Posted by jhodnett on February 28, 2008 in Website

dg_profile_photo.gifSince this is my first post to the Ancestry blog, let me start out by introducing myself.  My name is David Graham and I’m the product manager responsible for the community areas of the website, which include the different tools you use to connect with each other and to help each other on

My first exposure to family history years ago was helping my grandmother do data entry as she moved from a paper tree to a digital one.  As I’ve gotten more involved in family history and interacted with more people in the family history community I have found that the interest and passion is definitely contagious!  I’m always amazed and inspired by how helpful the family history community is, whether it is reaching out on the Message Boards, sharing research, or just sharing research tips and tricks.

I just wanted to quickly let everyone know about a new feature we’ve introduced on the Message Boards.  We now automatically recognize last names included in message board posts and offer special links to additional surname resources.

These links will look different than direct hyperlinks that members may include in their posts, and will not interfere with any hyperlinks in the message.  When you move your mouse over the linked last name you will get links to the surname message board for that last name and to a special page offering family history facts and resources for the surname.

Here’s what it looks like:


We hope that giving quick links to these resources makes it easier to find all the valuable information available to help you research your family history.  If you have any specific feedback about this new feature please email it to feedback @  We hope to be able to make improvements based on your feedback.  I also hope we can continue to do more to improve your experience connecting with each other and working together in this great online community.


  1. Mary Beth Marchant

    Mr. Graham, I would rethink this one. As we are now seeing, nearly every capitalized word is being underlined. There is no way this will work. Check out the posts that have been done since y’all announced this “wonderful” new toy. Countries are underlined, Words beginning a sentence are underlined. Concentrate on the things that need fixing and leave the cutsy things alone. They just muddle up the message boards and do no one any good.

  2. J. Longley

    Mr. Graham,

    If the powers that be insist on retaining this marketing tool, there is a possible way to make it less stupid and disruptive.

    Message Board Administrators have suggested keying the links solely to the surnames listed in the surname box that is with each message. Since the program cannot differentiate between regular words and surnames in the message body, this change in the search field would minimize the very irritating popups that readers are now subjected to.

  3. Mary Beth Marchant

    The post I left yesterday on Ancestry forum has several words underlined. These words begin sentences, they are not surnames. Your program cannot differentiate between that. This is stupid with a capital S.

  4. Athena

    I just this morning posted a feedback about this “feature”.

    We hope that giving quick links to these resources makes it easier to find all the valuable information available to help you research your family history.It is extremely distracting to see these totally irrelevant pop-ups when hovering over a word in a forum message. The links that are being generated have nothing whatsoever to do with the topic at hand and just create confusion.

    As far as I’m concerned, this is an idea that has no legs. I do not want to see these inappropriate links and was very dismayed to find that I cannot disable them in “My Account Options”. At the very least, board administrators should be able to disable them for a particular forum.

  5. Mary Beth Marchant

    When I clicked on an underlined word in a post, I found this:

    “The thank Surname
    Name Meaning and History
    Sorry, we couldn’t find a name meaning for the thank last name. Try using an alternate form of the name, or a different last name.

    Even though we don’t have thank surname meaning for you, we may have original historical records for your thank ancestors. Try searching Ancestry now. Share this page with friends and family
    thank Family Facts
    Name Distribution (US)
    Name Distribution (UK)
    Place of Origin
    Immigration Year
    Ports of Departure
    Life Expectancy
    Civil War ServiceDistribution of thank Families in the US in 1920

    Number of thank families 3-4
    2-2 1

    Compiled by from the 1920 US Federal Census records

    Click on a state to view thank census records


    How is this helpful?
    You can decide where (in which states) to start searching for thank records.
    You can see how thank families moved over time by selecting different Census years.

    What do I do next?
    The information for this map came from’s US Federal Census Collection.

    Census records can tell you little-known facts about your ancestors such as birthplace, residence and occupation.
    Click here to search thank census records.”

    Mr. Graham, this is the kind of nonsense you are perpetuating here. We need a way to at least turn this nonsense off.

  6. William Carr

    This needs to be re-examined. Last names, first names, place names, the word “County”, “May” as in the month of, etc. all getting linked. Sometimes the name gets linked in one portion of the message and not another.

    Occasionally, it is helpful to highlight a portion of a message and copy it for further review off-line or paste it into a comment/note field,e.g. obits. Try doing that with the links scattered all over the place. It doesn’t happen. Someone needs to apply some common sense to these “enhancements” before they become operational.

    And the same situation with message boards on RootsWeb. FTM 2008 release, online family tree transition, and now this. I’m beginning to wonder. Who is minding the store?

  7. Robert J. Smith

    I have more information on Marshall Cousineau and Lydia Hadley. Lydia was my aunt and Marshall was Lydia’s husband and step-brother.


  8. Dear Mr. Graham,
    I just finished an email to the help section because I could not find anything relating to the new “feature” requesting a way to TURN IT OFF!

    Doing a copy and paste of a simple obituary or other information becomes a massive bunch code intersperced with the original data.

    If you really want to keep such a “feature”, create it so that a person can highlight a word, them press some magic button to get the same results, if they so choose.

    This would accomplish two things: the community posts would be easier to read (not so distracting with all the underlines) and cutting and pasting information would return to normal.

    If you really want to improve the community boards, you should consider returning the ability to read/print entire threads of a post, rather than having to go to each individual post.

  9. J. Longley

    In addition to my earlier comment, should point out that ‘same surname = same family’ is one of the oldest genealogical mistakes.

    Emphasis on surname collections rather than real data is useless.

    This is but one way in which Ancestry and another large organization continue to perpetuate and exploit Bad Genealogical Research.

  10. Fran

    Do you have users who test your ideas? The concept sounds great, but the implementation has big problems. Most regular users of the message boards would have immediately given you a negative rating had they seen it in action. Why don’t you put your resources to implimenting some of the improvements suggested by users for improving the search feature or other aspects of the online experience that users have been suggesting for months.

  11. robert

    Dave go back and have a good talk with your Grandmother, She’s the one that’s has the family tree and see whats She thinks about it. Do you have a family tree?

  12. CJackson

    It looks as if some of the complaints here are being addressed. Thanks, Ancestry!

    Yesterday morning, there were a great many words underlined that definitely shouldn’t have been, but that doesn’t seem to be the case as of this morning. I chose a message at random and the only words underlined were surnames and place names, but I did notice that on one of my own messages, there was NO underline under one of the surnames, so it would seem that there are yet still some kinks to be ironed out.

    I would agree that maybe this feature should have been tested a bit more before being unveiled, but wow, some of the comments here? A bit harsh.

  13. Linda

    I also think this idea should be reviewed. I just looked at some messages. The two occupation words “Head Carpenter” are both underlined. The month August is underlined as well as a number of first names and county names that could also be surnames but are not surnames in the message. It really is of little value. It is just as easy to type in the surnames in the “Find a Board” text box. That way I can get to the counties too.

    One user’s suggestion to link those surnames in the surname list seems like a good alternative.

    Family facts are marginally interesting but when I’m doing research through the message boards, reading up on the history of the family surname is not a high priority. Yes, you can link to Federal Census by Surname/State but you seem to be trying to anticipating research sequence that doesn’t fit 99% of the users.

    CJackson – mine as well as other comments may seem harsh but that is a reflection of customer disatisfaction with TGN trying to give us cutsie things when the development resources could be used to give us accurate data downloads (i.e. import errors in WWII draft registration records, links to some records) as well as more data.

    I’m not sure who is talking to the customer but it seems like there are a lot of wrong turns lately by TGN.

  14. K. Clark

    I personally see no value in this feature.

    If I want to research a surname, I know enough to go to the respective board.

    Also, I hate the way it’s been implemented with DHTML pop-up. I find myself having to remember to move the mouse off to the side of the browser window just to make sure those things don’t intrude and block the text that I’m trying to read.

    A Navy Captain I used to work for at the Pentagon used to say, “K.I.S.S. it!” (Keep It Simple, Stupid).

  15. J. Longley

    First you destroy the flow of message board *threads* to accomodate ads.

    Now you add the ridiculous linking marketing tool to every message board message.

    This new feature is causing frequent error messages that my browser cannot open the message, together with redirect to a standard internet error page.

    The links go to nothing useful: there is a search box for surname message boards on *every* message board page. The alleged informational links are factually barren. The link to the ancestry Books at amazon is insulting: don’t your decision makers know that ‘same surname’ is not necessarily ‘same family’?

    What happened to the idea that folks will be attracted to excellent product, rather than to intensive marketing?

    Presenting this as an ‘improvement’ is also insulting. None of your customers or Boards users requested this.

    You are making the Message Boards very inhospitable.

    A paying customer

  16. John

    I tried sending feedback as requested, but Feedback was “Unavailable”.

    I hate to pile on, but this new feature that you have introduced (your words, not mine)is horrible. Not only does it highlight more than I suspect you intended (example – first name John:
    Related Resources
    John Family History Facts
    John Surname Message Board)

    But it’s unncessary in the context of the message boards. If you need to implement it, can you at least provide an easy to recognize method to disable it? As K. Clark hinted, having to remember to move the cursor outside of the window before scrolling, is not desirable.

    Web 2.0 can be cool, but let’s do some usability testing.

  17. Don

    Fist time user and subscriber of Ancestry .com.

    I would like to post a review of two books I purchased and read, however, every path I follow leads to a dead end.

    I can’t find a “add your NEW book review”
    submit button. Please advise. Thanks

  18. Linda

    Please take this “improvement” away. There are not words to describe how annoying this feature is. I just tried to read a 7 line message that had over 40 words recognized as surnames.

  19. Brynne Holland

    The special linking needs a ton of work. In the following examples, the words that are specially linked are marked by an asterisk:
    is linking non-surnames “Did you Register* Family Tree* Maker*?”
    “Register” can be a surname, but not in the context.
    misses a surname “He was married to Ida M. Record.”
    “Record” is a surname in this context, but apparently the programmers excluded it just as they did “Family”.

    The linking would be better in the SURNAMES entry. Not only would the programming be easier (every word in the Surnames field should be a surname and therefore no exclusions would be necessary), it would be far less annoying for those who run the mouse pointer along the text as they read. It doesn’t seem the programmers took that habit into consideration.

    Please change the special linking to the SURNAMES entry rather than the message text.

  20. J. Longley

    Mr. Graham,

    Why don’t you just come right out and say that you don’t care how much people hate this message board disruption? That is Ancestry’s track record so far. The dreadful deconstruction of the message board threads a year ago was really not necessary to accomodate ad space, but y’all did it anyway.

    The poor programmers have tweaked the program a bit so that surnames followed by a geographic feature name are often not tagged, but the computer still tags the locality words ‘County’ and ‘Valley’ following the surname words.

    This is getting sillier and sillier.

    Is this the only way your department can think of to market the stupid Surname books to unwise beginners?

    Would TGN collapse if Ancestry devoted 6 months solely to solving the problems that have been brought to your attention, instead of making all of these changes that are so unwelcome and discouraging to users?

    To be honest, I am dreading the roll-out of the search engine changes. It is clear that those directing the redesign do not understand how people use Ancestry and Rootsweb for research help and do not care about fact-based genealogical research.

  21. Mr. Graham, Every month it seems something changes. There are items I found years ago on ancestry and they are no longer found in the searches. If you are replacing links with this new feature I fear you will lose your memebers. Next time try a BETA test and get some feed back. You may know history but you are lacking in code knowlegde.

  22. T Keo

    Terrible – please remove. It is now impossible to cut and paste information while researching. I pay for the ability to use information – I do not want to spend my time taking out junk code from this information. You need to stop mucking up things and just provide the service people are paying for – records and indexing.

  23. J. Longley


    You have just proved what most have suspected – that the people directing this lunacy have no experience with or knowledge about genealogical research.

    While reading an obituary my mouse cursor accidentally passed over the name of the County. Up popped a very large window covering half of the obit. Here is what it said:

    Related ResourcesGreene County, Alabama Board
    Greene County, Arkansas Board
    Greene County, Georgia Board
    Greene County, Illinois Board
    Greene County, Indiana Board
    Greene County, Iowa Board
    Greene County, Mississippi Board
    Greene County, Missouri Board
    Greene County, New York Board
    Greene County, North Carolina Board
    Greene County, Ohio Board
    Greene County, Pennsylvania Board
    Greene County, Tennessee Board
    Greene County, Virginia Board

    One of the above was the message board on which I was trying to read the obituary.

    Mr. Graham, there is no genealogical reason whatever that someone interested in data concerning a family in one County would have an interest in a County by the same name elsewhere.

    No reason. None at all. Zilch. Nada.

    Therefore, your large disruptive popupse serve *solely* to irritate Message Boards users even more.

    I also note that you now have a little ‘x’ on the big popup to close it. That would be fine if it then stayed closed, but it doesn’t. And since your program has now tagged so many words in all of the messages, chances are good that if you click on the ‘x’ your cursor will land on another highlighted word, opening yet another aggravating popup.

    People have kindly, patiently, and with forebearance tried to explain to you why this whole endeavor is a really irritating, non-helpful idea.

    Please indicate with a reply on this board, whether you understand what people are trying to say, and are passing on the message to whoever has directed this mess.

  24. youloseagain

    Mr. Graham —– oh Mr. Graham —– David —– where are you?????

    You asked for our feedback, now we want yours.


  25. Floyd Keisler

    Not really a comment about blog – just don’t know where else to go right now. I can’t believe there is not a telephone number where we can reach someone when we have a problem on the Ancestry Home Page
    Floyd D. Keisler
    521 Marion Street
    Benton, AR 72015

  26. Evie Swain

    This is not a needed change; every month/week something new that is not necesary or user friendly.

    In essence, most of these changes are staged toward marketing than genealogy

    I vote no.

  27. L.L.

    This new feature is ANNOYING.

    Please get rid of it. Now. Immediately. Yesterday.
    and take that One World Tree with you, the ancestry hints with the stupid leaves and that new ancestry member tree too.

    All these new gimmicks, gadgets and graphics are useless to research.

    This is what we are paying top dollar for?

    Who think of these things.

  28. Karen

    This is a terrible “Feature* – if you can call it that.
    Not only is it annoying, but I cannot figure out if one person who tested this could possibly have tried to copy and paste a message from the boards.

    I think some explanation of why you think losing the ability to copy a whole message is good, would be appropriate. Hello?

  29. Bruce

    Let’s see…28 comments over 9 days and not one of them positive. Please tell us this is just a test preview and that we will be able to disable this.

  30. Mr. Graham,
    No forthcoming reply to this irritating “new feature” other than you’ve tweeked it…which also does not work.
    Since you have essentially doomed my PAID subscription usefullness by at least 1/3rd, may I expect a refund of same????

  31. youloseagain

    D.M. Behl –

    Message Boards are not included in ANY paid subscriptions – they are available for anyone to access simply by registering.

    You are not out a penny, no matter how crappy the Boards get. And I’m sure that Ancestry isn’t done crapping on us.

  32. I am going more concerned each time at go to the family trees to see that LIVING people are being presented and discussed! I am really concerned that some people like to post medical information which is so inappropriate at these entertainment sites.

    I have had this happen to me and after attending a conference last month, discovered that it has happed to other subscribers!!!!!

    When I wrote to Ancestry to get help in having the submitter REMOVE the data, they said they were NOT responsible for anything printed at any site, at any of there websites.

    When I asked the submitter to remove the information, I was told that he wasn’t even a relative or descendant of the family!!!! He had found the information somewhere, couldn’t tell me where, and that he believed such information was helpful to family members.

    I told him that the person he wrote about never married so no descendants. AND, that the point was his information was complete WRONG. He told me he would leave it there because it was his site and if I didn’t like, I should start my own site.

    We believe that Generations Network DOES have a responsibility to his subscribers and participants to regulate negative ‘Bloggin’ style sites.

    When a member presents a problem with a particular website, it should and must be investigated!! Your
    ‘abusive comments’ above is exactly what I am discussing.

    Why can’t the living and the deceased be protected from the kind of ‘abuse’ that has started to surface and the family tree sites.

    Any suggestions?


  33. Ron Bestrom

    This is TOTALLY a waste. The words having this pop up feature are NOT surnames, they are NOT board locations. The pop up windows are irritating. SHUT THIS OFF.

    I’ve been doing genealogy for over 25 years now (see how many times I’ve posted help for others on the mailing lists and message boards).

    This system has NO value to even new researchers. If they want Stevens County Washington, why would they want to look at the Stevens family name, or all the other Stevens County’s in the USA. A lot of capitalized names are being “identified” as surnames.

    I want a feature to shut this off, or just take it off the system. It’s worthless.

    Ron Bestrom

  34. In one randomly chosed 8 Mar 2008 posting [below] there are 14 Surnames WITH* links and 14 Surnames WITHOUT+ links; these being the obvious and absolute Surnames.
    I only noted each linked* or unlinked+ Surname ONCE; but that is not case within the posting.
    Other links within posting noted in [ ], including repeat Surnames, given names, etc.; although many given names that COULD be Surnames are not linked.

    George Frank Taylor*, a retired farmer, died at the home of Mr. and Mrs. E.E. Gupton+ in the Ebenezer community at 12:30 am Wed 14 Jan after a brief illness of pneumonia, at the age of 82. The son of the late [Miskel] Taylor and Mrs. Margaret Arnett* [Taylor], he was born in [Green Co]., 20 Dec 1870. He was a member of the Mt. Lebanon Methodist Church. He was united in marriage to Miss Roberta Hines* some 60 years ago. She preceded him in death November, 1938. To this union one son and three daughters were born. Surviving are: Mrs. E. E. Gupton, Mrs. Evie Perkins*, both of Green County; two brothers, Linzie [Taylor], [Pleasant Plains], IL., Albert [Taylor], Louisville; six grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Funeral services were conducted at 2:00 p m. Thursday at the Ebenezer Presbyterian Church, with Rev. V.A. Jones+ in charge. Burial was in the Curry* cemetery. Pallbearers were Jerome Loy*, William D. Strader+, Eugene Bass*, Loren [Bass], [Lilburn] Kelly+, G. W. Dewitt+. Honorary pallbearers were W. A. Paxton+, [Otis] Moss*, Elroy Jeffries*, Elmer Clark*, Frank [Clark], Chick Pickett*, Willie Warren+, Marvin Brown+, Blain Tucker*, R. H. Gupton.
    Obituaries of [Green Co]. Ky., Vol. 9, compiled by [Eunice] Montgomery* Wright*, p. 218

    Marriages of [Green Co]., Ky., 1891 – 1900, compiled by Judy Froggett*, p. 90: George F [Taylor] and Birdie A. Hinds+. Bond 22 Sept 1892. John Davis+ on bond. Groom age 21, lst mg., farmer, born Green Co., parents born [Green Co]. Bride age 21, lst mg., born [Green Co]., parents born [Green Co]. Married 22 Sept 1892 at clerk’s office by W.H. Milby+. Wit. Charles D. Allen+ and J.R. Vaughn+.

    Located 5 [Miles] South of Greensburg, Ky. Along US 68
    Family notations by Ruth [Perkins], Cemetery Transcription by Ruth [Perkins] and Bill [Clark], Aug 2000
    Taylor, George F. Dec 20, 1870 – Jan 14, 1953 (son of [Levi] Miscal & Margaret [Arnett] [Taylor])
    Taylor, Roberta A. Sep 15, 1870 – Nov 18, 1938 (dau of Samuel & Mary C. Murry+ [Hinds])

    At best, your tweeking of this new feature is now about 50% correct.

    The above remarks also do not include the remainder of the 8 Mar 2008 post that included census data; linked items noted in [ ]:
    1880 [Green Co]. Ky. Census
    Census Place: E.D. 56, Green, Kentucky
    Source: FHL Film 1254416 National Archives Film T9-0416 Page 640B
    Levi M. TAYLOR Self M M W 38 KY; Occ: Laborer Fa: VA Mo: VA
    Margerette [TAYLOR] Wife F M W 38 KY; Occ: Keeping House Fa: [KY] Mo: [KY]
    Martha S. TAYLOR [Dau] F S W 13 KY; Fa: [KY] Mo: [KY]
    Elisabeth E. TAYLOR [Dau] F S W 11 [Ky]; Fa: [KY] Mo: [KY]
    George F. TAYLOR Son M S W 9 KY; Fa: KY Mo: KY
    Albert M. TAYLOR Son M S W 7 KY; Fa: KY Mo: KY
    Tura [TAYLOR] [Dau] F S W 5 KY; Fa: [KY] Mo: [KY]
    Elisa T. TAYLOR [Dau] F S W 3M KY; Fa: [KY] Mo: [KY]

    1910 [Green Co]. Ky. Miracode census index
    George F Taylor; ED: 0045; W; 38; Ky; Visit: 0021; Green; Relation: Husband; Relatives: Wife [Bertie] A 38, [Ky ][Dau] Violet M 08, [Ky] [Dau] [Ollie] D 03, [Ky]

    1920 [Green Co]. Ky. Census; EXIE Series: T625 Roll: 572 Page: 89; [Heritage] [Quest] Census Images
    George Franklin [Taylor], 48, Ky; Birdie Ann, 49, Ky; Violet M., 18, Ky; [Ollie] D., 11, Ky;

    1930 [Green Co]. Ky. Census; Source Citation: Year: 1930; Census Place: Greensburg, Green, Kentucky; Roll: 747; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 3; Image: 974.0. Census Images; 28 / 29
    George F. Taylor, 58, age 20 at 1st marriage, KyKyKy; Birdie A., wife, 58, age 21 at 1st marriage, KyKyKy

    Kentucky Death Index, rootsweb
    TAYLOR, GEORGE F; age 082; death place GREEN; residence GREEN; death date 14 Jan 1953


    As an aside to my comment regarding the message boards being a cost of my PAID SUBCRIPTION, no one can be fooled into thinking is not. PAID subscriptions are the nut that pays for hosting “free” content and their advertising and marketing $$ is their PROFIT!!
    If everyone cancelled their PAID subscriptions tomorrow; only 2 things could happen.
    1) The “free” content would be overflowing with advertising.
    2) It would ALL disappear.

  35. Brynne Holland

    I could have ignored the links on words that are NOT surnames (in the message context) and locations.

    I could have ignored the links taking me to the board of another county by the same name in a different state.

    I could have ignored the links to the useless Ancestry screen showing the meaning, history, and distribution of a surname.

    I would have been ecstatic if ONLY this “feature” benefited one surname: Born.

    But oh, no, they programmed in exclusions for one of the hardest surnames to research. Absolute brilliance…. (sarcasm flowing)


  36. DanB

    I don’t have as strong a reaction as some of the other posters, but I have to think that this “feature” is making Ancestry look pretty darned silly, at the very least.

    Other posters have suggested that the links should only be applied to the surnames that the poster identified as being relevant to the post. The problem is, that this requires the poster to do a reasonable job of filling in that field, which requires that the poster understand how that field is going to be used.

    So my suggestion: How about taking the programming effort that went into this “feature”, and re-target it towards helping posters identify the surnames that they’re using in their posts? With modern browsers, this doesn’t even have to require any extra page hits.

    Sure, this won’t help anyone who’s reading an older post; it’ll only help those who are creating new posts. But if you don’t do something, soon, there won’t be anyone left to help.

  37. Renée

    What happened to the search function on Minnesota birth and death records? Before, I was able to find all children born to and . I could search with first names only or last names only. I am finding I have lost some services/features I regularly used. Will these be restored?

  38. Faye

    I signed up for the 14 day free trial at the end of January and got a real shock to find a payment of over $170NZ made to the site on Feb8th. I did not want to join for a year, and have tried several methods of contact to have my account closed and the extra amount refunded. This has not happened, so I have now had to pay for a further month I have not wanted. How do we go about settling this sort of thing?

  39. Linda

    Faye – Does $170NZ mean New Zealand? if so the number for New Zealand is as follows:

    New Zealand 0800-442-100
    (toll free)
    Monday – Saturday : 9:00 am – 4:00 pm AEST
    Sunday : Closed

    The fine print most likely said you had to cancel by the end of the trial period. I doubt that you are the only one that got caught by this. Not sure if there is anything you can do by New Zealand law to get a refund but give then a call and find out what your options are. Good luck!

  40. Arnold Garson

    Reiterating what others have said: Concentrate on the stuff that really needs fixing. Some specific BIG issues with the new FTM software, for example — such as too slow to load and publishing tool much more restrictive than the previous versions.

  41. Laurie A. Barthlow

    This post is in response to Mr. Keisler’s post in item 26, although it is off-topic from this blog-thread (if that’s the phrase.)

    As I type this, above this comment box is a direction to visit the “help” section for account issues, (including technical issues.) When you click on “help” you go to another window with a series of tabs that seem to contain much pre-recorded or pre-printed information, but nowhere will you find a telephone number! What happened to the Live Help tab? Where is webchat? Can’t we at least be given an explanation as to why this has gone away?

    I emailed about this a couple of days ago, and did receive a reply that webchat is no more – no explanation – and I was given a telephone number. When I called that number yesteray morning at 7:00 PST thinking I could be first in the “queue” I held for a whopping 35 minutes before I got through to Julie, who was of no help. (I was really calling about a small technical problem on the Military Pages.) She did tell me, however, that as a World Deluxe member, my phone calls are supposed to go to the head of the line. Is this true? Is 35 minutes the head of the line?

    I sent another email about all of this yesterday afternoon, and have not yet received a reply, although I did get an automated response that my query is supposed to be answered within 48 hours.

    I am resorting to this Blog hoping that I will get somebody’s attention. I have been a subscribing member of for many years, and a World Deluxe member for the last few years. I have put countless hours into my Ancestry Trees – and now Ancestry Press – and I have steered dozens of people to Ancestry, many of them being paying customers. I therefore feel like I should be heard when I say that your customer service right now is atrocious.

    I watch this blog every day for updates. I was very pleased to see the recent posting admitting that Ancestry’s servers had become really slow and the problem was being addressed. That’s the kind of forthrightness that I appreciate. I am waiting to see an upfront explanation as to why Live Help was eliminated, and why Ancestry seems to hide its phone number!

    In concluding my rant, I will say that I urge Ancestry to listen to its customers and address the known problems before moving on to something else. There is no point in rolling out more untested bells and whistles if nobody can get through to you to tell you what problems they’re having!

    As for the topic at issue, I will say that I haven’t even ventured onto the message boards given all of this negative feedback. Who could I complain to about it anyway?

    Laurie A. Barthlow

  42. Linda

    David – As a product manager should have a lot of say of what stay, what to add, and what to eliminate. When I was a QA Manager, I worked with product managers. Sometimes ideas sound better than they realistically can be implemented. This is one of those ideas! In our company, this would not have gotten past the customer focus groups and if it did, it would have been pulled by now.

    Real users have real concerns about this “feature”. It is not helpful and detracts from the value of the message boards. Have some guts. Recommend that it be removed or at the very least, implemented with surnames in the surname box only. If changed to surname box only, try it on customer focus groups first.

  43. frostfree

    The new feature announced today to Board Admins and on the Rootsweb staff blog, a ‘turn off links’ link on the popups, is alleged to work for one’s ensuing visits to Message Boards.

    It works in IE browser if you don’t go elsewhere in Ancestry or Rootsweb sites between Boards visits. If you come back to a Message Board, the popups are back.

    It only works in one message, in Firefox browser.

    This turn-off feature was a request by Boards users. Thank you, but it is not very effective.

    You can completely eliminate the tags linking to same-named-counties in other states. They are illogical, genealogically speaking, and useless.

    Eliminating these tags from the messages completely, and putting them only in the surname-list field heading each message, will eliminate the high error rate — in tagging non-surname words in Message Boards messages. This would also help Ancestry to seem less stupid.

  44. P. Boswell

    I can’t tell you how annoying these new connecting links on the message boards are. I find all that underlining and popup boxes very distracting. I hate coming to the message boards now.

  45. Ron Bestrom

    Yes, they added the option to stop the underlining. BUT IT ISN’T ENOUGH. You have to go to one of the underlines and indicate to stop the underlinings. BUT THEY ARE BACK THE NEXT TIME YOU GO TO A BOARD.

    We want a PERMANENT stop that can be added to our preferences. They are STUPID, for ALL the reasons previously posted. I WANT a PERMANENT stop.

  46. jenny

    Unfortunately I am unable to LINK onto anything in will there be an alternate way to join other than credit card?.
    Like many other babyboomers I have never had a credit card and shudder at the thought.
    Could someone tell me why a money order or cheque or direct bank transfer can’t be done.I have been told its simple.Many people are uneasy about plastic cards.Its a huge untapped market out there.Changes would benefit everyone.I can’t even connect with the paying people and I have a lot of info.
    Make it easier for people to be a part of!

  47. Susan Howell Mock

    Ok this is a message board so where do I go to find out who out there is looking for the same people that I am. I have not seen anything about this and maybe I jsut missed it let me know.

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