Posted by on August 31, 2013 in Site Status

We understand the recent site issues have caused disruptions in service to you, our loyal customers. Given that a number of members have asked for more details about the problems we’ve been experiencing recently, I wanted to write a note to all our members to give you an update.

First, let me emphasize that we are thankful for your business, and appreciate the feedback you have been sharing on our social channels, on the phone and via email. We love hearing from you and care deeply about your experience. So when something goes wrong, our engineers are immediately focused on fixing the problem. We are continually working on projects to improve site availability and performance to ensure that as our community and your trees grow, so does our infrastructure to support your activities.

The interest in family history has evolved quickly over the past few years. Our member community continues to grow, and with the complexity of our service we’ve hit a point where some fundamental architecture changes are needed to adapt our site to our member growth and evolution of our site features. In the past we have been able to add hardware to get to the next level, but now we have to make smart and purposeful changes to our infrastructure and these will take time to execute.

This weekend is an example of how our current architecture could still use some updates. There was a hardware failure that caused a single network event to disrupt the site’s performance. We’re working to upgrade the architecture to handle these types of situations, and as we work through this, you may see some intermittent site issues – but our teams are working very hard to minimize the impact on the site, so you can continue researching your family history.

For this weekend’s situation we have now restored the majority of the site’s functionality, including Search and Family Trees. We appreciate your patience as we address these issues as quickly as possible and again apologize for any inconvenience this might cause.

Keep in mind that keeping your information safe throughout this process is our number one priority. We have multiple back-up servers that house your precious family history research to ensure it is online once the site is available again.

That being said, I will reiterate a few comments I made on a Facebook post a few weeks back, which I think are important for you to know.

We are working on some updates to our sites infrastructure in order to continue to provide you with a world-class family history experience; some of the things we’re working on include:

  • Re-architecting our base development framework with the goal of improved performance and availability
  • Applying additional levels of database and network monitoring in order to more quickly detect and resolve problems

We will also continue to invest in new core product features to make finding your family history easier and faster, while adding record collections so that more data is available to you.  We are pleased that so many people want to learn more about their family history, and as our member community grows we will continue to work behind the scenes to limit disruptions to your service as we evolve the site to grow with the addition of new members and new site features.

On behalf of all of us at Ancestry.com we thank you for your continued support, and for your business, and encourage you to keep the comments coming. And I’ll update you on the blog as we continue to make progress.

Sincerely,
Scott Sorensen, Chief Technology Officer

About Scott Sorensen

Scott Sorensen has served as Chief Technology Officer of Ancestry.com since April 2013. Scott has been at the company since June 2002 and has held multiple positions including Senior Vice President of Engineering, Vice President of Search and Vice President of Commerce. Prior to joining Ancestry.com, Scott was co-founder and Vice President of Engineering and then President at Coresoft Technologies. Scott was an engineering manager at WordPerfect / Novell and a software engineer at IBM. He holds a B.S in Computer Science from Brigham Young University.

179 Comments

Debbie 

How about making those Facebook posts also available here. Not everyone is interested in Facebook.

August 31, 2013 at 7:19 pm
Tina 

Thanks for the “Standard” apology.

August 31, 2013 at 7:46 pm
Donna Hunt 

I just want to say that while the issues may have been inconvenient I look around at the boxes of family history that my mother had collected, with many envelopes that were mailed and returned and I realize that this has been a very small inconvenience indeed. Thank you for your work first setting up this site, and for your efforts to keep it running.

August 31, 2013 at 7:48 pm
Constance Cigliana 

Thank you, Scott!

August 31, 2013 at 7:48 pm
Loretta 

If you are having website issues why were free days offered? Free days overload the system on a good day. It’s made that much worse when you can’t handle the users you already have.
Why can’t you inform users when maintenance is being done? We know it’s possible to post a banner on the home page since we’ve seen the cookies banner and notifications about hints being down. If regular maintenance is being done why can’t we know that it’s the reason the site is running slowly?
Communication from those on high to us lowly customers is sorely lacking. If that isn’t remedied customers will continue to cancel subscriptions.

August 31, 2013 at 7:50 pm
robin 

Sigh. I understand your issues. Unfortunately, that’s not what we’re paying for. When you agree to take hundreds of dollars from your customers (look me up, I’ve been a customer of yours for at least 10 years), you are essentially making a pact; one that means I’ll pay you and you deliver what you promise.

Sorry that the technology’s expanding faster than you can keep up. Not my fault. In 2009, you guys filed for a $75 million IPO … I’m guessing that part of your proposal including some kind of projection for the future? One that included a technology investment?

Want to know a pet peeve I have? When I go to a restaurant and they have lousy service and they say, well it got busy. What? Not my problem. That is what you are essentially saying to us.

Either way, I am contracting with a company that is not delivering on its promises. The only proper thing to do is to reimburse your customers for their lost time. Period. That doesn’t do anything for the grief and the frustration that people have suffered. But that’s what any reputable company would do in this situation.

August 31, 2013 at 7:50 pm
Dana Kessler 

Thanks for the explanation and I look forward to the improved service you are striving to achieve. Keeping us informed is really important!

August 31, 2013 at 7:52 pm
Karen Palmer 

thank you..a few questions though 1) why couldn’t customer service tell us it was a hardware failure today 2) why aren’t customers being told in advance when you are making changes that may impact functionality 3) why aren’t customers being told in advance what upgrades to expect with your changes 4) at what point in time should customers expect compensation for your currently less than reliable complete availability. 5) what is ancestry’s plan to improve communication with their customers.

August 31, 2013 at 7:53 pm
Karen Palmer 

a couple more questions….why do the customers have to drag explanations from the upper management of ancestry? Why did it take customers demanding an explanation for you to write this blog? Why didn’t it occur to you that your customers want to know what is going on? Surely the upper management of ancestry is that blind and deaf to their customers Where is Tim Sullivan…why isn’t he talking to his customers?

August 31, 2013 at 7:58 pm
Jeanie Brunty Brumley 

Scott,

Thank you for the information and the insurance that our information is secure on multiple backup systems. I enjoy my Ancestry.com experience and look forward to moving past the current snags.

I’m a little surprised that Ancestry.com found themselves unprepared or seemingly without a plan to intervene before things escalated to our current service issues. Surely in regards to new services and expansion the architecture needs were brought to the forefront of consideration? In my opinion, to proceed at that point and now experience rolling system failures seems short-sighted in retrospect.

As a consumer I want to be supportive, and believe having scheduled downtime for planned installs and upgrades would take away any lost confidence and return goodwill towards confidence in Ancestry.com’s previously known good service.

Sincerely,
Jeanie Brumley

August 31, 2013 at 7:59 pm
Julie Simon 

Thanks for the information. Just as in health care, all IT technology is evolving, growing and changing. I, for one, appreciate ancestry.com’s diligent to detail and preserving our past! Keep up the good work!

August 31, 2013 at 8:04 pm
Betty Deithorn 

I believe I’ve been a loyal customer for 5-6 years now. Met with lots of frustration when on the site. I was even overcharged $50 one year and gave up attempting to get customer service to understand what happened. Extended to the wider base membership (Europe) but canceled during the “free” offering as Ancestry had not gone into the regions in Italy that I needed. Charged $50 and never credited so hope someone reads this and helps me cause the dissatisfaction keeps piling up.

August 31, 2013 at 8:12 pm
judy 

Will u be extending the days we were not able to use Ancestry on our designated contract months? Thank you

August 31, 2013 at 8:13 pm
Debbie McBride 

Thanks so much for the information. Keeping subscribers in the loop is great. I can accept an occasional disruption gracefully when you let us know about it and I hope others feel the same way.

August 31, 2013 at 8:15 pm
Laurie 

All computer systems have issues. To require a credit everytime a system went down most businesses would go broke. Things and unexpected things happen. We all just need to deal with it and stop looking for handouts. I have found Ancestry to be a very helpful tool as opposed to trying to find what archive this information is in and travelling there. I’ll take a little inconvenience over the expense of traveling all over this country and to foreign countries to try to find the information and come up with possibly nothing.

August 31, 2013 at 8:17 pm
Tammy Farley 

Scott,
To quote you:
“some fundamental architecture changes are needed to adapt our site to our member growth and evolution of our site features. In the past we have been able to add hardware to get to the next level, but now we have to make smart and purposeful changes to our infrastructure and these will take time to execute.”

This leads me to reiterate the questions I posed on facebook. Why is ancestry offering free time when the system cannot support the paying members and is already aware of that? Shouldn’t you be upgrading BEFORE you change the site features if they are going to cause connection problems? These issues didn’t just start this weekend. It has been happening more and more.

And another commercial just played on tv as I write this, so where is this loyalty to the long term customer? All I see is you trolling for new members.

August 31, 2013 at 8:22 pm
Joyce Mix 

Of course you are having issues. Offering free searches to obtain new subscribers and having the systems overload and crash….hmmmm who thought that was a good idea! Since you can offer free searches to attract new business I think it is only fair to offer free days for paying subscribers whose money is giving you the ability to make these offers. I am not a happy customer. I don’t need you to make the site prettier, or tell a story, I need it to work. Concentrate on us for a change!

August 31, 2013 at 8:24 pm
Beth 

As much as I appreciate the communication and apology, it seems as though Ancestry.com did not do a very good job of looking ahead and projecting potential (now very real) issues. I have a few more months on my subscription. Time will tell.

August 31, 2013 at 8:27 pm
Mike 

Laurie:

I respectfully disagree. I have contacted my local cable company and they have reimbursed me for outages.
I also understand the complexity of the what ancestry.com is trying to do, and I actually applaud them for the efforts to attempt both upgrade their systems and fix their problems, but much like when I go to a restaurant and my mean does not come out as I ordered, they generally either bring me a corrected meal of refund my charges for what was wrong.
Personally I think ancestry.com, which is a business trying to provide good customer service should do the same thing and since we cannot get our lost time back (and fortunately we at least haven’t lost our hard worked on information) they could at least extend the renewal date for all paid customers for a minimum of 2 weeks and merely consider it the cost of doing business.
After all, I as member, very often provide free services that help both ancestry.com and other users by correcting census and other records to make the experience better for everyone!

August 31, 2013 at 8:29 pm
Ronnie 

Well…Against my better judgement, I just subscribed for another 6 months. I wish I hadn’t. During my last 6 month subscription, I was unable to use the services about 50% of the time. Did ancestry offer any help? No! They told me I needed to upgrade my computer! I’ll be asking for a refund tomorrow. I’m moving over to familysearch.org. They know how to run a genealogy site, unlike ancestry.com…….!!! And it’s FREE!!!

August 31, 2013 at 8:31 pm
Debby McBride Brown 

I certainly understand technical difficulties – I’m retired from a service providing company and that technology has evolved an overwhelming amount since I’ve been gone. However, I have to agree with several others – Scheduled maintenance is a necessity BUT notify us when it is to happen. Also, be more proactive about notifying us in regards to unexpected outages. Third point – if you are going to offer so much ‘free’ time to potential new subscribers, you should adjust the cost to those of us who have been paying for a number of years. I also agree there should be rebates or future discounts for the extreme outages that have recently occurred.

August 31, 2013 at 8:32 pm
Tammie 

An apology is in order – don’t see an apology nor do we see a plan to stop inviting non-payors to crash your servers until you get your structure sorted out.

August 31, 2013 at 8:40 pm
Loretta 

I understand that all systems were down so it probably wasn’t possible (against my better judgement I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt) to send an email blast to users but why did it take over an hour and a half for anyone to post on social media? It was an echo chamber of “Is it down for you?” and “Does anyone know what’s going on?” Inexcusable in this day and age.

August 31, 2013 at 8:41 pm
Elizabeth 

As a long-time customer located in Canada, I find it unacceptable that you are currently the only site providing access to the 1921 Canadian census and that you apparently do not have the infrastructure in place to ensure its ongoing availability. Surely that was part of your commitment to Library and Archives Canada when you entered into the contract with them?

As others have said, I appreciate the information I’m able to find with my World subscription but I’m very frustrated when I lose access during a period when you have offered free access to try to attract new customers. If your infrastructure cannot support more users, why would you be attracting them en masse???

Perhaps some of the $$$$ you are putting into advertising would be better spent on infrastructure to support existing and new/future users?

August 31, 2013 at 8:45 pm
Anne Benson 

I, too. have been irritated at the constant “Free” offerings, yet I, as a paying customer, have to put up with delays and outages because you are trying to grow beyond your capabilities. I appreciatre the new material you add, and the growth of the databases but hope you can keep up with the growth of membership.

August 31, 2013 at 8:51 pm
Lorraine 

Thanks i understand from time to time you have problem’s and i have no problem with you doing your updates i did have a problem with trying to acess my family tree but can wait until you fix all your problem

August 31, 2013 at 8:51 pm
Cynthia Fondren 

I have been waiting 6 months for Ancestry to straighten out the issue of the same family members showing up on my tree several times causing total confusion!!! When I try to use the option of “merge duplicates” it doesn’t allow me to do so. After calling your customer service dept, I was told that you are working on a “fix”. I have called several times and told the same thing. When is this issue ever going to be resolved?????? Also, when you get into some of the more complicated areas of finding relatives that are related to each other, the system is giving the wrong “blood” relationship connection. (Ex. I may be a blood relative of George Washington but because I am also related to Martha Washington, it will say he is the husband of my 3rd cousin.) In my honest opinion, you really do need to hire more competent programmers. It’s not just that you need upgrades to your system, you need CORRECT upgrades!

August 31, 2013 at 8:51 pm
Monte Neece 

I don’t doubt your sincerity or your desire to improve Ancestry.com. Nonetheless, a business must deliver what it promises or it dies. The past few months have been a series of slow response times, search errors, and outages followed by apologies. That doesn’t work in any other business and shouldn’t in yours. Someone needs to get it right. Fortunately for you there is no serious competition but I sure hope you step up and fix this mess soon My subscription is up in two weeks and I’m thinking of giving it a rest.

I have been a genealogy addict for 30 years and Ancestry has allowed me to grow my tree more in 5 years than what I have done in the previous 25 years. I appreciate what you’ve put together but maybe I need to give Ancestry a rest and look at other resources for a while.

August 31, 2013 at 8:52 pm
James East 

I have been an ancestry subscriber for over 10 years and never experienced any problems until the past year. It has been horrible service and I can’t believe I still pay for this. I have made numerous phone calls and written on line. Each solution offered has not made one bit of difference. Whatever problems you are having should have been corrected long ago. I sincerely believe whoever has been in charge of this should have been fired. I have owned a business for 20 years and would never treat my customers this way.

August 31, 2013 at 8:53 pm
Rita 

Thank You for your explanation. I have been and online member for over 10 years now and appreciate the increase of information that creates a family tree. I worry thought that growing so quickly and changing (Updating the process) or rewriting programs, opens up a lot of issues that are not getting as well tested and tweaked before making changes to the entire system. Having been a programmer I know that these systems are not infallible. The bigger they are the harder they fall. With the high price of subscription one wonders if we are getting our money’s worth.

August 31, 2013 at 9:01 pm
Sally 

I think an extension on peoples subscriptions is in order to reimburse for the disruption.

August 31, 2013 at 9:05 pm
Elizabeth Long 

This site is expensive. Do we get any kind of price break for all the time we are not able to use this site?

August 31, 2013 at 9:05 pm
Kilby Hanna 

What was a great place to do research is not so much anymore. I’m looking into other options and canceling my subscription. I have had enough delays, bad customer service, canned ‘corporate’ apologies than I care for. What has happened to Ancestry? It used to be worth every penny.

August 31, 2013 at 9:16 pm
Jan L Fisher 

Thank you for the explanation. Like many other respondents, I am dismayed by:

- the lack of an apology
- an up-front commitment to defer any further free-access periods until the architecture is up-graded & stable.

Corporate growth is important to the bottom-line, but history has shown that it is imperative for growth businesses to provide existing customers with a dependable service before attracting new ones (particularly temporary, non-paying ones).

Ancestry is at an important juncture in its development. I respectfully request additional communication regarding:
1) how Ancestry will manage the transitionary infrastructure upgrades,
2) the period of time over which architectural improvements will be implemented,
3) your plan to maintain service excellence for current customers during this critical phase of corporate development,
4) a commitment to defer free access periods until such time as the infrastructure can accommodate the demand.

Thank you, Jan L Fisher

August 31, 2013 at 9:23 pm
Ruth 

Thank you Scott.
I can not even imagine the pressure to get a system to perform 24/7 and under the handicaps of old hardware and software.
It was a bit disconcerting when the system did not accept my password and user name. I did change or create a new one but not sure if the old is still in effect.
It was frustrating.
I am sure it was for your staff too.
Thank you for your information.
Sincerely
Ruth

August 31, 2013 at 9:30 pm
Gwen Brunson 

What a great time to increase your subscription rates!!

August 31, 2013 at 9:42 pm
Gary Wilkinson 

James East, my words exactly !! Couldn’t have said it any better.

August 31, 2013 at 9:50 pm
Keith 

Disappointed that you prefaced the whole thing with meaingless customer service speak plattitudes, followed by untilligible geek talk about architecture. Get real man, cut to the chase, tell us in simple terms what happened, what you’re doing about it and that you’re sorry. Admitting you screwed up is far more acceptable than using fancy words implying that it all happened because you’re trying to improve the product. People just don’t want to hear that garbage any more. Honesty counts.

August 31, 2013 at 9:52 pm
Gary Wilkinson 

Jan L. Fisher, I think you “hit the nail on the head”.
Excellent response !!

August 31, 2013 at 9:57 pm
Lesley 

Thank your for the info. However, I would be most appreciative if you would just fix it. I don’t know if it’s because you choose to do maintenance while the US site is not being used, but in Australia I experience problems with your site on a regular basis.

I will not be renewing my membership when it expires unless the website is fixed and stable.

August 31, 2013 at 10:25 pm
Nadine Baker 

I’m also a long-time customer & furious you would continually offer free access when you can’t support your paying clientele! With the price I pay every year It’s not asking too much for warnings of outages, and reimbursement when the lost performance reaches such a high. That’s how I run my operations.

August 31, 2013 at 10:32 pm
Judith Meech 

IiI’ve a subscriber since 2000 & the past 6 months have really been a headache. I read your explanation & I too think you should back off on the free accesses, so it doesn’t crash. As my tree keeps locking up I have lost a lot of time. I have been searching on Cyndislist when I can’t get into my tree. I haven’t had any problem on her site. You are frustrating me Ancestry!!

August 31, 2013 at 10:49 pm
Donna Lilly 

Has anyone else experienced a problem when trying to contact other people who you think might be in your Tree or who have a Private Tree?
I keep getting a “error occurred” message, but it shows up in my “sent” box. So, I’m not sure if it “went” or not. I called customer service, & they said as far as they can see, if it’s in my “sent box” it must have gone. I am just wondering, since I have emailed a lot of people, & I usually do get replies from most of them. I have not gotten any replies from these sent in the past month or so.

August 31, 2013 at 11:06 pm
Donald Sass 

Great. I thought my computer was on the bring of destruction!!

August 31, 2013 at 11:09 pm
Marrk Shepherd 

Most of us will know that even the best systems can crash. This is often because of overloading,spikes in usage that current system capabilities cannot handle. Whilst your free access offers are great marketing tool and can benefit all researchers with the added data input that non subscribers share, these offers should be restricted to off peak periods. With members all over the world and in different time zones this is impractical, suspend these free access,periods until the system can handle the demand.
thanks for the apology, but it will mean very little if you continue to compromise the experience of current subscribers in pursuit of new membership

August 31, 2013 at 11:13 pm
Donald Sass 

By the way I took the free offer for background sources and got billed $29.xx dollars for a month service. When I called them they canceled service for NEXT month not the immediate month. I couldn’t get back on due to using and unmemorized PW I used due to only expecting to use it for a moment! You are still advertising that Free ?? Service.

August 31, 2013 at 11:14 pm
Jody Arthur 

Wow! It seems the patience and resilience that family historians are renowned for have vanished, judging by many of these comments. I guess I assumed the “I want it my way, and I way it now” generation weren’t into complex work like ancestry.com offers. I never realized that ancestor hunting was so time sensitive. :S

August 31, 2013 at 11:35 pm
melanie Wood 

Thank you for your update. I was thinking it was my computer. I am on the site quite a lot and managed fair well.

I lived 3rd world country long enough to expect mess-ups :) Keep up the good work – I thought I was the only surviving member of my family and have met so many in 3 years. Always grateful to you for that!

August 31, 2013 at 11:57 pm
Shirley Parker 

Well it took me three days to “stumble” on the help column to finally find out that I am not going crazy, that my computer is not crashing, and to think you are offering free searches while I a subscriber for many years am not able to work on my family search. I certainly expect compensation for lost time. How long must we wait?

September 1, 2013 at 12:07 am
Marcy Fralick 

Thank you for all the hard work you’re doing to upgrade the site! This is such a remarkable treasure trove of genealogical information, I can imagine it takes a lot to maintain it. I’m glad to know that this site will be even better than before!

September 1, 2013 at 12:14 am
M Pierce 

Thank you for taking the time to explain the situation, Scott. I continue to be impressed with the updates to improve efficiency in researching and in ease of viewing ancestry data. I’ve made some suggestions and before I knew it, they were there! Thank you! I appreciate that you provide a service that demands constant updating and problem-solving to integrate new tools and applications, and sometimes hiccups occur. I’m looking forward to whatever comes next!

September 1, 2013 at 12:38 am
Cissy Henry 

Well said Jody Arthur !!

September 1, 2013 at 12:41 am
Alyssa 

I appreciate the explanation. I do agree with Jody – when did Genealogy become so time sensitive?

All this talk of dues and and IPO’s does have its place. I also spend hundreds every year and feel that we deserve a successful, impactful upgrade.

Maybe this would be a good time to focus on being hopeful? With many talking of jumping ship, maybe this is a good time to stress what’s important to us?

I would love for the site to be faster to navigate. After making great strides last weekend I logged in to find 47 hints. It took hours to open them. Hours.

I hope the upgrade brings speed.

September 1, 2013 at 12:56 am
Karla West 

Thank you Scott, these things come with growth.

September 1, 2013 at 1:38 am
Bernt Månsson 

Be nice to your customers, they are the ones paying for your salaries. The investment company that own Ancestry is Pemira Advisers LLP has only one goal, maximum profit. They don’t care about frustrated customers because “they cost money”.

Back to my problem, the Facebook import service, it hasn’t worked for me since January 2013. Error message: “we are unable to render your tree at this time”. There is a case on this. The “developers” are informed. Nothing is solved. The problem is still there.
When will the issue be solved? I can’t be alone with this issue?

September 1, 2013 at 1:57 am
FHC Librarian 

I also noticed how badly the site was running…ah…not running. I am on the site hours every day. I’m not going to live forever so I have to keep busy.

What bothers me is I can’t listen to the radio or watch TV without hearing or seeing multiple ads for Ancestry every day, 24/7. If you are out there beating the bushes for more and more paying customers, you should be prepared with your software and hardware for those new customers ahead of time, as well as keeping your old ones. You have had many years to learn this!

Several examples of that are on this blog. Your problems are NOT my problems. You run a business. You want to stay in business. PREPARE for that business! Any other business would soon be out of business if they were unable to deliver. Anticipate the potential problems of having more and more customers.

Forget some of the doo-dads of fancy graphics and get serious. Give us choices and options. Not everyone can or wants to buy a new computer to keep up with all the unnecessary functions and graphics you are adding. About half of the functions which are now on the site I will never use. Some I can’t avoid even though I try.

What I want is good indexing and good access to all the records…period.

September 1, 2013 at 1:59 am
Long time user 

I don’t think I need to thank you for doing your job. My yearly full payment is your thanks. It is nice to alert us with the ubiquitous blue banner when you do have problems, but still it is not a good excuse.

September 1, 2013 at 2:07 am
Scott Young 

While I understand equipment failures, upgrades and maintenance… WHY do they always have to happen at night… later at night? I’m only able to work on my personal projects, like my family tree, after 9pm PST. And lately, I’ve gotten absolutely NO work done because I can’t access my tree, or the hint system is down, or I try to save changes and get system error messages! I can log in after breakfast or at lunch time… and gee, guess what? The whole system is running smoothly. But during those times I can only spend an hour MAX working on my things. And the argument that a majority of the people are available during these times is BS. Because I can only be available at later times makes me no less an important user of Ancestry.com!!

September 1, 2013 at 2:38 am
Ron 

I understand as more people jion the site changes will have to made to handle the use of so many people, & changes will be made, but members should be informed of this in good time. If Ancestry know problems are around like this WHAT ARE THEY THINKING GIVING ALL PUBLIC FREE ACCESS SO OFTEN? Thats just not good for the paying loyal members that end up unable to use the site THEY PAY FOR.

September 1, 2013 at 3:16 am
Vicky 

I agree with the majority. Here the uk site stopped altogether. No site no warning no nothing. On a Saturday afternoon, you know, the one time one has time to use it. When it came back, no trees. Whilst its obviously not the end of the world, at the time I didn’t know if my tree was lost forever, as there was no blue banner explaining trees were temporarily not available. And as others have said, I’m paying for this lack of service. And if you are touting for new business, you should have system that can cope. Someone in the uk wing should have realised that a combination of holidays, a new series of wdytya and free offers would cause issues. But I guess you already have my money, it doesn’t matter if I receive a service at all. Only, there are other sites now…

September 1, 2013 at 4:37 am
Jennifer 

I have to agree with many of the other members. I feel very frustrated with the customer service at ancestry.com! I have been a world member for years. It really upsets me that parts of ancestry that had been included the are now additional fees, as Fold3, newspapers, etc. but every long weekend/holiday is now free to gather new members. That is the time I want to really “dig into research” and I can’t.

Throw in my frustration with the 5 DNA’s that I have paid for and can’t get answers why my daughter and I have such huge differences in our DNA all add up to an unhappy customer!

If this was the last day of my membership and I had not renewed it, ancestry.com would cancel the membership on time no extension. We must pay to “play”, we as paying members deserve what we pay for. If you can’t provide the service to the customers you already have, why try to get more? Meanwhile, those trying your free service may have been discouraged and decide they don’t need to pay for membership.

Word of mouth is the best form of advertisement. I have always been someone who promoted ancestry.com, but this year has not been a good one for me with ancestry.com. I have not discouraged people but I have not recommended joining either. When we talk about our DNA findings, I don’t recommend ancestry.com as a way for others to start their search. Renewed time will be here before I know it. I will be thinking long and hard before I agree to another year as a world member. .

September 1, 2013 at 4:44 am
Kathy 

After being a long-time member — I DID CANCEL!! Reasons why: 1) Do not like the “new & improved” family tree format. 2) All the dragging. 3) Unable to print off censuses or WWI cards. 4) Unable to delete same-name persons. Preferred old format FT with basic functions!! And those ads claiming with just one click THEY found their great grandfather! Guess what? It was through hours of painstaking research of OTHERS that they found their dear old great grandfather! Us genealogists are a special (smarter & more diligent) breed who work hard and spend LOTS OF time & MONEY on something they take great pride in! All the best to you, Ancestry.

September 1, 2013 at 4:56 am
Duncan 

You provide a service we pay for, if we cannot use the service, we should receive some free credits. Others say be patient but when research time has gone it has gone and will not come back during our decreasing time here. Ancestry does not show it cares much about our lost time to research and I never realized that so many members were as frustrated at these long outages as myself. Come on Ancestry improve but keep the customer base happy!

September 1, 2013 at 5:24 am
Kim 

Thanks for the explanation.Maybe slow down the advertising until the problems get resolved?

September 1, 2013 at 5:28 am
Melinda Poole 

All you think about are more subscribers. Treat your older ones with more respect. We don’t get free stuff, we pay for ours. Refunds or extensions would be nice. I will have to admit that I am using “free sites” more now because of your issues and the fact that we can’t print some things we used to. As Kathy puts it, your ads are very misleading!!! You can THINK you found a certain relative but the mistakes I see people make are unreal.

September 1, 2013 at 5:34 am
Cameron 

I find the service for the last year well below standard, I paid good money for a service that I’m not getting and whenever I ask a question online all I get are generic answers. Come February I will have to think long and hard about renewing my subscription, maybe better to delete my tree from Ancestry and go somewhere else, maybe a free site, you only get what you pay for, but I’m not getting it at Ancestry.

September 1, 2013 at 5:37 am
Brad 

The problem is not with this weekend. This has been happening all summer. And it always seems to happen when I need to be using ancestry.com. It has become a waste of time for me. I am NOT getting what I have paid for. When my current subscription runs out I will not be renewing. Facebook has many times the amount of users as ancestry.com does and I have never not been able to access that site. This isn’t a tech problem. This is a management problem.

September 1, 2013 at 5:51 am
Raymond F. McCoy 

I have no argument with any service provided by the Ancestry sites or info I some times have difficulty downloading info but I put that down to my inexperience in the particular tasks my attempt to learn how everything works sometimes leave me bewildered, anyway I must be learning because my tree is expanding my six month renewal comes up this month I am looking forward to sorting out some new persons I have found,

September 1, 2013 at 5:55 am
Linda Sheridan 

I am still having problems. I do a search and the screen blanks out. When will this be fixed?

September 1, 2013 at 6:19 am
Allie Bishop 

Mr. Sorenson, as more and more folks get involved in genealogy and genetic genealogy, Ancestry is really risking its good name when its priorities are signing up new customers rather than addressing the concerns of its existing customers. It’s not the threat of cancelled subscriptions you need to worry about. We live in an age where social media can stop legislation in its tracks, ruin political careers and destroy reputations. Indeed, the Internet is saturated with the dismal functionality of Ancestry DNA, and those who do their research are using FTDNA and 23 and Me because they offer the tools necessary to make DNA results meaningful. When a competitor comes along with the capital and the vision, and the membership offer that lures long-standing customers from your site, perhaps then Ancestry will admit they have willfully and stubbornly not kept pace with infrastructure, DNA tools, site features, maintnance, interface and have focused on only attracting new customers with useless visual candy (i.e., “Story View” that doesn’t load). I think my fellow members are extremely fatigued by the corporate culture in this country that soaks people for every last penny which only benefits leadership with excessive salaries and bonuses. Your website is fantastic – for 2008. It is now 2013. No more excuses. Either heed our concerns or go the way of AOL and CompuServe.

September 1, 2013 at 6:49 am
Cindy Musgrove 

Thank you! I work in the technology industry so I understand what you are saying. Outages happen in the best of situations. I’m glad to hear you are taking steps to improve your infrastructure to help avoid issues in the future. I hope you have already or do plan to improve as much redundancy in you plan as any mission critical environment would demand. Maybe you should consider stopping the free weekends until improvements are made.

I agree with the poster that asked that you reach out to the Ancestry Facebook page and provide statements about what is going on. I think most of the angst was from not knowing and not hearing from anyone, not even a message when our browsers tried to access the site. “We’re sorry, we are currently experiencing technical difficulties and are working hard to have service restored as soon as possible.” would have been nice to see instead of just a hung screen.

September 1, 2013 at 7:17 am
Francine Warren 

Sadly I am strongly considering canceling my account. Years ago I did the same things as your company is down more than it is up. You leave a great deal to be desired when it comes to customer service! You keep apologizing for your poor service & lack of ability to control your problems while continuing to grow. You off freebies to non-paying customers, yet nothing to those of us who pay for services we can’t access. How about offering us some of our cash back or a free month of the Worldwide service- something which shows your company actually really feels bad about what is going on!

September 1, 2013 at 7:23 am
Rose Nartowicz 

Crisis management is a poor management style. Your business is growing and you like all other successful growing businesses should project your needs for growth. My account is always debited on time, and I expect what was promised.

September 1, 2013 at 7:26 am
Laura V. 

Why is this on Facebook instead of Ancestry.com. ??? I just lucked into seeing it today as I am not a FB junkie and don’t check everyday. I am on Ancestry just about every day.

There really should be a credit given to subscribers for unannounced downtime. I have subscribed for several years and never received so much as an “I’m sorry”. I would definitely go to a competitive site if their customer service was better.

For me the worst part is you never tell us what is down and give us an expected resolution time. You need to communicate better with your subscribers.

Also, why did you take away features I used to use every day, such as printing and saving to my computer my family censuses, WWI draft cards, etc. The service price doesn’t go down but the features we are paying for decrease.

If you need to make “fundamental architecture changes” maybe it would be better to announce a site downtime of a couple of days, with credit to subscribers. Use Project Management techniques to plan your upgrades.

I agree with so much of the criticism already mentioned by the 70 people ahead of me, so I won’t repeat too much of it!!! I read them all and I hope you will too!

As a retired IT manager, I think you need to reassess your technology priorities and risk management. If your reputation continues to fall you won’t be able to pay those salaries, so you better make sure your people are spending their time on the right projects. It is more important to maintain your service than to push out new capabilities.

September 1, 2013 at 7:29 am
Allie Bishop 

Go Figure. The search is down AGAIN. How’s that free search weekend lure working out for you, Ancestry?

September 1, 2013 at 7:41 am
Joan Alexander 

A credit to your paying customers for time lost while the site was not working properly is in order.

September 1, 2013 at 7:51 am
Barbara Brann 

Quit offering free weekends if your infrastructure cannot support the extra traffic.

September 1, 2013 at 8:18 am
Mark Stickle 

Actions really do speak louder than words — and especially louder than corporate-speak. If your concern for the existing subscriber base were real, then you would cut-back on the new customer acquisition effort until you had a stable platform that was capable of handling existing needs. Instead, you appear to be relentlessly focused on bulking up the subscriber base — preparing, I suspect, for a sale??

September 1, 2013 at 8:53 am
Beth Lindley Putnam 

Please don’t sell what you cannot support. I pay full price for full access and you are not honoring this business deal. I am continuing to be disappointed this spring and summer. You really owe your customers some extra time…

September 1, 2013 at 8:54 am
Catherine Biddulph 

Folks, please realize that the tech people are probably just as frustrated as we users are. I’d bet the rent that Ancestry’s tech people have been begging the owners to spend less on advertising and more on upgrading databases and hardware/comm infrastructure. Just sayin’…

September 1, 2013 at 9:13 am
Don Richard 

How is it that from past experience I was able to correctly predict a site crash this weekend, and you were not. It is because the previous 79 comments do not really matter to you. I am also equally sure that had you bothered to ask your lower level employes answering your phone. They would have also been able to predict this site crash, they are the ones left to deal with it. While upper corporate management is off enjoying their long weekend. Tuesday morning you will get your short briefing, then move on and continue to do the same old same old…

September 1, 2013 at 9:17 am
Marlene Swann 

Karen Palmer, my sentiments exactly.

September 1, 2013 at 9:23 am
Loretta 

Those who continually excuse bad service are the reason the site has not improved. Say Ancestry.com was a buffet restaurant. We pay as we enter the door. All the food available is burnt. A lot of us complain and don’t come back. Some people want to give them one more chance. The next time there’s hair in all the food. Most people never come back but the diehards return. There’s bugs in the food. They still won’t give up. The next time they pay and find there’s no food available at all. And they keep coming back and paying!
The only thing that will make Ancestry realize that we won’t keep paying for lousy service is cancelling our subscriptions. Do it now and tell them why. They count on you forgetting about this when it’s renewal time. You won’t lose anything. I cancelled a few weeks ago when there issues (not a crash but trees and DNA results disappearing). My subscription expires on the 18th.
Ancestry needs to fix their technical issues and return to the customer service that made us loyal customers to begin with.

September 1, 2013 at 9:40 am
Joe Healy 

Love to find out this tech stack that keeps blowing out from under ya’ll. I’ve seen a lot of tomcat errors and such caught when ya’ll get smoked.

September 1, 2013 at 9:57 am
Carol S. 

From what I’m reading, I’ve determined “It ain’t ME!” All the problems I’ve encountered on Ancestry.com appear to be common to many (most?) of your users. I’ve been a paying customer for a number of years and upgraded to World Membership last year for European searches. With the problems seeming to continue and even increase, I’ve recently begun to wonder if I was just getting too old to deal with computers and genealogy programs. Yesterday with no notice on your website of problems on your end, I thought I was losing my mind! Looks like your IT people might be the ones missing the boat. Or is management trying to squeeze out more income at the expense of needed system improvements? Whatever the cause, I really hope Ancestry.com can get its act together before my subscription expires. (Although I do believe you owe your paying customers a ‘free extension’ as compensation for poor service.) Keep trying….a little harder, please! Kudos to Karen Palmer for her well-articulated comments!

September 1, 2013 at 10:02 am
Teresa A. Fields 

I’ve been dealing with the “upgrading” of software issues. It’s a little annoying but I can muddle through or just come back a couple of hours later in the hopes that not so many people are trying to use the servers. However, this morning I am having issues with the DNA matches. First it tells me that I’m not connected to a tree (which it is) so I go to re-connect my primary tree and it say’s it already connected and yet I can not see the people with only the “hints”. I’ve no use for those that only share area ethnicity. I look for “new” and “hints” when reviewing DNA matches. If this is not currently on your list of issues could you please add it?……thank you

September 1, 2013 at 10:41 am
Paula 

Thank you Scott and Ancestry teams for the information. I appreciate the hard work it takes to keep a site this huge running smoothly. I have been a member for at least 13 years. I just did some figures and FOLKS that are complaining: Here’s an eye opener for Me and I hope you. The amount that I’ve paid for my subscription over those years divided by the number of persons I’ve been able to add to my family tree–comes out to 58 cents per person. People that is Cheap!!!!!!!!!!! Back in the old days when I had to actually go to the states, cities or towns to spend hours upon hours looking through records single handed, without any indexing, etc. with huge possibilities of not finding a thing and having spent all the travel money and money for food and lodging, it was a considerable cost. People get a grip!!!! Technical outages occur all the time. We are dealing with machines here! They are more perfect than Humans, but still just machines and Maintenance is Required frequently. Yes, outages can be frustrating, but grow up people! It happens everywhere you go. You have to learn to roll with the punches folks!
I do agree with others that simply communicating with a Banner across the top of the screen, with explanations would be beneficial and would hopefully cut down on the number of people complaining.

As for those people complaining that they are having a free weekend while this is happening—duh people. The free weekend was planned well in advance of issues happening this weekend. They are not fortune tellers who can foresee the actual date and time an issue will arise. They have to deal with it as it occurs.

I’m not saying that I don’t get frustrated when these things happen, just that as a logically minded person, I know that there are plenty of things I can do with my genealogy without having to be on ancestry during those times. I have so many pictures, files, etc. that need to be organized, I will never be without something that I can work on during those times. As well as visiting our local Genealogy library and society where local research can always be done for free.

September 1, 2013 at 11:09 am
Alice Humphries 

I pay every month. I think I should be given a credit for one month. Was on vacation and could not even work on family tree.

September 1, 2013 at 11:22 am
Scott Sorensen 

Thanks everyone for your feedback. The team and I here are sincerely listening and working hard to make your family history research as successful as possible. I appreciate your input and take your comments very seriously.

September 1, 2013 at 11:44 am
elizabeth newton 

YEA WHAT GOOD IS THE FREE OVER SEAS LOOK UP WHEN YOU CANT EVEN GET THE STUPID THING TO PULL UP TREE, MERGE THE LEAVES ITS ALL BEEN A WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY

September 1, 2013 at 1:03 pm
Mark Stickle 

Another day, another outage. Meanwhile ….. just keep cramming the system with as many new subscribers as you can book. Who cares about keeping the site up and running — just make sure that the billing system operates!

September 1, 2013 at 1:15 pm
Lauren Wise 

Okay, So I am a new customer.
This site has some damn good potential. BUT I can’t even get into the home page now because of these problems as well as the new free riders. I kept thinking it was my internet. Not necessarily. I reseted, and looked up every single one of my common sites. They all work except for this one. I get that there’s technical difficulties, but you are wasting our time, and therefore our money until you get this crap resolved.

September 1, 2013 at 1:56 pm
Loretta 

Actions speak louder than words Scott. We’ll believe it when we see the effects on the website usability and in customer service.

September 1, 2013 at 1:59 pm
Doug Wescott 

I’m really surprised at the number of problems this site has had recently, and I don’t consider myself a heavy user. I can certainly understand the rapid success lately, hoping this isn’t a ‘too much success killed us’ problem.

September 1, 2013 at 2:11 pm
Donna 

As a longtime (10 years) subscriber, I have been disappointed recently with the operation of the site: inaccessibility of some functions or of all functions. This has been happening frequently over the last several months. I use (or attempt to use) the site everyday.
Honestly all those promises to change methods of adding information from records is a waste; I tried each trial version and found them useless. I would rather decide for myself what information to add from a record. Also you can skip the feature that converts each person’s record into a story. Nice idea, but it is more important to get the site to work than to have fancy extras.
Overall your service is lacking (not your customer service people — they seem to be in the dark about issues with the site, too) and you really do not seem to offer more than a weak explanation — not a true apology. What would be really useful would be extra months of credit offered to your longtime subscribers and of course — really fix the issues preventing our using the site. (What good would extra months be if the issues preventing us using your site were not fixed?) Forget the fancy stuff and fix the site issues!
Stop wasting money on advertising and offering so many days of free service. This is beginning to feel like some sort of Ponzi scheme — you keep collecting money from new people to try to keep the operation afloat, yet in the background it is continuing to crumble. Something’s not right.
I really wish I had saved all the emails I received from Ancestry thanking me for all the updates I offered to your indices.
Another thing that disappoints me is the “spinning off” of some of your records into sites like Fold3 and Newspapers. This appears to be a blatant attempt to collect more money. These “new” sites are owned by Ancestry.com.
In the past I thought that having a paid membership was a good thing. Yes, I actually spent years (and considerable money) traveling to archives throughout my state — and in Europe. Now the records I found in the US are almost all now available through Ancestry.com. The European records are not. I am beginning to doubt that this membership is such a bargain anymore.
Please return to being solid and steady!

September 1, 2013 at 4:41 pm
Tommy Petersson 

I’m a bit surprised that people expect a company, showing the total lack of business ethics of having the current Hint System “working” the way it does, actually care about its customers and try to treat them fairly.

I have not bothered to report it to the proper authorities here in Sweden, but the Hint System well fits the bill for having a hefty fine dealt if Ancestry doesn’t change how it operates.

If someone doesn’t know what I’m babbling about: The Hint System isn’t primarily done to find relatives to paying customers. The idea is to lure new people into paying for a subscription by presenting info that implies that Ancestry data you want. Unfortunately for the customer, if Ancestry doesn’t have any relevant info regarding a person it FABRICATES MATCH DATA BY SLIGHTLY MODIFYING THE DATA FROM THE PERSON YOU ARE GETTING THE HINT FOR. This happens also if you are a paying subscriber, beware of Photo Hints you get for people in your tree. The match data shown for the person shows you it’s 100% certain the person where the photo comes from is the same as the one in your tree. If you, instead of clicking the “Add Photo” button, open the overview for that person you may very well see that it’s a totally different person with maybe 25% of the name/birth data in common with what’s shown as the hint.

Other than that, site issues and letting FTM 2014 users pay for FTM 2012 bug fixes it’s all fine.

September 1, 2013 at 4:41 pm
Andy Hatchett 

Let’s just say this…

On a scale of 0 to 10 Ancestry is presently ranking at minus infinity!

The paying subscribers want to answers to two questions…

1) Why allow free weekends when by Ancestry’s own admission the site can’t handle the volume created.

2) Why are thing concerning the functionality of the Ancestry website appearing on FaceBook before they appear on Ancestry?

Note to Ancestry management- if you can’t give a direct answer to these two questions then don’t bother answering at all as we do not want to hear more public relations platitudes!</B.

September 1, 2013 at 4:46 pm
Gloria Jennings 

I am sooooooo relived that it was not my computer.
I usually work ancestry after everyone else is in bed so I was surprised to have so many problems with the site.
However, I am sooooo grateful I do not have to drive to courthouses or write to sources to obtain my info.
Thanks for putting all this online.

September 1, 2013 at 4:55 pm
Gloria Jennings 

I am sooooooo relived that it was not my computer.
I usually work ancestry after everyone else is in bed so I was surprised to have so many problems with the site.
However, I am sooooo grateful I do not have to drive to courthouses or write to sources to obtain my info.
Thanks for putting all this online.
I worked in computer sales and manufacturing for years and I know how fast everything changes. You cannot keep up. It changes faster than the signature dries on the receipt.

September 1, 2013 at 4:58 pm
Loretta 

Thank you for the update. But I have some suggestions to keep the users informed.

Not everybody uses social media, so advance warnings of maintenance on this website would be appreciated.

A notice on the home page letting us know of problems would help.

Do not schedule Trial Membership days during scheduled downtimes.

I do appreciate you and your team’s task of maintaining and improving such a large system.

Thank you for all you do.

September 1, 2013 at 6:46 pm
Fran Sheppard 

is there any way to move through searches any faster? When you get a list of hundreds or thousands of search results it is often impossible to get through all of the results in one day. Can you not fix that to where you can pick up at a the last page you were on? Would also be nice when you could make note of the page # to recheck a trsult.

September 1, 2013 at 6:55 pm
Fran Sheppard 

is there any way to move through searches any faster? When you get a list of hundreds or thousands of search results it is often impossible to get through all of the results in one day. Can you not fix that to where you can pick up at a the last page you were on? Would also be nice when you could make note of the page # to recheck a result.

September 1, 2013 at 6:56 pm
Gwen 

I was a long time satisfied customer of ancestry.com. Right now I am very upset. A couple of days ago I discovered that over 200 hundred of my relatives are “missing” from my Hill family tree. This tree was created many, many years ago. I consulted customer service I was advised to do a search of some of the names and to go to family tree maker. The names did not populate in ancestry.com. Then she said to give it a day or two to see if they show up. My family reunion is in 3 weeks & I really don’t have time to re-create this info. I am glad that I do have a hard copy of a descendants report. Can I scan it to you all to input back into the system? You really need to resolve this issue ASAP.

September 1, 2013 at 7:01 pm
Nancy 

I’ve been a member on Ancestry.com since 2000 and have had a subscription for most of those years. I currently have a World subscription which expires in April. Things have changed so much over the years. Personal trees used to be free, now you must have a subscription to view them. This, and the lack of integrity of so many of the trees on Ancestry, is why I do not put mine up on the site. Through the years I have found a wealth of information on Ancestry, but the integrity of the databases is declining. I have found so many transcription errors in the 1940 census I don’t even check it on Ancestry anymore choosing instead to go to FamilySearch.

My husband is the IT Manager for a medical facility so I know all about glitches and upgrades. He informs his users of upgrades BEFORE he implements them. To offer free access to immigration records while working on the system infrastructure is absurd, especially when regular subscribers were already experiencing problems!

In spite of all Ancestry has to offer, the frustration and aggravation may not be worth it come April when my subscription expires. Add to that the fact that subscription prices are going up. It is obvious that your subscribers, the ones who pay your salaries, are not your primary concern. It is sad that integrity is so absent from all aspects of Ancestry, from the databases, to customer service and all the way up to the top executives. The wonderful site Ancestry used to be and the wonderful service Ancestry used to provide apparently is no more. I feel I have lost a good friend.

September 1, 2013 at 7:12 pm
Tammy 

Anybody else notice Scott just said the same thing over again. No apologies, no acknowledgements that the paying customers should take precedence over free access. In other words, the usual platitudes.

September 1, 2013 at 7:29 pm
Kelly 

Your post says the family tree aspect of the site has been fixed, but twice today when I tried to look at my AncestryDNA matches it said none of my matches had uploaded trees. That is just not true, as I have looked at many of these matches’ trees before (including my own sister’s, whose tree I created and posted!). So don’t say a problem is fixed when it isn’t. The functionality and reliability of the DNA portion of your site is already weak, and without the family trees it’s basically non-existent. Maybe if you weren’t spending so much running saturation advertising 24-7 you might be able to afford to run the site properly. Just a thought….

September 1, 2013 at 8:53 pm
BEE 

I didn’t realize there was a problem on the DNA site until I read it in one of the above comments. I just check my DNA site and found a whole page of new additions with “no family tree”. A check of my husband’s which has many more entries, also says “no family tree” on page after page.
I spend a great deal of time {and money} on ancestry, and have been a member since 2008, I believe, and a faithful “old search” user!
The information I have found is priceless to me, especially since I deal with ethnic names. Just this week, I was thrilled to connect two families living in different states thanks to finding ship manifests that I have been searching for a a number of years, so I hate to complain. Having said that, I’ve had a problem with “there are no hints” when the tree says there are hints for over a year and a half with no solution, although I’ve sent email after email. While I haven’t had as many problems as some of those mentioned above, the things that are happening are very disturbing.

September 2, 2013 at 6:22 am
Cool GenStuff - Monday 2 September 2013 | Hack Genealogy 

[...]  With this past weekend’s increased traffic due to free immigration records access, here is A Message from Scott Sorensen – Chief Technology Officer about some recent outages and server issues at [...]

September 2, 2013 at 9:59 am
Eileen 

This is my second note today – with the first posting, I tried to be positive but still express my concerns. So this afternoon, trying to clean up my family tree with postings that I am not certain where they came from I get the following message:

“Our hint system is temporarily offline. During this time, hint notifications may not appear and existing hints may be inaccessible. We thank you for your patience while we work to resolve this issue.”

Really????

September 2, 2013 at 11:49 am
Rob 

How about separate dedicated servers BASED on customers’ regions? I’m sick of connective hang-ups, stallings, and slow-slow-slow issues with accessing Ancestry.com! No more free offerings over holiday weekends!

September 2, 2013 at 3:10 pm
David 

/bleh

September 2, 2013 at 4:05 pm
Carol 

3:00 pm Pacific time USA

I just talked with one of the customer service people. I presented him with a new problem that I had last evening. Since it was an intermittent problem, I won’t bother to explain it.

The important thing is they are still working on problems. So expect some quirky stuff and keep you fingers crossed they eventually get it ALL fixed…eventually! Be sure your trees are backed up, always. Number one rule.

I agree they should have anticipated the holiday weekend traffic but don’t expect any money back or credit on downtime. It just doesn’t happen. Keep posting what your problems are; they can’t know all of them until we tell them.

September 2, 2013 at 4:07 pm
Jeff 

I agree with the above comments.

September 2, 2013 at 4:07 pm
David Tharp 

Your apology and/or explanation is MEANINGLESS. Get the problems fixed. If you have too many new customers stop accepting them until you can adequately take care of your existing customers. Rather than offering this piss-poor apology you should be offering credits and refunds. The American Better Business Bureau will be my next contact.

FIX IT!!!

September 2, 2013 at 4:15 pm
Monika 

The technological staff must be overwhelmed with problems that were not anticipated. This affects members worldwide. I notice that some Australians, Swedes and English members have left comments on this blog section. The French site and the German site have its own set of problems. E.g., I pointed out several issues affecting the French ancestry site “ancestry.fr”. I could not help but notice that most French members only remain members for one year and then do not renew. I pointed some of the problems on that site out to ancestry.com seven months ago. (That includes poor/inaccurate translations on the pre-printed profile page and many other issues.) When I pointed that out to ancestry.com they said that it was low on their priority list because they are working on problems affecting the majority of their members. That does make sense. However, then they should wait to open ancestry.com sites in foreign countries. I see unnecessary changes that are being made on ancestry.com that nobody is asking for. If you can’t even spell/use the right words instead of literally translating something in the language in which you are opening a site, you are not ready to open that site and you use credibility (one of the reasons people do not renew their membership). I just tried to add a record to a person whose name has an accent over the “e” in my tree, but does not have an accent in the death record on ancestry.com. Ancestry.com is not acknowledging that I have that person in my tree because it does not want to deal with the accent on the “e”. Very complex stuff indeed.

September 2, 2013 at 5:29 pm
Andy Hatchett 

Monica Re: #115

Not anticipated??? By Whom???

Several of us predicted just this situation would happen after the last time they gave free access.

It is a fact of history that it happens to a greater or lesser degree EVERY time they grant free access to records.

It seems that it is only Ancestry itself who can’t see it coming a mile away.

September 2, 2013 at 5:46 pm
Monika 

Dear friend! I thought you knew me well enough by now to read the “hidden” sarcasm! I get very frustrated when it takes more than seven months to simply change incorrectly used language in a foreign ancestry site :-) That should not even take technical knowledge. Merely somebody to retype the proper words onto the formatted profile page. To suggest that–just because ancestry.fr has fewer members than ancestry.com, these members can wait until somebody gets around to using their language properly. By the way I LOVED your line of “minus infinity”!

September 2, 2013 at 6:37 pm
Monika 

By the way, in #115 I meant to say “lose credibility” not “use”. And, in #117, I should have finished the sentence “To suggest…these members can wait until somebody gets around to using their language properly, is, in my opinion, inappropriate.” Better not to start the site until you are ready to do it professionally.

September 2, 2013 at 6:44 pm
Jan Rabinowitz 

I have to say that I agree with what many have already said. I didn’t see this letter until just now after a weekend of frustration. And having to pay for such frustration just made it that much worse. I, too, hope that Ancestry offers some sort of rebate/credit/compensation for what we’ve been dealing with. I appreciate that growth brings unexpected technical problems sometimes, but every customer should have been sent an email about this!

September 3, 2013 at 3:44 am
Brian Elliott 

Apologies are nice, but it’s not good enough. Ancestry has failed to deliver the service being promised and needs to issue refunds or credits.

Brian

September 3, 2013 at 8:40 am
Faye Zepeda 

I too am very frustrated with the current level of service. We paid for your service and are not receiving it. I think we should all be given at least 2 months credit for the plan we have been paying for.

I’m at a critical place in my research and I leave for Scotland in a couple of weeks. To learn more about my ancestors first hand. Most of us have limited time to use the service so for so many issues to continue over a holiday weekend is not acceptable.

If your system can’t handle the number of customers you have, maybe you should stop accepting new customers until you can. It also would be nice if you would have sent us an email to explain the problems, what is working what isn’t working. Posting it for us to stumble upon out of frustration isn’t very professional.

It is the 3rd and the problems are still happening : (

September 3, 2013 at 9:55 am
David Tharp 

Is anyone at Ancestry listening???? Do you really care???? Read replies #114, #119, #120, and #121 for starters. You have broken your contract with your customers. You have failed to provide the services promised and paid for. Where are the refunds, where are the credits? How long do you think you can continue to ignore us?

September 3, 2013 at 11:45 am
Eileen Sullivan Tormey 

My third message in two days, this message was posted on facebook today:

“We’re currently experiencing site issues that may be preventing you from accessing your trees. We hope to have them resolved as quickly as possible and will post updates as soon as we have more information.”

Really? I have been a member for some time and never have seen anything like this. Please resolve these issues soon for I have not been able to utilize my tree in the manner that I should be able to.

Thank you

September 3, 2013 at 2:11 pm
Sara 

Being so frustrated with the problems on the website I’ve looked for an explanation there but could not find one. Now I’ve found this on Facebook and it’s not really an explanation. I agree with all the others who’ve stated that we paying customers need to be recompensed for the times the site hasn’t worked – it’s been so frustrating all summer. I’ve called several times, switched browsers, etc. Sometimes the “help” people don’t even know what is wrong. Please post information (often) on the website so we can know that you’re aware of it and it will be fixed and when.

September 3, 2013 at 4:22 pm
Faye Zepeda 

This is my second message today. Things seem to be getting worse. I have not been able to view my family tee all day. I can do some things but not view the tree it self. Is anyone else having this problem????

September 3, 2013 at 4:25 pm
D Oswalt 

If you can’t handle the volume of activity you have now, it’s time to quit offering the free stuff. It only makes matters worse.

September 3, 2013 at 7:24 pm
Carol 

It would seem that folks are having various degrees of usability. I notice for me it works most of the time but occasionally get wonky. I just keep pushing it and eventually get or do what I want.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for refunds or credits for down time. It has never happened! Not in 12 years. Use your energy telling them what doesn’t work.

September 3, 2013 at 7:28 pm
AkSonya 

I have been a member for several years now and I appreciate what Ancestry has to offer and since I live in Alaska I don’t have the opportunity to travel and visit places for document research.

I work in IT and if I was to tell my owners the above statement, I would be fired. I have a very hard time believing that your IT department hasn’t been able to foresee any of these issues.

Why can’t you plan some of the maintenance? Send out an email; put a banner up tell us that there will be intermittent issues from x – x. We would all appreciate the respect and notice. The last several months have been frustrating and the last few weeks ridiculous.

With all of that said, I understand technical difficulties but it appears to be piss poor financial support given to your IT Team who has to work really hard to keep us happy because of your piss poor planning.

Consider this, if you don’t start supporting your subscribers now, you will loose us next time we have to renew. Simple cause and effect.

September 4, 2013 at 3:33 am
Susan Irwin 

HOLY SMOKE PEOPLE!!
I cannot believe the negativity on this site because of an issue with the system. I have been with Ancestry for 5+ years, and there has never been an issue. So this is nothing for me.
It is understandable that upgrades would be needed.
People looking for reimbursement for down time….do you expect a refund or rebate for the times that you are not on the website, unless of course you are on the site 24/7?

September 4, 2013 at 5:47 am
David Tharp 

HOLY SMOKE SUSAN!!

No one is asking for reimbursement for when they are not using the site, but to ask for a reimbursement from Ancestry when the site is not available and operating properly when I do want to use it is hardly being NEGATIVE….it’s being a SMART, PRUDENT and REASONABLE consumer.
I pay for the site to be available and operating properly when I want to use it, not when Scott Sorensen feels like showing up for work and preforming his duties as expected. By the way, is Scott still on the payroll??? Really??
I don’t care if it’s 3:00 AM or 3:00 PM, Ancestry has an obligation to be up and running whenever I WANT to use it. It is not to be used at Ancestry’s convenience, but at MY convenience. That’s what I paid for.
I have a life outside of genealogy research. My time to do research is limited and dictated by other priorities in my life. So when I have an hour to do research….that’s the hour Scott should be doing his job making Ancestry available for me.
For anyone not to understand this, demonstrates a narrow and limited perspective.

September 4, 2013 at 7:01 am
Jim Williamson 

As for the original post – ACom apparently needs better Change Management, and Project Management and clearer communication to paying customers in a timely fashion

I won’t waste time asking for ‘free time’ or reimbursement. I knew this past weekend would be crazy so I didn’t even bother trying to log in.

My problem is with the TwitBook integrations junk.
I’ve been here 14 years or more, my profile says 13 at least, and I know it was longer. I’ve watched the company through ups and downs, but there haven’t been many ups in a long, long time now.

It’s sad when I’m trying to find information on what’s going on, and it turns out it was posted on Wastebook, but not on ACom where I might actually see it.
It’s even more sad that I can’t get pages to load today because the page is trying to do a Facebook Import and I don’t have my account connected to any Facebook account.
Acom refuses to give us an option to make that useless crap go away.

September 4, 2013 at 9:40 am
Peggy Chowning 

I can not agree more nor state it better than did Ms. Fisher. Her post repasted below:

Thank you for the explanation. Like many other respondents, I am dismayed by: – the lack of an apology – an up-front commitment to defer any further free-access periods until the architecture is up-graded & stable. Corporate growth is important to the bottom-line, but history has shown that it is imperative for growth businesses to provide existing customers with a dependable service before attracting new ones (particularly temporary, non-paying ones). Ancestry is at an important juncture in its development. I respectfully request additional communication regarding: 1) how Ancestry will manage the transitionary infrastructure upgrades, 2) the period of time over which architectural improvements will be implemented, 3) your plan to maintain service excellence for current customers during this critical phase of corporate development, 4) a commitment to defer free access periods until such time as the infrastructure can accommodate the demand. Thank you, Jan L Fisher – See more at: http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2013/08/31/a-message-from-scott-sorensen-chief-technology-officer/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ancestry+%28Ancestry.com+blog%29#blogComments

September 4, 2013 at 10:31 am
Kathy Brown 

The one thing that I have been annoyed by are all the additiona fees that “you can get” in order to “make your experience more valuable”….we pay a nice fee, whether it be monthly, semi annually or whatever. And now you tell us about all the documents, etc that are available on sites such as Fold3 and newspapers but it will cost more…I am sorry. Most of us cannot add fee plus fee plus fee in order to do this. I would think the longevity of a person’s membership would earn a free addition of at least one of these sites free of charge. Yes, I did say, free of charge. As to notifying us of maint or problems…a great big message right across the home page would do it!!! Don’t assume that we all are on FB because everyone isn’t…..Ancestry.com needs to remain a good customer service company or there will be no customers left.

September 4, 2013 at 11:59 am
Constance Hart 

Are we ever going to return to a dependable, stable site that is actually usable at least 95% of the time. It isn’t just one issue, its a dozen. I’ve moved around to several different tasks this afternoon, trying to avoid problem areas, and here’s another! “We are experiancing problems. Sorry, can’t add the information you just spent sometime searching out, try again later,” or words to that effect. The problems this year have gone from bad to worse–was it the sellout to a bigger, badder company when integrity went down the drain. Like others, I’ve been with Ancestry practically from day one, and never before had cause to complain. I pay a full boat subscription, but I sure am not getting my money’s worth now. I hope SOMEBODY in charge is listening to the chorus.You aren’t the only fish in the sea, pretty soon you’ll be playing to minnows, while the whales move on.
P.S. And your DNA “matches” are a joke! Recent “close” match–Someone recently joined, with a total of 9 people, 3 of them “private”, whose only possible like characteristic was almost 90% European background–give me a break, and don’t waste my time.

September 4, 2013 at 4:33 pm
Allie Bishop 

Re: #101

How wonderful an experience Ancestry would be if the searches could be filtered, sorted and ordered. You know, like the kind of drill down capabilities you get when you search products on every website on the Internet with a store.

September 4, 2013 at 5:09 pm
Allie Bishop 

For what it’s worth, I don’t care about nor expect any kind of refund for the time Ancestry was down over the weekend.

I do, however, think the Executive Team should re-think their self-congratulatory bonuses before they raise the membership fees on thousands upon thousands of very unhappy customers with access to all sorts of social media.

If genealogy is quickly becoming the fastest growing hobby in the country, there’s going to be an awful lot of research into Ancestry.com and much of Internet chatter is already rating Ancestry as having terrible DNA tools and a laughable admixture. One thing Ancestry always had was it’s hints and stability. If those things aren’t addressed (also got an email from Ancestry with a bad link to a document), I do believe that Ancestry is going to be seeing a whole lot of low ratings at social media sites. Eventually, someone who RESPECTS their customers will put Ancestry out of business.

It’s starting to feel like a slow death now.

September 4, 2013 at 6:28 pm
Carol 

The following info popped on my screen when I was about to look at a Find-a-grave site. Anyone got any ideas what this is?

Update: We’re adding several features from old search to the current search experience (exact search options and a default category view of results). See how to get started. ×

Update: Changes to Search and follow up to old search features survey
September 4, 2013

Ancestry is continuing to improve the search experience and today we are happy to announce some of the first changes to our search functionality. We received more than 10,000 survey responses (thanks to the many of you who took the recent survey) and by far, the most popular features in the old search experience among old search users were the ability to view search results grouped by category and the availability of a simple search form with an exact option.

In response to this feedback, we’re adding a new “Category exact” mode to the current search experience. This new feature:

•offers a simple search form with a “match all terms exactly” option
•allows you to specify a range of years for your search
•displays results in a categorized view

To use this new feature, update your Site Preferences to select “Category exact mode” in the Search Preferences at the bottom of the page. You can view or change your current Site Preferences by clicking on your user name at the top right of any Ancestry page, or view this support knowledge base article for more information.

Please try this new feature and let us know how well it helps you use the current search experience more effectively. A link for feedback will be available in simple form on the search home page, once you select the category exact mode.
We’re continuing to review the survey responses to identify the best features of old search to consider for the current search experience. We’ll communicate those changes with you through email or the Ancestry message boards and blogs. Thank you for your continued willingness to help us improve Ancestry.

September 5, 2013 at 12:17 am
Deborah Schuler 

Thank you for the apology an information. The improvements to the system are appreciated, for the most part.

However, I am finding that your search engine has lost some accuracy somewhere over the past year. I am finding that documents for individuals where I know the exact name and birth year of the person show up much further down the results list than they did in the past. Sometimes items that include the correct spelling of the person’s name can be only be found in search results more than 50 or even 100 items down the list, rather than at the top.

Thanks.

September 5, 2013 at 6:30 am
BEE 

I hope someone will write of their experience with “adding several features from old search to the current search experience (exact search options and a default category view of results). See how to get started. × “.
I for one, don’t intend to deal with these changes until I am forced to.

September 5, 2013 at 10:16 am
Jade 

Deborah #138 — there was no apology. A sort of explanation of what happened, hope that it would not occur in the future and “thank you for your support.”

September 5, 2013 at 10:54 am
Mike 

STORY LINE. This was just added in to the site this morning for ALL individuals. Great idea. However, it is connected DIRECTLY into FACEBOOK. I don’ t have Facebook and never will, due to Privacy reasons and extreme sensitivity of my family tree. The STORY LINE evidently comes from Facebook individuals who have researched the person shown. In the first person I opened up it said this person died in 1891 but I already had proof they were living in 1901! Still needs work and there should be an option whether to use the story line in your tree or not.
Beta should be used. This STORY LINE allows ANYONE at any time to access my own personal information any ANYONE I have in the tree. PLEASE TAKE THIS BACK OUT or I may consider taking my 100,000 individuals in my tree on ancestry elsewhere, where privacy is honored and respected. Do you understand?

September 5, 2013 at 12:07 pm
Rosemary 

For the 3rd day in a row I’m unable to access my family tree in any view. What’s with that?
I want to check that information I have entered into my FTM software has indeed been synced & duplications & errors corrected.

September 5, 2013 at 1:00 pm
Sue Averyt 

For at least the third day in a row, I can’t get past ancestry.com’s home page. I had many other recent problems before that, but at least I could get SOME work done. For at least a year, I’ve had the pink bar that my email address wasn’t valid and the website wouldn’t accept my verification of it. Plus, the website has been slower than a sloth for almost as long as I have been a subscriber (years). It is a most frustrating website.

September 5, 2013 at 1:44 pm
Monika 

#138 I agree with you that “search” has lost its accuracy. It even shows me people with names that have nothing to do with the person I am researching. (As to the “hints”, I integrated several hints yesterday and yet the “hint” is still there, but when I press on the leaves, it tells me “You do not have any unreviewed hints”.
#141 – That is a nightmare. I can’t believe they did that. There are many people like you and I who abhor Facebook and will not communicate with anyone on Facebook. (As far as I am concerned anyone who needs to communicate on Facebook needs to get a life!) I recently had one of the ancestry.com junkologist think that she had figured out who I am. So she added me to her tree. First, she declared me dead…which is why I was able to see what she had done. Then she married me twice. (I have only been married once!) She gave me two children. (I wish she had been right about that. But I have no children and will leave the trees behind for my nieces and nephews.) I won’t even tell you whom she chose as my parents. (Needless to say the wrong ones.) If people like that spread themselves all over Facebook with incorrect or worse yet correct information….what a mess!

September 5, 2013 at 2:14 pm
Fancy Nancy: My Family History (I Can Read Book 1) | WWW.DINFOBLOG.NET 

[...] A Message from Scott Sorensen – Chief Technology Officer [...]

September 5, 2013 at 2:27 pm
David Tharp 

Has anyone else noticed that the majority and severity of the problems we are all having to deal with started about the same time that Scott Sorensen took over as Chief Technology Officer in April 2013? Coincidence? I think not. Ancestry’s service has continued to go downhill ever since. I’ve been a member for over eight years and this is the first time I’ve been this frustrated and disappointed with the service.

September 5, 2013 at 5:26 pm
Long time user 

#141 Mike:
Are you sure it actually makes the connection to Facebook or is it there as a possible connection to Facebook. How could it actually make the connection if you don’t have Facebook? Who would it be connecting to?
I’d really like to know how this works. I don’t do social media so I know I don’t have Facebook and never will. I don’t even want that thing on my peoples’ profiles. I have informed Ancestry I want the OPTION to opt out of it.

#144 Monika:
Your story is scary. It is true that anyone can find anyone on the Internet but how did she get any info on you to start with? There are so many new trees, which are pure junk, but many have been abandoned. I also notice many more name-gatherers who have thousands (5 or 6 figures) of unsourced people in trees and include some of my family. But they got their information from real records and just put it together incorrectly. And then those trees get copied! Oy!

September 5, 2013 at 11:16 pm
Monika 

#147 – The way she got my name is that she is a very very very distant relative of my mother-in-law. With that data she was able to identify the living children of my mother-in-law, since ancestry.com provides birth records and they give the mother’s name. Once she had my husband’s name, she found our marriage record on ancestry.com. So, now she had my maiden name (which is a very common name) and from there she just connected the dots to everyone with the same name as I have. I actually wrote her a polite note, making her aware that I was still very much alive and that her facts were incorrect. That air head actually purchased my e-mail address from Intellus and sent me an e-mail in response to my polite message to her, in which she stopped short of threatening my life. Her question: “Ask me how many lights are on in your house right now, you bitch!” was one of the nicer things she said (implying that she was standing in front of my house). I simply forwarded her e-mail to ancestry.com and they got her to show me as “living” so the junkologists could not copy her inaccurate data. And that is why I have private trees these days! :-)

September 6, 2013 at 12:36 am
Andy Hatchett 

Re: #147 – it doesn’t take a lot to get info on someone. Just this evening I tracked down the great great step-grandson ( or is it step great great grandson) of my grand aunt (my grandmother’s sister) and I’ve had no contact with that side of the family since the late 60′s. All I knew was his great grandmother’s name.

September 6, 2013 at 1:11 am
Long time user 

I too have been able to sometimes find living people more easily than my dead ancestors. But at least I’ve got my head on right and would never harm anyone with personal information I have been able to find. Sorry for your problem, but for your safety keep some documentation on her. It is illegal to threaten or stalk people but sometimes hard to prove.

September 6, 2013 at 4:15 am
Monika 

Actually, her e-mail was so nasty that I was told that I should turn it over to the FBI who would pursue her for “cyber bullying”. I just preferred to walk away from her stupidity and let ancestry.com handle it. The real lesson in this is “Just do your own research and do not copy data from other people’s trees blindly and without knowledge of fact.” There are just too many junkologists on ancestry.com and it is just too time consuming to try and straighten them all out.

September 6, 2013 at 9:21 am
stringbeanannie 

Today, I attempted to look up my high school yearbook/history. This comment may not be related entirely to this blog; however, it has been a ‘pet peeve’ of mine for a few years. I thought some of the ‘improvements’ would include: when one is researching name, date of birth, what documents one wishes the information to be gleaned from, but … most especially, when one types in the city, state, county and country from which one wishes the information, WHY oh why?, does the information presented come from Philadelphia? not from the state in which I reside? I typed in spouse, wedding date, date of graduation from high school, places I have resided within the state, etc. ad nauseum – still not one instance of my name, relatives names, residences, dates of birth, etc. down the line. What is going on? I seem to recall that not too long ago, this was not such an issue. Apparently, I and my family do not exist. That is scary. Should I check to see if someone has stolen my identity, or something as sinister? If you cannot handle the so-called updates, then why do you even attempt it? I have been a ‘loyal’ customer for more than 10 years, and am getting disgusted, to say the least. I had purchased Roots Magic because of my mounting frustration with Ancestry – and recently have discovered, that Roots Magic has been swallowed up by Ancestry. Talk about no competition to keep you honest.

September 6, 2013 at 11:11 am
stringbeanannie 

Since my previous blog today, I have been reading many of the comments on this blog, and they prompted more memories for me. While on vacation the last week of July and the first week of August, I logged on to Ancestry.com using my android tablet. No problem the first time in July … except for the second and third times I attempted to log on again – much to my chagrin (and my grandchildrens’ questioning glances my way), I could not open my Ancestry.com web site!

I have been having many of these same issues listed in these blogs … one is very frustrating to me. I had been communicating with a second cousin in the UK – we exchanged family trees and pictures, etc. back and forth. However, after about a month, when I had attempted to look at some of the hints in my tree, I could not open FTM or Ancestry – the site was very unstable, blinking on and off. I did a bit of research, and wrote a comment about the problem. Checked the blogs a couple of days later, and was informed by others that the UK web site was very unstable. At the same time, when I was able to open my FTM tree, I realized that a lot of the information I had originally typed into my family tree had transferred to another’s tree, and I seem to have inherited her rather erroneous information! I should know my own birth date, the name of my husband, etc., etc. When I complained to customer service (joke), they informed me that that was not possible. They are/were completely wrong because it did happen to me more than once.

I, like others here, used to LOVE Ancestry.com. I had a subscription to Heritage.com and RootsMagic.com previously – earlier this year was tempted to opt out of Ancestry and to start using one or both of the others; but, did not. Because? Ancestry.com seemed to offer so much more – and it did offer a lot more data, etc. Being computer literate, I learn how to use changes in technology with nary a problem. However, lately … not so much. I must admit that I have gleaned a treasure-trove of information on my family history – have loved using the hints, etc. in Ancestry.com; but, the problems with it are mounting each and every day!

Today, I had typed a reply to a 4th cousin whom I have been corresponding with back and forth. I signed into my Ancestry.com account – no problem. However, when I attempted to read another email he had just sent me (I had not yet signed out of my account) – I got the message that my password and/or name were incorrect!?? I KNOW neither was true. After my third attempt to log into my account again – voila! it worked!

I am only listing some of the problems that seem to have cropped up when I am using Ancestry because of all the very same complaints from over a hundred users on this very blog site.

Another comment – I also do NOT use Facebook nor Twitter, etc. They are dangerous indeed. I do NOT need to communicate with ‘friends’ of my very young relatives – I do NOT need to read that someone is going into work (ugh!) and that they will get back to their hundreds of friends when they are ‘free’ again after work. What’s up with that? As a grandmother 4 times over, I do not need nor do I want to participate in that juvenile kind of behavior. Nor do I want all my family history to be out ‘there’ for anyone, who know who?, to read and use. Give me a break. I use my computer for research and to keep up with the news; perhaps, sending/reading an email or two.

I believe that paying customers of Ancestry should get/demand a rebate of the monies paid up-front in restitution for all of the above complaints, and more. But, that will never happen – so what is the alternative? I think we all know the answer to that. Again, I have used and loved using; have been amazed at the wonderful information I have found using Ancestry.com during the years since 1998. But, lately I have been a bit unhappy with the lack of stability using their services.

In regard to the hints … they have become more and more unreliable this past couple of years. Family trees have so much bad and useless information. I have a nephew who started his own tree and typed in the name of an uncle as being my grandfather (his great grandfather). I have corrected him, he has apologized – but the error still exists!!

I must admit – lately, perhaps since March or April of this year, when checking the green leaf hint(s), the birth records and other more reliable citations appear at the top of the list. That is refreshing to me. But, because of all the errors gleaned from other family trees in the past, I now have the chore of cleaning my family tree.

Thank you for allowing me to ‘vent’ my frustrations. I hope that the executives at Ancestry.com clean up their act and restore their web site to a more stable/reliable one.

September 6, 2013 at 12:49 pm
stringbeanannie 

As a P.S.: to the above (#153) comment: I have recently opted-out of the ‘public’ family tree and now show up only as a ‘private’ tree. It does not pose a problem – as stated in my message above, genuine relatives/cousins are still able to contact me through their DNA results. I list the names, birth and death dates … all the pertinent information I have in my family tree … in a reply email to said relative. They can then research it for themselves. This is the way I have been researching my heritage for the last year or so, ever since I have run into problems with the information on other family trees.

September 6, 2013 at 1:07 pm
Monika 

To: stringbeanannie – Yes, most of the problems you indicate seem to come from whatever mess ancestry.com has created. I had numerous problems signing in last week, when ancestry.com was telling me that I had the incorrect user name and password (the same one I have used for years). But, after a while, it did accept them as correct. I have also found that “search” has become worse, giving me names of people who were born hundreds of years before or after the person I am researching (even though I show his/her birth year in my criteria) and sometimes even names that have nothing to do with the person that I am researching. I guess, all we can do is “sit tight” and wait for things to get better. I do not even call customer service anymore. I get so tired of their canned responses, like “clean your cache and cookies”! Like I did not do that ten times before calling you, lady and yet I still have that problem!!!

September 6, 2013 at 1:35 pm
Don Bowen 

I agree with the negative post listed. It’s now Sept 8, and the same issues I experienced in August are still a problem. Where I work, you would no longer have your position with this kind of service. Thank God for “Find My Past” site I don’t have to depend on Ancestry.

September 8, 2013 at 2:28 pm
Carol 

Reference #137, and for Bee # 139:

Briefly I have found the “simulated old search” to be the least satisfactory of all three types of searches. Testing all three with the same information, first name, last name, birth year, birth place, death year, and death place; no more, no less, gave me three different results.

Coming in first was old search; coming in second was new search and last was the simulated old search. So unless I keep testing and find better results, I will keep using what works best, the old search.

I find old search takes into consideration possible misspelling of names which has been extremely helpful over the years because of bad indexing. I have said it many times before, I know more than the computer about what I am looking for and can make a far better judgment of a record. I can’t explain why this works so well for me except that I have this extra knowledge in my head and I’m far more intuitive.

I find in new search when the computer comes up with records that it “thinks” are a match, and then comes up with records which don’t match but maybe are useful, that it always has good records in the latter section. Of course I can look at what the system thinks are not important, but the style of presentation is over kill in the graphics. The old search gives a neat, concise, well-presented list of all records it finds. It is easy to quickly peruse and notice the ones that stand our as pertinent.

After selecting all that look like good possibilities, I do a database specific search. I work quite methodically but leave open the possibility of some records being indexed incorrectly and the unexpected record, which isn’t an exact match, but a possibility. The indexing is the foundation of the records search. I don’t expect indexing to be perfect so I make allowances for that from my years of experience.

So, bottom line, old search is best, new search comes in second and I won’t even bother with the simulated old search. No doubt some will agree, and some will not. C’est la vie.

September 8, 2013 at 5:18 pm
artfox 

Hmm Agree with the site frustrations, and the pleasant but unhelpful customer help call center, who say they will pass suggestions on to the programmers, who do nothing.

I have concluded:

If the service is degrading, supposedly due to customer overload AND YET they are still boosting customers AND they are not interested in providing refunds AND we get no apology just platitudes THEN the mostly probable reason they are about to sell off Ancestry. Correct me if I am wrong

Meantime does anyone ever get as paranoid as me? I now totally refuse to put anything, for living people, other than their name and a vague birth year, never exact. This is because I honestly believe one day that someone or some country will hack the database. I really don’t want to be contributing to that hack, and hurting those I love.

I could list all the site frustrations, but here’s two: I mean how hard is it to make a program that connects marriages accurately? How hard is it to get a basic text editor to work instead of text-flowing everything? I mean, really !

The editor did work once, you could simply paste and save.

Sigh

September 9, 2013 at 7:24 am
BEE 

Still haven’t figured out how to go to the beginning or end of a ship manifest or census list without going page by page.

September 11, 2013 at 5:58 am
Claire 

#159 Bee:

Have you talked to customer service? !-800-262-3787, toll free. They don’t have all the answers but I know they can answer that one. Be at your computer and on the passenger list you want help with. If you are using you phone line for your internet connection, use a cell phone if you have one. If that won’t work, contact “clairekatie” in the membership directory and send me your email and I will contact you and explain. I know you are a person who prefers old search. I can send screen shots and explain. We could also talk on the phone, but I don’t want to publish my phone number on this blog and don’t know how to contact you.

C.

September 11, 2013 at 11:32 pm
Mark Stickle 

Insofar as I know or can tell there has not been any formal communication from Ancestry about serviced issues since the “non-message” from Scott Sorensen was issued on August 31. The site seems to be more stable — for now — but if anyone from Ancestry had been paying attention to the concerns of the subscribers, he or she would know that there are many serious issues that need to be addressed. Instead, Ancestry seems to be doing its best to squelch dissent so that it can focus energy and resources on marketing to new users.

September 13, 2013 at 5:06 pm
Annie 

Re: Mark @161

You got it! Bury the blogs that get dissenters quickly with several innocuous ones and people will forget especially if the site if working ok for them…until the next time. Wait until the next round.

We all need to constantly keep Ancestry informed of what we don’t like and why, what doesn’t work and why. It would also help to let them know what we do want. And of course the more folks that contact them, the more likely they will do something.

September 14, 2013 at 2:27 pm
BEE 

Hi Claire, thank you for responding to my message, and offering your help. I had originally asked two questions on another post? It was partially answered by Christa, I think, but what she gave as an answer to this question didn’t work.
I will try calling customer service and see if they can help, otherwise, I’ll contact you.

September 16, 2013 at 8:20 am
Kevin McGeary 

Mr. Sorensen: Since your apology that clearly identified the software team incompetence, why are we continuing to see mysterious changes and failures. The secret removal of face tag tool and silly add-on of a profile slide out pane (that is just a redundant “pain”) are just two more examples of blatant stupidity.
It is time for Ancestry to hire a Technology leader and put resources in more qualified software design team to fix this mess. Mr. Sorensen, you are apparently not the right choice.

September 18, 2013 at 8:24 am
Kevin McGeary 

If your cable TV service was broken, you would demand a refund. Make the call folks, it is time for Ancestry to get their priorities right and hire qualified software engineers to clean up the mess.

September 18, 2013 at 8:45 am
Judy A Wilson 

Your search engine is down again!!! Been a customer a long time, grateful for the site, BUT, your service has gone downhill in the last year on you website. It would be nice to extend our Subscriptions expiration’s somewhat to repay services that we pay dearly for. I understand issues, but this is beyond issues.

September 19, 2013 at 4:25 am
Annie 

Got the blue banner today when I opened ancestry at 1:11 PT. Haven’t tried much yet. They are having “intermittent problems with images” or so they say. I’ll try the site and see if it affects me.

September 19, 2013 at 2:15 pm
Tami 

Ever since the problem in August, Ancestry has been unusable for me. When I try to do anything, especially Search, all I get is a white screen. This is not the first time I haven’t been able to use it for days at a time. So much for good customer service.

September 19, 2013 at 4:11 pm
Anne Reeves 

As with others writing here, I am a long time paying member who has become very tired of the appalling service every weekend. Today is another instance. Once again it is impossible to get onto my tree; it was all but impossible to get onto the site. Yet subscribing members are simply supposed to put up (the money) and shut up (about the lost time) because ancestry never considers adding days in lieu of those lost. Of course not. For every customer who drops out, another will take their place – that is what the constant advertising is all about.

Yes, the customer service agents, or whatever they are called, are pleasant and as helpful as their remit permits, but they can only do and say what Ancestry requires. That is if you can actually reach one before the day’s end because, of course, Ancestry has removed the email messaging service alternative. Overall, Ancestry’s customer service ethos is less than client friendly.

Ancestry needed to increase its server capacity BEFORE seeking to expand its customer base, free or paying. If it can’t provide its paying customers with the service they have paid for, why should any of us return for more of the same poor treatment?

This will all be ignored by those who run Ancestry just like all previous complaints about the service have been.

September 21, 2013 at 3:32 pm
Zac 

Whilst Scott’s comments, apologies and assurances over a complete architectural review are welcome and long overdue it is disappointing that no recompense for the significant down time and underperformance of the web resources and the almost complete non-functionality of FTM 2012 and FTM Mac 2 for larger trees. I spent several weeks of time trying to get either version working without success.

We were promised free updated features and bug-fixes through 2013 without anything of significance being delivered. Whilst early order discounts appear to have been offered to USA customers, we are yet to see either product even released in the UK. This is really unacceptable given the significant issues that were not addressed in the 2012/Mac 2 products.

September 23, 2013 at 4:24 pm
Long time user 

29 Sep 2013

Another weeked of down time, and crazy, wonky functioning, when it did function, but at least it didn’t last too long. The blue, and sometimes even red banners announcing problems are appreciated.

September 29, 2013 at 10:36 pm
Athena 

It is becoming increasingly frustrating to work on Ancestry.com because either links are not available, recording information is deleted, and the multitude of other issues.

Maybe Ancestry.com should reimburse its members for services promised but not delivered. At this point, I would not recommend Ancestry.com due to the overwhelming technical problems.

October 4, 2013 at 11:19 am
Alan Thompson 

Like many of the other paying members on ancestry I cannot understand why free days are still being offerred whilst the level of availability of the system to members continues to deteriorate. I can only surmise that ancestry is in need of a new Chied Technology Officer.

October 12, 2013 at 12:45 am
Linda Brookes 

Well the problems are still here no access to our trees, same old story from customer services, still offering free access despite the system not being able top cope – and what do the loyal customers get? a computer jargon ridden message from ancestry on here and even better when you ring customer services and sit on the line for 10 minutes waiting for a reply – they tell you all about the amazing records that you can access via ancestry!!!!!! Perhaps this is a feature only available to those accessing the system for free as those of us paying for a service and access cannot get anything.

Come on Ancestry start thinking about the customers you have now as we are the ones that will recommend the service or not as the case maybe! Remember we can make public our displeasure with the current state of things on the various social networks is this the way Ancestry want to be viewed?

October 30, 2013 at 4:42 pm
Dodie 

There are serious problems with syncing a tree to 2014 FTM. No one at Ancestry is able to assist – always “we’ll send you an email with the instructions.” However, even going through the trouble of relinking my tree i still cant sync. Ancestry needs to concentrate on paying customers rather than throwing it open for all to have a free trial. Fix the problems – we pay dearly for this site!

December 3, 2013 at 8:36 pm
Gareth 

With all respect, I have contacted Ancestry with details of my problems and Ancestry have failed to answer my emails.

Until or unless they can correct my problems then I shall not be renewing my subscription.

January 1, 2014 at 6:23 am
An Update from Scott Sorensen – Chief Technology Officer 

[...] I mentioned in my last post, the amount of data that we host on the site, along with the complexity of the services we offer [...]

January 13, 2014 at 12:30 pm
Janet 

Apparently you are still having issues with outdated technology. It is January 2014 and still basic functions aren’t working for me. Nothing has changed on my PC! I am loosing any confidence with ancestry in fact the search results are out of control. A year ago with less of my family info would produce hundreds of results. Now that more family members are in it will produce HUNDREDS of Thousands! I might as well be looking at census files by myself. WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?

January 29, 2014 at 12:08 am
Edward King 

My email address IS VALID. It works fine for anyone, except, apparently, Ancestry.com. (Of course, the Ancestry.com website doesn’t know how to do a basic check of email address validity!)

March 27, 2014 at 7:21 pm