Posted by Ancestry Team on May 14, 2008 in News

In conjunction with the 2008 National Genealogical Society Conference taking place this week in Kansas City, Missouri, Tim Sullivan has published a letter to the genealogy community. In it, Tim highlights several recently released content collections and product enhancements on, and offers insights into new projects on the horizon.

Read the complete letter from Tim here.




  1. Carole

    blah blah blah. Same story different day. I am not impressed. A genealogist does not a merge feature make.

    Now they are going to send emails notifying people that information in other trees is there for the taking?

    Ancestry has been working to improve the system so that entire families can be taken and merged at once? Why doesn’t Ancestry work to speed up their website, instead of leaving the pages to hang and not fully load, or prevent the error messages from coming up. “Error retrieving message” on the message boards, over and over again. Why doesn’t Ancestry work to improve that piece of crap Ancestry Member Tree with the features that your subscribers have been asking for repeatedly? Instead they have their programmers improving the instant theft system of someone else’s trees.

    I am disgusted.

  2. Carole

    This paragraph is directly from’s Terms and Conditions.

    By putting into place the hints merge system, and allowing outside individuals to take content from other submitted trees, it appears that is violating their own Terms.

    From A’s Terms and conditons:
    “User provided content
    Portions of the Service will contain user provided content, to which you may contribute appropriate content. For this content, Ancestry is a distributor only. By submitting content to Ancestry, you grant The Generations Network, Inc., the corporate host of the Service, a license to the content to use, host, distribute that Content and allow hosting and distribution of that Content, to the extent and in that form or context we deem appropriate. Should you contribute content to the site, you understand that it will be seen and used by others under the license described herein. You should submit only content which belongs to you and will not violate the property or other rights of other people or organizations. The Generations Network, Inc. is sensitive to the copyright of others. For more concerning copyright issues, view our corporate policy. We will not edit or monitor user provided content, with the exception that, to promote privacy, an automated filtering tool will be used to suppress, and omit from display, information submitted to the tree areas of the site which appears to pertain to a living person. We also reserves the right to remove any user provided content that comes to our attention and that we believe, in our sole discretion, is illegal, obscene, indecent, defamatory, incites racial or ethnic hatred or violates the rights of others, or is in any other way objectionable.”

  3. Linda

    I don’t see anything that will get me back as a subscriber. I dropped after 10+ years of subscribing due to the declining quality and the focus on luring new genealogist hobbyist by merging data. Those same people have a big mess to clean up. Then there is the new Search beta…where is that going? It has all sorts of unnecessary verbage and the search input takes a lot of extra steps. Same complaints about FTM 2008. After the FTM 2008 fiasco, I don’t understand how Tim maintains his position.

    I will be back only if and when there is a dedication to quality processes, the search processes are more efficient rather than less efficient, and the depth of the content increases.

  4. wrcushing

    Product Enhancements???

    I am still waiting for my Notes from the OFT/AWT to show up on my new Member Tree. They are still buried and it has become a nuisance to deal with this issue.

    So I have reverted to using the OFT/AWT again because the Member Tree is insufficient for my needs. It is far easier to work with the old system than the new Member Tree.

    But in order to maintain my Member Tree also, I have to update each change separately because I cannot upload a new file without deleting all my previous work, photos, stories, etc.

    How is the battle going? When do you think we will be able to put these issues to rest?

  5. blowing your own trumpet again arnt you. the facts have not changed we are still not happy.

    i have been with ancestry since 2000 and until the last two years i was very happy but since the introduction of that crappy pile of s*** ONE WORLD TREE i have been worried

    THE FIRST RULE OF GENEALOGY that you learn is NEVER ASUME back up everything WITH FACTS. but that piece of junk OWT ASUMES and then amalgumates YOUR SUBSCRIBERS trees and presents them so now PEOPLE ACCEPTS THEM AS FACT. Its about time ancestry removes the WHOLE of ONE WORLD TREE.

    as for that other OVER GROWN peice of programing AMT its about time ancestry relized that we your SUBCRIBERS do not want or even NEED the whisles and bells graphics all we want is exactly what the old OLT system provided a functionable tree which was stright forward and informative provided all the info INCLUDING THE SUBMITTERS NOTES and WITHOUT that stupid merg facility and an ALPHABETICAL search feature across all fields except the name of the tree which WE DONT NEED AT ALL. i give up guessing why the name of the tree was deamed so important that it was put in the first posstion at all.

    in the last 5 months i have had to wait for my tree i submitted in a new form to apear the first time 1 month the 2nd time 12 days.

    i am so dissapointed i never build a tree on line at ancestry now. i started my tree using OLT and was happy but AMT stinks its all glitzy and nothing else.

    i did upload photos they now WILL never be re uploaded
    i have whatched 8 years of hard work checking parish regs screwed up by ONE WORLD TREE when it amalgumated two of my ancesters who were born, married and died in ENGLAND with two totaly unconnected except for name not even birth year matched from the USA decared as my ancesters by ONE WORLD TREE and the program behind it said my IMPUTTED DATA WAS WRONG!

    i have read time and time again on these blogs questions possed to the team and it seems never answered. our concernes never addressed

    now how comes there is no link to these blogs from the uk site either

    i bet none of what ever any one puts here even gets mentioned. it will be a case of

    ‘oh well they are sounding off again lets just ignor them’

    am i rigt or not.


    And lastly, we sought to improve our listening skills as a company and to better engage our members in helping shape our products and services. While never satisfied with the speed at which we evolve, I believe we have made substantial progress, and that our recent past and short-term future illustrates some of the most exciting progress we’ve made as a company



  7. Linda

    Tim, you can’t even get quality in your marketing announcements. You say one of the future database is “Cook County, Illinois Birth, Marriage, and Death Records (1871-1988) – This collection of vital records includes 24 million names, beginning in 1871 following the great Chicago fire.” As an Illinois, I was amazed that Cook County would be releasing 1988 birth records when Illinois law would prohibit that release. So, I checked with Cook County Clerk’s office. They said it was up to 1933 (75 year rule), not 1988. If you can’t put quality in the accuracy of your marketing announcements, how can we expect accuracy from your products.

  8. Carole

    I live in Cook County, Illinois, and the Illinois State Death Index is already online from before 1900 through 1948. Pre-1900 records are as complete as any other county from any other state. Not all deaths were recorded.

    Copies of death certificates from 1915 through 1948 or sometimes up until 1950 can be ordered through the Illinois State Genealogical Society. Their webpage has all the information and for simplicity, payment can be made directly to them by paypal.

    There is no limit as to how many death certificates a person can order at one time.

    Marriage records are also available with limitations.

    Copies of all marriage, births and deaths before 1915 are held in archives which for the most part are at various Illinois Universities all over the State of Illinois. These are, again, limited due to the fact that not all of these events were recorded. I am still attempting to locate my husband’s grandparents marriage which I know for a fact occurred in Cook County in 1897 but there is no record of this marriage anywhere and it was not recorded with the county. I am in the very slow process of contacting various German Lutheran churches in the areas where I knew they lived in an attempt to find their marriage.

    So with my experience with the Cook County process, I would love to see what Ancestry actually comes up with.

    If we can get this free on the State website, why should people pay for it?

    This is the same with Missouri State Death records. All of the actual, original death certificates are online at the Missouri website for free. Arizona also provides original death certicates, along with certain other states.

    These are FREE.

  9. Lindy

    I agree, I still have an Ancestry subscription for now but I will not be putting any of my work in the dreadful Ancestry Member Tree unless they have a major rethink. The merge feature is a bad joke. I would prefer them to be putting some effort into their search capability. For example, searching the California Voters list is a waste of effort as any combination of names, part of names, or anything at all shows as a hit, making it useless.

    If Ancestry wants to be a “collect as many names as you can without doing any genuine research” site they can do it without me.

  10. Don’t know where to send this, but if you enter an early birth, marriage or death that has 1748/49 (the double year entry) the edit won’t accept same. Also you might have a space for verification. I have just about all the Plymouth, MA vital records and could document my edits, but no place.

Comments are closed.