We Need Your Feedback on the Ancestry Weekly Journal

awj_masthead.gifSorry for the light week on the blog, but it’s been crazy-busy around here. I just got back from a trip to Utah last week and then this week I spent a lot of time getting ready for the webinar I did Wednesday with Maureen Taylor. (If you missed it, it’s now available in the Ancestry Learning Center.) For those of you who caught it or are planning on watching it in the archive, I apologize on the sound quality for my portions. Apparently my phone lines need to be checked because try as we might, we could not get a good clear phone connection that night.

I have a favor I’d like to ask of you. We’re looking for some feedback on the Ancestry Weekly Journal and here on the 24/7 blog. What are your favorite items in the AWJ? Or perhaps there is something you could do without? Is the newsletter too long? Too short? What do you want more of? Less of? Is there a section that you just don’t need? What types of articles do you find the most helpful? Is weekly too often to keep up with? We want to know your needs so that we can continue to address them in the best way possible.

We thought about putting out a traditional survey, but I would like to hear what you like and dislike about the newsletter in your own words, so I thought I’d solicit some comments here on the blog. We want to make sure we’re continuing to provide you with the tools, information, and inspiration that helps you with your family history research. Thanks a lot for taking the time to share your thoughts with us!

Have a great weekend!


72 thoughts on “We Need Your Feedback on the Ancestry Weekly Journal

  1. I would love a section for “new comers” with less than 3 years, that would include sections like the learning center. How to work with each database offered by Ancestry.com. (starting a tree, Family Tree Maker 2009, etc. and a weekly list of sites that work well with yours, (PAF, etc) then how to incorporate that information with Family Tree Maker.


  2. I like the Weekly Journal, its format, and its content, and have no significant suggestions for change. One related criticism I have, however, is that the RSS articles – which, in theory, are a reasonable substitute for Ancestry Daily News (which I also miss), and, in theory, allow me to keep from being overloaded when the full e-publication arrives – tend to arrive in bunches, with the full newsletter arriving almost simultaneously, which somewhat defeats the purpose.

  3. I enjoy reading the journal every week. I think weekly is the right frequency, and there is a good amount of information. I can’t think of anything you should change.

  4. I am in Australia and I would like to see more information regarding any Australian sites that are available. I also am doing my English family history and would like to see information and postings regarding the United Kingdom.

    I enjoy the journal on a weekly basis.

    Thanking you,
    Daphne Ritchie.

  5. I have always relied upon Search to return for me all pertinent records. The Ancestry Weekly Journal serves to alert me to newly added databases, and it reminds me to ‘re-Search’ an ancestor!

  6. I enjoy the Weekly Journal every week, but I have one minor complaint.

    The pictures you put at the top right that you call, Todays Image, are interesting, but mean nothing if all you see is a picture. Why do you not place the explaination for the picture, just below it?

    It seems to serve no purpose to put the explaination far down the page. It is very bothersome to have to scroll all the way back up to the top, to view the picture again with a new perspective, after finding out where the picture was taken.

    Changing this probably wouldn’t bring on a “Happy Dance”, but would make me happy anyway!

  7. I did enjoy the daily but weekly is fine. Quote of the day…is ‘so-so’ Today’s image could be more seasonal or historical. I love the photo section and would like to see that expanded. And we don’t need to see any kind of advertisements in the emailed newsletter. Get enough of that everywhere else. Keep up the good tips and good articles. I would like to see some tips on researching Polish roots shared. Too bad Ancestry doesn’t have those records in the database.

  8. I look forward to the Weekly News and was thrilled when you published a phtograph of my grandmother ‘The Belle of Bootle ‘.
    I do find the articles very slanted towards Americal Research and would welcome some English input.That being said, the current article on researching in Dublin is excellent.

  9. I would like to see more information on Irish and Scottish roots, particularly the Scots/Irish. Also more variety in the timeline as it has quite lengthy pieces on American history and not so much on other countries. Apart from that I find the Journal very interesting and informative.

  10. Although I have been a member of ancestry for some time, I always enjoy reading the journal. One comment I would like to make is that there doesn’t seem alot on the UK. Lots and lots of american history. I know ancestry is based in USA but we would like more UK based articles.

  11. I think the Journal is fine as is. Weekly is a good frequency.
    My favorite parts are the Tips, Photo Corner, and The Year Was.

  12. I enjoy receiving the Journal weekly. I read it all, but enjoy the Tips from the Pros & Your Quick Tips, Photo Corner, and the Year Was, the best. I have found some very helpful information. Thank you Juliana for all your hard work and time in putting the Ancestry Weekly Journal together.


  14. Great stuff! I read each one and find the information and tips very helpful. Hope to see more NY state records from the 1800s soon. Thanks.

  15. I love the weekly journal. I love the “how to” type articles. For example the link for “step by step timeline” instructions. I would like to see a section entitled “Questions for the Genealogist” or something like that where we can submit a question we have and have it answered in the journal. This could help so many readers who may be needing the same question answered. Some examples: Where to go to get certain type records, basic keying in info questions, what type of sources are better to find certain info than others, genealogy definitions ( ex. diff. between primary and secondary sources), and advice on where to go next for people’s brickwall ancestors. The genealogist wouldn’t have to do research for people, just give advice, etc. Just a suggestion. I love the weekly journal and have learned so much from them! I print them out and save most of them in a binder. It makes a fantastic genealogy resource book!! Keep up the great work it is very much appreciated!!

  16. I enjoy receiving the journal on a weekly basis. Would prefer to see explantion of the ‘Today’s Image’ beneath the picture.
    The quote of the day is great as is photo corner and find the ‘year that was’ quite interesting. Actually, no complaints!
    On another note: have enjoyed the webinars…always learn something, thank you

  17. I look forward to each week’s newsletter and read it from beginning to end. Thank you for providing all the information and tips. No complaints!

  18. I would like to see more articles on
    Eastern European genealogy, especially the Austrian – Hungarian Empire. This area and Canada are my main areas of research. Other than that the journal is enjoyable and does provide some basic tips.

  19. Monday morning always includes Ancestry Weekly Journal. I feel it keeps me in touch and up to date. I could never keep up on a daily basis.
    Being greedy, there are days when I would enjoy a longer journal but the current length is probably best.
    The write up on todays image could be a little more detailed. These images are important based on the fact that the Library of Congress is preserving them. Tell us about them. The other readers are right; the detail and the image should be together. Don’t change too much.

  20. ji would like to see a way to increase the size of the print or perhaps make it darker. i like the weekly issue but have to read it with a magnifying glass. Also i would like some articles concerning dna and what to expect from it.

  21. I am a relatively new subscriber. I enjoy reading the suggestions. However, from the 10 issues I have received, there is something lacking, which I have noticed is common among many genealogy resources….helpful tips for African American research. There are usually tips on getting started, but rarely information on how to break through the brick walls. African American genealogy is unique. It requires a bit more analysis and detective work because there is no paper trail — many documents never existed.

    Some of the general tips about looking at relatives in the area sounds good, but so far, I have not found any new information.

  22. Loved this week’s article on researching in the Dublin GRO–excellent! Too bad I don’t have Irish ancestors… The description of Today’s Image should definitely be under the photo itself, although this is one feature I could do without entirely. Love the quotes, love the links to What’s New. Might be a good idea to write more articles in AWJ about the databases that are new. Tips from the Pros is good, and Your Quick Tips is interesting. Photo Corner is fine, but somewhat pedestrian. Perhaps seek/ask for more unusual photos to post in this section? Also, you have been asking for success stories for a long time–what are you going to do with what’s been collected? I would love to see the addition of others’ success stories in AWJ. AWJ has become a strange combination of anecdotal and informative. Frankly, AWJ has seemed lukewarm this past year, and I find myself skimming, then deleting.

  23. I LOVE the Weekly Journal, especially “The Year Was…” and Quick Tips – actually there isn’t a thing that I dislike. At first, when you switched from a daily to a weekly Journal, I was disappointed. I have to say that once a week is better; I don’t have time to read one every day! I also agree that the info on Today’s Image could be right under the picture. Thanks to everyone who contributes to the Journal!

  24. I like the Weekly Journal.

    Would like to see more How To information. Information about research in Portugal, Azores and Spain.

    HOW TO better use Ancestry.com SEARCH. Every time I use it to find someone it gives me more people not mentiion in the SEARCH options. How to use a Better way of narrowing down to the person being search.

  25. I thoroughly enjoy this newsletter. I like the once a week, plus the fact I can
    read whenever my time is right. I also
    like the different features.
    thanks for the good work.

  26. I would like to see a section dedicated to the brand new researcher. A huge problem for all of us newbie’s… Is after you have the first step done, collecting info, Pictures and everything else you could from your extended family.The most important thing in this whole process of family research is trying to FILE all that you have collected. I don’t mean what you keep all this in, I mean how you file what you have collected, for instance do you put your mom and dad together or should they be separated? How do you file pictures with mom’s side or with dad’s side? The questions are endless. After you have this done what do you do now?

  27. I love the Journal too. I would love to see some articles on how to go about researching ancestors in Japan.My mother in law is Japanese and getting on in years and doesn’t remember a lot of the family history. I would like to learn more about her family but have no idea how to go about it. Does anyone have any ideas on how to help me with this? Any help would be much appreciated.

  28. Keep up the good work. Not a great feedback, but that is because I have nothing negative to say. I appreciate this service and hope you know that it is not in vain and is well received.

  29. I really like reading the Journal, it keeps me informed on what is happening in the genealogy world. Thank you for this. It would be interesting for me if you could go to a certain area of a country and tell about its history and what names were first in that area. I think we are all curious about the place of our ancestors — what it looked like then and what it looks like now. Maybe help start up name searches in that area and maybe help the descendents find each other. I know there is much done along this line in Acesstry. Thank you.

  30. Hi, thanks a lot for putting out the weekly journal. It serves multiple purposes for me. First, it reminds me to do at least some genealogy search work every week, triggered by your journal. Second, I like the articles because I always pick up something that I didn’t know. Third, I like the links to new data bases or updated data bases. Fourth, I also like the shorter articles of “how to” or tips on various kinds of searches.

    Keep up the great job!

  31. The journal is great, as most have pointed out here in your request for feedback. One thing that I’ve always found frustrating, however, is information on how to “marry” the info from my online family tree with photos, stories, etc., with the more mudane info I post in my Family Tree Maker program, which pales in comparison to the online version.

    I find myself lax in using FTM and keeping up with the OFT because the latter is so vivid and appealing. My 17 invited guests/contributors are excited by the OFT and at least two have gone on to buy the program and join Ancestry.com. As for the FTM program, I just keep collecting info but have yet to print out a booklet or anything because of a lack of know-how and understanding.

    FTM is boring by comparison with the OFT. How could we better manage to merge the two programs? That’s some info and advice I would appreciate.

    Ancestry.com does a wonderful job for subscribers!! Thank you.

  32. I would like to see more photos in ‘photo corner’ could you please publish 4 instead of 2 per week,
    If you run short you could possibly reprint photos from a few years back.

    Also more Australian content PLEASE

    Robert Fyfe,,,,,,,,,,

  33. Ancestry Weekly Journal is a great resource. I especially like the tips, how-tos, and the listing of new and expanded databases that I can click on. The feature articles on putting our ancestors in their historical context are also helpful. Perhaps you can solicit “questions of the week” from readers, post the questions in the next issue, and then post answers and suggestions from readers and contributors the week after that (this would be for “how-to” questions rather than “searching for” inquiries).

  34. I enjoy the newsletter each week, and was pleased to see information on Irish research this week, but would like to see a section devoted to countries outside the USA in every issue.

  35. Every issue has something that I wanted to know! Because I didn’t pay much attention To history in school, one of my favorite sections is “The Year Was………” It makes the ancestors come alive knowing what was going on around them.

  36. I enjoy reading the Weekly Journal, although I don’t always get it read the day it is sent. While not every section is applicable every week, I find something useful each week and sooner or later every section will have had something useful.

  37. I love the AWJ. Weekly is perfect for me. I agree with the majority of posters about the photo and it’s info being together. A “reader question” sounds like an awesome idea. So many other posters have such great ideas that I think you should try to incorporate all of them. This weeks article about the Dublin GRO is very helpful for me since at least half of my ancestry is Irish. I would however like to see something similar for all other countries around the world. America is after all a nation of immigrants. Something else you might want to add is a “Genealogy Definitions” segment; like what is the difference between ‘immigration’ and ’emmigration’ with definitions.

    I love the 24/7 as well. Being able to see others comments on articles etc helps me get some better understanding about what I read. And, I get some great ideas for organizing my stuff, like Teresa Spires comment above gave me the idea to print out the AWJ and keep them in a reference binder. Wonderful.

    Thank you for the hard work and for the image of a “Happy Dance” as well.

    Deborah Brazil

  38. I miss the Daily News too, mostly because it was a wonderful way to start the day with a small “how to” article. The resources from the News are still on Ancestry, but very difficult to find. I wonder if you could add a small section to the Weekly Journal that links to former Daily News articles, maybe using the week’s articles as the starting point. I enjoy all your contributors, but you have such a comfortable writing style–as if you were talking to everyone.

  39. I like the Journal a lot, the Photo Corner, the feature photo, quick tips and reminders to do something genealogy each week. Also highlighting a year in history is fascinating especially if it fits your own ancestry quests. I always like to read what Juliana has to say.
    I do find it hard to always do it justice on a weekly basis though; some of us retired persons have very busy schedules! Saskatchewan, Canada

  40. I always look forward to the Ancestry Weekly Journal and appreciate the efforts the editors have made to educate us.
    I have two suggestions: Include a suggestion box and include a reader response box by which we could put in additional information or comments.
    Additionally, I am often frustrated when I key in to a link and get either a blank page or the picture of a miner and the message “We’re sorry. The page you tried to access is no longer available.”

  41. I look forward to AWJ every Monday. I’ve been doing my genealogy for 25 years and I learn something new to try
    every week. Could we possibly see more on Poland?

  42. I look forward to this journal every week. I especially like the The Year was feature. I save these and enter them in my binders with the relative born in that year. It makes the entry more interesting and is also informative. I also would like to see the captions or explanations under the photos, just makes more sense. All in all this is a wonderful format. I have learned a lot from you and hope to learn even more in the future. I love the Archives and the Family History 24/7 in case I missed something. Keep up the great work!

  43. I read the 24/7 blog rather than the AWJ. I notice no one has mentioned using the archived issues which you can access. (See the side panel or Archive in the middle of the bottom of the Rootsweb homepage.)The answers to many questions will be found there, if you use the search facility. As I live in a different time zone, I can sometimes read the blog on sunday night. Can’t wait for my fix.

  44. Thank you for the weekly updates at Ancestry.com. It is an immediate must read for me. My ancestor search has sort of bogged down lately due to some home renovation, but I’m eagerly anxious to get back to work. Keep up the good work.

  45. I wish to echo / endorse two suggestions made above.
    1:-Put the caption for the picture under the picture, and
    2:- Employ some more people in the UK and have stories about things of relevance to the UK. It is of little help to Brits to know how to find items in an American Town Hall.
    For UK read any other part of the world; there are at least five or six mentioned above.

  46. I truly LOVE the Weekly Journal and look forward each Monday to reading it. Daily would be difficult for me to keep up. I wouldn’t change much but agree with the comments regarding the Today’s Image and the description needs to be under the photo. I love “The Year Was”, and the reminders to do something Genealogy related each week. I agree with comments 29 and 32. I have learned so much and there is so much more to learn and you provide us with that. I would love to see more tips on organizing, files, offices and photos of other Genealogists offices or spaces. Thank you for all your great work and tips.

  47. It’s hard to reach the two column format online. I also don’t find it as easy to print as past versions. When I don’t have time to ready them I like to print so I can take them with me anywhere I go and read as I have a free minute.

  48. I and a lot of other newcomers to genealogy would be much more likely to join Ancestry.com if they would make suscription available in a manner where we could pay by check via mail rather than online with a credit card. There are many of us who are not comfortable making financial transactions online. Secondly while much of the research information is gathered and compiled by volunteers I wonder why the cost for a subscription is as high as it is.

  49. I also enjoy the photo section, the year that was and the reader’s tips. The Dublin article was wonderful in this issue and perhaps something similar could be done for another country each week as so many have asked for research tips about their country of origin. As for the person who wanted larger print, if you hit control and scroll, it will enlarge the print to make it easier to read.

  50. I agree, picture and description together, but PLEASE don’t delete the Quote of the Day. I agree with once a week newsletter. A lot of folks live in samll towns with no or very limited FHC, so providing direction on how to obtain information, i.e., Dublin article is very helpful and best ways to obtain information if you can’t travel, would be great. Thanks for all you do, Great Job.

  51. I generally enjoy most of the weekly news letter – but it is very biased towards American records & research. More news and items about British records please. We also pay subscriptions.

  52. The Ancestry Weekly Journal is great!

    I have a suggestion for improving it: Why not make each topic in the contents at the beginning of the Journal be a link to that topic? Then readers could go directly to the topics they are interested in. At the end of each topic could be a link back to the contents. Other sites do this and it is very helpful to readers.

  53. Please fix the code on this so that if I follow a link to “more,” I can go directly back to the place I was on the main page when I am through reading with “more.” Many, probably most, sites do that. It is a minor point, but annoying. Thanks.

  54. I have enjoyed the Ancestry Journal for years-the daily as well as the weekly. I used to have to save the dailies until I had time to read them but it was well worth it. I had a hard time adjusting to the weekly journal and blog but I guess change is difficult. I don’t like to having to jump from place to place to read the information because I am always short on time, but that is a personal problem!! I enjoy all aspects of the newsletter but agree with the comments on the photo explanations. I also feel like the quotes from famous sources or quote of the week are not as interesting as they used to be. I like reading the posts and questions from readers on the blog but feel like the space could be used for a better purpose. Perhaps split the blog off from the journal and let bloggers help each other?? Who knows. Would like to see the price come down on the subscriptions to Ancestry. Keep up the GREAT work!

  55. I prefer a weekly Journal to a daily email. It would be nice if you might provide a link to your monthly magazine in the first Journal issued after it is published, with a listing of articles. I always forget to look at the magazine, and this might prompt me to check it out more often.

    One thing I noticed is that many people ask questions in the Comments section of the posted blogs/articles. Genealogist Dick Eastman does a good job of monitoring and answering the questions in his Comments section, which helps to eliminate more of the same. Is there any way that responses could be made right there, too? Look at the Yearbook blog comments from this week, to see the questions, and people’s frustration with a lack of “official” response. (I hope someone monitors the suggestions and passes them off to the site developers.)

  56. I think you have done a great job covering the aspects of tracing your family. I look forward to your news.
    Rick Faulkner

  57. I enjoy all of the features in the Weekly Journal. I think weekly is often enough. I do not get on my computer every day. Sometime only once a week. I do have a problem. Several weeks ago there was a picture of Mayrs. I sent this issue to a friend so she could see the pictures but they didn’t go along with the e-mail. Is there a way I could again recieve that picture? Mayr is part of her family and she has aked me for more info about it. I’m just getting back into the family history mode. I did my own family and then had to relax my brain cells for awhile. Would really like to get a copy of that one picture. Thanks! Elaine Maggard

  58. I enjoy the weekly version very much. As far as I am concerned you need not change anything. Thank you very much.


  59. I love the Journal and each of it’s features. I loved the daily letters, but find the weekly to be good. I would not delete any features. I would add tutorials on using Ancestry.com more effectively. And it would be better to have the caption right under Today’s Image. The work you do is graetly appreciated. Thanks.

  60. I love the Journal and each of it’s features. I loved the daily letters, but find the weekly to be good. I would not delete any features. I would add tutorials on using Ancestry.com more effectively. And it would be better to have the caption right under Today’s Image. The work you do is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  61. I used to click on what appeared to be a source of information only to learn- later- that one must first subscribe to see anything important. This frustration is unnecessary. It leaves the impression of a bait-&- switch scam. Warn folks first when a subscription will be needed. I seldom click on any link now because of the bad taste.

  62. As I have recently begun to research my ancestors as time permits, I find your articles to be very helpful. I would appreciate more articles on how to organize the ever growing bits of information. I am sure there are others who are not experienced in researching their ancestors and would appreciate the same.

  63. I look forward to the Weekly Journal. I download and print it. Then I keep them in a ringbinder for any future reference. I read ALL of it and find every article at one time or another to remind me of something I’d missed in my research!

  64. I thoroughly enjoy the Ancestry Weekly Digest. When I get bogged down and cannot read it immediately, I just save it and read them at my next convenience. As with any newspaper, some articles are of more interest to me than others. I would like to see something on doing Jewish research.
    Keep up the excellent work. Thank you for teaching and sharing with all of us.

  65. I really enjoy the weekly but think that is you put a link to prior articles that people would be able to search for their various interests might prove helpful. I know that I have read other articles about doing research in some of the areas that people have asked for. Keep up the good work. I save the articles that interest me and plan on making a CD of them at some time when I have the time then I would have them available no matter where I am.

  66. My family and I enjoy the AWJ very much. Our family came over in 1644 from Holland and it is always fun to find the different branches of our family.
    You have been very helpful. The links to the different areas are super. The Canadian links and Kentucky links have been truly great.
    One thing I have found, is if I run into a brick wall, try to look at the original records. Sometimes they were copied wrong!
    The AWJ keeps pulling me back into the hobby I have always loved. Keep up the great work

    Patrick Coovert and Family

  67. I also enjoy the AWJ – and I miss the Daily! We fans obviously can never have enough! But I do have to agree with the majority of your commentors here – we all want more foreign input please! Many of us are second or at best third generation Americans- I long ago finished any possible American information and am desparately trying to do research on “this side of the pond” of family “over there!” I have fome additional information by accessing the Ancestry Italia site but we all need more hints!
    And more inspirational articles to write those family history tomes would be wonderful!

  68. I thoroughly enjoy reading each and every issue. We recently moved and I had saved all unread issues in my mailbox. I am finally catching up on those back issues because my mailbox is too full! I always learn something new and frequently print articles. I do agree the picture at the top should have its caption nearby so I don’t have to scroll back to the top each time.

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