Posted by jhodnett on June 23, 2009 in Site Issues, Website

We experienced some temporary issues on the site earlier today that may have caused errors when trying to log in or when using other portions of the website.  We worked to resolve these problems as quickly as possible. We apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused.  We believe these issues lasted less than an hour.

If you ran into errors on the site because of this, they should be fully resolved now.  If you continue to experience errors we recommend that you close your internet browser and try coming back to the site using a new browser window.  Thank you for your patience as we work to make sure the site is running smoothly for you.


  1. Ron

    Wow! I thought it was me. I upgraded my account to worldwide earlier today and when I went to log back in, I experienced the problems you described. Thanks to all the hard working folks at for being so responsive. I did take pause though and considered how vulnerable my info is. I am using only Are other folks using a local (on their own PC) family tree builder and uploading it, or are there enough safe guards built into to allow people (that are not doing research all night) to sleep at night?

  2. Ron

    Personally I do not keep any research information on Ancestry. As many people have stated before – the Ancestry web site tree is really just a show-and-tell display application.

    I still use Family Tree maker V16, even though I bought the upgrade to 2008 and upgraded to 2009. V16 is much simpler to use and much more stable that the later offerings from Ancestry.

    Interestingly you can still buy V16 from the Ancestry store and don’t be fooled by the glib statement on the 2009 copy – “The latest version of the #1 selling genealogy software just got better!” – its a complete rewrite of V16 and a very poor one at that.


  3. David Graham


    Thanks for your feedback. The temporary problems today did not put member information at any risk. In fact, at we spend a lot of time working to secure the information added by our members. We have redundant copies in each of our data centers as well as regular off-site backups. Ensuring data integrity is a priority for everyone here. That being said, as a general practice it is always a good idea to backup your data. We do provide the means for you to download a backup of your family tree to your desktop.

    David Graham Product Management

  4. Kevin Getter

    Tried to start a subscription but received the Temporary Unavailable message page instead.

  5. Vincent A DiCarlo

    My comment doesn’t belong here but my level of frustration is going through the roof. Am I losing it or what? Why is it I haven’t the foggiest idea, no matter how much I search, know how to “BLOG”? I am a long time user of FTM, use 2009 and love it. Despite the “knocks” I managed to import a 346 page book from Ver. 16, had some problems, fixed them, ended up with a 289 page book that is as good or better than in Ver.16. I prepared a detailed explanation of the problems encountered with suggestions for fixing…but good ole klutz lost it before sending. No way I will redo. Any way, I would like to “BLOG” Help!

  6. Cindy Peaslee

    I have been very annoyed with the merge process locking up my computer…would love to see this issue resolved.

  7. David
    Just a question – does the backup to your own PC include everything that a user may have online on the Ancestry site? Photographs etc.?


  8. David Graham

    Currently we offer a GEDCOM download of your tree, which would not include the photos attached. We would like to be able to do more than this and are working through some options around this.

  9. Sandy Lucas

    Hello David,
    I don’t know if this is the place to ask this, but I can’t seem to find an answer after looking for one.
    On my public profile page under “recently added content” it is not showing pictures and stories that I am adding. The last date it shows I added something was May 31st, but I have added many more stories since then, plus several pictures. Is there a problem somewhere?
    Thanks so much for listening to me!
    Sandy Lucas

  10. David Graham


    We weren’t aware of any problems with the “Recently added content” section of the public member profile. We will investigate this and will contact you if we need additional information. Please note that we only show content added to public member trees and attached to individuals that we believe are deceased. If you are adding information to a private tree or to living individuals it would not appear in your public member profile.

    David Graham Product Management

  11. This is just the tip of the iceberg of ancestry’s problems right now. The search function (advanced search) is seriously off kilter. I won’t be able to use this site to do my research until this is fixed. The problem is that, despite substantial search criteria in place, the search still yield thousands of possible leads. For some reason it is not discriminating among the search criteria. Is anyone else having this problem right now?

  12. Charles Bast

    I have been a member of the Myfamily site, and site for several years. I did at one time subscribe to both, I now ony have I was happy with the information that was available on ancestry, but the cost started to get to much, with the times as they are. My only issue is that now that I started a tree on ancestry, I can no longer access hints, I have stopped putting names on my tree on the ancestry site, becouse of this. The my family site has over 10,000 names that tie into my tree, and several hundred photos. Why would i give this information freely to ancestry, so they can make money off of the information, with nothing in return to the person posting the information. Just a question

  13. David
    Does that also mean any stories would not be included in the download, and that basically it would be the BMD / residence / occupation type of information that a user can make a copy of and that anything else would remain on Ancestry?

    I don’t mean to labor this point but I do feel that subscribers really need to know what can be saved / copied to their PC if they want to start their own software copy.


  14. Carol Kreider

    Am I the only person who finds the new search page annoying? Pop-ups and Drop-downs get in my way even though they probably were designed to facilitate the search process. I did not have any issues with the previous search pages and actually think their simplicity made searching quite easy.

  15. Lawton Coonts

    My information in missing. This morning my tree had over 1300 people now it has about 6. What is going on?

  16. Carol A. H.

    After reading the blogs regarding folks who lose their tree data, I decided right then to do a backup (GEDCOM),again, of every tree I have on Ancestry to my own computer. The process is easy and one tends to sometimes forget to do it because we work hard, are busy, and frequently say, “Oh, I’ll do it later.”

    Get into the habit of making a GEDCOM after working on your tree every time. Think about gambling. How mauch can you afford to lose should disaster happen?

    Here in California, we have lots of fires, sometimes earthquakes and floods. Think of your genealogy as you would famiily photos.

    Save and backup! Save and Backup! Save and backup!

    Use your own computer, a flash drive a writeable CD, a floppy if that is what you have. Give a copy to a trusted far away relative or friend. Put a copy in your safe-deposit box if you have one.

    You wouldn’t drive a car without insurance, would you? I may be preaching to the choir but sometimes they get very lax about listening to the preacher.

    Lately, ancestry is having enough problems, some of their own making, to make me very cautious.

    Your tree(s) represent time and money, not to mention your heart and soul. Protect your work.

    If you can’t afford a separate program, the LDS site (Mormon), has a free download of a very simple program (PAF). Not much in the way of bells and whistles but it is very stable and they give you free customer support.

  17. Carol A. H.

    Carol #14:

    No, you are not alone. You have plenty of company. I agree the search use to be simpler and faster. I still use old search and can work around the kinks. I don’t think all our ranting is going to make much of a dent unless enough people do it.

    Ancestry says it has millions of subscribers. But only a few use the blogs and very few use it to say good things. Some folks are not aware of the blogs. I wasn’t until about a year and a half ago when they started making an endless stream of changes.

    Make lots of noise, it’s the only ways to be heard. Call 1-800-262-3787 (you may have a short wait on hold), email them, but be heard one way or another.

  18. Shelley Way

    Gee..the blog is as hard to navigate as the rest of Ancestry is becoming! Why isn’t there a “comment of this article” on every page?
    My comment is actually on “content”.
    Texas and Missouri have death certificates available on line. Why isn’t Ancestry working on something of that nature for each state? It would be much more helpful than some of the things we are getting now!

  19. Kenny Freestone

    Cindy (#6)–We would love to understand more about the problem you are seeing. Feel free to email me more details and we’ll look into it. Our merge process normally does not lock up the computer. (My email is kfreestone at

    Charles (#12)–One reason to continue with a public tree (even if you don’t subscribe) is that perhaps others researching similar lines will find you and share information.

    Tony (#13)–The GEDCOM export we currently offer does not include stories or photos, but does include all the information you would normally see in GEDCOM format–names, dates, places, events, sources, citations, notes, etc. The exported file contains links to the photos, stories, and saved records in your family tree. This however does not satisfy us. We agree it is important for us to create a more complete export that includes those items.

    Lawton (#15)–Please call our member services team–they can help you find your tree. (Call 1 800 ANCESTRY). Often the case is that you have a duplicate name in your tree and are looking at a different version of the person’s family.

  20. Cherie

    Well, it is 2:24 pm Pacific Daylight Time and I am not exactly sure what was wrong, but I sure know what needs to be fixed.

    When trying to access some of the newspaper articles and WWI Draft Cards, I get “Error Processing Image Request”

    AND when I am trying to access the Ancestry World Tree, I get a BLANK PAGE. Refreshing the screen does not help. Getting into a new browser does not help. Shutting off the computer and re-starting does not help. Logging out and logging back in in a new window does not help. This has been going on for the past TWO hours. Grrrrr

    And, as long as I am commenting. I HATE the fact you cannot delete messages you SEND. Ever since this new message system started, I have been getting spam into my e-mail account Ancestry is linked to. Why can I delete messages sent to ME and NOT messages I send. Thanks!!!

  21. Andy Hatchett



    Ancestry *can’t* work on states that won’t allow access to their records – and *most* states won’t allow access to those images even on their own state website.

    Nothing Ancestry can do about it.

  22. janet welty

    Trouble with world tree project. Takes forever to load and when it does, I mean like minutes, not seconds. Then click on a person and we are back to loading another minute or so.

    Pretty useless. I use a Macintosh. Have tried my 2 browsers, emptied cache, and restarted computer.

    I do most of my genealogy for other people. If it doesn’t improve, might as well use rootsweb and forget ancestry.

  23. Shelley Way

    Thanks for that information. Missouri came out with their death certificates and LDS came out with the TX death certificates and partials from a few other states. I do wish that Ancestry would work more on the state level to get new information.

  24. Deb H

    Mary #25 – there is a weekly newsletter of sorts, the “Ancestry Weekly Discovery”, but as near as I can tell it’s solely devoted to things you can do on Ancestry, and Juliana Smith appears to be the only contributor. The old “Ancestry Daily News” was far superior – it had great articles by guest columnists like George Morgan and lots of helpful “how to” hints and case studies for researching. I mostly delete the Weekly Discoverys that come thru as I don’t find them very useful. Sadly, it seems Ancestry is trying to reinvent itself as a social networking site rather than a research resource so their focus has changed.

  25. David

    #12 Charles, #16 Carol, and others who are concerned about the cost of programs to store their records – “Brothers Keeper” is a Free (shareware – only $45 for permanent registration) program which I would highly recommend. I’ve been using it for years (since it was first introduced on DOS) and have never had a problem. The program’s creater offers personal help and individual attention to any problem you may encounter. He also responds to suggestions and makes constant upgrades which are free. See it at

  26. cindy

    Cherie (#20), it’s 11:39 PST and I still can’t access the trees. Maybe it’s just us on the west coast 😉 I’ve had the same problem since yesterday and no one seems to be addressing it.

  27. Barbara Wescott

    I don’t why you have to make changes so radical that what I got used to using gets changed. I lost the site for a shared family tree. and now I can’t get it back. and this really was a true direct link that I have used. I oay good money for something you seem to want to mess with. and it is gone, or I don;t know how to recover. any way, why make changes with out making it easier to convert to? I am like the others no one is addressin my problems

  28. Ruth Freeman

    As noted by some other people, it is suddenly taking forever to load any information from family trees. No problems with any other sites, so it is definitely not my computer. I am terribly frustrated and disappointed. Will this be fixed or is it permanent?

  29. Kenny Freestone

    Hi Ruth (#30),

    The family trees seem to be displaying normally, so we aren’t sure what is going on in your case. If this continues we would love to help. You can contact our member services team at 1 800 ANCESTRY. Please also feel free to email me (kfreestone at

  30. Cherie

    Cindy #28 – Yes, I am surprised that no one is addressing the problem. When the data from the tree search loads, the whole page looks odd.

    Just tried accessing the WWI Draft Cards again and get the same “Error Processing Image Rquest” message. I’ll bet the same thing will happen again when I try to access the Newspaper articles.

    HELLO, ANCESTRY! Anybody out there? This has been OVER TWO DAYS.

    Thanks for your response. – Cherie #20

  31. Gloria

    Re #20 Cherie –

    World Tree Project is still taking forever to load, and looks like it did several years ago.

  32. Carole

    I have been trying for several days to access the family trees at the World Tree project that is shared by the Rootsweb website. None of the trees will load. Is there a problem here, or is deliberately preventing access to these trees by corrupting the programming connected with this information. We are being forced to access these trees directly through the website.

  33. Lee Bennett

    It’s been over 24 hours, and I still am unable to do most searches from FTM Ver. 16, or directly on the Ancestry site. The issues certainly are lasting more than an hour! I just tried another search and got your generic, “Sorry” window again

  34. Brandy Halman

    I am a member of and i just renewed a few months ago for the year. When I log in I am not able to view any records it says I am only a registed guest. My family tree maker will not let me view items either. Is there anyone else having this problem?

  35. I dont know if it has anything
    to do with this, but I just attempted to populate parents,siblings, and spouses based
    on Ancestry hint ‘leaves’. I’ve ended up with a hodge podge of info
    in the family tree. There are names
    i’ve never heard of before! does
    this mean I need to also by tree maker to keep this from happening again? I would rather do my own
    storage if yours are nor reliable.
    please advise.

  36. Cherie

    Problems persist.

    BTW: I did e-mail Kenny Freestone. Nothing back yet.

    Still can’t access WWI Cards or newpaper articles and World Tree is slower than molasses in January.

    I know others are having problems with slow loading trees, but is anyone else experiencing image problems?

    Also, has anyone else been getting “extra” spam in their mail since Ancestry changed over to the new message system?

    Maybe someone hacked their system if people’s trees are getting all messed up?

    Up for renewal in a month. Subscribed for convenience of not having to go to FHC or library. Current frustration almost isn’t worth it. This isn’t the FIRST time, but for me it’s the WORST time.

    Hope they can get this resolved soon.

  37. Barbara Stracener

    june 27,2009 at 8:30 pm

    I am still locked out of Ancestry..
    I upgraded my account Mar.22, 2009
    so please help !!

  38. Carole

    ANCESTRY WORLD TREES STILL DO NOT LOAD. I am on broadband, and it takes up to 2 minutes for the page to load. When the trees finally appear, they look like a grade school primer page. Are you finally squeezing out the freebie pages from Rootsweb?

    What’s the problem here Ancestry?

    Get your act together and fix the problems instead of concentrating on the fancy graphics, “new” search that is loaded with bugs, drop down boxes and the ridiculous new tree system with the flashing green leaves that are being cloned at a furious rate, unsourced and being accepted as FAMILY.

    I want to see the real trees that real genealogists have researched. I don’t want to put in a name and have 45 Ancestry New Member Trees come up, all with the same INCORRECT unsourced information, stolen pictures and documents, and with wives and children duplicated under the wrong parent, or added in twice or three times over.

    I am very angry.

  39. Carole #42

    I totally agree – the vast majority of the trees are simple clones of other trees that have been created by the name-gatherers with no source records and a mountain of flawed and incorrect data.

    One tree I followed just for fun went all the way back to Charlemagne, Nero and Herod and even further – how is that really possible? – all in the same tree. I was actually thinking I was going to find an Adam and Eve, or a pair of apes depending on your point of view 🙂


  40. David Graham

    Thanks to everyone for your comments on this post. A number of issues have been reported that we will look into. At this point we have not identified any site-wide errors. If you continue to experience difficulties with a portion of the Ancestry website I recommend that you contact Member Services at 1-800-ANCESTRY (1-800-262-3787).

    At this point I am also going to close comments on this post as it does not appear that there are any current issues relating to the brief website problems on 23 June 2009.

    David Graham Product Management

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