Posted by Ancestry Team on February 27, 2008 in Website

Over the past year, we’ve taken a close look at the Ancestry search process and asked our customers what issues they face when trying to find content on our site. Based on this feedback, we’ve been working on some new search features that we believe will make searching for records about your ancestors easier, faster and more effective.

We’ve made a New Year’s Resolution at Ancestry to do a better job of involving our customers in product enhancements early on so we can respond to feedback and make products that really meet your needs. That’s why, even though we were hoping to roll out the new search system earlier this year, we decided that it was absolutely critical that we invite some of you to try it out and give us direct feedback based on the new system before we launched it. So we invited a few lucky customers to take the new search for a spin and tell us what they think. We’ve been soaking up the feedback and we’re still busy making changes to improve the system based on that feedback. That said, it’s getting pretty close to time to launch it to a wider audience.

So, before long, we plan to begin a beta (fancy word for a preview) period of the new search on Ancestry, so you can all try it out. It will be what we call an “opt-in” beta, meaning that you can choose whether or not you’d like to try out the new search. If you decide you want to try it, you’ll be able to easily switch back to the existing search functionality at any time during the beta period by clicking on a “Switch Back” button on any of the search pages. We hope you’ll give us some good feedback on the new search during this beta period so we can continue to improve it.

If you’d like to take a quick tour of the new features and be one of the first to hear about the new search beta when it launches, visit:


P.S. – Here’s a quote from one of our early testers: “It was the best item I have personally ever tested for [Ancestry]. I am really excited to see this new enhancement become available on their site. So look forward to exciting things from Ancestry.”


  1. Dave

    Here are a couple things I would like to see.
    When I click “attach this record to someone in my tree” it starts with a blank search of my tree. It would be nice if the server would return a list of likely people based on the name on the record. If none of the guesses are right I simply type the correct name and search as usual.

    Also in adding events to people in my tree it would be nice to have an option to “save and add a source” along side “save” which takes me back to the person’s page.

    I know these aren’t exactly search related but they are at the top of my list for improvements.

  2. rod

    If there is one search feature I’d love it would be “pay attention to the dates that I have entered” – if I say someone died in 1900, don’t throw dozens of SSDI records at me.

  3. Gerald Britton

    One thing I have wanted for a while: Boolean searches. For example, I know that my family name can be spelled “Britton” or “Brittain.” I’d like to be able to enter:


    in a surname search field rather than having to do two searches. Of course this is a simple example! Sometimes I have multiple combinations of given names and surnames that I need to try. Having to do all permutations myself is a drag and I sometimes forget one or two of them. Being able to do them in one go like this:

    First name: Herbert|Hubert
    Surname: Bagot|Bagehot|Baghott|Bagott

    would save time and help me not to miss things.

    Perhaps you might like to consider supporting full regular expressions, even!

  4. Grace

    i jus strtd 2 use for a prjct & so far it’s pretty good. Thanx 4 ur hlp no other website is as good as urs

  5. Ron

    Nothing about improving the wildcard facility. A restriction of must have first 3 letters is not good.
    Initial letters can so easily be hard to read as Capitals in writing have so many styles. Second letter usually a vowel can also be a problem.
    Searches like ?urname or S?rname would really be an improvement.

    I cannot search across data with a birth year range. You have to go into each result for a name and enter the years again.
    I know you have to allow for 1841 being rounded ages but surely the search panel could allow for that

  6. Steve

    I second Gerald’s comment. The ability to use regular expressions would be the best thing to happen to in a long time. Something as simple as a boolean search like: “Steve|Stephen Jones|Joanes” would be amazingly helpful.

  7. Pamela Moorman

    I agree with most of the reader comments. And, adding more definition to the historical searches would help narrow the field of research.

  8. Gery Allen (Endlicher)

    Is it possible, when performing a search, to exclude any United States records? Here is the situation: I am a “first generation” United States citizen. All of my ancestors, on both sides, are from Central Europe. No one came on a ship, no one had a US Military record, no one applied for a Social Security Card, no one got married in the US, no one died in the US and so on and so forth.

    I need to exclude everything other than Central Europe ! Period !

    Searching through hundreds of search returns of “possible matches” that show the nice little leaf on so many people I have in my family tree that I clearly show as having been born in and having died in Austria or Morovia is a complete waste of time. My ancestors did not come to America, put down roots, apply for social security and then return to Austria to die. There must be a way to filter the database. Surely people that buy your program from other countries that have no connection with the United States or any other country in the Western Hemisphere have similar issues.

    Thanks for your help with this.

  9. Kathy

    When I have eliminated a leaf on my tree, it would be helpful to also get rid of that particular leaf. It would also be nice to look for records of married ancestors utilizing the method that Gerald recommended. I also would like the search engine to pay attention to dates.

  10. J. Longley


    1) Fix the broken links you have known about for more than a year, to WWI draft cards, 1840 census, etc.

    2) Give us the document images, not transcripts

    3) For books and microfilm manuscript documents, give them their original proper name, not the stupid name conversions in the present lists. This is the only way an exact-phrase keyword search will work properly.

    4) For search categories, it would be sensible to allow selecting items relating, say, to the Revolutionary War so that one does not have to search under Revolutionary, Pension, U. S., “The”, etc. Eliminate the practice of listing the same document group by different names in the same database listing. An example of a NON-useful category would be a Tree item submitted by a 30-year-old white female with blonde hair and dog named Poopy. Grrr.

    5) Add the existing National Archives’ Indexes to the Revolutionary War Documents / Manuscripts file that you added last year.

    6) Make ‘exact spelling’ search **actually work**.

    7) Make absolutely sure that when I search for census entries I am not presented with results including trash from someone’s idiotic Tree, or from your computerized junkification of trees (OneWorldTree). Do not make me check boxes to exclude this cr*p from the search results.

  11. J. Longley

    1) I second rod’s comment: for a person whose death I entered as 1875, no Census records for 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930 should be returned in the search. Especially not with 2 or 3 stars: those are **no-star** items.

    2) To facilitate searches by category, completely cease and desist from linking One World Tree components to people as a ‘Historical Record’. The sundry non-researched gedcom files in that database are 95% incorrect. Your computer program additionally garbles data, merging wrong generations and places, in addition to the Trees’ ‘garbage in, garbage out’ problems. Since close to none of its genealogical assertions have been verified in any way, the term ‘Historical’ should not be sullied by association with it.

    Thank you.

  12. james s keene was mygreat great great greatgrandfatther b. in 1805 he may have gotten in trouble and disappeared he came from keenes crossing in charles md.

  13. Patricia Ramirez

    I would like to see a search I do actually produce what I am searching for. I despise searching for someone whom I know lived from 1840 to 1861 and having results from the 1930 Census included as a 3-star match. As J. Longley put it, this is a no-star match.

    There is so much misinformation in OneWorldTree that I use it only as a place to start, but I would never use it for a source. I would like to see you stop saying you have 51 user submitted family trees when what you really have is one family tree and 50 plagerized copies.

    I hope your new search capabilities will also include information for Southern historians and genealogists. Information for us has been sadly lacking. I was given the excuse that informaton from the Southern states could not be offered until it was made available to the system. That is a very weak argument, because there is not a Southern Historical Society anywhere that would not donate time, effort, and probably money to get their county records on line.

  14. Joan Majtenyi

    I agree with Rod 100%. This drives me crazy. Also, when I find an interesting possiblilty in one census and want to check it out in other censuses, very often just the one I want is not offered. The one I usually want are within 20 years either side of what I am looking t but the choices often do not include one of these and I have go go back to the beginning and start the search again.

  15. Barbara

    Thank you for the opportunity to comment. Ancestry is great, but better search would be super!

    I would like to be able to do what you might call “cluster searches” — for example, I would like to search for a certain person in 3 census years, but no others, with one filling in of information.

    Or, I would like to search for a person in all the newspapers in a given state, or even be able to click on 10 specific newspapers to search.

    Results are frequently better when you search a particular database, but it is no fun searching 10 different newspapers one after the other.

    Also, it would be nice to be able to click a box and choose to have the oldest census records come up first, rather than starting with 1930, even when I have entered a birth year of 1810.

    I appreciate the current Advanced Search page, and hope the new one will be even better.

  16. Joan Brown

    I would like to see names listed in alphabetical order. Example I enter the Adam Smith, I would like to see Smiths listed in that order, and not have to search through dozens of Smiths whose first names start with other letters, and even sometimes have last names that are Adam.

    I would also like to be able to search for more than one spelling to a name at the same time, instead of having to re-enter the name with a different spelling. I also agree with Rod about the year that something happened.

  17. DJ Evans

    I agree with several of the comments made here already. Such as having the search results pay more attention to what we’ve entered in the search fields. It’s so irritating to put in a birth year of 1810, state of Arkansas, race & wife’s name, then get everything but what you are looking for. And I have to admit, I have been quite curious as to some of the results that come up 3 stars or better — being as they don’t match anything I had put in my for my search.

    I would also love to see on the results page more information about how many pages/records there are. Right now you only have “Prev”, “Viewing 10 of 20” & “Next”. It would be so helpful if we knew we had 200 records to look through or 2,000 records.

    Thanks for the great job that you are doing & I appreciate it. I wouldn’t have gotten as far with my family tree as I have if I didn’t have Ancestry to use. I would just like it a bit more search friendly.

  18. Jeff

    When confronted with a long list of (several hundred, or even a couple of thousand) responses to a search request, allow me to “jump” more than 4 pages at a time (after p.10). Once I see how the data is organized, I may wish to jump way down the list. For example, if I’m looking for Charles Smith who may be in Maryland, or Texas, I have to go 4 pages at a time from Alabama on down. Now it takes way too many clicks to get there.

  19. Dave Tower

    Agree with a lot of the good comments posted. Would like to see a search that matches case in published data such as books, obituaries etc. Would like to be able to find Tower as a person rather than “tower of strength” “water tower” etc.

  20. John

    – I’d like better “stickey-ness” on the search criteria. When I search, for example, the 1930 Census, but then ask to see results from other years, I hate having to re-select the filtering criteria (yob, state, county, etc)

    – As someone else suggested, sort by columns

    – Totally agree with others on showing number of results included, and letting me jump to result number X.

    – some sort of balloon help for the hopefully soon to be expanded wild card search options.





  22. Libba

    Making the search case-sensitive would be a tremendous help to those of us searching surnames such as Snow or Light. Running, say, a newspaper search for my maiden name is absolutely pointless, because of the vast number of hits for every occasion the word appears in a context other than a name.

    A Boolean search allowing us to keep first name and last name together, or within one “word” (or letter) of each other would also help with names that are everyday objects.

  23. i too echo message 23
    i have the names REASON, DENT, and RUFFLES as directlines add in the less confussed direct names of LONG, KNIGHT, BREWER and WOODMAN, and many non direct names in the same vaine you can imagine the ref’s i get. i can just image one day a search on a number of names could produce.

    The REASON william KNIGHT, doned some RUFFLES,WAS in an effort to COVER the new DENT the WOODMAN and the BREWER had recently given to his armer in his last LONG fight with them.

    it is allways a posibility. ok i agree not here but you never know.

    so yes a Boolean search would certainly help those of us who have surnames which can be used as standalone words within the english langauge.

  24. Lindy

    I agree with those who want One World Tree junked. It has caused me much irritation and anger that mistakes or things that were changed years ago are still attached to my name albeit with an out of date email address in a tree not under my control that I did not give permission to take. It is a joke that does not enhance Ancestry in any way and they would be better without it.

    I haven’t used the search in the new tree much as without the ability to upload notes and sources with my gedcom when I update it is useless to me, will this be included soon?

    When I do a newspaper search as well as all the “hits” that have Eli and Hinds but not in the same article why do lots of hits for other states, different time spans etc come up?

    When are British newspapers going to be included?

  25. Missie




    It is so frustrating to know that the information is probably on your site…if we just could figure out the proper combination of searches!

    As long as we’re asking for things *grin* I would LOVE to see some changes to My Shoebox. I’ll put things in there..and then have to scroll and scroll to find the item again — and when I do find and delete, I’m taken back to the beginning..not good if you have 3 or 4 records in a row that need to be examined. We have a “you have saved this item to your shoebox”..can we have a delete from shoebox on the same message?

    Just as an additional comment…I removed my tree from ancestry:
    1. it was a draft and I did NOT want you to perpetuate any errors on my part, 2. my private tree was NOT private, and 3. those LEAVES would simply not go away (don’t get me wrong, I loved the idea of it…lets get it more functional!)

    thanks for taking comments on this subject!

  26. Linda

    We can all only hope that the improvements to the Ancestry search process aren’t as problematic as the “improvements to the message boards have been. You all have almost “improved” message boards to the point of making them unusable.

    When that happens to your search feature, paying customers are going to be running away from Ancestry and taking their money with them. Maybe then TGN will start to understand the errors of their ways.

  27. Peggy Sue Maupin

    I agree with Linda. Unless Ancestry goes back to a reliable search feature, subscribers are going to be taking their money back and running with it. Being a subscriber 6 years and having pretty good luck, until all census records and voters list being merged, I cannot find anyone I am searching for. I have tried everyway possible, and all I get are records that nowhere near what I am looking for. Living in a rural area and only having dial up service, how long do they think it would take me to look thru 1 million to 17 million records, looking for one person.

  28. J. Longley

    I went to your ‘quick tour’ and saw nothing there about making searches more accurate, or making results more usable.

    Instead, you had:

    Type-ahead tools
    As you type information into a search field, Ancestry will forecast what you’re typing and fill in the remaining fields based on information already in your tree.

    –As one of many who refrains from entering tree info for you to sell or mangle or garble, this will be no help. Type-ahead, in addition, requires the user to delete and correct the entry. Wonder how many times the user will have to do this to enable making her own entry instead of going with your computer’s?

    Image snapshots
    View sections of newspaper and journal images highlighting your search terms to see whether a match is relevant.

    –This is just a server-space gobbling workaround for defective search results. I would be happy if your search just paid attention to first-and-last names, so that a search for the name “Frederick Joseph” will not return all results wherein the *first* name, not the *surname*, is “Joseph”.

    Returning First Name results for a Surname is just as stupid as the new Message Board tagging, suggesting an ‘additional resource’ is a Message Board for a County in a different state, bearing the same name as a County of actual interest.

    Dumb, dumber, dumbest.

  29. genejoan

    I second Judy’s “Search results that are sortable by field.”

    It would save a tremendous amount of time.

  30. Marianne Szabo

    I agree on being able to sort fields. I also REALLY want you to make the search more accurate – eg the comments on if a person died in 1911, don’t show me any thing past that time! Ditto for birth date. Newspaper searches are useless – I enter full name, city, state, time period [Gerhardt Booms, Cleveland, OH, 1870 – 1930] and the first thing that comes up is a newspaper in Reno Nevada talking about “booms” to control creek flow!

  31. Just last week when I merged family trees together ALL information was updated such as parents name(s) and children/siblings. Today I finally got back to working on my tree and now I have to manually input each persons information. Why? It was a breeze before and now it’s taking me all day to just do a few people. It doesn’t seem to merge though it tells me I was “successful”. Please help asap.

  32. Jo

    I agree with Missie about the shoebox — we should not be taken back to the beginning when we delete a record and a “delete from shoebox” option on the same message as “you have saved this record to your shoebox” would be terrific.

    Wildcard searches — we NEED them to WORK, and from the front & middle, not just the ending.

    I want to be able to search for a given name and the first letter ONLY of the surname, such as Daniel R*

    I would like to be able to sort results by column.

    I want the search engine to pay attention to the dates I enter. It’s stupid to get back results from the 1930 census when I entered a pre-1900 date of death.

    I don’t use the star filter because the search results are too fouled up already for that to be reliable.

  33. Anntwinette Walker

    I have to say the ability so search records has taken a giant leap backward. For example, when I am searching individual who died in Ohio, I am given dozens of records for people who lived in England. In order to find anyone who died in Ohio I have to go to Resources and scroll through them to find Ohio records, hoping they weren’t alphabetized by city or county.

    It was much simpler when you could click on any record that came up to search a source, ie; Ohio Death Records, Social Security Death Records, etc.

    Please change it back or, at the very least, alphabetize resources by State.

  34. tracy

    why should I as an African American have to pay for any services to locate family members who were slaves. Why do I have to pay for the inhumane acts of another human being?I’m not seeking any handouts from anyone. I’m just really trying my best to understand why I have to pay someone money to locate records that involved the enslavement of my relatives.

  35. ok allittle feature i would like to see here on the blog pages. a drop down button which would allow us to see the added messages only for a given period of time
    that is we could then just select the messages added in the last day or in the last 7 or 14 days extra up to a month and then after that we would need to go to the archives.

    also the subjects should only be resigned to the archives once there has been no more addithions after a month if nececery an updated link should be added

    eg ‘updated link to our previous
    Something exciting is in the works’


  36. Christine

    I was not happy to see a pop up appear for AT&T while I was searching. This membership is way too expensive to have to deal with advertising while working.

  37. me

    Tracy, You aren’t paying the US government to access those records. You are paying a private company who spent time and money to make those records searchable and available to you over the internet.

    I pay to access records for my ancestors who were prisoners of war, and some who were slaves. The fact that the historical record concerns a terrible event has nothing to do with your paying a private company for the services they provide you.

    You might be able to argue that the US government should provide that record to you for free as some sort of reparation, but it would be a pretty odd argument and this would be an odd place to make it.

  38. Mary

    In advertising new databases, pls put the limitations up front. For example, release of Missouri births may have only one county for one year, very incomplete. Give an idea of how many records, say 50% or whatever. Very misleading advertisements! I am often disappointed.

  39. I agree with Rod: searching seems to totally ignore the date information I supply. For example, searching a death – I supply birth date 1870 and give a death year 1930 +/- 10 years. The search results totally ignore the date ranges – you may as well not bother. Thus you get individuals coming up with registration death dates the same as the birth date at the top of the list with a high star rating! What am I doing wrong?

  40. Lorene

    I agree change is needed… I would like a way to highlite the information on the census record to follow across the page.

  41. robert

    We’re sorry but search. is temporarily unavailable. We are undergoing routine maintenance or we may be experiencing unexpected technical problems. We apologize for the inconvenience and ask for your patience as we work to correct the situation. Check back with us shortly.
    would be nice to know when this is going on and can you do it at some other time NOT on Sunday at 3:00 pm ct

  42. Mary Beth Marchant

    It would actually be nice if the data base you posted today, German imagrants to Pennsylvania, Volumn II would actully work. It does not. I do wish you people would test these things before you through them out there. It would save a whole lot of griping.

  43. Maybe you folks could hire some real programmers to write your search programs instead of the cutesy ideas shown on the left of this screen. It is no joke. I try to do a simple search for an Abraham Jorens in the Edwardsville Intelligencer (Edwardsville, Illinois) and I get 184 search results. Two years ago there were 3. I lost the record. I cannot possibly chase down 184 references with dial up service. Your search program is a joke. An insult to Your new voter registration search is the same. I cannot find my people again. Same garbage. This has been going on for awhile. I search for Dutch names which are one part names (vermeulen), two part, (ver meulen), three part, (van der meulen) etc. Your search cannot follow a simple last name search. Many of the names are too long for your search. A family member’s name is van Nieuwenhuijzen in Dutch. Over here it is van Nieuwenhuyzen. (ij vs y) Sounds the same. Try searching for this name either way. You do not have enough columns to put the name in. There are three FREE Dutch web sites that I use to go back to 1810. is for the province of Zeeland and can be searched in English or Dutch. covers much of the Netherlands including Zeeland, but does have some areas they are working on. This one also can be searched in English or Dutch. There are others, but these three are the majors. Try them out. has two columns one for each spouce’s name. It is limited to 500 names per search. The Zeeland site has a single search column but searches 1,000 names. The province of Friesland also has it’s own site that can be searched with Enlish, Dutch or Fries. Your search engine handles double names like ver Meulen, O’Brien etc. very badly. The van Nieuwenhuijzen name had to be searched on vannieuwenhu,(shortened) or double names and get bad results.
    The Dutch sites will search on the main part of the name only. van Hoorn, you would search hoorn. It would return van Hoorn, ter Hoorn, van der Hoorn, etc. It works every time. Maybe your people could look into searches like there’s. It would be a relief to get the name I was looking for. Keep it simple with out these side garbage searches that return nothing but garbage. Try searching for Abraham Jorens and see what you get in the California Voters Registration and let me know what you find. You brag about all the new data bases you put on line, but many are basically un searchable with a simple search.

  44. Donna

    I am having a frustrating time getting an answer from Ancestry’s e-mail help personnel about a search problem. If I have a database page (WWII, WWI, SSDI, any census year, etc.) in front of me, I can no longer change any criteria for a new search. For example: my search is for Mary Brown born 1870 in Connecticut; when the historical results page appears and I click on the link for 1900 CT, Mary Brown appears for that specific person. Now the problem; I can no longer enter a different county (maybe New Haven instead of Fairfield), or a new spelling for Mary (maybe Marie), or look for a sibling (Joseph or Sarah)in that same year. I have to go all the way back to the original search page and enter a whole bunch of new information for the new person. This is extremely time-consuming. Why was this particular feature removed?

  45. frostfree

    Robert Vermeulen is completely right about the nearly complete uselessness of the California Registered Voters database. I put in Arnold Somebody and give the county, get no results for that county but all of the persons with first *or* last name ‘Arnold’ PLUS everyone with first or last name Somebody. With ‘exact spelling’ search of course AS USUAL the computer returns NO RESULTS. I just happened to have an address from one of the census returns, and put that in. Of course Arnold Somebody was there in one of the lists, and the computer found two other dates in which someone lived at that street address.

    So why is first name returned as Surname at all?? First name should NEVER be returned as surname results.

    Why was Surname returned as a valid result when it was First Name? It should NEVER be returned as a search Result.

    Why does EXACT SPELLING fail most of the time?

    Stop working on jiggering with categories and bells and whistles. FIX THE BLASTED SEARCH ENGINE.

  46. Stanthia Oakley

    I would enjoy the addition of a sort feature especially when using census records, i.e. a double click on county column would sort results by county (similar to the sort feature in found in Microsoft Excel)

  47. I’m very disappointed in your website search activity. Why enter specific information if 100’s of names come up. This is very frustrating and time consuming. Perhaps you need to refine your search area to be more specific driven. I will not be renewing my membership.

  48. Estelle Kelleher

    Is it really necessary to list all the phone books that people have been in, even it is not the exact person you were looking for?

  49. Ashley


    I have not used this site alot but i was wondering if you could answer a question or two. Im looking for any records i can find on about five or six headstones i found in a friends backyard and i have tried everything i know to do and still havent found out anything. The name is Mertz and like i said they are in a backyard with a bunch of growth over them so i dont even think anyone knows theyre there. How do i go about finding out about them? i woult really like to know all i can about them i think everyone should know theyre there.
    Thanks alot,
    Ashley W.

  50. TIm

    I would like to be able to search inside my own tree in more interesting ways.

    For instance, I’d like to be able to find a person deeply distant in my own tree, and ask the webservice to show me exactly HOW that person is related to my “home person.”

  51. john

    It would be cool to have “regional” searching, rather than just by state (Northeast; MidWest; SouthWest, Mid Atlantic, etc). If that’s already being incorprated, my apologies. I can’t keep up.

    And why is it that when using wild card searching, using 1 or 2 letters with an “*” for firstname results in “too many”, while leaving the field blank, a theoretical superset, has no issues?

  52. frostfree

    Nice improvement, folks. I am enjoying the simple list of census enumerations’ years.

    This is an ingenious workaround for the VERY BUGGY SEARCH ENGINE.

    The reason this new list approach is helpful is that the search engine still returns results for census enumerations well after the death of the target person — which had been entered in the search form.

    Since you still seem unable to allow users to designate any sorting parameters, such as by reverse date or alphabetized, and since the previous incarnation always began with large displays for hundreds of completely useless post-death census results, this does save some user time.

    It would be so much smarter if the search engine would cease returning results for after an entered death date. This should take only one line of code.

  53. frostfree

    Whoa. Reverse. Change it back.

    The Message Boards search engine no longer searches the body of messages.

    It only searches in the fields for author, subject and title.

    So it will no longer search for a SPECIFIC MESSAGE that has a first name you are looking for. It will no longer search for that reference posted a few days’ past. It will no longer serve as a useful search engine at all.

    Put it back. Please Please Please.

  54. I would like the ability to search by first names clusters for example a mother and her children in a state. This allows me to transcend the butchering of the last name. I would also like the ability to search more than one state or township at a time. For example Brooklyn and Queens, New York

  55. Norma

    I agree about research results that list dates that do not match those that I have entered. This goes also for locations and names. My question is why take the time to complete search criteria when the information seems to be ignored and results in time-consuming searches. Also, showing how many items are in a particular search would be very useful.

  56. john snyder

    Why can’t I search the index in an alphabetical order. There seems to be some sort of random order that I can’t understand.

  57. Janet Wright

    I’ve been trying the new “beta” search engine and have submitted feedback, but I don’t see a public forum for this so will mention two things here.

    1. EXACT SEARCH no longer gives exact results but a lot of returns with the message “we didn’t find any strong matches with your ancestor but…” and then those two-star etc “matches.” About 90% of the returns I got for an EXACT SEARCH were not exact. Noo!!!!

    2. Ancestry World Tree results have been dropped from the “Family tree” results. Only the awful, dreadful One World Tree and the Public and Private ones are there. You may recall that Ancestry tried this before but the complaints were so loud that AWT was restored. Now it’s gone again.

    PLEASE PLEASE GIVE YOUR FEEDBACK people! These are exactly the things we have complained about before.

    There are some good features on the Beta. I like the image snippets.

  58. Chuck Nostrome

    Your new search engine can not locate the susrnmae Loschiavo and over the years I have located hundreds of Loschiavo,s in all search fields.Now I come up with nomatches. Why? what is wrong I can no longer find the most basic of searches, birth deadth marriage etc.
    Please help.

  59. Perkin58

    The new format is, with one exception, AWFUL, AWFUL, AWFUL. Why?

    1) TOO MUCH MOUSE NAVIGATION & CLICKING REQUIRED to employ the various “additional information” search fields
    2) The “attractive” new layout take up too much screen space and requires CONSTANT scrolling up and down to set search parameters and view results.
    I’ve had to scroll and click 100 percent more in the new format. It’s slower, annoying and my fingers are beginning to ache. Navigation should be doable through TAB functions as much as possible.

    3) TOO many irrelevant results delivered, even on searches where I have a very good idea of what information is available, often BECAUSE:
    4) if the “exact” check boxes are selected the search is much, much too restrictive, BUT
    5) if the “exact” check boxes are not selected, the search limits in those boxes seems to be COMPLETELY ignored and thousands of irrelevant results are displayed AND
    6) The irrelevant results can’t be easily sorted out/hidden by (e.g.) date or geographic limits

    The ONLY redeeming feature of the new search format is the combined record page and page viewer which makes it easier to skim through similar records and zero-in on the relevant items.

    Otherwise, your new layout has all the “charm” and automatic, nanny-like “let us help you” annoyances that plague programs like Microsoft Word. It’s too damn “helpful” and delivers a flood of useless results that only make the search for the desired record or ancestor HARDER.

    (And by the way, please give us a way to stop the stupid pop-up box from getting in the way when beginning new searches.)

    Finally: Why doesn’t the card catalog have a simple Title/Author/Subject search format? Why must one click, click, click through a dozen “limits” in order to find titles that I either (1) already KNOW are in the database, or (2) similar or related titles???

  60. Jim

    I like the new search front end. To me, it is less scrolling than the old version which has the refine search boxes at the bottom of the page.

    I like the Exact checkboxes which can be applied individually to search criteria. I believe the search engine does use the input that is not “exact” to prioritize the list.

    The thing I did not like so much about the new front end was that the textboxes are behind drop downs which requires an extra click to access them.

    The feature that I would wish for is some type of “favorites” or bookmark for different frequently used databases in Ancestry. That is, for example, I would like to be able to switch from a search of the 1920 Federal Census to the Alabama Deaths Index with a single click.

  61. John

    Why is Ancestry asking for user input for a search? THEY DON’T USE IT! What doesn’t Ancestry understand about a person being dead? I have been unable to find my dead relatives in Census and Voter Lists in the years following their death. What’s up with this? Sorry to sound bitter. I guess I’m just another flustrated user! CAN’T YOU HEAR US ????????

  62. Jim

    @John #65:

    I think only in Chicago would one expect to find relatives on voter lists *after* they are dead!

    Or did you mean something else?

  63. joan johnson

    Please return to hr OLD and functioning format, this new format is horrible. I use the site daily and my frustration has just about topped off.

  64. John

    @John #65:

    I think only in Chicago would one expect to find relatives on voter lists *after* they are dead!

    Or did you mean something else?

    What I meant is, I entered a search for my 2nd Great Grandmother who died in 1871 and I got 165,250 returns from 1880 – 1930 Census & Voter Lists. Now these aren’t going to do me one blanking bit of good! They should not have been returned and not only were they returned but they had star values. I think I could probably get as good a result with just a name and no dates or locations.
    My last post was an attempt at adding a little humor. I tried being bitter and upset. Neither of those worked either.

  65. Hi,

    Just adding in:

    #1 desire: sort & filter returned results

    #2: Do NOT return info PRIOR to Birth or AFTER Death

    #3: If I enter ‘Spouse Name’, DONT include it search for INDIVIDUAL

    #4: Have pity on those of us Johnson, Jones, Wiliams, & Smiths.

    #5: Quick search in ALL historical records, I dont like having to page thru to the Gs, Is, or Ws to find a state list.


  66. Bob

    Ability to sort search results by first name, surname, state, county, etc. as HeritageQuest Online allows!

    Also, eliminate search results for years that are outside selected ranges.

  67. Agnes Gunn

    I appreciate that reading the original UK Census entries is not an easy task but I find that there are so many errors in UK place names. Maps of all UK counties are easily available so what is the problem?
    English census images are available but Scottish census images are not so the information given on the index is vital.
    Please try to at least check that places exist as it is very difficult with a common name to find someone when either their birthplace or residence is non-existent.
    You would expect that counties would be properly recorded but that is not always the case.
    At least I live in the Scotland & can make an educated guess but researchers outwith the UK do not have that luxury so accuracy is of prime importance.

  68. I am very disappointed in my attempts to put a family tree together. I have names, dates of birth and death, places, children names, mother and father names and can not find anyone!!!!! how is one to put together a family tree. My free trial is about ready to end and I am seriously considering cancel before my free trial ends. If I cant get anyone to help me then I would not recommend this site.

  69. Charles Compton

    1. Why is it so difficult to contact you people?

    I only have only 2 items under TOOLS now for some reason. I have no historic records search. What can I possibly do without that!!!


  70. Charles Compton

    Now I’ve got, Find a person in “2007haskelldesc”

    Is this what your doing to me when the window says, “COME BACK LATER”


  71. Charles Compton

    Can anyone out there tell me how to contact someone in this Ancestory outfit that can tell me whats going on? Contact Us is just bull. I don’t think once you subscribe they want you to contact them until your subscription us up. Maybe this is just a dream, a nightmare no doubt.

  72. Charles Compton

    Look what I got now when I clicked on My Ancestry, 2007haskelldesc

    My Ancestry
    What’s NewMy Family Trees
    Name Last Modified Role Tools
    View Tree 4/27/2008 Contributor
    Create a new Family Tree Upload a family tree file Interested in DNA testing to expand your family tree? Learn more or manage your DNA results.

  73. David Gladson

    Excellent work, I’m really happy with the newly released database on Tennessee State Marriages, 1765-2002
    this links to the actual document, I am impressed. This just saved me and several researchers on my line a drive and many hours sifting through marriage records in the entire state of Tennessee.
    This level of support when searching records is awesome. I now have copies of records that would of cost a bundle to find, my family thanks for this work. For those who are crying, learn to research, ancestry has uploaded tons of new records that you can find, if you do the digging.
    I’ve enjoyed my research as of the past couple years and look forward to the new release’s they have coming.
    I’ve found so much here lately I’m still working and backlogged on finding info on this site.
    Oh I’ve also been a member for 7 years. And never once have had any problem finding stuff, so for those who cry (do the research) the info is there. Don’t expect I put in a name and got nothing I was cheated! Hello, sometimes the name is hard to make out, I’ve found what I’ve been looking for under different spelling of the last name (transcribed) If you have a hard time in understanding that you can add a change to that you seriously have a problem.
    Nobody will give you your entire genealogical background without you paying them for the research or you do it on your own.

  74. David Gladson

    Someting else I read where some have posted;

    I am very disappointed in my attempts to put a family tree together. I have names, dates of birth and death, places, children names, mother and father names and can not find anyone!!!!! how is one to put together a family tree.

    Well duh, Census records have only been released to 1930, Federal Law! so are you searching after that date you will have a hard time finding info. There are ways to get info after that date, but you will have to dig! DIG! I have at my library and found many records much later than 1930, try the library where they lived and look at PhoneBooks, I have found my family listed from 1912-current at my local library, also try newsbank for obituaries, newsbank via a Library Card will get you those from 1960-current depends on the newspaper source. Jeez I feel like taliking to a bunch of “I can’t find anything” give me my past free of charge people.
    I even knew that when I 1st started into research. I went from 1 person (my great Grandfather’s tombstone photo) to 5,000 people in less than 6 years on a rare last name.
    I now enjoy land records, birth and death records, marriage records newspaper accounts, info sent from others “I contacted” from message boards. Try find-a-grave jeez…

  75. Charles Compton

    I would just be tickled pink if I could be restored back to the 24th of April on my two trees, Fannie H. Moore and Charles B. Compton. Then you could moderate all you want with someone else.

    One thing I must say, I feel a little better getting some response from you. I’m not even sure how I stand on the Charles B. Compton tree. I think thats where the 2007haskelldesc pops up.

    Another thing that is interesting. When I look at someone in my Fannie H. Moore tree, the little house and the words Home Person cover the 2 boxes Home & People. When I click on it it moves back where it belongs and then moves back covering Home & People once again.

  76. Charles Compton

    The samething is happening to my Charles B. Compton tree as my Fannie H. Moore tree.

  77. Mic

    I agree with most of the comments listed here. I just subscribed again after a year, and now I remember what trouble it was to focus on say one state, or one country. My uncle who passed away last year did say that the system (and I will put it nicely) didn’t really pointed info. just many records to search.

  78. Karen

    I think the new search is a step in the right direction. But it’s a very small step. I found some Newspaper bits on my Lichtenberger relations I hadn’t seen before, the search found them for me. I like the search on the side, and how it fills in info for me. But. It still has the same major issues of the old search: it gives you information that has nothing to do with what you’re looking for.
    1. Looking for a relative born after 1920, and getting WW1 Draft Cards, the 1910 census, and before that even.

    2. Putting in Ohio for place of birth, and getting many different states, before you even come to an Ohio birth.

    Also, some tech issues with the search: some of the records on the general search are not lined up with others, and show up on the right-hand side of the screen. Thus, the pop-up that shows when you hover over the record cannot be seen properly. And the Public Member Trees will sometimes have the ‘parents’ column pushed off the page to the right, unable to be read.

  79. Nancy Neider

    Why are the results of identical searches so inconsistent? On NUMEROUS occasions, I have entered exactly the same info as on a previous search to verify or try again, etc., and the particular database doesn’t come up. A recent example: I was researching Frederick Kishlar of New York; one day the War of 1812 service records popped up, the next day, nothing. This has happened most often when doing family tree searches.

  80. In Coryell County, TX abt 1898 there was a death of July Turner Walters. Her husband was William Ernest (Bill) Walters. She died of what sounds like a brain-tumor and was attended by a Doctor from a local community. They had 3 children: Albert DeWitt (Dee) Walters, abt 10 yrs old at the time (My Father) (1898) and 2 younger sisters. Please help! Merkel Walters

  81. gj

    I wish that i do missed, when looking at census search, the “neighbors” option,I have come across family without knowing it or it there is an error in the coies.
    fleet family of 1880 harrison county ms census..william, eliza,martha are listed on the “finishing” page of the census – not other pages are listed.
    please advise of correction.

  82. gj

    thankyou for the updates/style now.
    I do miss the “neighbors” in the census option, when finding family. this tool has been very successful in finding family, instead of going thru page after page in of the census. thankyou ghita

  83. A.Blackwood

    One thing I have puzzled over during my research,is why some details of people who have died can be found but not others.First I thought it was because of the birth/death date but I have seen details of people before and after the dates I am searching for.

    Is it some thing to do with updating ?

  84. Kathy Bullwinkel

    I also would like to have the information I have entered to be circumscribe the search. I enter a full name with birth date and location and get MILLIONS of results. I realize that many are Soundex but the Soundex name that may be in my tree could be the 300000th result. I am not going to scan 6000 pages to get to that result.

  85. J. Quinn C. Bradlee

    The only thing that really bothers me is that sometimes when I am tracing my family back before when America was discovered it will say something like fitzGerald Kennedy was born in this place in Ireland in 1234 or something and then it will say that he died in Georgia or Virginia in 1290. And sometimes Ancestry will repeat the names of the list of children that it will list. The one other problem is that I have when I research my family is that Ancestry will sometimes come up with a male marring another male. Why does it do this?

  86. Please implement the suggested and in my opinion much needed improvements for searches as clearly outlined and communicated by the great majority of the individuals who posted comments on this subject. I very much like the convenience of using databases from my home computer, but sincerely believe that more attention should be paid to subscriber concerns regarding searches.

  87. Stuart Gourd

    I am in partial agreement with the comments about OneWorldTree but do not believe it should be junked. It should be exported into a WikiTree that anyone can edit–then people can correct the errors and add sources.

  88. Edee

    Twice I have located a person in my family tree only to find that they are posted to the wrong family. How do I remedy this ? I have contacted the poster without any reply.

  89. On August 22, I was able to locate George Gilkerson on a passenger list; today, August 24, I looked for the same list and it was not there! I guess I should have made a copy the first time, but what happened to it?

  90. Actually, on reading your blog comments, I see the problem I had also happened to Nancy Neider (Comment 86) — that is, you jave entered the same search information but do not come up with the page you discovered on a previous search.

  91. Searching is the most important feature of any database and it’s where Ancestry falls down badly in my opinion. Whether anything has been improved since February, I don’t know, but the search engine still seems amateurish to me, a former database programmer. For instance, when I enter a birthdate of, say, 1944, why does Ancestry then give me reams of records with dates going back to the 1890s?

    Why can’t I order the results the way I want, by clicking in column headers? Why can’t I see just a summary of found records first, then pick a bunch of them for closer inspection, e.g. display JUST names and places first.

    Why aren’t names properly sorted alphabetically in the list of found records? You’ll get a bunch of Fred Bloggs, then Fred E Bloggs, then more Fred Blogs, then Albert Fred Bloggs, then MORE Fred Bloggs. There doesn’t appear to be any actual algorithm in use at all. It’s too hit and miss.

    All in all, I’d rate the Ancestry search engine at a 2 or a 3 out of 10.

  92. Sherry

    Is there a quick reference sheet available for our office? If so, is it downloadable or does it have to be purchased?

    We are the Public Trustee Office and use this program on a daily basis.


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