Posted by Ancestry Team on July 2, 2008 in Site Features, Website

Today we launched a brand-new home page for logged-in members on  This new page combines the best of the old home page with all of the personalized features and tools that were once a click farther away on the My Ancestry page. 

By combining the two pages into a single new home page, we’ve reduced the number of clicks it takes you go get to the features you use most.  You may have already noticed that since we combined the two pages, there is no longer a separate “My Ancestry” tab, or link in the header. All of the tools and features from the My Ancestry page can now be found on the new home page.

Through surveys and analysis of site activity, we found that Ancestry members want easy access to search and their trees (particularly the pedigree view) and they want information on the newest records and features being added to the site.   Based on this information, we designed a page that puts your trees and search in prominent, easy-to-access positions.

The new “What’s Happening at Ancestry” section informs you of new site features and records. In fact, the “New records on” list is dynamically updated every time we add new records to the site.

What’s Happening at Ancestry

We also found that smaller groups of people have certain areas of the site, like message boards or specific record collections, which they use frequently.  We created the new “My Quick Links” tool to help you quickly navigate to pages of Ancestry, or the rest of the internet, you use most – simply by adding the URL and link name.

My Quick Links

Other tools and features we added to the new home page include your Shoebox, Recent Activity, and a new To-Do list to help you keep your research organized. Links to “People I’m Looking For” and Online Family Tree can also be found on the new home page for our long-time members who still have them.

We are really excited about this new home page and we hope it will help you more quickly navigate to the features on the site you use most.  I welcome any feedback on the new page either via the comments here, or please email me directly at mphilips at


  1. Edith

    The “New Home Page” is terrible. How often does a person “Start a Family Tree”?, this should not be taking up space on the home page. I use the census records more often than any other records, now I have to open another page to get to them. The “Tell us what you think” link on the Home Page has never worked for me, it goes nowhere beyond the first two questions with a Submit button.

  2. I think the new Home Page totally SUCKS!!!! It load a home page for someone I only have access too. It’s not mine. Now you have to go somewhere else to find a census and other things…..Have used Ancestry for about 9 years now and this is the worst change yo’ve made!!!

  3. Johni Cerny

    I hate the homepage! If you have to put that “Family History Site” at the top of the page is annoying. Move it please!

    Why mess with a what already is a good thing?

  4. Joanne Sholes

    I have had my membership for several years and found it so helpful in my research. HOWEVER, your attempts to personalize everything are making me crazy. It seems I am working harder to just get to the basics.

  5. Andy Hatchett


    How many times must you be told we do NOT want these “New Features” !!!

    We want the message boards fixed so they work properly for longer than 15 minutes!

    We want all the mis-indexing fixed!

    We want a search engine that returns reasonable, meaningful results!!

    Then… AND ONLY THEN… you *might* think about new features that help with genealogy rather that trying to make this into a social networking site!

  6. I like the new home page.

    *The Quick Links is Good – I love that I can “bookmark” a data base. One improvement however, would be an easy way to add the databases to the list – perhaps a search feature – instead of having to manually enter the link.
    *I like having the ancestry trees on the page. For folks who use this program as their main family tree software it will be great to have access right there, as well as all the data and links about the tree.
    *I’m also very excited about the to-do list. Having that right next to the “recent activity” will really help to keep researchers on task.
    * I also like how you expanded the “what’s new” section.
    *The only other thing I’d like to see would be a message board section. I’d like to see recent posts from my favorite message boards more than the shoebox section.

    Overall I think that this new design will help folks to stream line their searches and is a good change.

  7. Edith

    If you really want to help us “long time paying subscribers” let us add and delete items for our own home page instead of what you think we need or want.

  8. Lfmccauley

    I totally agree with Joanne that your attempts to personalize everything are making me crazy.

    I now have a tree at the top of the home page THAT IS NOT EVEN MINE! (I don’t have an ancestry tree and never will.) It is a tree for a very distant relative that I looked at once and have no need to ever see again but it will apparently now be in my way forever.

    Edith has a great idea – why not let users decide what we want on the home page? The thing I search most is census records which are no longer on the home page. Your big “improvement” is causing me several extra clicks to get to them – and it will be even more clicks when you force everyone to use your “new search”. Even if you are the only game in town with the volume of actual records, you are about to make it so difficult to get to those records that it won’t be worth the price of a subscription.

  9. Kevin

    I think allowing personalization of the home page is the right direction to go. I love that I don’t have to seek out what’s new any more.

    But if you are going to say this is my personalized page, then you actually need to let me make the choices of what is on MY page. I would love to be able to pick and choose from a list of “widgets” and choose in what order they appear on MY homepage.

    Allowing me to have Quick Links is a really great idea. But, how come there isn’t a button on every page that says “Add this to my Quick Links list”? Making me figure out what the right url is to get to an Ancestry database and then making me type in the name of the collection is lazy on your part. After adding a couple, I decided it was still much much easier to either drag the link to my desktop or bookmark it in my browser.

    I’m also noticing that those Quick Links are listed as they are added. They’re not even sorted. If I actually decided to kill an afternoon and add all my favorite collections, it is going to be very difficult to find anything and make the whole thing pretty pointless. And why not allow me to organize my favorite links into sections?

    You almost got me this morning – I started typing in a name to search for and then saw the default button – “Start Your Tree”. Nice try! Enough with the Start your Tree banners and boxes already! Your new tree service is kludgy, slow and painful to navigate. It’s not for me. Stop bombarding me! Let me choose not to have that on MY homepage. I understand you are on a mission to grab as many gedcoms as you can – you think it’ll make your site more valuable, but spend those marketing and technical resources you’re using to advertise your tree service on actually making it something I want to use.

    I too already really miss having direct links to the census years. I click on one of those every day. Sure I can add all of them to my quick links, but see above. This would make a great “widget”. It’s like you want to make it easy for the ultra-casual genealogist at the expense of making it harder for everyone else. Maybe I just don’t get your target audience.

    Sometimes I wonder if you guys actually use your own site to do genealogy research.

    BTW, I absolutely still think you have the best content out there. And I’ll continue to be a long-time subscriber primarily because of that.

  10. Nan Lambert

    There are not (polite) words to express how much I hate this newest junk you have inflicted on us. And the first thing that jumps out at my on the page is not even MY tree!

    If this doesn’t go away, you’re losing this World Deluxe subscriber. I will not have to wade through that junk every time I need a census record.

  11. Nick

    whatever you did is horrible.
    unless it is fixed I’m not reinlisting. I can’t do newspaper searches anymore. Nothing works. I can’t get rid of this terrible homepage

  12. I want to add “me too” to everything Kevin said. Google can do it, Facebook can do it…..

    Why do I want someone else’s tree taking up all the space on a page supposedly for ME? I want the searches up top, because that’s what I use Ancestry for.

  13. Lucianne

    I’m not exactly trying to side with Ancestry here, because I too have plenty of problems with them, but do all you people always have to be complaining? Every time I visit this blog I see someone shouting/whining in the comments. I grant you Ancestry messes things up sometimes, and I personally would like to see them change their trees system if they feel like changing something–but look at it this way. Ancestry has the largest historical records collection on the internet. True, sometimes reading their transcriptions I have a feeling the indexers must have been thinking from within the elderberry when they wrote that, but that’s what happens when you start going on a corporate scale such as Ancestry is, you start to have some errors. But the fact remains, where else are you going to get this much information for your money, and from the comfort of your desk? Just have patience, let Ancestry know (civilly) what you’d like to see changed, and keep on submitting those corrections. I have done so.

    Ancestry is not perfect, but it’s better than going all over the country looking for records. But hey, if you don’t like Ancestry, don’t patronize them. I will wager most of the people complaining on this blog will keep their subscriptions in the end.

  14. M Carter

    I think the new Home Page is terrible. The family tree that keeps bogging me down, is not mine. I do get updates to this tree in my e-mail, but I just delete it. However, when I try to access historic records, this family tree pops up and bogs me down. I want to work fast, and this only slows the process of working through the records. Please take it it off.
    By the way, I tried numerous times to “Tell us what you think” and keep getting an error message on the page….also frustrating. I believe this was a terrible idea. I have answered your surveys many many times, and never once thought that a Homepage was a good idea, or that I would use it. I’m ready to give up my genealogy habit.

  15. Robin

    I like the new “View people with hints” option. The thing I don’t like about it is that when you are finished with the hint, it does not allow you to go back to the “View people with hints” page…you are in the tree instead and have to navigate back to the list.

    I do miss seeing the people I have invited to my main tree as well. I don’t like navigating anywhere to see it.

    One thing I think would also be helpfull is if there was a way to see how I am linked to any one particular person in my tree.

    I also agree with Edith in that it would be nice to add what we want to our home page so as individuals we can have the stuff at hand we use the most.

  16. Linda


    You are mistaken in that most people who complain will keep Ancestry. I for one dropped my 10+ year subscription in April. I know there are others that took that step or will when their subscription expires next. I would hope TGN has an interest in addressing the concerns of the long term users.

    I monitor the “new features” and changes to see if there has been value added and if there are signs that TGN will reverse the declining quality and go in a direction that makes sensible to the long time users as well as the new subscribers.

    There are many valid complaints aired here regarding the Home page. Quite frankly, I haven’t been happy with the home page for a long time and never saw any value in the My Ancestry tab that was there before. I see even less value in the new home page.

    1. So when we go to the 1st time or the 100th time, we have the home page with the “Start your tree” consuming web page “real estate” on top. Won’t use that feature and never will! If I come back, it will be for RESEARCH, not giving my gedcom to TGN.

    2. So we scroll down and have the search option which defaults on “Family Trees”. I changed it to Historical Records and Exact Search only but it doesn’t always hold those settings. I think it has something to do with the “New Search” option.

    3. Home pages are usually customizable. So we get to add links but you have to go copy and paste the link and come back. But that is not enough customization to add value.

    4. I would like a home page to save some steps in my processes. For example, long ago I was able to enter a board name directly without drilling down to the message home page. You might argue I could now use the custom links which would be o.k. for a few commonly used boards. But I don’t want to go through all that work of copying, pasting, and naming for some boards that I may access only a couple times every month or two.

    5. Oh, by the way, the custom list is not sortable so the value of it is not that great. I also can’t change a link name. I have to delete, read and rename. It also doesn’t check for duplicates.

    No, I don’t get it. The value is not there for me as an experienced genealogy researcher. I can’t believe that the survey group fairly represents the long term users. As was said by others, please concentrate on the quality vs. changing the interface to something that reduces value and adds steps.

  17. Jade

    Maybe for people who use a global search your Home Page is somewhat useful.

    Unfortunately many of the results from this are Trees, nearly all of which are copies from other gedcoms and totally useless for research purposes.

    The ‘what’s happening’ section does not list the latest-uploaded databases.

    There is no reason at all to put ‘frequent searches’ on such a page. We have browsers that keep bookmarks on our own computers. When the Ancestry computers go into molasses mode, who wants to have to go through an additional interface to get to search links.

    Personally I have bookmarked the DATA sections I use most frequently: census, the court records and vital records databases, military records and the subject card file. And the ‘latest additions’ page that I check maybe every couple of weeks.

    The Start A Tree thing should not be at the top of the page. There could be a link to it, but not the form taking up all that space, making the user scroll down for something of substance.

    In short, there is nothing helpful there for me, and it is an annoyance for many.

  18. JP


    “But hey, if you don’t like Ancestry, don’t patronize them. I will wager most of the people complaining on this blog will keep their subscriptions in the end.”

    Wrong! I complained for at least two years regarding the loss of quality control, degration of information, disappearance of information that used to be there and no real quality data being added. Census indexes are just the tip of the iceburg.

    During those two years I mostly did lookups for others, giving ancestry a chance to get their act together.

    I finally cancelled my susbriction this spring after 10+ years.

    I also gave two years after they started going down the tubes and cancelled there quite a while ago.

    The interesting thing to me is that ancestry was doing just fine until they hooked up with

    I had to go look at the “improved” home page that everyone was complaining about.

    Surprise, surprise. The first thing you see is “Start your family tree”. The second thing you see is “Search family trees”.

    ancestry BROKE a long time PROMISE the second they started selling user provided infomation.

    It’s looks at though selling user proved information is the business they are heading for exclusively and are no longer interested in people who actually want to do research themselves, especially those who have been at it a while.

    I paid for years for some information that was announced as complete but still has programming errors and is inaccesible. I expect a free pass for that information when and if they ever get fixed.

    Promises have been broken, which I consider the same as a lie. Announcements regarding the completion of certain databases were and are still false. I have been out and out lied to regarding regarding my US Records Subscrition.

    I’ve had my all inclusive subscription changed to a non all inclusive subscrition and then when what they took out of my first subscription was paid for as a second subscrition, I was once again all inclusive and guess what – it was once again changed to a non all inclusive!

    This last subscription contains databases that I had no use for. I had and still have them somewhere else. They work better and are more complete than at ancestry. BUT if I wanted access to what I originally signed up for, I had to pay for the additional databases that I was able to opt out of before.

    All inclusive, does not actually mean all inclusive. Complete does not necessarily mean complete nor does it mean it will ever be complete, at least not in a timely manner. I would think that 2 to 3 years should be sufficient time. Coming soon doesn’t mean necessarily coming in a timely manner.

    If you want window dressing changes all the time – even if they don’t work or make your search harder, or if you are only interested in user provided trees, then ancestry is a good place to be at this time.

    In the old days it was easy to recommend ancestry. These days I could recommend ancestry to a complete newby, but that reommendation would come with some very strong cautions.

  19. Lucianne


    “The first thing you see is ‘Start your family tree’. The second thing you see is ‘Search family trees’. ancestry BROKE a long time PROMISE the second they started selling user provided infomation.”

    I notice you don’t mention what evidence you have of this sort of thing going on. I have heard that some Ancestry Family Trees are compiled in OWT, but that is not the same as selling user-provided information, and even so, is there not the option to avoid such compilation by choosing a Personal Member Tree? If you have good reason to believe some sort of unauthorized copying of users’ information is going on, why not come out and elaborate on the subject?

  20. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments and feedback on the new home page. I wanted to take a moment to address some of the comments posted here.

    One of the main concerns expressed is the loss of the links to individual census years or other record collections on the new home page. As we were researching what members wanted and needed most from a new home page, we found that many members have specific records (like certain census years, or state-specific BMD records) or areas of the site (like message boards they administer, etc.) that they use a lot and want to quickly navigate to. As you can imagine, everyone is different and there was no way we could design one page that had all of the links that would meet the individual needs of each member. That’s why we created the My Quick Links tool.

    With this tool, you can add the URL of any page on Ancestry, give it a name, and have quick access from your home page to whatever record or page you want. You can add a link by clicking the “Add a link” button. Thanks to the feedback posted here, we are looking into how we can create an easier way to quickly add Ancestry links to My Quick Links without copying and pasting a URL. We’re also working to allow you to put them in the order you want.

    Some of you also had helpful comments about the new tree section of the page. We appreciate the feedback and are working to further refine this section to make sure that it is as useful as possible to those who use member trees, without getting in the way of those who don’t.

  21. Chris

    Melissa, just how do you expect people to add pages to My Quick Links, if we can’t FIND the damn pages in the first place?

  22. JP


    Can you find a tree at ancestry – whether it be OWT, AWT, the personal or public trees or any other one, that is not user provided information?

    You won’t find one.

  23. Mary Beth Marchant

    AWFUL, AWFUL, AWFUL. That is my reaction to this newest mess that has been foisted off on us. I absolutely refuse to use that crap. I set my link to ancestry go directly to the census page and bypass the mess. Why, oh why do you people at Ancestry do these things. You are driving away long time researchers by the bucketfuls. My guess is you are trying to get rid of serious researchers as you turn this site in “Facebook trees”. Enough already.

  24. Mary Beth Marchant

    By the way, when I logged on this morning at AOL and found this mess, all I got on my home page was gibberish.

  25. Anja

    I like the “View people with hints” feature. I think it’s important that i am able to quickly go back to the overview with the hints and work my way from one to the next without having to navigate back to the main page.

    I am mostly working with the german ancestry page, will these changes be implemented on the german page aswell?

    – Anja

  26. Ed

    All I want is my tree-not a new tree.For someone with limited computer skills this has me beat.

  27. Lucianne


    “Can you find a tree at ancestry – whether it be OWT, AWT, the personal or public trees or any other one, that is not user provided information? You won’t find one.”

    JP, I am quite aware that OWT and its like is user-provided information, and I never said it was not as such. Possibly I misunderstood your post. What I heard is that you’re accusing Ancestry of distributing user-provided information which the said users may not want randomly shared and copied.

    Now, if you were saying that too much of Ancestry’s data is user-provided and therefore likely to have errors, well, that’s a fact of life. Nobody said we had to view other people’s trees or pay attention to the data they include. True, Ancestry is charging its users for access to records they may never view, but that’s their policy. I’m not exactly a fan of it, and I’m sure a lot of other Ancestry subscribers aren’t fans of it, but they’re still subscribing, aren’t they? Ancestry must be doing something right, else they would not have become the extensive corporate enterprise they are now. Everyone, I’m sure, is going to argue with me and say, well, Ancestry is going downhill, they USED to be quality but not anymore. It’s true that they have their problems, but they are still the preferred site in online genealogy research for a lot of people, including myself. In short, not everybody likes everything about Ancestry, but the thousands of subscribers out there obviously agree that the pros outweigh the cons.

  28. Anita Short

    In case you don’t “get it” Ancestry laid a “bomb” with the new format.

    If you would spend as much time putting useful information on the site, as you spend thinking up these “bombs,” the site might amount to something.

    This is like a “five sided wheel” it sure doesn’t roll.

    I am so aggravated with this “new” look, I can hardly type this!!

  29. beckyh37

    Would you please give me back the old home page. I do not like your new home page in any way. I don’t understand how you are supposed to get into particular section such as Military. You don’t have it on the quick link so how do I get to it????
    Why would you use it when the most comments from people is negative.

  30. Athena

    This whole thing is optimized for people who are building their trees online — IOW relatively inexperienced researchers. Anyone who uses an application program to manage his/her data locally simply doesn’t count.

    As others have stated, the trees I have posted aren’t for my ressearch at all; they represent branches that I may have uploaded to share with others at one time or another. Or, they might be there as sources for Ancestry Press projects. In other words, I do not want them sitting there taking up valuable screen space each and every time I come to

    Between the stupid tree area and the rotating advertisements, the landing area has zero useful information for me. I heartily dislike being forced to scroll down “below the fold” to get to anything of interest to me. I too would much rather have webparts that would allow me to chose which modules to see and where. In my own case, “My Trees” would be a low priority link.

  31. Nelda Percival

    I pay for world wide access at about 35.00 a month.. Been here since 1999… I am having a terrible time even getting on my page due to the junk /graphics and other changes you have made. Not all of us out here have a fast internet service. I live where there is ONLY dial up..
    I do not want a fancy page I do not want easy access to my areas .. I know where they are. Are you saying I’m to lazy to access my items. that they have to be at finger tips.. Oh come off it… this is CRAP! I want my normal page. The way it is now I’d rather go somewhere else and take my DNA study with me…and my about $400.00 a year with me too…
    Nelda L. Percival
    I once would have stood up for telling and showing people where they had made errors in thinking Ancestry sucked, but now I’d have to agree. I’m going to look see where I can get records with out dealing with your company, I don’t have time to wait the 15-20 minutes it took my webpage to come up in my browser since you changed it…

  32. Rob

    The new home page is much slower in Firefox version 3 (loading icon spinning forever, even after I cleared the caches, cookies and settings). However, it went perfectly fine under Safari ver. 3 (quicker, smoother).

    BUT… why I cannot have both Firefox and Safari running under my account at the same time? I wanted to see how both browsers perform while doing some works. Under Safari, I got a page that tell me that someone else have logged on to my account under my computer, whereas, in fact, I AM logged on to via Firefox. It treated the whole thing as single license usage issue since both browsers are running from one computer (mine), not two computers. I think it’s ridiculous.

  33. You guys surely hired the guy that formatted What a fiasco! Listen to the people on this blog – get back to the basics. We want what we pay for – not the garbage that you decided we needed to see. Most of us are smarter than the average bear and know how to find the “family tree” section if we need it. When researchers are working on what they need to do, the last thing they want is an interruption. And that is exactly how I view your new format – it is a “in-your-face rude interruption.”

    Faye Jarvis Moran

  34. Response to Lucianne who posted July 2nd. has the largest collection of genealogical material because people like US have paid for it with our membership fees – for me it is pretty close to $5,000 (or less if my husband reads this). Who do you think pays for this site – THEM or US?

  35. Erlyne

    I’m lost!! please give me the old set up. I hate this new version. After the many years I have been your customer, I maybe leaving after this year. I’ve always loved working on and felt it was a wonderful, but this new set up is too confusing for us old people. Sorry Folks I don’t like it.

  36. Kathy

    I absolutely dislike the new home page.

    I tried the link to the Texas Births and the Search has been changed. So much I would pick the month and day from drop down lists and add year. Now to search by exact date I have to type in the date of birth. There used to be separate boxes for given and surname for child, mother and father. Now it’s 1 line for each.

  37. Jo

    Dear Melissa Philips:

    I was trying to ignore it, and doing a pretty good job, too, until I tried to attach a record from the W.W.I Honor Roll (the official list of those who died in service to our country during W.W.I). It will only attach as a citation for residence, not for death…and for 1920, when he died in 1918.

    That’s just the last straw for me today. This used to be fun but now it’s full of frustration. I used to look forward to coming here every day but now I feel distrustful of what’s going to be different the next time I sign in. (It’s similar to the feeling I had after my apartment was robbed.) I used to feel good making corrections so other people could find badly indexed records but now I feel resentful because I spend so much time doing it, I feel like you (meaning Ancestry) should pay me instead of me paying you. Plus, the more time I spend correcting your work, the less I have to spend on my own research, which, by the way, takes SO much time because of the IDIOTIC indexing errors (Why is the second letter of the surname, usually a vowel that is clearly visible, left out so often? I don’t even correct them anymore, there are too many and I don’t have time; and why can’t I search with just the first initial of a name? Why must I have at least 3 letters to do a wildcard search when that’s exactly where so many indexing errors are found? I could bypass so many of those stupid errors that way without having to start at the As all the time and work my way through the entire alphabet! But I digress.) Add to that frustration the slow loading graphics, the non-loading pages, the malfunctioning features, the incomprehensible navigation, not to mention having to relearn where things are and how they work all over again after every unexpected change! If it wasn’t so sad it would be laughable that you call the new landing page the “home page” because Ancestry feels like anything BUT home now…it feels like a stranger’s house.

    I want access to all these records, I really do, but I don’t know if my health can withstand this constant bombardment of stress. My membership will be up for renewal in September or October. I don’t think you can fix everything by then but I sure do hope there is some sign that things are improving or I may just have to take a vacation from you for a while.

    Of course, now that I’ve ‘said my piece’ I can’t post it because that function doesn’t work for me on the blog site for some inexplicable reason (not that anyone’s ever tried to explain it) but oh well. I’ll email it to you and post it somewhere so you’ll be sure to see it somehow. At least some employee will because I don’t think it really much matters anymore.

    Oh, and can you please have someone fix the W.W.I Honor Roll so it attaches properly as a death citation? Thanks. I can’t find a place to let you know about technical problems like this anymore. You must have moved that again, too.


  38. Jo

    Wow! It worked. If anyone else has the problem of not being able to “see” the “Send” or “Post” button for some reason, just hit “Tab” and then “Enter” and it will post. I also composed my piece elsewhere, then copied and pasted it here since I can’t see the bottom or right side of this message box. Jo

  39. Carol

    I want the “my Ancestry” tab back. I work on 5 trees and I want to pick the one I want at any time. Two of my trees are MISSING in my profile. I don’t like the new home page much. It doesn’t suit my working style or my needs. However nost people who are handicapped learn to deal with their handicaps, but that doesn’t mean they like them!

  40. Luis Bonark

    “Ancestry is not perfect, but it’s better than going all over the country looking for records”

    That seems to be the excuse you keep trotting out. Sorry, but it does not excuse their utter incompetence and disrespect for users.

  41. M Carter

    I By-Pass the Homepage by bookmarking the Search page….just have to remember to go to “Favorites” in my browser, instead of typing in “” in the address or “Home” within the site.

    I’m glad some folks like the new format. We should have an individual option of having a homepage, or not.

    When the tree that must take time to load is not mine, I am very annoyed and often lose my train of thought as I wait. It’s worse than banners.

  42. Athena

    “I By-Pass the Homepage by bookmarking the Search page”

    The Search page has been messed up too. Contrary to what Melissa said, it now takes many, many more clicks to get to the database you want.

    I used to click on the state at the bottom of the page and 75% of the time, I would just have to click on one of the “top” [state] databases.

    Things are much less efficient now: I have to click, click, click … to narrow the list to USA, then [state], then finally to the kind of record I want.

    What is really insulting, is that “feedback” has been rigged to elicit only the responses that TGN wants to see. The surveys don’t address any of my issues and there is no opportunity for me to input my concerns. What kind of confidence can anyone have in a design process based on this kind of survey?

  43. Karen

    The new home page is hugely inefficient. I don’t see any way to turn off all the “loading” blocks. Why are we all forced to sit through this, whether or not we want to get involved with an uploaded tree? And once they do load, I have to scroll down the page to get to anything useful.

    Why don’t we have something in our profile that indicates whether or not we want these time wasting features on *our* home pages? Instead of assuming what I want there, why don’t you just let me choose?

  44. Jade

    After a second look at the new Home Page:

    If you want to make it personalizable, enable eliminating the ‘start a tree’ box completely, enable eliminating the ‘what’s happening at ancestry’ box or at least enable that box to include *links* to key databases in addition to the actual listing of newly-added databases.

    Or at least make it a gateway to research at Ancestry. Provide links to the basic database categories. Not the ones in your tabs at the global search box, but Card Catalogue, Military Records, Court and Probate Records, Vital Records, Newspapers, Census Records, etc., which are not all that easy to find in the present setup. Look at the Rootsweb Home Page – a lot more access and much more user-friendly.

    Oh, and the ‘let us know what you think’ survey from Home Page does not display correctly in IE6: cannot scroll down to bottom of first page, so cannot continue the survey beyond the first 2 questions; and it is not resizeable either. So you will not be getting feedback from folks running older computers with IE6. That’s pretty self-selecting, don’t you think?

  45. Verna L. Allen

    How do I get my own personal tree to come-up on the home page automatically? I understand why the changes & I like most of them; but a person’s own personal tree should automatically come up on the home page.

  46. Lucianne

    Luis writes:

    “‘Ancestry is not perfect, but it’s better than going all over the country looking for records’ That seems to be the excuse you keep trotting out. Sorry, but it does not excuse their utter incompetence and disrespect for users.”

    I didn’t say it did. Personally, like Jo said, I don’t care for the way they have you post comments. And I don’t like the way I’m always waiting for the family view in trees, and I think they ought to have two fields for names in the search like they used to, I’m not really comfortable with having one field; and I kind of have a problem with the wildcards too and oh yes, clicking is so annoying. However, I do like the fact that Ancestry has saved me untold time in my research. What’s really frustrating is waiting months to make a simple research trip for census records (which, by the way, are almost impossible to search without indexes), because you’re on a tight schedule. The trip may not ever get done at all. And I speak as someone whose research mostly involves the same state I live in. Never mind, for example, those people in California with ancestors from Maine. So yes, I wish they’d fix some things, there are problems a lot more urgent than site navigation as a matter of fact, but overall Ancestry is a boon to genealogists, and furthermore I think if you want to discuss changes that should be made, you should focus on something more important instead of sitting here quibbling about how you have to click too much to get here or there.

  47. shineymoon

    As usual, a bunch of new crap from Ancestry. But who really cares about the home page? Only those brand new to the site.

    Those of us who have been using Ancestry for a long time just bookmark the pages of interest and go directly to them. I haven’t looked at Ancestry’s home page in years (not exagerating!) If I hadn’t noticed mention of the new page on the Ancestry Improvements boards, I would never have known it had changed.

    I’d love to know what “surveys” Melissa is talking about. I suspect they are surveys of Ancestry’s development team, who dream up changes to the site to keep themselves employed.

    Want to improve things, Ancestry developers? Bring back the obituaries notifier. That hasn’t worked in years.

    Here’s another thought: Allow board and list administrators to have separate IDs from their subscribed IDs so that they can keep their volunteer work separate from their research. We used to be able to easily do this, but since RootsWeb’s integration into Ancestry, this has been made incredibly difficult.

    Finally, how about paying some attention to all those that labour for free for you? I think board administrators have gone beyond fed up. I know I have.

  48. njitaliana

    The new page layout is terrible. I can’t figure out how to invite people to see my tree. I cannot figure out how to see the list of people who have already been invited. And “customer service” won’t tell me. They just tell me to hunt here on this blog. The entire thing is useless.

  49. njitaliana

    I am so lost. What happened to the section where I can see who I invited to my tree? How do I invite someone to my tree?? HELP.

    I won’t even know how to find this page again to see if someone responds. This is awful.

  50. Karen

    “…and furthermore I think if you want to discuss changes that should be made, you should focus on something more important instead of sitting here quibbling about how you have to click too much to get here or there.”

    Um…the whole point of the blog — The whole point of this blog article is the new home page and the discussion here is supposed to focus on whether or not users actually find it helpful. It is not “quibbling” to respond to Melissa’s message with direct feedback about the extent to which some users find the home page changes dysfunctional.

    The is to supposed to provide managers of specific features at TGN with an opportunity interact with users about those features. The feature in this case is the home page.

  51. Edith

    Hello fellow genealogists, it looks as if we are going to be stuck with the “New Home Page” but we don’t have to ever see it or use it. I have always had a link to Ancestry on my desktop which opened the home page. That is changing today, my link will now open on the search page. Almost every link we need is listed to the right of the search form, choose the link you need, right click on it then click on “Open in New Window”, this keeps your search page open for additional link openings.

    The search page is here:

    When you get it open go to the top left of your browser page and click on File, in the drop down list, put your pointer on Send, then move pointer to the right and click on Shortcut to Desktop. This will add an icon to your desktop. You can right click on the icon then click on Rename, the words will turn blue, hit your delete key then type any name you choose in the space.

    Good luck everyone, I hope this helps lower the blood pressure on a lot of you, I know it helped mine.

  52. I’ve seen a few complaints that folks can’t see who they’ve invited to their trees or don’t know how to invite new people.

    All you have to do is go to the Home tab on your tree. There’s a section labeled “People You’ve Invited” that has all of this.

  53. PEOPLE!

    It doesn’t matter one whit if we like or dislike any of the changes that Ancestry has inflicted upon us. They ignore what we have to say, and continue on their current course of change and destruction.

    For the life of me, I can’t figure out what their brains are thinking or who they think they are catering to, unless it is the genealogy deficient crowd – attempting to draw in a new breed of researchers, which appears to be the total and complete inexperienced breed.

    I have had it. My subscription is up for renewal in two months and I am not renewing it. I can access marriage, birth and death records through GenWeb sites and County websites. I can buy a library card for less than my Ancestry subscription costs, and access census reports online through them.
    I can also access all newspapers records through my library, and through Godfrey Memorial Library website (subscription required).

    I can get burial information from books and websites.

    Ancestry has NOTHING to offer except fancy schmancy graphics that take FOREVER to load, even with my cable broadband connection.

    This new homepage is terrible but we can’t do anything about it. Complain all we want, but that homepage is here to stay.

    These blogs are useless. All they are is an announcement page for them. They don’t care what we have to say, because nothing changes.

  54. Lucianne


    >>“…and furthermore I think if you want to discuss changes that should be made, you should focus on something more important instead of sitting here quibbling about how you have to click too much to get here or there.”
    Um…the whole point of the blog — The whole point of this blog article is the new home page and the discussion here is supposed to focus on whether or not users actually find it helpful. It is not “quibbling” to respond to Melissa’s message with direct feedback…The is to supposed to provide managers of specific features at TGN with an opportunity interact with users about those features. The feature in this case is the home page.

    Karen, I hate superfluous clicking just as much as any other respectable human being. My point is that everyone seems to think that because Ancestry is not perfect it is worthless. Although we may positively hate these new changes (my personal opinion is that things are no better or worse with the new homepage), it’s not the end of the world. Here are quotes from various comments on this article:

    “I have had it. My subscription is up for renewal in two months and I am not renewing it.”

    “I want access to all these records, I really do, but I don’t know if my health can withstand this constant bombardment of stress.” (Sure hope this was hyperbole.)

    “I used to look forward to coming here every day but now I feel distrustful of what’s going to be different the next time I sign in. (It’s similar to the feeling I had after my apartment was robbed.)”

    “I’m ready to give up my genealogy habit.”

    “Ancestry has NOTHING to offer except fancy schmancy graphics that take FOREVER to load, even with my cable broadband connection.”

    “Most of us are smarter than the average bear and know how to find the “family tree” section if we need it.”

    Please get over it, folks.

  55. Karen

    “My point is that everyone seems to think that because Ancestry is not perfect it is worthless.”

    No one said that. What some people have said is that this latest change is the breaking point for them. This happens to be the most appropriate venue for them to make their feelings known (the and they have every right to state that here or elsewhere.


  56. I’ve seldom been so furious in my life as when the new home page came up. Does have any concept how seriously we hard core researchers take this genealogy stuff? (grin!)

    But my initial concern was not so much how awful the new home page is (and it is truly awful). I’m willing to ignore how awful the page is provided that I can get to the actual databases just like I always could and do useful searches just like I always could. What I found was that the new home page was preventing me from getting to the actual databases. I simply couldn’t find anything anymore. The new “improved” searching tools are totally useless from my perspective, and I couldn’t find a way to get to the old searching tools, or even a way to get directly to a database to browse it without searching. It’s hard to describe why it is that I find the new searching tools to be so awful, and I’m sure the programmers are very proud of them. I just bet that none of the programmers are themselves serious researchers who want to work with real data instead of somebody else’s buggy tree. The new searching tools and the new home page really, really get in the way of getting to real data. So to me, not being able to get to real data was the issue, not whether or not the home page sucks.

    The only reason I haven’t cancelled my subscription already is that I discovered that the Search tab restores me to pretty much what I had before. The only thing I don’t like about the Search tab is that it doesn’t have the nice and compact list of census years. With the Search tab, it’s a lot more clicks to get to the census year I want. But as long they don’t take the Search tab away from me, I will probably keep my subscription.

    I was not surprised to see the new home page. That’s because I actually did take one of the online surveys. That’s probably the “surveys” they are talking about. It was very clear to me in taking the survey that it was what politicians call a push survey. That is, the questions were clearly designed to try to elicit the responses that ancestry wanted to elicit. And the questions were clearly designed to push the idea that was becoming a Facebook or a MySpace for genealogy, rather than being a research site for genealogy. So when it happened, I wasn’t surprised. I was just furious.

    I would echo the following from previous posts: 1) I’ve got a tree from another user on my home page, it’s taking up half my page, and I can’t get rid of it, 2) in fairness to the Quicklinks thing is a good idea, but the current implementation is useless, 3) move all that myancestry junk back onto the myancestry tab where it belongs and don’t bother me with it, 4) the very best thing ancestry could do for us would be to improve the indexes and to get rid of the ridiculous three character limit on the use of wildcards, 5) give us back the compact list of census years (if you won’t put it on the main home page, at least put it on the Search tab), 6) I must have either the old home page or else the Search tab. If I don’t have one or the other, I will cancel my subscription.

  57. Oh, I don’t know what to say, it kind of took me with surprise. I feel lost. And I do not want the family trees on top! I don’t use them! I actually don’t like them! They’re not really made for people outside of the US either. Fix that!
    I do research every day and I don’t need the fancy features, I need to get to the info right away! Quick links is a good idea though, might use that.

    Still, I think you’re the best, even if I’m going to be a little ***** for a while and it’s too “commercial and fancy” for me.

  58. Linda Davenport

    I’ve been with for quite a few years but your new format is wasting my time. When I switch to the ‘old format’ I find that no one named Smith exists anywhere. If I could locate a phone number, I would cancel right this minute. You have wasted my time, money, and energy.

  59. Jackie

    I don’t like the new home page.
    If doesn’t go back to the old one, I’m going to cancel my subscription. I hope you people at are reading the complaints, because there are alot of them, and you are going to loose customers, including me.

  60. hank

    The home page is not user freiendly at all, I just want to look at the census information. It loaded someone elses page and then I keep getting emails which I don’t want. I’ve never put a tree on Ancestry and never will. You’ve taken something that was easy to use and pushed it way over to hard to use. I’m considering not keeping up the subscription if this is not dealt with. Thanks

  61. cowfordlady

    After years of using the home page at, I’ve changed my bookmark so it won’t go to the home page anymore. I think it sucks that they cluttered up the home page with stuff I seldom use (Family Tree Activity and Shoebox), or will NEVER use (the ToDo List), but they didn’t give me the option to not display those features.

    The MOST ANNOYING new feature is the ToDo List — I can’t print or sort the list, and I can’t edit or prioritize an item! It may be helpful to some users, but I have many tasks to complete for many ancestors (some of which aren’t even my ancestors, just research I’m doing for friends). A spreadsheet is a better format for me to use, so I’ll never use this ToDo List!

  62. I hate the new home page. The family tree is not even mine. I don’t like having to scroll down past all the junk to get to the Census inquiry section. How do I get rid of the tree? We should at least have the option of what we want on the home page if you’re going to make these changes.

  63. Your research found that people want easy access to search… but now one must scroll down to do a search. The easy access was given to “start a family tree” And the “how do you like it?” survey was not a survey of how users liked the page at all. A very disappointing change.

  64. Jay

    Why do you insist on making second rate software?
    You really need a change at the top to prevent tarnishing good useful products!

    I’m still not using FTM2008 and kept my previous version.

  65. Mike

    This new format is not easier. Where is the easy access we once had to the Census records? Why can’t I go back to the old way? I followed your instructions to click on the search tab but beyond that nothing works. I feel like we are having this shoved down our throats wether we like it or not.

  66. Judy

    I HATE the new Home Page and want the old system back. I am only a member of these personal sites for one-time research. If we have our names deleted from the personal sites, I wonder if it will revert back to the normal log-in page. I have e-mailed ancestry with this question, but will follow up on Monday with a call.

  67. bettina kesteloot

    You asked for it. You insist on inserting a family tree that is not mine on the top of the page. I DID give most of the information to the poster, but it is definitely not mine.

    I’ve used “Ancestry” for about six years. In those years I’ve entered over thirty years of research data, as well as new data as I’ve found it. My personal database, on FTM, is now just shy of 179,000 souls, somehow all related. And, no, that is not a typo. It is a real number.

    Unfortunately, “Ancestry” is the only game in town when it come to census records, particularly pre 1850 records.

    The new home page stinks. They insist on placing someone else’s family tree on the top, which takes forever to load. And, how on earth do I access pre-1850 census records? Your guess is as good as mine.

    In all of my research, I refuse to say anything that I cannot prove. My notes include cemetary and census reading transcriptions. I don’t need their bleeping shoebox.

    Like the man said, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” The new home page is a disaster–fruit salad when I am looking for a specific individual. I don’t need every single TITUS individual born in New York State. I DO need the person for whom I am looking.

    I WAS going to give this date to both “Ancestry” and the LDS Church, since so much of it seems to be new information that no one else has ever put together. However, this change has caused me to retink my position–and I just bought the discs and mailers!

    As it stands now, unless something is done, and done quickly, I will be forced to resign from some DAR offices, because I am no longer able to do my job–helping prospective members prove their lineages. In addition, if this mess continues, I will be forced to cancel my once valueable subscription, since it is no longer useable.

    They have taken a site that was relatively easy to navigate, and created a mess.


  68. Kathy

    I really can’t stand the new home page. I hate having someone’s tree at the top of the page that I have looked at several times. It’s not even mine. I do love having the quick links, but please change things back to where they were easy for EVERYONE to access – and not just people who have home pages or trees, etc. I have been a member since before 2000, and this is the worse upgrade you’ve ever done.

  69. Donna Dallman

    Well, it may be that I work differently than everyone else, but I don’t mind the new home page at all. In fact, I spent a lot of time “going to the second page”. I LIKE that both pages are on the front page now. I understand what others are saying, and certainly see their point, but I am doing just fine adjusting to the new home page.

    The only thing I want IS TO BE ABLE TO MERGE TWO INDIVIDUALS TO FIX THE DOUBLES that I pick up due to wrong spellings, titles, etc. in your hints.

    For instance, I learned that John Lord Plantagenet, and John of Gaunt are the same person. I learned this after putting in two whole families, and I found the information on a Google Search, that told me I had doubled the whole family line!!!! It is strange that I had to go to Google to find mistakes in

    I spend ALL OF MY TIME fixing and deleting and pulling the doubled name into the right spot.
    I have over 31,000 names in my tree, and it takes all of my time, trying to keep it straight and accurate.
    (I spend my days putting in 5 names in one place, then deleting 4 names in another place. I would think this would be called ‘going in circles’)

    And if I ever get finished with all of the fixing, trying to keep a clean, neat, accurate tree = THEN, I would be complaining about the same problems as the other customers mentioned = of the results of the searches, which are ridiculous. When I KNOW that my William Ainsworth is born in Mass in 1822, I don’t think I should have to go through 20 pages of England census!

    I have been told that the “merge two individuals” is on the list. Well, how far down the list is it?
    Will I live long enough to see it happen?

  70. sickles

    Ditch the new homepage or at least provide the option to choose the old one. This new home page is cluttered with “trivia”.

  71. Karen

    The various suggestions about bookmarking the Search page miss the point: I want an entry point that will let me know what has been added and provide a simple way to get to different features –otherwise known as a home page; . What I do not want, is to have my time wasted with an unwanted “tree box” that takes extra seconds to load and crowds out information I do want to see.

  72. Jan did a survey and found that the greatest majority of people using their site want these features; i.e. the folks who think you can “get back ten generations in one afternoon,” those who are not interested in real records (some of which ancestry DOES have) and have never looked at census. Those who will pass on to another hobby pretty soon and leave their downloaded, undocumented, fanciful trees of tens of thousands of people, floating out there in space forever. The majority rules. Those of us who want to use the census and other transcribed records will move on, using the LDS indexed and digitized records. I do hope we are all volunteering to help with that? It’s free, too. For those who complain about paying for sites and insist “genealogy should be free,” we should all think about contributing to such an effort – especially as USGenWEb, the original free stuff, is getting swallowed up and dispersed to unfindable sites.

  73. Rufus Caldwell

    Well ancestry did it again, they took a perfectly good product and destroyed it. The new home page is terrible, horrible, stinks or any other similar term you want to call it. I do not want someone elses family tree at the top of the home page. This is stupid and just takes up space that could be used to simplfy the layout. It is not user friendly and I am still trying to find out how to access OneWorldTree files. I have used ancestry for years but this will be my last year unless there are some major changes made pretty quick.

  74. Denise Plested

    I subscribe– I pay an annual fee– why do I have a blinking ad in my face?
    I really do not like the new home page either..

  75. Jean W

    My biggest complaint is the Ancestry Database is not in some type of order for easy searching. I have rarely ever used this tool because 1) I don’t always know the title of the record I am looking for, 2)there is no easy way to view the 26K titles and 3) who has the time and patience to go thru 26K titles.
    Alpha order would help by allowing us to choose a letter and see all the titles under that letter. Cross reference would also help in case we don’t have the title exactly right. It could tell us to “also see…”

  76. I feel like I need to go to
    school again. I am having trouble
    searching the census. I do not
    like it. I am not too sharp anyway & this does not help. Put it back like it was. Thank you.

  77. Sandra McGraw

    I’m not sure I care for the new homepage. I sort of like the to-do lists but where are the databses the research on???
    I am still fuming that I can’t get a one month subscription to the UK databses. I WILL NOT spend almost $200 for the whole package! Who loses? all of us!! You want some $$$$, ancestry, then work with me on this.

  78. Cindy

    I hate this new format and that stupid Family Tree at the top of the page. I now have to go through several pages to get to the census. 1840 Dallas County Missouri census has been indexed as 1840 Gasconade Co. MO for at least 4 years. I have written amd begged for this to be corrected. This is only ONE of many indexing problems. Why don’t you, Ancestry, concentrate on fixing these things instead of this change the home page crud? And stop keeping track of what I access on Ancestry. How about a little privacy

  79. Eric Stoltz

    I’m kind of surprised at the anger so many have for the home page upgrade. I actually appreciate the fact that ancestry is constantly revising its site in an effort to improve the architecture. Unfortunately, some people will always be upset when their food bowl is moved.

    One new feature I noticed that I would suggest a revisit of is the autocomplete on place names. Previously the autocomplete remembered my past entries that were similar, and that was very helpful. It now wants me to omit the county and include “USA.” Well, if I am putting a location of, for example, “Orland, Hancock, Maine,” the county is very important to me in finding other records, on Ancestry or elsewhere or tracking ancestors that lived in various towns in the same county. But as soon as I enter “Orland” the autocomplete now prompts me to accept “Orland, Maine, USA.” I already know Maine is in the United States, thank you very much, that does nothing for me. But recording the county is MUCH more important from a research standpoint.

    Thanks for all you efforts to keep improving the site!

  80. Edith

    No. 85 – Eric Stoltz said:

    Unfortunately, some people will always be upset when their food bowl is moved.

    Eric you really shouldn’t say things like that, then leave a complaint yourself !!!!

  81. Ron Springsteen

    I think the new layout makes more sense as a portal to Ancestry tools and data. I have no problem with the additional step to reach census records.

  82. ROXANN


  83. Nancy

    YIKES! How can searching census been made so complicated!! It is taking me forever to find a single soul in an area. I do not like these new features at all! It’s driving me crazy with all of the little balloons.

  84. Joyce Bailey

    I thought I was just being “inflexible” when I had a bad reaction to the new home page. I learned I’m not alone. I hate having someone else’s tree as the first thing I see everytime I sign on. It’s irritating. I’ve been with ancestry for many years. I started out loving it and with each succeeding “improvement” I find myself tolerating it in order to have access to the data. I agree with several others who have expressed concern about what feels like a redirected focus on family trees and compiled data rather than on the research of records. The trees ARE useful for making contact with other researchers but are not my primary interest. The Quick Links is a great idea but adding a link is too hard so I probably won’t make optimum use of it. Why do we have to figure out the URL for an ancestry database? By the way the “shift + Tab” shortcut to backup no longer works on the data input fields??? Minor but inconvenient. You have gotten a wealth of good feedback most of which I support as a long-time user. I hope you will use it constructively to address some of your subscribers concerns.

  85. Sarah J.

    This new home page is an abomination, so I have bookmarked the search page as the first page to come up.

    But…every search I perform now is non-productive. In the past I was able to use Exact Search or soundex and find what I needed. Now, nothing works and this website is a frustrating, buggy mess.

    Ancestry is worthless without a productive search engine. I joined Ancestry for the records, not the trees. Now, with nothing coming up in my search, what good is this website?

    I can get more done by visiting my local library and going through census pages one by one on HeritageQuest.

    I don’t have my tree online, and therefore don’t use the hints system. All I want is access to the records.

    Ancestry, what have you done?

  86. Lynn

    Please bring back the My Ancestry page and put all the “My” stuff there. The My Trees, along with the My to do list, My shoe box, My press projects, My quick Links, My Recent Activity, My Links, etc.

    Please restore the home page back to essentially what it was, what is new at ancestry, easy links to searches, census years, ancestry statistics, etc.

    Just getting to the home pages of each of our trees is now more difficult. It used to be one click access from the My Ancestry Page. Now I have to select the tree from the drop down list, and then it doesn’t take me to the home page. Then I have to click again to get there. Please Please fix this. We want to go to the home page of the tree to see what is new, not pedigree chart. Please put the “Recent Family Tree” activity tool on the home page of the tree.

    Please I hope you listen and do this.

  87. Athena

    ” Unfortunately, some people will always be upset when their food bowl is moved.”

    There is no reason to denigrate users who have different preferences.

    When designing interfaces such as this 52% (or even a bogus 75%) is not good enough. After all, if you have 5 million + subscribers, 25% translates to 1.25 million — and that’s a lot of unhappy users. The key to successful design is not to ignore users who don’t fit into the majority but to make it possible for everyone to be as productive as possible; i.e. to provide alternate forms of presentation that are equally efficient and to make them discoverable.

    Ancestry has created a false dichotomy between “serious” researchers and webtree users. The issue isn’t how much experience someone has, it’s about personal preferences. Just as many people with online trees do not actually use them online, not every “serious” researcher considers the US census at the primary draw at Ancestry (I prefer Heritage Quest for that). A “personalized” home page should be just that: it should reflect the personal preferences of the user and the best way to do that would be to provide a customizable page with web parts so that each user can decide what he wants to see on his starting page.

  88. Dale Marshall

    Why all of a sudden do I get an “Unremoveble” The Ecomonist banner??

    How do I get rid of it?

    Please respond.


  89. Marian Davis

    What I really miss is the straight-forward manner the U.S. census files were presented. The “old” table from which one linked into the search screen was so simple and easy to find and use. The new format is horrible.

    I also RESENT having the top of the page consumed with encouragement for me to access “my trees.” It consumes a tremendous amount of screen real estate and really, this is NOT why I subscribe to your services.

    The new design is horrible, and I agree with all others who are trying to tell you this.

    Your surveys are so slanted it isn’t even funny. They force the survey-taker into choices that don’t adequately communicate to YOU what WE are trying to say. It is a frustrating experience to find all the changes, and then not even be able to take a survey that enables you to express how you really feel.

    At MINIMUM … if you MUST redesign the home page, then give the user the flexibility to rearrange the social networking-like areas around to their satisifaction.

    Please start listening to these comments because your survey results are not representing how we feel.

  90. Myles Murray

    When trying to open my Family Tree Maker file, I receive a message saying:
    “C:\FTW\Murray.FBC is not a valid Win 32 application”
    This means I cannot open my Family File. What can I do?

  91. Gerri Brown

    The “New Home Page” is terrible, I do not need how to “Start a Family Tree” or my own Family Tree to be the first things that come up each time I log on to Ancestry. I rarely go to my own Family Tree, using the census more than anything else. You have made everything much harder to reach, takes more time and adds a great deal of frustration. Genealogy has always been fun and this new format is quickly taking that away. There are more negatives than positives. Why do you people mess with something that is working so nicely for 99% of your subscribers. At this point, I will not be recommending Ancestry as readily as I once did, especially for those who are not “whiz kids” at the computer and there are many out there who love doing genealogy, but would like it to be fun and uncomplicated.

  92. Tony Cousins

    TGN / Ancestry we may have an answer to all these people that really do detest the new home page and the new search.

    Why don’t you present a simplified survey on the home page…and I do mean simplified. Only five easy to answer questions.

    1. How long have you been involved in Genealogical Research?

    Answer options – ‘less than 6 months’, ‘6 months to 2 years’, ‘2 to 5 years’ and ‘over 5 years’.

    2. Do you have a public family tree on Ancestry?

    Answer options – ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.

    3. Which search method do you prefer to use?

    Answer options – ‘Old’ or ‘New’.

    4. How do you rate the new home page?

    Answer options – ‘Hate it’, ‘Love it’, ‘don’t have an opinion’ or ‘was there a different home page’.

    5. Do you believe that TGN and Ancestry listen to their subscribers?

    Answer options – ‘No’ or ‘Yes’.

    Answers to question 2 of less than 6 months and question 4 of ‘was there a different home page, in my mind should disqualify that respondent:)

    Just in case there anyone is listening, apart from bloggers, my answers would be:

    1 – Over 5 years
    2 – No
    3 – Old
    4 – Hate it
    5 – No


  93. Tony Cousins

    Oops – typos rule KO!! The disqualification answers should have read,,,

    Answers to question 1 of less than 6 months and question 4 of ‘was there a different home page, in my mind should disqualify that respondent:)


  94. Susanne

    Some of us had a tree that we had started with the One World tree system when you could start your tree and add to the One World Tree. The link to this used to be on the My Ancestry page. It was under the recent search results. Where can this information be accessed now? I was not able to locate a link to it on the new home page.

  95. Edith

    Re: No. 101

    Click on the Search Tab

    On the Search page, in the right hand column:

    Family Trees
    – OneWorldTree®
    – Public Member Trees
    – Personal Member Trees

  96. I have been trying unsuccessfully to have Ancesry. removed the Home Page from my log-in. I do not have a family page but Ancestry has determined that I will have one. While the owner of the family tree that appears on my site is a nice person, his tree is not mine! I have contacted ancestry by e-mail 3-4 times and I receive back their standard “make your comments between the lines” feed-back. I have called the customer service people and again no help. I do not have a family tree. I have never up-loaded my genealogy nor down-loaded any genealogy. I am a participant on the tree that appears on my page but it is not my tree. PLEASE get it off.

  97. Lisa

    regarding #103 Written by: Roberta Iiames

    To remove trees from your list:

    go to
    Click “My Trees”
    Click “View all my trees”
    Click “Trees Shared with me”
    Click “remove from list” all the trees you don’t want to be a member of anymore and want removed from your list of shared trees.

  98. A follow up to my previous post.
    I received an e-mail from a customer service representative who gave me instructions as to how to get the assigned ‘HomePage’ as my family tree. I did exactly what he said and zip – it is gone. The tools to do this with were there, right on the HomePage, if I had just clicked on a few more items, I could have done it myself. I guess it would have been better if I had known what each of these little phrases meant. Thank you Nathaniel, you saved me from further problems.

  99. linda cooper

    This new home page is terrible. I hate it. The pages won’t even load. Get rid of the mistake.

  100. Bob

    105 Written by:
    Roberta Iiames
    Posted on July 17, 2008.

    Roberta, would you be willing to share the instructions that Nathaniel sent you? It is apparent that Ancestry is withholding the information from those of us who are complaining so vigorously.

  101. Marshall Sinback

    I like the “Recent family tree activity” section. However, if new content was uploaded as a .PDF file such as a story, this secion just displays an empty box, no Logo, and it is a dead link to the family record. This is not the case with free text uploads. Your website is not recognizing how to open a .PDF file from the user’s home page. Can this be fixed?? Will be confusing for many who will be unable to navigate to the original doc.

  102. Les

    To Andy (comment#6)- I think you said it for all of us…

    To Lucianne (comments too numerous to mention) – quit pontificating… we get it already, you work for Ancestry!

  103. Roger

    What a mess. I can’t believe I and many others actually pay to be abused like this. Many of us have spent many hours and much money in searching our families over the years and some of us even enjoy the project. While the information did not always fall in your lap, at least you could find it in the old set up. Now it is more like the old country saying “even a blind hog will find an acorn ever once in a while”. Problem is even if you find the acorn, it turns out to be bad now. Example, before the change you could search for marriages in Tennessee by surnames and view the actual documents when something was found. Often the spelling was wrong in the typed version, but you could see that with viewing the documents. Not the documents are no longer viewable or at least I have not found a way to see them.

    Please Ancestry powers that be, revert back to the old tried and true version that the majority of us loved, and if someone wants your newer version, let them pay you a premimun price to convert to that system. Give us back a way to find our information.

  104. Teddy brock


    I have, by now, read in excess of 200 comments at various Blog pages regarding Ancestry’s Home Page, and a search engine that is supposed to revolutionize our search experience and the results there from. Isn’t it amazing that so many erudite and search engine savy genealogists have expounded on the subject of Ancestry’s new concept in the NEGATIVE and YET that irritating, cumbersome home page continues to EXIST.

    Does anyone else feel that the home page presents itself as though you are in a room of strobe lights while being exposed to the Family tree, Quick Links, To-do List & Recent Activity thingamajiggy’s continuous rotations? (sorry folks, not well versed on technical jargon.) GEEZ! They are SO distracting—-and irritating beyond description!!!

    I have another issue that must not be shared by others as I’ve not seen it addressed on these blogs. EVERY time I go to Ancestry now, I have to re-enter my login info. I’ve checked my internet options and cookies—ancestry is there in the lineup. I even elected to enter them on an individual basis and click “allow”. Seeing no changes, I opted to dump all the cookies, start over, and repeated the process. I still have to login EVERY time. Any suggestions from the advanced group? Another thing, when it comes to database results I get the default amount of 20, regardless of how many times I set it at 50. Why is that? It used to remember my settings. Both of these changes make me feel I’ve been issued punitive measures for vocalizing my vehement dislike of Ancestry’s ARBITRARY decision to invoke their will on us, irrespective of the functionality and real usefulness of the homepage.

    Undoubtedly, there are several thousand subscribers to Ancestry, and frankly, I’m amazed not to see more input from the majority. That would be the SILENT majority—does that infer they are in agreement with Ancesty’s homepage changes—or just content to sit on the sidelines and the let a few others point out the defects and just nod their heads without weighing in the issues? Does Ancestry construe that as acquiescence? Do the Ancestry representatives calculate the numbers of vocal minority against the silent majority and decide to do nothing based on the percentages???
    Well, I object!

  105. Katie

    I really hate the new home page. My ancestors all have difficult to spell last names, and without the use of the soundex it is totally USELESS for me! I have been a member for 10 years, and this is the absolute worst change ever. I need the soundex for the Census too. I can’t find anyone with the new setup. Why fix it when it isn’t broke?

  106. Jerry Bryan

    With respect to the logon issue referenced in #111, I use from my desktop machine and from my laptop machine. On my desktop, I do not have to logon every time. On my laptop, I do have to logon every time.

    I’m pretty good at this computer stuff, but I have not been able to figure this one out. In theory, I’ve got the same setup on both machines – same operating system and same patch level, same browser at the same patch level, same operating system security settings, same browser security settings (cookies, etc). But something is clearly different between the two machines.

    As Shakespeare famously said: “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves”. It’s very difficult to see how to blame this one on ancestry. But if anybody happens to know exactly how ancestry avoids a logon every time (when it works!), it would be much appreciated if the information could be posted. Is it a cookie, or what?

  107. kkandtc

    I am truly unhappy about the new home page. Most of my window on my laptop is is now “My family tree” that isn’t my family tree!!! It’s the tree of someone I emailed asking about a common ancestor. No way to get rid of it….

  108. Teddy Brock

    Per #111 and #113–logon issue:

    It may not have been clear in my original message, but I want to clarify that the need to login–Each and Every time–began with the change to the homepage. I was on Ancestry doing census searches the morning of the change, then started getting that “Come Back Soon” error page and when, a little later, I tried again, EVERYTHING was different—-the new homepage was in place—and I had to login. It won’t even keep me signed in for a day, such as at Ebay. I haven’t tried Ancestry’s help desk because, frankly, I’ve never found it very helpful……….but I am getting desperate.

    I checked my laptop, which I rarely use at home, and the same scenario.

    Jerry: Any word yet if Ancestry is reconsidering their folly? I, for one, have no use for those 6 boxes & their spinners on the homepage. It is a superfluous waste of space that should instead reflect the nuts ‘n bolts of the research experience at Ancestry, as it once did.

  109. Sue Allen

    Folks, We need more that 100 + comments for Ancestry to do anything about the new home page,WE NEED THOUSANDS!!!!! Also noticed Melissa Philips from Ancestry hasn’t made any more comments since # 21. Afraid to answer the paying members??

  110. Tony Cousins

    Hi Sue,

    Remember the show ‘The Twilight Zone’ or even ‘Lost’? That’s what it feels like posting here – this is a quote from Wikipedia:

    “There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone.”

    Also called Ancestry Blogs where only the bloggers take any notice 🙂


  111. Tony Cousins

    Sue, I think I may have chosen the wrong TV show, maybe the writers of ‘The Outer Limits’ are now in control of Ancestry:

    “There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat, there is nothing wrong with your television set. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to… The Outer Limits. — Opening narration – The Control Voice – 1960s”


  112. Ron Bestrom

    I’ve been a paying member for what, 8-9 years now? This new home page is the WORST. Why do I have to go to “links” that were on the home page before?

    Now, the name search on the home page has even changed.

    Ancestry, listen to the complaints and return the old home page.

    If you just allow us to make our own, then have it so we can make it EXACTLY what WE WANT. An overall search by first name, last name, years and location. Put the Census on the home page. Since most do not put on family trees, allow it to be a link of their preference.

    Just return the old search screen, or give us a link so that we can go to IT.

    Ron Bestrom

  113. Tony Cousins

    Announced in the ‘new search’ webinar last night.

    One of the most surprising things was that they covered the new home page, so that threw me a little as the event was targeted at the new search. However what they did say about the new page was really very interesting. It seems that someone in Ancestry may even be reading the blogs!! No, really. They’re going to let us customize it, move things around, so why didn’t / doesn’t someone from Ancestry post that information here?


  114. Sue Allen

    Go to the top of this page & click on Melissa’s underlined name. It will show you her latest update dated July 30.

  115. Sue Allen

    Everyone again,
    Besides and/or blogging,try this.
    Email Ancestry direct by going into help at top right corner,click on email ancestry support then the category–all other questions. You will receive an answer back. A friend did this this morning & they said she would recieve an answer within 24 hours, that they were so backlogged. I wonder why!! Maybe if they get backlogged somemore they will listen. HUMMMM!

  116. Ron Bestrom

    I do not save “cookies” therefore I am stuck seeing that new “improved” home page EVERY TIME I LOG ON. I HATE IT. It is the worst I’ve seen in my 8 plus years of paid Ancestry.

    Do something that we can at least by pass this mess when we log on.

    We are here to do genealogy, not play around with your ideas on a “picture” webpage.

    Just leave it the f…Heck alone.

    Ron Bestrom

  117. Teddy Brock

    This is my 3rd post (priors #111 & 116) and will be my last, I believe.

    I continue to not have a happy, productive [which means get into Ancestry, get what you’re looking for and get out quickly] experience with and believe I’ve come to a decision about renewing my subscription.

    One of the biggest issues with me, besides the absolutely infuriating home page, is not having the compact links to the US Federal Census on the homepage. Instead we are inundated with worthless boxes (to this researcher) and ads that encompass 70% of the page. In spite of all the negative feedback Ancestry has gotten about the change, they continue to pat themselves on the back and dismiss our views as though we are children to be seen and not heard.

    I won’t even pretend that my decision to not renew in September will have the least impact on Ancestry’s autonomous position of running the show their way, irrespective of this 9 year subscriber’s opinions. So I say this, not with malice or as a threat, but with the resignation of the defeated and disappointed—-I will not renew. Six weeks ago I didn’t think I could exist without access to Ancestry and now I just feel it isn’t worth the anxiety & dissatisfaction that comes with the territory.

  118. i would rather the search engine was changed, than the home pages.
    We still have to look through unwanted years to get the year we asked for.

  119. Ron Bestrom

    Newspapers have been around for decades. They stick to the same format and keep their readers.

    How about a new front page for a newspaper. It is the same size, but as ONLY a contents page.

    You find, as example, Census, is on page 6. So you go to page 6. Then you find you must go to page 7 for 1900, 8 for 1910, etc.

    THIS is what you are trying to do with these changes. The OLD homepage had EVERYTHING on the same page. If you wanted to do a search on a person, you could do it. You could go to a census YEAR search…ALL WITH ONE CLICK.

    Your programers have NO KNOWLEDGE in consise research. They want a Internet website that goes from page to page to page. A COMMERCIAL SITE. WE PAY FOR THIS, we don’t want to have to look through your system to find what we use to find on one page.

    GET RID OF THE NEW SEARCH ENGINE. Apparently we’ve gotten sick of having to do an initial search to get to a “go back to the original”.


    Ron Bestrom

  120. Wes Frlty

    With the “new, improved” setup, I can no longer find, edit or add any new people to be able to view or edit my family tree.

    More confusion, less functionality. tech support just tells me to clear out the cache and cookies. That does nothing, but it seems to be their “one size fits all” solution! For this I pay $300/year?!?

  121. Sharon Allred

    Please let word Christening be an option to show by each name instead of the word Birth date when that is All We Know! (Especially needed in PEOPLE view)
    Very often in early US and British parish registers ONLY the christening date is given and not a birth date. We need that first identifying date to see who we are looking for in a family where the same name appears multiple times.
    But we MUST NOT call the CHRISTENING DATE the birth date, because that can foul up research if we later find a Real Birth Date, we could assume we have 2 different people.

  122. The new search machine is a joke to the old one. I have been a member for several years.

    Why do you want to change, when the old one is working great.

    I use to enjoy looking for people on but not anymore. The results is awful.

    Please give me a way to go back to the old search page that you had in 2002.

    It was the best and always will be the best.

    Adhere, to the comments that prior members had said about how bad the new home page is.

    Taylor Whisonant

  123. Ron Bestrom

    HOW MANY of us need to blast your “new home page” ? ?????

    WE, the users of your product, versus, those “computer programmers” have a VOICE AGAINST this crap. We are GENEALOGY researchers. NOT, a dating service on Yahoo or AOL. We don’t like the “pretty”. We like the EFFICIENT. GET RID OF IT.

    I am SICK AND TIRED of logging into Ancestry to find the “New” and having to enter a last name of “Jones” just so I can get the window to go to the OLD search screen.


    Ron BESTROM…..A “member” for over 8? 10 Years? I don’t like to Pay for CRAP.

  124. Jane Dewing

    The new home page is making me crazy. I can’t find anything, and what I do find is wrong. I finally tried putting in myself and found that I was living with some guy who lives in Georgia (I’m in MN)of whom I have never heard. I’m very frustrated and if it doesn’t change back before I renew, I won’t renew.

  125. JonWicken

    The ancestry to-do list seems to keep disappearing at times from the page it should be on. So much for customising your own page when this keeps happening.

    I needed my to-do list as I was going to research London but it now isn’t where it should be. This has happened before and is VERY annoying.

    I almost feel like I’m going mad as it isn’t there at times and then comes back. And now I can’t access my list what’s the point of having it there at all?

    What is this fault with ancestry and has anyone else had this problem? I am very happy with ancestry when all is working well but am starting to get increasingly frustrated with the on-going faults with this website.

  126. Jan

    Sorry but I do not like the new homepage Not very Private when all family tree names are on display and someone may be looking over your shoulder I tend to agree with Edith The original page was just fine why mend what’s not broken

  127. John chubb

    The new site is abominable. Bring back the old home page where we could select immediately the site we required, instead of going to page after page to find what we are looking for. For the people who actually like and use all the new innovations, why not place them elsewhere – not on the home page. I am researching several different families, and I find it most annoying to have to search for a census, when it should be on the home page wilth all the other options to search through. Why not place a full list on the home page including facebook, ToDo etc., that seems more logic than the design you have created. All we want is easy access to census etc., bring back the old home page please.

  128. Deb

    Everything takes longer and even then the correct results fail to materialize.
    Eg: Searched for Wynford Davies born Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK 1904. Simple?

    1901 – 117,220 ‘hits’
    1891 – 105,345 ”
    1881 – 102,688 ”
    And so on back to 1841.

    BMD – 1,251,440 ‘hits’!!I think not!

    I then returned to the old method, brought up 20 possibities, and one was him. Hurrah!! SO EASY!
    Will not be re-subscribing after 6+ years which is a shame as ancestry was my primary site.

  129. Selhawke

    I won’t be renewing my subscription. It’s the only way Ancestry will take any notice that we do NOT like the new site.
    Their policy seems to be “show ’em the new stuff and hide what they always use”.
    When we do work out how to get to the good databases I find they haven’t got everything they used to have – i.e. whole parishes gone missing from UK Census returns.
    What a mess!
    …and the worst is they begin this page by stating “We really do appreciate your feedback..”
    Yeah, right! We’ll believe you when you do something about it!

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