Posted by Scott Sorensen on June 17, 2014 in Site Issues, Website

Around 1:30 p.m. MT on Monday, June 16, 2014, attackers targeted Ancestry with a Distributed Denial of Service attack (DDoS). During the attack, Ancestry websites along with the Find A Grave website were clogged with massive amounts of bogus traffic that took the sites down.

We want to apologize for the inconvenience this has caused and also thank you for your amazing support, as this may have interrupted some of your family history research. We understand how frustrating this can be for our customers, and please know that it was just as frustrating for us too. We appreciate your patience and support as we dealt with this unfortunate incident against Ancestry.

We have since neutralized the DDoS attack and our services have been up since 11:00 a.m. MT today. You should now be able to access all Ancestry and Find A Grave websites, though you may experience issues intermittently as we continue to work through bringing the sites back up to full capacity.

Your data was not compromised by this attack. This attack overloaded our servers with massive amounts of traffic but did not impact or access the data within those servers. No data was impacted in any way.

I would like to thank the Ancestry Web Operations team for working really hard throughout the night to restore the Ancestry and Find A Grave services and build the defenses necessary to mitigate future attacks of this sort. Our Web Operations team is closely monitoring the situation in case the attacks resume and we’re doing everything in our power to protect our websites from situations like this in the future.

Thank you.

Scott Sorensen

Chief Technology Officer


UPDATE: June 24, 8:00pm MT 

  • DNA downloads of raw data have been restored.
  • There are lingering issues with logging into RootsWeb, and with access and searching WorldConnect. We are working to restore this access tonight, but you may see some intermittent outages in the process.


UPDATE: June 24, 12:30pm MT

  • The connectivity issues for Family Tree Maker (FTM) have been resolved. If you are still experiencing difficulties syncing FTM Mac, make sure you have the most current patch, shut FTM down completely (Command Button + Q), and reboot your machine to make sure that the DNS cache gets updated.
  • Service to RootsWeb, and has been restored. (Note: While RootsWeb is up, we are aware of some issues with the WorldConnect database and are looking into this.)


UPDATE: June 23, 6:20pm MT

  • GEDCOM files from Ancestry Member Trees are now available for download


UPDATE: June 21, 9:30am MT

  • We appreciate your patience while we work to restore the MyFamily, MyCanvas, and Mundia sites following the DDoS attack on Monday. Please note we will be extending the retirement date on each and will have more details to share once these websites are brought back online. Stay tuned.


UPDATE: June 19, 11:30am MT

  • Currently, the Ancestry websites seem to be performing well, but there may be intermittent issues over the next couple of days. If you are experiencing issues getting in, please try the search page directly at


UPDATE: June 18, 2:46pm MT

  • Sync and search features in Family Tree Maker (FTM) have been disabled until we’re certain that site stability has been fully restored. You can use FTM offline however. Our team is actively working on restoring these to full service.
  • is back online


Scott Sorensen

Scott Sorensen has served as Chief Technology Officer of 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, 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.


  1. Pamela Pollard

    I still can’t get in and Family Tree Maker is useless at this point. I get a login failed. I’ve tried everything I can think of. FTM does not “respond” to any typing of more than 3 keystrokes even if “offline”.
    Why can’t someone give us some steps to get this fixed!
    Pam P

  2. Tom O'Connor

    PLEASE get this fixed – it is taking over 2 minutes for Family Tree Maker 2014 to initialize – that is about 20 times normal and even then when I try to login I get “Login Failed. Please Try Again” I am getting real concerned that I might never be able to get in FTM again or even connect to the website in the future as this continues.

  3. Jade

    This blog site is only back up today, June 20. Other sites are still down. The Rootsweb Message Boards links redirect to the “Home Page” (so-called), and so the Rootsweb servers are still down. Are the UK, Australia and sites back up? The (silly)

  4. Jade

    Pamela #7, on their Facebook page states first that FTM users should disable automatic syncing, and later that they have disabled it as well as the search function through FTM. Maybe they will post a notice there when these functions have been restored. Or maybe not.

  5. BEE

    I don’t do Facebook, so don’t know what they were saying there, so until I heard it on the news, I didn’t know about this.
    It would have been nice if the “note” that is still up said that.
    “Note: You may be experiencing some intermittent service with the website. We apologize for any inconvenience this might cause and appreciate your patience as we work to resolve the problem as quickly as possible”.
    I didn’t change my user name, but decided to change my password.
    Also, I went to a great deal of effort to manually include my National Genographic project results to my tree as well as my husband’s.
    Now I get this message: “DNA Results Not Found – For some reason these DNA results cannot be found. This may be a system problem. Try again later or contact technical support to resolve this problem.”
    Is this a temporary thing, or not??

  6. Carolyn Lobb

    I just got off the phone with Ancestry. The connection between Ancestry and FTM has been disabled to protect FTM. They are working on it and hope to have the problems fixed by the end of the weekend. Once fixed, the connection will be turned back on.

  7. Bob

    I too am very frustrated with ancestry on this, especially as it relates to FTM the worst part is lack of communications about this.i took vacation this week to do family research. Wasted week. You cannot get a straight answer from them. Poor poor problem management.

  8. JimmyC

    I have been unable to access any features through FTM 2012, and it has slowed down tremendously after every fact input… ie – birth, death, name, etc. Cannot log in to through FTM, but can use the same username and password to log in using Firefox and Internet Explorer… Can even log in with Web Search browser, but not with FTM login. I keep getting an error msg… “login failed, please try again”, like the other users have stated above. I tried phone support the other day. Had to wait an hour just to be told they were working on it. Can I change the config file or is there an update to fix this? FTM tells me I have to log in to check for updates… Catch 22, I think.
    BTW… I use manual sync when the program works. I have added about 75 – 100 names to the file this week and need to sync soon b4 losing them… please? 🙂

  9. Bill

    I called the 1-800 number and the service rep it shouldn’t be any later than mid next week for FTM sync and login to be back up.

  10. Jade

    The facebook page states myCanvas has been totally taken off line for repairs. Too bad Scott Sorenson has not been giving updates and corrections here on the blog.

    Rootsweb servers still down, and others.

  11. I don’t really care about syncing my FTM to, but I DO care–a lot!–that I haven’t been able to access RootsWeb’s WorldConnect Project since the DDoS began. How long will it be before Ancestry gets all the ducks back in a row? We rely on for many of our frequently-used resources, but there is a limit to our patience and understanding.

  12. Jade

    Ron Head #15 and others, do have some sympathy for the IT folks who are struggling to make the repairs to such complex sites.

    In my view it was a major accomplishment to get the trees and databases pretty smoothly functional, although not ready for FTM syncing and yet.

    Customers should have confidence that staff are working as carefully and quickly as they can to restore sites.

    Impatience and peeves should be directed at the attackers.’

  13. John Donaldson

    Congratulations to the team at Ancestry for getting the site back up following the DDOS attack. A huge job and no doubt a large bill for ‘midnight oil’.

    I think it is unfortunate that folk are so ready to criticise when something goes wrong. No doubt they also complain if a plane crashes and they have to detour.

    I hope the US fed authorities (FBI?) trace the persons who perpetrated the DOS attack and bring them to justice.

    John D

  14. Jade

    Staff are still removing comments from this blog post and have not responded to a single one.

    On’s facebook page is this update:

    “Regarding the DDoS attack:

    “UPDATE (Sunday, June 22, 10:30am PST): Our tech team continues to work on fully restoring all services, here is the status on the following issues:

    “* Mac version of Family Tree Maker not syncing
    * GEDCOM downloads from Ancestry Member Trees are not currently available
    * The following websites are currently offline: MyFamily, MyCanvas, Rootsweb, Mundia, Y-DNA/mt-DNA, and (please note we will be extending the retirement date on each of these and will have details to share once these sites are restored)

    “Unfortunately, we do not have an ETA on when these will be resolved, but will continue to post updates as we have them. If you are experiencing any other issues not mentioned here, please contact our Member Services department and we would be happy to assist you.”

    * * * * *
    Ancestry is not posting updates in this blog, or in any message boards. Why not??? Who looks at their facebook page? I look at it maybe 3 times a year if I hear about something of interest’s being there.

  15. Anne Halford

    Tues. 6/24 and still no Rootsweb E-mail lists, or archives. The Ancestry Boards are open, but will messages there be sent out to linked Rootsweb email list subscribers? I haven’t been able to access my WorldConnect website.
    FYI 6/23 two other organizations have websites up using the WorldConnect name.

  16. Bill Curry

    When will I be able to log in with my Family Tree? I do not see any of the people that I have invited to view my tree. My daughter bought the last subscription to Ancestry. For the last week I have not been able to research my family. Will I receive additional time since it was paid for and not been able to use your service. I should have been notified by email that you had been hacked. It would have saved me a lot of headaches. Please contact me and let me know when I can again use your service. Thank you

  17. Paul Rhetts

    It has been 8 days now and I still cannot login to Ancestry from my FTM tree. I cannot use sync, hints, or anything else. I contacted the Customer Service people and after almost 20 minutes of fumbling around, they told me that the DDoS attack had compromised the syncing of tress and the FTM hints. That should have been the first thing they told me. I wasted time so they could pretend to address my problem. If this keeps up it may be better to cancel my subscription until they gets things fixed. By the way, the Customer Service rep could not tell me when I might expect service would be up and running again.

  18. Kristie Wells

    Paul Rhetts: Family Tree Maker has been restored, so If you are still experiencing difficulties syncing, make sure you have the most current patch, shut FTM down completely (Command Button + Q), and reboot your machine to make sure that the DNS cache gets updated.

  19. Kristie Wells

    Bill Curry: You should be able to log into Family Tree Maker now – please see comments to Paul Rhetts to see if that might help. If you are still experiencing issues, please contact our Member Services department at 1-800-262-3787 and they can assist you directly.

  20. Leonie

    I still can’t get into Ancestry AT ALL. Times out every time on sign-in page. Getting quite fed up. Could access it last week through cached pages (for general looking up only, no hints or messages access) but I stupidly cleared my cache pages when I cleared cookies, so no more acces for me. Frustrating. Why can’t we be told the truth about when to expect service again? Time is money!!

  21. Dave

    As of Tuesday, 6/24, 11 PM Eastern Standard time, I continue to receive a “Sync is temporarily Down” message while trying to Snyc FTM and Ancestry. Apparently other Mac users are receiving the same message. Please stop reporting that Mac sync problems are corrected, they are not.

  22. Dave

    As of Tuesday, 6/24, 11 PM EST, I continue to receive a “Sync is temporarily Down” message while trying to Snyc FTM and Ancestry. Apparently other Mac users are receiving the same message. Please stop reporting that Mac sync problems are corrected, they are not.

  23. Jade

    The “updates” backdated June 18, 19, 21 and 23 would have been more helpful if posted when dated instead of on today, June 24, when they were posted.

    The Rootsweb message boards are still down (not mentioned in updates). When will the Rootsweb Mailing Lists be functional?

  24. Linda

    Well, as of 3:23 pm on 6-25, I am still having issues and sure wish I had looked at this blog before. I do not use facebook and the little message was no help. I have been able to get on sometimes and I have been making changes and syncing. I would not have done any of it but walked a way for 10 days if I had known. I think that Ancestry may have messed with data as I now have 2 of several people in my tree. I don’t know if e-mails I sent actually went thru. Today I mailed one and it told me it could not be sent now. I have lost a lot of time and also more as I need to recheck my whole tree.

  25. James Rhodes

    As of 12:15 am EDT 27 June, software update reports I have the latest version of FTM3 Mac (22.2.1), FTM3 has been shut down, and my MacBookPro rebooted. I am still getting the dreaded “TreeSync is temporarily unavailable” message. Am I missing something, or is there still more work to be done at Ancestry to fully recover from the attack?

  26. Jade

    Since this blog post was not published until June 20, 2014, commenting should be open through July 3, 2014.

  27. AK Big Guy

    Generally, things are back to normal, except of the sync of media files from to FTM 2014. That function is still running extremely slow if at all for me.

  28. Marshall

    I am still getting a “script error … do you want to continue running scripts on this page?” popup every time i open FTM followed by a maddening series of popup advertisements from Suprasavings. I log in repeatedly to and get a maddening series of popup advertisements from Suprasavings there too that interrurpt and sometimes eliminate my searches. I am not paying hundreds per year in subscriptions to see popups on both the website and the FTM! Please fix this soonest!

  29. My family info comes up OK, but when I search, dates and locations within the search results are not available. And when I select a record to review, I get a welcome screen to subscribe. Just FYI. I too am getting a bit frustrated. Am usually on the site daily.

  30. Marilyn Nickless

    Is Ancestry working on fixing link problems in message board gatewayed messages to Rootsweb lists?

    I have received several gatewayed messages today via Roots-L lists. But when I click on the link that should take me to the message it just goes to the main search page of Ancestry. I’ve had to manually search to ultimately find and reply to them.

  31. Diana Kemeny

    I have been trying to print storyview since your trouble started, one day it lets me the next day it doesn’t. This has been going on for almost 2 weeks, now the last 3 days nothing. Please fix the issue.

  32. I synced my FTM to Ancestry last week after the fiasco and the whole tree came back so screwed up I can’t fix it.
    sample of my now data

    Edward Swann
    1795 Ireland
    1910Self Creek, Pike, Arkansas, USA
    Marriage to Pauline Gunn05 Sep 1920
    Pike, Arkansas, United States
    1920Self Creek, Pike, Arkansas, USA
    Marital Status: Single; Relation to Head of House: Daughter
    Add MediaResidence
    1930Self Creek, Pike, Arkansas, USA
    1935Rural, Pike, Arkansas
    1 AprSaline, Pike, Arkansas, USA
    Marital Status: Married; Relation to Head of House: Wife
    Add MediaMarriage to Sparks Jones Jr
    18 OctScott, Arkansas, United States
    Blount County, Alabama
    hiis parents now readfather Margurete Roller b 1906 & Beatrice Bielhart b 1882 and the following chilidren : Isabella Sharon b 1720; John Willard b 1874 Lewis Cornelious b 1896 Ira McCollum b 1914; Robert Dee Shackelford b 1964. and this isn’t the only messeed up file on ancestry.
    I have called 7 times and they keep giving me ideas but I loaded bakup and it will not sync media. I cannot merge people because they have too many errors attached. 25000 + people and all the media it will take forever to redo.

  33. I have been trying to add information to my family tree and every time I try to add a new member, the website shuts down. Can you tell me what is going on? This is not what I signed up for and paid for. I’m trying to do a memory book for my daughter’s birthday and can’t finish it without the info from ancestry. Please fix this.

  34. Coral Horton

    Tree Sync is still temporarily unavailable…I cannot get anyone in Ancestry to look at my case…it is YOUR end not mine that has the fault. You keep sending me trouble shooting sites but NOT looking at my site and switching it back on…PLEASE do something.
    What am in paying you for???????

  35. Jenny The Rook

    Today is July 14 and none of the database pages are in order, claims
    : The connection was reset

    The connection to the server was reset while the page was loading.

    The site could be temporarily unavailable or too busy. Try again in a few moments.
    If you are unable to load any pages, check your computer’s network connection.
    If your computer or network is protected by a firewall or proxy, make sure that Firefox is permitted to access the Web

    About Midnight on the 13th it started. I am in heavy entry mode this week . And with paid account TIME _IS_ MONEY! So another Denial of Service attack ploy a month after first?
    It makes me wonder how safe our data is.

  36. I am unable to delete DNA people that do not interest me.

    Have had trouble sending messages to DNA compatible people.

    Hope this is resolved. Vivian Roarty

  37. Vivian Roarty

    I have not been able to delete DNA people that I choose to do.

    I have not been able to send messages to DNA compatiable people.


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