 6:50 am

I really saw no difference {benefit?} in using the “we simplified way to attach records to your tree”, so I just ignore it and do it the way I’ve always done it, besides continuing to use “old search”!
After 270 comments between Oct 19 and November 15, the same question has to be asked: “why are you changing things that don’t need changing?” – in other words, as most of these posts have said, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”
Having said that, I think they actually did tone down the “white” on the profile page, although when I do a split screen, I see a variation in color between the two screens, but to my eyes, this blog has a lot of bright “white”.

272 Long time userNovember 16, 2012 at 4:02 pm

Oh god! Here we go again!!!

Ok, so this blog is still open and I read the last 3 posts and was prompted to check out the “new way to add records to a person’s profile.” I had ignored it before.

Immediately I noticed it took much longer to load when I had decided to attach a new record. Immediately I noticed a very cluttered appearance and NO way to edit the census day and month of the record I was saving.

I was about to send feedback but realized it was not a procedure I liked at all compared to the current way. I did not want to use the form, which asks questions they want to ask and didn’t have a way for me to answer the way I would like.

So I backed out of that and tried to attach the census record the current way. It kept defaulting to the ugly new way. Finally I had to exit Ancestry so I could get it back to the fast efficient current procedure.

One big fear: THEY ARE GOING TO DUMP THIS ON US!!! There was NO NEED to change the current procedure. Another “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

I’m sure I will have more to say when I have time to just fiddle (waste) with it.

THE PROFILE PAGE IS STILL TOO WHITE!!! Yes the blog page has too much white but I don’t spend hours and hours on it as I do on the profile pages.

273 PamNovember 17, 2012 at 2:39 am

Anyone noticed that the search pages seem to be losing their colour as well?

Looks like Ancestry is going to fade into oblivion!

274 Long time userNovember 18, 2012 at 4:06 pm

#273: Yes indeed, but I though it was me.

275 BEENovember 21, 2012 at 6:09 am

Looks like this blog has been forgotten, but since it’s still open, I’ll take the opportunity to wish everyone a Very Happy Thanksgiving!

276 BEEDecember 8, 2012 at 6:32 am


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278 guptilJuly 3, 2013 at 12:39 pm

Thank you for your insight. I have always wondered how a loose cannon like Mark Latham was made leader and now it is explained, the old payback.
What small minded people, hate makes of us all.
And as for Latham, here was a man who called George W. the worst president ever ( he was right there) and then knocked people over in the stampede to shake his hand.
Obviously a man of no substance which explains his weathervane approach to policies.
However, as a political commentator I find Mark both refreshing and entertaining. A candid breath of fresh air who, because of his perceived ill-treatment by the ALP, is even-handed in his commentary, unlike the hacks like Kroger, Reith and Costello who just read from the prayer book and spout propoganda, thus dismissing their own credibility of argument.

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