Introduces NEW Support Communities

Posted by Nick Cifuentes on January 13, 2013 in Site, Site Features

We are pleased to inform you that Ancestry recently introduced a new online destination for learning and problem solving – Ancestry Support Communities – it’s our latest addition to the world’s largest online genealogy community. Whether you’re looking to share your experience and knowledge with other members, or want to connect with other product enthusiasts for help with your questions, our new Support Communities are there for you. And if you need help with People and Places, you can also check out our Message Boards, where many of our members have found answers to fuel their discoveries.

Becoming a community member is fast, easy and free. We’ve also created a point system to challenge and reward loyal members who actively volunteer their time and knowledge to help others get the most out of their family history research.

To sign up, navigate to Online Help and look for the “Ask the Community” button. Once on the Support Community homepage, look for the Sign Up | Sign In link in the upper right-hand corner of the Community homepage.


1 Tina telescaJanuary 13, 2013 at 1:20 pm

I did not see online help. Can you tell me where to find it?

2 Michel BrysonJanuary 13, 2013 at 5:31 pm

Tina – I think it’s the “Get Help” link in the upper-right corner.

3 GeneJJanuary 13, 2013 at 5:47 pm


Click on the link “Online Help” in the paragraph/sentence that opens, “To sign up, navigate to Online Help and look for the “Ask the Community” button …”

There is a link “Ask the Community” off to the right, in a short list, “Contact us.”

Hope this helps. —GeneJ

4 Donna GoodwinJanuary 13, 2013 at 6:15 pm

when entering the email on sign up…. It says I already have an account and will not let me continue.

5 danniebJanuary 13, 2013 at 8:29 pm for the community and for how to create an account – you have to sign up separately, with a different account, from your subscription.

6 Ed RoccoJanuary 13, 2013 at 11:01 pm

What exactly is the point of this new forum?

The only traffic it’s getting is from newbies who don’t know their way around the site, don’t know the messages boards exist, and click on “get help”. Ancestry then adds to newbie confusion by requiring they sign up for a separate account for the privilege of waiting for someone with a brain to tell them to call support.

The format insures the same stupid questions or complaints are posted over and over. The boring exchanges are enough to make eyes bleed.

The message boards might be creaky, no emoticons, :( , but they get the traffic from experienced users, who are ignoring the new forum, in case you haven’t noticed.

7 Jimlad68January 14, 2013 at 3:53 am

I sympathise with Ed Rocco’s comments, I suppose Ancestry’s hope is that it will “Mature”. I’m not sure yet what it adds to (or takes away from!) the existing Ancestry+Rootsweb message boards etc. Yet another thing to “keep an eye on”.

My concern is that any forum (even Ancestry trees etc) should be open to all, not just Ancestry members, that then broadens the contact base and might even bring in more customers for Ancestry. Perhaps Ancestry could develop the ever excellent no bells and whistles Rootsweb.

8 jimladJanuary 14, 2013 at 3:58 am

apologies if this appears twice, the confirmation screen did not show any letters for me on chrome, trying again on IE.

I sympathise with Ed Rocco’s comments, I suppose Ancestry’s hope is that it will “Mature”. I’m not sure yet what it adds to (or takes away from!) the existing Ancestry+Rootsweb message boards etc. Yet another thing to “keep an eye on”.

My concern is that any forum (even Ancestry trees etc) should be open to all, not just Ancestry members, that then broadens the contact base and might even bring in more customers for Ancestry. Perhaps Ancestry could develop the ever excellent no bells and whistles Rootsweb.

9 Andy HatchettJanuary 14, 2013 at 9:21 am

The only way it will ‘mature’ is when Ancestry puts ALL their support staff to work answering questions online where all can see them so that the same answer isn’t asked a million times.

What is the difference between answering by e-mail or answering online- clue: NOTHING!

10 IdaJanuary 14, 2013 at 11:05 am

I agree with #5 Ed….

11 Trevor ThackerJanuary 14, 2013 at 4:03 pm

Donna, Contact us via email at and we’ll resolve this for you.

12 EmilyJanuary 14, 2013 at 11:01 pm

I’m very glad to see the prominent Community Etiquette and Community Guidelines links on the support forums. I hope Ancestry will put these onto the regular forums as well… etiquette and decent behavior is sorely lacking in certain areas of the regular forums. It’s not just the members but Ancestry that shares the blame, since until now Ancestry hasn’t bothered to establish or enforce good community guidelines.

13 Long time userJanuary 16, 2013 at 11:50 am

Getting newbies up to speed is just going to take time and effort on their part. So many times the more experienced researcher has answered newbie questions but the same questions get asked again and again. I get tired of trying to help and sometimes I just don’t have the time.

Ancestry’s constant problem is that newbies are overwhelmed by the site. Also so many expect instant gratification. The TV ads promote this.

True research is a lifetime of learning. Lately, even when I call for help, I frequently get a person who knows less than I do. So first I have to teach the suport person about the site and then ask my question.

14 DonnaJanuary 20, 2013 at 8:14 pm

This may not be the right forum for my comment (my apologies if that’s the case), but I didn’t know where else to address this issue. I just want to say how disappointed I am that NBC cancelled, “Who Do You Think You Are”. This was an excellent show in helping people understand the principals of research. NBC doesn’t waste any time putting silly reality shows on the air, but removes shows that educate and inspire the general public. I really miss your show and know many others do as well. My hope is one day soon NBC will see the errors of their ways and allow this great program to return to TV.

15 shelli bumgarnerJanuary 21, 2013 at 4:32 am

Im new at family and not good on a computer so this help ive been my dad is getting old so his mom so im i would like this done before my dad dies he got excited when i told him my sister is smarter then me and faster i will have her help me my dad just had triple bypass heart this means alot to our family thanks again

16 oma2004January 22, 2013 at 12:47 am

I am having difficulty locating WHERE on the new site one posts a new thread. When I use SEARCH to ask my question, I get so many hits, none of which are specific to my issue.

17 laura mateoJanuary 23, 2013 at 8:51 pm

i was expexcting to be able to find something of use to help me find family memebers. your search questions are pointless if you enter information trying to pin point where to look and you send me all over the place. i can’t even find clear records on people whose information i do know. i’m sorry but this site is bogus.

18 Larry CzarnikJanuary 23, 2013 at 10:46 pm

When you can sign in with your own existing ID I might visit. But a so many have said, why put a new forum up, unless Ancestry are tired of the old one complaining about the same things they keep on not fixing!

Ancestry. Wise up. Use the collective knowledge of the existing user support community and spend your time (and money!) fixing the things that continually get complained about in those existing forums.

19 JadeJanuary 23, 2013 at 11:31 pm

1) This is not new. It was announced back in November, 2012.

2) This is not a ‘community’. It is a dodgy Q&A message board.

3) The site is very badly organized. It needs topical subdivisions that can ~easily~ be found in a one-page menu.

4) The points and rating systems are patronizing, irrelevant and stupid, artifacts of the “MySpace” software. Eliminate them. Genealogical and technical issues are not solved by “voting.”

5) The pages are too cluttered to enable quick site navigation — such as to see if there was a response to a post. Eliminate the stupid profile photos/albums that take up screen acreage, another artifact of simplified “MySpace” software.

6) Agree with the separate sign-in issues. This is unnecessary and confusing, particularly since the message board is now displayed in an ‘skin’ which will display when the viewer is ****already**** logged in.

7) If there is no ability to edit or delete posts, add these features.

20 Andy HatchettJanuary 24, 2013 at 10:26 pm

@Jade #18

Game – Set – Match !!

21 bgriffinJanuary 29, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Thanks Jim and everyone for sharing your feedback on our new Support Communities. I’d like to take this opportunity to respond to a few comments. First, it’s our intention to make this an open community for members of all experience levels focused on learning and sharing techniques for overcoming any roadblocks they experience during their family history research. We want all members to feel comfortable asking questions—from the basic, to those that might baffle an experienced user. To assist this growing community and some of our newest members, we’re working to introduce additional internal moderators along with a few external moderators, who will do their best to coach new members, and get them up to speed as quickly as possible on community etiquette and how best to get results.

We launched this community less than three months ago, so although we’re not at a mature state, we are growing and improving on a daily basis. Our new members have joined for all the right reasons—to learn more and to help others whenever possible. So we’re going to do our best to nurture this healthy community spirit. We recognize it’s an area that requires attention, and we plan to do just that.

And as we’ve noted on the Sign Up | Sign In page, we’re also looking to implement the ability to sign in using your existing Ancestry ID – but we’re just not there yet. We hope to have this capability in place later this year, along with a number of other program and platform enhancements.

Thanks for listening.
Ancestry Support Community Team

22 Andy HatchettJanuary 29, 2013 at 11:39 pm


Thanks for responding. The whole site needs more of that from staff members on the boards. Sometimes it seems we are yelling into a black hole.

23 scwbcmFebruary 3, 2013 at 7:06 am

Add me to the list of those not able to sign up or sign in to the new boards. I certainly hope ancestry will not eliminate any of the older boards or make any further changes until this is fixed. The boards are a vital part of the ancestry organization.

24 scwbcmFebruary 3, 2013 at 7:19 am

I had tried to sign in some time back and was not able to. I just checked again and now I am able to. I do still hope that the other boards will be kept as well. I appreciate the freedom of discussion and expression within the guidelines. I have not tried to use the new boards much yet so I do not have an opinion on them at this point. To those on the older boards, both volunteers, ancestry employees and responders I want to express my deep appreciation for all your help.

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