Posted by on 19 May 2010 in Site Status

We are currently working on unplanned maintenance on the Ancestry Member Trees system. We expect family trees on and its related international sites to be down for an extended period today.

Be assured that the Ancestry Member Trees system will be available again as soon as the maintenance is completed. We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused and will keep you posted.

Thank you for your patience.



On the Homepage it states ‘See Blog for further information’. I have just read all the comments and there isn’t one with ‘further information’ from Ancestry on when the problem might be solved.

19 May 2010 at 6:11 pm
janice wooldridge 

Does this unplanned maintenance AGAIN mean that all clients get a refund.
I have paid a huge amount of money to this site and it is down again. This is twice in as many weeks.
It is very difficult to persue a hobby when the tool used is unreliable.
Janice Wooldidge

19 May 2010 at 6:16 pm
Maralyn Dewar 

Thanks very much for blue information band. Hope to see site up soon.

19 May 2010 at 6:20 pm
Mark Russell 

All sites crash from time to time. Mistakes happen and i understand that.

But i do think it is completely out of order that you do not give an indication of when you believe it may be up and running again. I couldn’t care less whether you believe it will be down for another hour, a day, a week or a month – i just would like an indication so that i can plan my time accordingly!!!

19 May 2010 at 6:24 pm
Angie Small 

It seems only the trees are unavailable, I am using the Ancestry Family Tree software on my pc and am able to continue adding census info, birth info etc, just not able to see info on other people’s trees that have any connections with mine. I cannot fault Ancestry, as I have found family members I didn’t even know I had! This has got to be the best hobby one can do, and is very addictive!

19 May 2010 at 6:27 pm
Linda Terrett 

I have been with Ancestry for a couple of years now and this is the first time that this has happened.

I think we get very good service from you. It is the best genealogy site I have found and a little set back like this is not a problem.

Keep up the good work. I’m sure you are doing your best to resolve the matter.

19 May 2010 at 6:29 pm
Angela Bolton 

This site is great so they can’t help it if gremlins get in it once in a while ! Just be patient. It doesn’t often happen. You can search, just can’t use your tree site.

19 May 2010 at 6:33 pm

Since your latest update on your BMD,I now have to type all my relatives details in,all 700 of them.

19 May 2010 at 6:35 pm
Myra Sutherland 

I find it very hard to believe that a company your size is unable to keep providing a service.
Unexpected means you have serious IT problems.
Why do you not tell your customers just when you expect to get this up and running again.
Maybe you should invest some of the money you make to buy some equipment that works, then we the customers will get the service that we pay a lot of money for to use, and at the moment it is working/ not working.
It really is becoming a poor site to use as we cannot rely on your site working.

19 May 2010 at 6:36 pm
Andrew Moore 

I have been with Ancestry only a few days wish i had tried it sooner i think its a great site and have found family members so far back to the early 1800s keep up the good work those who moan should try facebook something happens there every day cant wait for it to be running again.

19 May 2010 at 6:37 pm
Julie Shields 

Oh have a look at and the comments there. This just keeps happening and it just isn’t good enough. ‘Wrong Images’ don’t get rectified. Huge gaps in census records exist. Lots of the BT directories are missing and no 1911 census. Let’s face it if our trees weren’t so large and hard to move we’d be looking elsewhere by now.

19 May 2010 at 6:42 pm
Janet Rigby 

This is a big disappointment to me as I had set aside this afternoon to concentrate on putting new information into my tree as part of a larger project I am doing. If I had known beforehand I could have planned my day better, Apart from this glitch since using Ancestry my research has gone from strength to strength. Don’t spoil such a great site with ‘unplanned maintenance’ please and an indication as to when the site will be working at full strength again would be welcome.

19 May 2010 at 6:48 pm
Sam Carver 

I can’t believe how angry people are getting? I’ve been a member for going on 2 years now and I can only remember the site being down like this one other time.
I think that’s pretty good going considering the scale of the site.
There are hundreds of smaller sites on the net and they crash on a daily basis.
I say keep up the good work ancestry.
I’m sure the site will be back up and running as soon as it possibly can.
Technology is great, but it’s not faultless. Sometimes computers die, it’s that simple.
Just be patient.

19 May 2010 at 6:50 pm

If want improve your data base ask me first,as I am ex
data processor,charged by D.T.I England under sect5,1984 data protection act,using I.B.M. D.O.S.before Bill Gates started all this….

19 May 2010 at 6:50 pm
kerri reeve 

hopefully it wont be too long before its back. i use this site for my family history course which is tomorrow morning.

19 May 2010 at 6:51 pm

I feel sorry for those paying monthly, or pay per view… More info Ancestry….too long delay, you will lose custom!

19 May 2010 at 6:59 pm

This site has been down all day – not just here in the UK but worldwide – must be a huge problem but I just wish they would be more frequent with the updates.

I have a worldwide membership and it costs me a lot of money – perhaps one day ‘compensation’ would be in order??

Never mind, probably now is the time to do the washing up instead of sitting here moaning!!

19 May 2010 at 7:01 pm

I have been an Ancestry user for years and this is the very first time I have gone on line and had a problem.. . . cool it folks!

19 May 2010 at 7:03 pm
Mandy Horton 

Thank-you Ancestry! The enforced break means I’ve been able to catch up on long awaited jobs! So adictive!

19 May 2010 at 7:17 pm
Thomas Costick 

I understand that these things happen but, as others have said, it is reasonable to expect some estimate of when services will be back to normal. The lack of any estimate suggests this is a serious problem.

Some updates here in the blog and on Twitter, please.

19 May 2010 at 7:25 pm
Judith Shaw 

I have had excellent service over a number of years with minimal problems. Hope site is back soon. Any news?

19 May 2010 at 7:26 pm

I agree with those other addicts the first time the evening meal pots get wash so earley

19 May 2010 at 7:28 pm
Stuart Farmer 

There are some very unfair comments about this unplanned maintenance. I would much prefer to have this happen than lose my family trees or have an unstable system to work on.

In the years that I have subscribed there have been very few disruptions.

Keep up the good work!!

19 May 2010 at 7:29 pm
Lynne Walsh 

Oh, bother. At this rate I am going to have to get the wine out!!

19 May 2010 at 7:32 pm

Not AGAIN!! I am sick and tired of this site not working properly. I’ve already lost record attachments and had to try to find them again, with absolutely no help or apology from Ancestry. We pay good money to use this site, and it should work PROPERLY and reliably. Other large sites manage it – why can’t Ancestry? Do we get told when it will be up and running again? NO. Do we get a refund? You must be joking. I think we users are very badly treated.

19 May 2010 at 7:33 pm
Mandy Horton 

Same, Lynne, Same. Bored now! Spose it’s Junior Apprentice…poor substitute though!

19 May 2010 at 7:35 pm
Jackie Owen 

I am a avid genealogist but it does not control my days activities…..there are some sad people making negative comments because their access is denied for a short period. Get a life and perhaps another hobby that does not involve Ancestry.

Keep up the good work Ancestry your site is invaluable.

19 May 2010 at 7:37 pm
Rose Gavin 

Sorry to see the site down again. Hope it’s up and running soon. Just got to a really exciting part of my past and cannot wait to continue. News about when you will be going at full speed again would be appreciated. Carry on with the work required as quickly as posssible please.

19 May 2010 at 7:37 pm

No: 24 review – Lynn – I have just opened a bottle, cheers!!!

Lets hope its not too long a wait as I need information but in the meanwhile I have just downloaded MyHeritage family tree site and am getting to work on that.
Its very good, try it.

19 May 2010 at 7:40 pm
Susan Edwards 

How much is your annual membership?

Break this down to how much it costs per day, per hour – get perspective!

19 May 2010 at 7:43 pm

Have a little patience, years ago we had to write on paper and go and visit places to get records. We are all a little intolerant now.

19 May 2010 at 7:47 pm

So what’s the problem? I run a commercial operation with several thousand servers… hours of downtime doesn’t happen unless either the servers / switches have serious errors – or have you been hacked perhaps?

19 May 2010 at 7:47 pm

I’ve just read the comments from frustrated people and yes I am frustrated to but in the greater scheme of things its just a hitch that will be fixed.
you should try working in a secondary school when students have to type coursework and the system goes down. you can guareente at least 6 of them say ” but I did not save it” even though you keep reminding them!! Now thats when you should get angry.!!

19 May 2010 at 7:48 pm

i seem to have recieved a large number of family members i already have in hints is this apart of the problem yours gratefully
m newton

19 May 2010 at 7:52 pm
Barbara Handley 

However disappointing this breakdown is, it is hardly life and death. I have got so much pleasure from this site and found so many relatives. At work the computers crash so why not just accept it. It is one of those frustrating things we have to be patient with. For the desperate the Soap Awards are on tv.

19 May 2010 at 7:52 pm

What’s the point in commenting?
Ancestry are silent.
I called them and their call centre staff have no idea what the problem is or how long the expected down time will continue.
Better to go tackle the issues that you can do something about rather than moaning on those you can not.
Keep breathing.

19 May 2010 at 7:56 pm
Ian Blakesley 

For my retirement, family history research has become my dominant hobby. It can be addictive and i must admit I am a little frustrated that Family Trees are not available at the moment. This is the first time in over six months that I have lost a lot of time on the site, but it’s not the end of the world! All good machines can break down or misbehave unexpectedly; just ask any Toyota owner. Like Toyota, ANCESTRY will sort this out, so,whingers, in the immortal words of Michael Winner, “Calm down, dear!”

19 May 2010 at 7:56 pm
Jean Beatty 

I’m very new to this and I can’t use the site everyday because I work full time. This is no different than taking a day away. I do agree though that an anticipated time frame would probably calm the frustrated individuals. Of course depending on the answer it could incite some of them as well. I work with computers in my job and it happens. I agree with #36….Keep breathing….

19 May 2010 at 8:07 pm

Great Site. Very addictive. Member for nearly a year but have found so much info. and in contact with family members. Anyway nobody’s perfect and nor are computers and systems.

19 May 2010 at 8:08 pm
brenda kettle 

I have been a member for a few years now and never had the problems that I’ve experienced recently with the site. I’m now having to recheck information that is already in my tree, which I do not currently have access to, so I’m wasting my precious time. I have a relative coming home to England this month and need to get everything put together. Please give some indication when the trees will be up and running, maybe consider some form of refund.

19 May 2010 at 8:11 pm
Graham Adams 

It would be interesting to see ALL the comments of today and not just a few from the last couple of hours.


19 May 2010 at 8:14 pm
Mandy Horton 

This is no time for philosophizing this is life and death… and birth’s… and marriages….and ect..ect.. get a’s too short! :)X

19 May 2010 at 8:18 pm

have genealogists put on the train spotters anorak?

19 May 2010 at 8:25 pm
Gerry Peeling 

Please, stop complaining. Everyone has a job to do and it is certainly not in the interest of Ancestry to delay in getting the system running again. When an unexpected error occurs, the reasons are not always obvious and require investigation and only then can a plan of action be made.
PLEASE stop moaning, Ancestry is still the best!!

19 May 2010 at 8:25 pm
Mandy Horton 

You better be back on by 6.00am GMT tomorrow though, this is when I get up for a bit of P & Q before the rest of the family alight! Else there’ll be trouble!! 🙁

19 May 2010 at 8:35 pm
Susan Edwards 

Our ancestors have waited 200 years to be discovered and I am sure that they can manage a while longer!

19 May 2010 at 8:35 pm

ive been a member a while now and although there are a couple of improvements that would make things easier-such as merging duplicate people,which is in the pipe line apparently -i think the site is absolutely brilliant!this is the first time this has happened while ive been a member,hope its sorted soon

19 May 2010 at 8:44 pm

Never had any problems yet. Maintenance has to be done to keep up such a good quality website. Be patient.

19 May 2010 at 8:44 pm
Barbara Moore 

Why not sugest some site’s to be going along with, while your waiting?
Down load a free tree file to your computer..then
use the likes of Lancashire BMD…add to the list.
Think of the info you will have to add to Ancestry when its up and running? ps, Legacy also do a good tree for your computer..

19 May 2010 at 8:45 pm
Diane Hyland 

It may not be life or death and Ancestry may be the best site around but I am on a pay monthly when I can and this is my last day – will I get an extention on my month due to the site being down?? This is not the first time it has happened!!!

19 May 2010 at 8:46 pm
Ally Langshaw 

Would be useful I think, to have regular updates from Ancestry as to when the site may be up and running again………………..but it’s hardly life threatening.

I don’t think that the suggestions for compensation are too way off the mark. After all, we have paid to use the service and it is not our fault that we cannot. Come on Ancestry, please consider some form of compensation.

19 May 2010 at 8:49 pm
Mark Russell 

I think most people understand that all sites experience a few problems now and again.

What is annoying is the lack of news on when it will be up and running again. Just a rough indication would be nice. In fact, i think it is discourteous and rude to not give your paying customers more information about a problem that prevents them using the product they have paid for.

19 May 2010 at 8:52 pm
Diane Hyland 

I agree with Ally & Mark – as I previously stated I am on a pay monthly subscription ( which ends today!!), I cannot always afford to pay for the service and as this is not the first time, I would appreciate some form of gesture from Ancestry.

19 May 2010 at 9:02 pm

It’s the first time I have heard it called unplanned maintenance – I must remember that next time we have a computer glitch . Very disappointed that there is so little information, a regular update should be given if you are experiencing problems – be honest…

19 May 2010 at 9:10 pm
Angela Lee-Smith 

I agree with Mark we pay to use ancestry and at times like this we cant. It would be nice to know when it will be up and running instead of the vague message at top of page. I use this site all the time and think that if we cant use it we should be financially compensated

19 May 2010 at 9:12 pm
Steve Lynch 

Unfortunately, I’ve logged in to get some information I need for a trip first thing tomorrow to the National Archives in Kew.

The archives are hundreds of miles from where I live, and I’ve booked a train etc so I’m a little peeved that I can’t get what I need in time for my trip.

BUT – things like this happen, I’ll just try again later :o).

19 May 2010 at 9:21 pm
david mulligan 

very disappointed to find this happening this evening. really looking forward to researching a line of enquiry and …..the site’s down!please give us some idea of how long this will be.

19 May 2010 at 9:22 pm

Just finished a ten hour shift at work, came home and was looking forward to winding down looking at my tree, only to find the message “unplanned maintenance” staring me in the face. Very disappointing – we pay a lot for this product and most of the time its a really good site, but sometimes it just doesn’t produce the goods.

19 May 2010 at 9:25 pm
Angela Collier 

I totally agree with previous comments that if we are not able to use the site we should be compensated. I also use this site all of the time and more information would be appreciated. There is always the opportunity to use a different provider therefore customer care should be paramount especially at this time.

19 May 2010 at 9:27 pm
Julie Muirhead 

I too agree with all the comments above, the site has been down a number of hours now with nothing more than a brief message from Ancestry and telling us to check the blog which has no updates. This is totally unaceptable updates should be provided regularly to inform us paying customers of the current status.

19 May 2010 at 9:31 pm
kerri reeve 

it say’s commenting open until wednesday the second does that mean u plan to be down till then??????? if so i agree with the majority here and would like compensation. i’m on a low income and this website subscription is the only luxury item i get for myself every month, so i feel that myself and others get compensaton if it’s gonna be down for a while. maybe a month free of charge?

19 May 2010 at 9:32 pm

Not much of “today” left now to do that unplanned maintenance! Please please please can we have an update and a bit more info? Isn’t it a reasonable request to make when you pay for the service?
I am a fairly intensive user and really miss it….

19 May 2010 at 9:33 pm

I do think an extra day useage free is called for, as I haven’t managed to get anything today. I am trying to do a tree for my niece who has only a little time to live and time is precious. I have other things to do, but put time and money by for this research.

19 May 2010 at 9:43 pm

I’ve been using the site for just over a month and chose to pay monthly because I thought this would enable me to sample what was available before I committed myself to paying the annual membership. I have also experienced problems accessing information since I joined and find it frustrating that I’m paying for a service which isn’t being provided. It isn’t encouraging me to continue. Also, I’m perturbed that people with ‘research interests’ are plagiarising my work. I don’t have a problem with members connecting with me because of a common ancestral link, but I have to draw the line at complete strangers delving into information which is personal to me. What else are they managing to get hold of?
And finally……, when are we going to see the 1911 Census?
Rant over.

19 May 2010 at 9:48 pm

Just above the message that tells me the site is down there has been another message for days telling me to update my account details. Having done this 3 times I am beginning to suspect the two things are connected! Poor show Ancestry.

19 May 2010 at 9:49 pm
Tracy Hodgkins 

I’m relatively new to Ancestry and I have been very pleased with it. I didn’t realise quite how addictive this genealogy thing is! However, the lack of any real information about the inability to use the site today is very poor. I think the least we should be able to expect, given that we are paying customers, is to be told exactly what is going on and when we should be able to use the site again.

Like a lot of people I have information on my tree I wanted to work on today and I haven’t been able to.

The other factor of this is that some of us have to balance our finances carefully. We had to work out if we could afford Ancestry initially, but I’m sure some of us would have decided that the expense of it was worth it because the records it contains are good and it has a range of resources we can use. However, even in the short time I have been subscribed there have been times when the site has been out of action, so you have to ask if the expense is worth it.

19 May 2010 at 9:55 pm
Jackie Owen 

Reply to comment 14 above RichardStella……make your tree private. Then people will not have access and will have to contact you for futher information,then the choice is yours if you want to share.

19 May 2010 at 9:56 pm
Jane Harrison 

I have been trying and retrying the site for 6 hours now and still just getting the same message about the site being down for most of the day.
Some notification of how long the site is likely to e down may be of some help.

19 May 2010 at 10:06 pm

I have to agree with those who say we should have some sort of recompense for full days offline. This is, for me, a considered purchase as I don’t have a lot of spare cash. A little more info wouldn’t be amiss either!

19 May 2010 at 10:09 pm

The unplanned maintenance message is marginally better than the error 500 and the missing family trees that I found lunchtime to day. This must be some serious “maintenace”. In the time is taken so far, my companies whole computor system could have been replaced, data recovered and back in action!!!

19 May 2010 at 10:10 pm

Serious withdrawal symptoms setting in now!
Come on Ancestry get my fix back on-line – quick!

19 May 2010 at 10:20 pm
Cynthia Budd 

Not very impressed with this can’t even check my shoe box.Agree with no 14 it’s about time we had a better service & 1911 census is lond overdue!

19 May 2010 at 10:28 pm
Diane Hyland 

I have just checked out and it seems that they are more worthy of updates than users of – far more info on there. Nice to know where we stand Ancestry. Thank you!!!

19 May 2010 at 10:30 pm

Typical the one day I wish to use the family tree section to cross reference some certificates I received today (after a 10 day wait 🙁 )- the damn thing hangs up……

19 May 2010 at 10:31 pm
Graham Sheen 

Like many people I find this very frustrating. I have just, this evening, established a very interesting line of investigation – but am now all fired up and with no where to go. As others say, we pay for this service and accept that there will be issues occasionally, but more information about when it will be up and running again would be helpful. However I suppose our level of frustration is an indication of how we value the site.

19 May 2010 at 10:32 pm

I know it’s annoying and frustrating but these things happen. I have still been able to search records and have saved them to my shoebox to attach to my tree later so not a total waste.

19 May 2010 at 10:33 pm

C’mon Ancestry, the lack of information is totally unacceptable. “Unplanned maintenance” is a rather vague term to use. What is the real reason ? I am begining to think that you have been trying to introduce something new and it has caused a major gliche !. Some form of compensation would be nice…..How about an extra 24 hours tagged on to our membership ?

19 May 2010 at 10:33 pm

If small companies can run server systems that have load balanced, mutli server, redundancy to ensure this sort of downtime doesn’t happen – I fail to see why Ancestry can not do the same. Come on Ancestry either invest a bit more cash, or sack your IT planners for being blind to such a potential disaster.

19 May 2010 at 10:38 pm

I too was going to do some info putting into my tree but am unable to, it now makes me think I should go back to my personal programme where at least I have access to it at all times.

19 May 2010 at 10:39 pm

Unimpressed! What has gone wrong Ancestry? You are a big company making a lot of money from your customers. Surely you could keep us better informed, and you could spend some of the money you are making on improving your system so things like this don’t happen.
I also agree with other people’s comments regarding the 1911 census. I seem to remember something being said last year about Ancestry members getting it early. It will soon be 2011. Not exactly early!

19 May 2010 at 10:50 pm

How many times is this going to happen ? How many times are we told it will only take a few hours to fix ? We pay hard earned money to use this site and this is what we get. Great !!!! I dont think I’ll be renewing the subscription. This has been off since about 2pm now nearly 11pm. GET IT SORTED ANCESTRY how long do you need? Remember – The customer always comes first.

19 May 2010 at 10:50 pm

How long has it been down? 3, maybe 4 hours? No big deal!

I wonder when was the last time that Karl made a mistake that cost his employer 4 hours in lost productivity?

19 May 2010 at 10:55 pm

Dear Ancestry – please ignore the “we want compensation” posts – the money would be better spent ensuring this level of downtime doesn’t happen again. That way you’ll not be compensating the 90%+ of members who haven’t even noticed there is problem today.

And before users complain about this post I’d like some “compensation” for all of the unchecked and unsourced data members put into their own familiy tree that seems to be based on little more than the fact that the name is a close match !!

19 May 2010 at 10:57 pm

I have to agree that we are not getting any information, and the site has been down since at least 4pm. Like number 11, this is a luxury item for me, and being partially disabled, it also means a lot to me in keeping me occupied. I pay my subscription and use the site every day, so yes, a free day in compensation would be great.

19 May 2010 at 10:58 pm
Mark Russell 

Have been on and there is more information on there. Frankly, i think it is ridiculous i have to pass this on to others instead of it being posted on here as well.

“A number of members have asked for more details about the problems we’ve been experiencing today with Ancestry Member Trees. Unfortunately, as we were doing some big tree system upgrades overnight last night we found some unexpected bugs. We’ve had to take down the trees system to fix the problem.

We do routine maintenance on off-hours to minimize the impact on the time our customers carve out to do family history research. This type of maintenance is generally done behind the scenes to make the site better and usually happens without glitches. This was unfortunately not one of those times.

Based on current estimates, trees will likely continue to be down for the next several hours, at least until sometime later tonight (MT time). Please know that our development and web operations teams are working hard on the problem and we will have it resolved as quickly as we can.”

19 May 2010 at 10:59 pm

I am quick to complain at poor service, but as far as compensation for a days loss of availability is concerned, for those of us on annual subscriptions.

That is really no more than a hissy fit.

19 May 2010 at 10:59 pm

What a waste of an evening! If the statement: “Commenting is open until Wednesday, 2 June 2010” is anything to go by, then don’t hold your breath. I for one am going to bed, I’ve had enough for one day. Do we now wait until 3rd June before it’s all up and running again – oik! Good Night everyone.

19 May 2010 at 11:00 pm

This is now untenable. Is it me of have earlier comments been removed? They only go back 2 hours but it’s been down for many more.
Ancestry boasts:
“As of February 10, 2010, the registered users have created over 14 million family trees containing nearly 1.5 billion profiles. They have uploaded and attached to their trees a combination of nearly 32 million photographs, scanned documents and written stories.”
It is time that Ancestry Com Inc CEO Timothy Sullivan spoke to his customers. Where are you Tim?

19 May 2010 at 11:02 pm

” Unplanned maintenance” or hidden agenda? For months now I have been recommending the Ancestry site to several would be Tree researchers. I hope non have tried to make contact with Ancestry today.This period of non availability does not put Ancestry in a very good light,especially since there has been a period of advertising on the TV.

19 May 2010 at 11:06 pm
Walter O'Neill 

This is quite unacceptable.

19 May 2010 at 11:15 pm
Diane Hyland 

Earlier comments have been removed Michael as I had posted similar to what Mark has just posted on here regarding more information on As for being compensated I have just emailed customer services and suggested that they do just that!!! I am on a monthly sub so it does make a difference to me especially when today was my last day and I am not in a position to pay every month!!

19 May 2010 at 11:19 pm

Access to this site was cut just after midday I dont know if things I was working on have been saved etc
If it goes on much longer I will have to speak to the wife or kick the cat

19 May 2010 at 11:25 pm

I have been a member for several years. This is the second major shutdown I have noticed, apart from publicised planned maintenance. It is frustrating but I have found other things to do while the IT guys try to fix the problem. I think Ancestry is a good site, but you perhaps need a back-up plan for when things go wrong. At least you have this page where we can vent our feelings. Perhaps an indication of how long it might take to fix the problem would be helpful. People do not like being left in the dark.

19 May 2010 at 11:37 pm
Rod Stagg 

I believe that the issue here is more to do with the lack of communication than the failure in the system. Providing estimates of a return to normal service should be issued and revised , say, on an hourly basis (and be honest – don’t say that the system will be available in one hour if you don’t have a clue what the problem is!).
We all accept that problems can occur, especially when code is recently changed (a new untested condition could trigger an unexpected result – it happens even on the biggest systems!) – but please keep us informed!

19 May 2010 at 11:39 pm

Well said 33 Karl. I have been on here for 2 years and this is the first time its happened, I am on here every day. Just make the most of your time by checking for records and save them to add later.I too am on a limited budget and a monthly sub but also have a son with a brain tumour. Perhaps we need a little perspective?

19 May 2010 at 11:46 pm
Ursula Osborne 

I agree it is inconvenient to be unable to access family trees, however, I have just spent a very pleasant evening searching census material.

Surely research is about census returns, births, baptisms, marriages, deaths, etc, and not just about what Joe Bloggs has recorded on his tree, so it can be argued that there is always something that can be done, without dipping into other people’s research.

19 May 2010 at 11:49 pm

Okay what i don’t get about the above posts – the only thing you have lost access to is your family tree – that is provided free so don’t see why you all want compensation!!

All the paid for records are still available.

Do none of you have a back up of your family tree of line?

What would happen if your broadband went down for the day and you couldn’t get online at all????

I have my family tree on ancestry, on an offline program, and backed up to an external hard drive as a gedcom file. Everytime I find further info, I back up all 3 of these sources.

I spent over 10 years trying to locate the birth record of my great grandfather and found him on Ancestry. If I can spend 10 years looking for one person, is it really to much to ask people to live without their family tree for one day – even 2 if that’s how long it takes to get the system back up and running.

Get a grip people!!

19 May 2010 at 11:54 pm

I agree with everybody…….. Could I please be told of maintenance work via. e-mail and also reduce next months rate as compensation for a paid site that isn’t working!

19 May 2010 at 11:54 pm
Kathleen Gregson 

Online service is what we pay our money for, and service is not what we are receiving.This is a highly frustrating situation, as some of us work for a living and have to plan our spare time accordingly. Also, information pertaining to the American census records isn’t always of much use to those living in Europe who cannot afford to pay for worldwide access, and the 1911 U.K. census would be far more useful, and it’s a long time arriving.
Not happy!

20 May 2010 at 12:00 am

Finaly we have a balanced view.
Are we not all looking back into the lives of people who worked every day of the year, from dawn to dusk, fourt in 2 world wars and went on hunger strike to earn the vote for women.
All so that we could be here with a facility like this!

20 May 2010 at 12:02 am
Ger Jennings 

Come on guys it’s tomorrow now and still nothing.. can you give us a hint as to when it will be back? Will you credit us with the two days?

20 May 2010 at 12:08 am
Diane Hyland 

Compensation is need for those who ar not fortunate enough to pay for a yearly subcription – why should I lose a day?? If I had a yearly subscription I would not be botherd about the issues going on. I take everones view and understand what people are say but from my perspective it is an important site to me , I an umbale to leave my house through illness, Ancestry is my only pleasure, and this has been happening more frequently in recent months.

20 May 2010 at 12:10 am

I have researched a whole family tonight and ‘shoved’ it in my shoebox. Earlier comments have been removed because someone metioned Facebook. I went on Facebook – boring. London England Marriages & Banns are much more interesting !
I do get annoyed that nearly every morning the site is doing routine maintenance – why can’t you do it when we are all in bed ?
I am glad however that I read the comments earlier because I didn’t know I could still search the records.

20 May 2010 at 12:13 am

I use Ancestry a lot and have found that now and then someone ‘goes missing’ from my tree along with the associated pedigree line. Sometimes, temporarily, people appear twice. Maybe these are glitches getting fixed. Maybe the advertising has led to a surge in use which has highlighted glitches that some of us have been absorbing as just part of the joys of the internet.

I blame the volcanic ash over Europe. If big planes can’t fly then how can little bits of info be expected to surf through the ether without an occasional glitch developing that needs fixing?

Yes I am on a limited budget, yes I am disappointed, no I do not expect compensation, Yes I am glad that whatever the bugs were, they have been found and are being worked on.

I am going to search some of my surnames on the web – see what comes up.

20 May 2010 at 12:17 am

Well said Judy, but cant we blame the government?

20 May 2010 at 12:22 am

Ah yes, what a fine euphemism: ‘Unplanned Maintenance’. As someone who works in IT, with databases, it’s a familiar term – it’s rather like what you have done on your car, shortly after you’ve driven it into a tree. Let’s just hope that Ancestry have a good backup database that’s not to old…

20 May 2010 at 12:27 am

Nice one Trevor !

20 May 2010 at 12:32 am

This isn’t good enough! I’ve a dozen spirits sitting round my living-room wanting to know if their info on is really correct or not! ;O)

20 May 2010 at 12:38 am

Well this is annoying isn’t it !!!!! I have cousins and friends worldwide found via Ancestory and we pop off and on and share info….No popping this morning.For goodness sake just fix it.I need to access my info.This is BOOOOOORRRIIINNGGGGG.

Hey Nadia remember that this is a worldwide site when England is asleep Australia is awake..a lose lose situation !!!!!!
Oh well off to another site :):):):)

20 May 2010 at 12:40 am

This is what is says on – rather more informative that

“UPDATE AS OF MAY 19, 2010 AT 2:30 pm MT
A number of members have asked for more details about the problems we’ve been experiencing today with Ancestry Member Trees. Unfortunately, as we were doing some big tree system upgrades overnight last night we found some unexpected bugs. We’ve had to take down the trees system to fix the problem.
We do routine maintenance on off-hours to minimize the impact on the time our customers carve out to do family history research. This type of maintenance is generally done behind the scenes to make the site better and usually happens without glitches. This was unfortunately not one of those times.
Based on current estimates, trees will likely continue to be down for the next several hours, at least until sometime later tonight (MT time). Please know that our development and web operations teams are working hard on the problem and we will have it resolved as quickly as we can.”

Why can’t put up a similar explanation? Keeping paying customers in the dark is bad policy and you should value your UK customers as much as those in the USA.

Why is commenting open until Wednesday 2nd June? How do you know how long “unexpected bugs” are likely to invite comment? ‘Unexpected bugs’ is apparently a euphemism for some SERIOUS problems.

This is a huge, worldwide company – perhaps the people at the top are paying themselves Bankers’ salaries and not investing enough into the software which must be creaking and groaning under the weight of the millions of subscribers all over the world. Is the insuffiency of the software the reason why earlier messages have been deleted?

20 May 2010 at 12:43 am


Well, my spirits have just seen what the modern world has to offer and they have gone back to their party. They say we have forgotten what to do without technology. At least we all get to chat about technology using the technology that is working.

By the way. I have spent a happy half hour or so looking at some truly frightening photos of people who share my surnames. And that’s just the ones I put on there.

Anyone seen David Cameron out there looking for a solution to our problem? Maybe he could fit in some unplanned maintenance on our economy. It might be quicker to fix than Ancestry.

Who is still bored out there? Blog something. Get it off your chest, out of your closet, or whatever.

20 May 2010 at 12:59 am

I rather like this, found on the blog:

“Upset Ancestry Subscribers: While this is frustrating…these things do happen and I’m quite confident that this incident will spur re-evaluate how they go from development to testing to staging to production. At most, it’s $2/day. I am sure with the $$ this site drives, these operational issues will be addressed and be a distant memory

Mr Shoup & For what it’s worth, I’m an IT executive for a large professional services firm. I would offer that, in the future, you be more up front with your customers. It will save face and pain. When I first tried to access the site this AM I received an arbitrary message stating that in order to improve site performance, the Family Tree Tool was not being loaded. There was no mention of any outages nor was there any obvious way for me to discover that an outage was the issue. I was left with the impression that I still had access, but just wasn’t available on the homepage widget.

I think you finally got it right when you posted the notification at the top of the page pointing users here. I think you could have saved yourself, the IT group and the organization as a how a lot of trouble from the onset had you simply posted an alert that the site was experiencing technical difficulties and leave it at that. The user community does not need to know that your testing procedures are not up to snuff and thus allowed bad code to be loaded into the production environment.

You can be both upfront/honest without giving the details of the incident. Much of these development to testing to staging to production processes should be very routine this day an age. I strongly recommend you get your team together and put more rigorous QC processes in place to prevent this from happening again in the future.”

Well said.

20 May 2010 at 1:02 am

This is what Ancestry says on Facebook:

“ belongs to the global network of Ancestry websites (wholly owned by Operations Inc.), which contains four billion records. To date more than 12 million family trees have been created and 1.25 billion names and 26 million photographs and stories uploaded. 7.1 million unique visitors logged on to an Ancestry website in September 2009″

They better not have lost all those 12 million family trees……

20 May 2010 at 1:07 am

not happy that this is still down, have been trying for some hours to get to see my tree,I paid my subscription, it was not cheap, I know there are glitches sometimes, but I would hope the service would be able to sort them out quicker than this, it is so frustrating, and I understand those who feel they are losing out moneywise – maybe you should look at crediting them for the time lost.

20 May 2010 at 1:08 am

ooh dear. This is lasting a long time isn’t it?
I have surfed some personality questionnaires whilst waiting. (Actually I got so interested in the blogging I forgot that the trees were possibly withering.

I discovered that I am introverted, extroverted, a planner, a free spirit, a team player, a loner. All of which is about as useful to me as knowing why the trees aren’t available.

I am coming back tomorrow. Thanks all for the bloggs. At least Ancestry know we care.

20 May 2010 at 1:37 am

In true girl fashion I am off to Ebay to shop :):):):) BORED BORED BORED BORED Don’t worry Judy your tree can go a day without water and will not wither yet 🙂

20 May 2010 at 4:54 am
mandy sullivan 

Please where are our trees, i compile trees for friends and its now 5.45 on 20th may, this isn’t good enough we pay enough for the site, please hurry up and sort it.

20 May 2010 at 5:47 am

come on guys let get going

20 May 2010 at 6:02 am

Is it going to be today guys

20 May 2010 at 6:03 am
Dick Hill 

What does “extended period” mean? And why no reply to these queries – is “customer service” not a part of your plan?

20 May 2010 at 6:07 am

Hi all,

Saw the message about this blog and decided to visit. First visit here. When not working on my tree or my own research I keep the boredom away by indexing data for the Ancestry World Archives Project – see here –

There are lots of projects to work on. At the moment I’m keying data from the ‘UK Prison Hulk Registers, 1802-1849’. The ones I encountered yesterday were really interesting. Usually they have fields for Given Name, Surname, Age, Convicted Date and Place, Date they were received on the ‘prison hulk’, how disposed of (eg VDL – Van Dieman’s Land or NSW – ie New South Wales). However,these ones, from 1840-odd also had whether the prisoner/convict could read or write, married or single, number of children and occupation. Fantastic information for people who will be searching these indexes and viewing these images in the future.

So … bored? Download the keying tool – see above link.
Choose a project to work on – there are so many of them now.
Read the individual field helps as you enter the data (ie read the field help for how to enter the day, month or year as you enter the date etc)
Read the message board for that particular project – the WAP community of keyers love sharing information about ‘how to …’; all the message boards can be found here –

And if you choose to work on particular projects (ie UK Prison Hulks; Sydney Sands Directories; Perth Valuation Registers; NSW Police Gazettes; Buffalo Soldiers Returns) you’ll find that the voluntary keyers have created really useful ‘Help Files’ – and the links for these can be found here –

Need more motivation to get involved? You can receive a discount upon renewal of your (annual) ancestry subscription if you remain an ‘active keyer’ – ie continue to key 900 records over a 90 day period. How much discount?
– 10% discount on an Annual subsciption renewal, this includes the US Deluxe, Canada Deluxe, UK Essential, UK Premium, etc.
– 15% discount on an Annual World Deluxe subscription renewal.

Get involved! Beat the boredom! Good luck. Hope to see you on the Ancestry World Archives Project boards at some stage.


20 May 2010 at 6:17 am

This is getting ridiculous: most of yesterday was a wasted (fam tree) day, but I thought that at least today would be better – couldn’t believe it when I just found the same message again. Why should I pay out money I can ill afford each month for something I’m not actually getting?

20 May 2010 at 6:31 am

Two days now!!
Getting a bit boring now. We have paid to use this site after all. How long is this going to take?

20 May 2010 at 6:35 am

This an absolutely ridiculous state of affairs, however Ancestry will surely add a few days to our subscription date!!

20 May 2010 at 6:38 am

18 hours and still nothing! Forget boredom. I’ve got my son-in-law to be’s parents over tonight from the over side of the world to meet and run through the tree I’ve prepared them. Only got a third of the way through printing and tidying up each entry before this happened. They fly back tomorrow.

20 May 2010 at 6:39 am

Hurrah, my tree is available! 🙂 Told you it would fly by..

20 May 2010 at 6:54 am

Yeah….its up

Hey where is the blog with the other 1100 comments…vanished into the ether….too much genuine feedback?

20 May 2010 at 8:05 am
Thomas Costick 

This blog post is listed as having 127 comments… I can only see 27. I’d like to see them all for a full picture of the customer sentiment regarding this system outage.

Also, now the service has returned, a follow-up blog post and tweet would be useful and reassuring to customers who, like me, have come away from this with our confidence in Ancestry somewhat lessened.

20 May 2010 at 8:22 am
Rod the Mod 

Still fed up with the lack of action. For heaven’s sake,get on with it!

20 May 2010 at 9:18 am

seems to be rather quite on here re the down yesterday unlike on the .com blog which had over 2000 hits. looks to me we are being typical british .. should not complain and all that

but more likely this blogs not be found by many yet.

go on go have a look

20 May 2010 at 7:22 pm
Annabel Bernhardt 

Thank you all for your comments. We will be making contact via email with all our customers that have been affected by the technical issues with the trees on Wednesday the 19th of May. If you have any questions in the meantime please contact our Member Services team on 0800 404 97 23 or

21 May 2010 at 5:43 pm

Once again Ancestry adds some “improvements” which prevent long standing members from accessing what they have paid for. My username & password is not recognised & neither is my email – all this hassle for existing members really is not fair. Give us a refund or upgrade our memberships as some token of goodwill for the hours we spend contributing to the website. I personally have lost count of the corrected entries I have submitted.

21 May 2010 at 10:53 pm

for those of you who are wandering search is now causing a problem it went out about 4pm yesterday and its now 2 : 30 am and still out.

22 May 2010 at 2:30 am
thomas barlow 

23/5/1017-30 after accepting my search details,opens up with possible names when I try to open one it either dosent open OR takes me to the 14 day free offer page having tried some 20/30 attemps I USED YOUR FREEPHNE NUMBER . surprise,surprise it took me to the American Express freephone connection in MEXICO!!!! .He was absolutely fantastic ,he tried to phone your number and got his own exchange . he then gave me the smae number as is printed on the bottom of the page .so would someone please sort it REGARDS tOM

23 May 2010 at 5:51 pm
thomas barlow 

24/5/10 Still have problems unable to search either takes me to the 14day free offer OR blank page trying to connect any chance of fixing the problem before my renewal date June 6th . Also could we have an uptodate explanation regards estimated day it will be fixed or dont you have that information ?? regards tom

24 May 2010 at 7:47 pm
thomas barlow 

25/5/10tried the site at 7.30am and found it working ok regards Tom

25 May 2010 at 7:50 am
thomas barlow 

thankyou for your email this morning but you have misread my first post I wasn’t trying to do anything about my membership . I was trying to do some research .After entering the persons details the corresponding page opened with possible names BUT when I clicked anyone of the names the page took me to your 14 day free offer page on the 24th after entering my search details the page didn’t open it just kept trying to connect .
As for the phone number its the one-on the bottom of your opening page in front of Ancestry NEED HELP 0800 404 9723 REGARDS Tom

25 May 2010 at 11:54 am