Posted by Anne Gillespie Mitchell on June 25, 2009 in Site Features

We have been working on a few enhancements for the image page to make it easier for you to read what is on the page, and then to add your own knowledge about your ancestors to our indexes.

Here’s a preview (click the image to see a larger version):

First, we’ve added some tools to help you find what you are looking for on an image:

  • a collapsible index panel below the image will show you the transcription for each record on the image. This will help you locate your ancestor on the image as well as show you who else is on the page and what information was transcribed for each record.
  • a collapsible source panel so that you can quickly view the source citation and learn more about the data collection
  • a collapsible member connect panel so that you can see who has had something to add to this record, and who has been researching it.

While all of these panels will help you understand the image, you can also collapse them with one quick click of the mouse to see the full image.

Second, we’ve enhanced our member editing capabilities.

You’ll be able to update not only given names and surnames, but also birth year and various locations associated with a record. Nobody knows your genealogy as well as you do, and leaving these nuggets of information behind for us to incorporate into our indexes will help others who are looking for your ancestors as well.

You’ll also be able to update information from the image page as well as the record page.

Sometime in mid to late July we will be launching this new enhanced image page on about 70 of our census data collection including most of the US and UK censuses.

I’ll post more previews as we get closer to launch.

Happy Searching!

Anne Gillespie Mitchell

Anne Gillespie Mitchell is a Senior Product Manager at She is an active blogger on and writes the Ancestry Anne column. She has been chasing her ancestors through Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina for many years. Anne holds a certificate from Boston University's Online Genealogical Research Program. You can also find her on Twitter, Facebook and Finding Forgotten Stories.


  1. Anne, my favorite Ancestrian, I am nearly excited by this change. Don’t get me wrong, the ability to add notes and change other details apart from the name is really exciting – but can we fix the searching and retrieval of relevant records as well – please, pretty please.

    My renewal is this Saturday and this may have just changed my mind – which was not to renew – after some 8 or 9 years.

    I hope this roll out is a complete success, but like I said relevant records are key.


  2. Anne Mitchell

    Marcel, I’m not sure why the world tree would be slower, but I can check.

    Tony, I’m not sure what you mean by fixing the searching and retrieval.

    I can give you this example, let me know if it isn’t what you are after. Let’s say you see someone index as Jeffe Wash, but you know the name is actually Jesse Nash (not an uncommon mistake on censuses). And you know that Jesse’s middle name was John. You can add Jesse as a first name, Nash as a surname and John as a middle name. Those get rolled into our indexes and a search for John Nash or Jesse Nash will turn up the correct record.

    As for working on various aspects of search interfaces and algorithms, all of that is going on as well.

  3. Joyce

    Anne, This looks like a great idea. But I do have a question. Will all of the original information stay in the record and any edits from members be added to the record? I ask this because not everyone does meticulous research. It would be easy to perpetuate an error if the original data is changed.

  4. Anne Mitchell

    Joyce, great question.

    Even the most careful researcher makes mistakes. 🙂 So our current plan is this: use the transcription as the default, and the member added data as alternates.

    Think of the index as a finding aid, and the member augmentations as additional ways to find a record.

    Once we get the enhanced image viewer roll out to all or at least most record types, we may incorporate a way for members to “approve” or “thumbs up” an alternate from another member. And then we could consider that if an alternate piece of data gets enough of an approval rating making it the default, but that’s just something we are considering at the moment. I’d love to hear others thoughts on this.

    And I can tell you the index panels are really helpful. Lately when I’ve been doing research, I always work on our development machines so I can use the enhanced image viewer — being able to see quickly who else is on the page is really helpful. 🙂

  5. Hi Anne
    My point is that the search engine tends 🙂 to bring back too many irrelevant records, especially in the new search.

    Unless of course you waved a magic wand in the last 24 hours.


  6. Donna

    Hey – that sounds good! I have a relative that is transcribed wrong. On the page that is typed, the state is given as Missouri, but when you look closely at the hand-written census, it is clearly Mass.
    That almost made me miss that record! These changes sound great!

  7. Joyce

    Anne, Having the added member information as an alternate entry is a great way to go.

    I’m not too sure about the voting piece for the future. For instance say I put a wrong birth date on an family tree. If 25 people look at it and say OK I’ve found a date I’ve been looking for but don’t check my source, we could be giving a thumbs up on wrong information.

    I prefer being able to look at an original record and make my own deductions from it. Having member information as an additional path into the original, though, I can see as a great help.

  8. Mike


    As another poster said, the voting idea is horrible. Most customers are idiots who accept unsourced assertions and love feel good stories most likely made up by some sentimental aunt. The average user simply is not competent to make a determination.

    This will be even worse for female subjects where “helpful” users attach supposed maiden names in absence of evidence from original records, but because 1000 trees all steming from the same unsourced tree say so.

    It is bad enough that Ancestry caters to the idiots through emphasis on trees rather than original data, but to allow them to vote on anything that requires an experienced and knowledgeable researcher’s judgment is laughable.

    Note that when I say “idiot” I am talking about “genealogical idiots”. Many of whom might be very intelligent and even eminent in other areas, but who refuse to apply themselves to learn genealogy properly and apply themselves to the tedious minutiae and analysis required by tough problems.


  9. Jade


    Where is the button to turn off that right-hand column forever?

    I will hate having to ‘close’ it on *every page* of data I look at.

    Since the comments/corrections are nearly always about indexing errors (incorporated in the highly error-prone anonymous notes or extracts from the original record, but which insists on calling “the record”), and I am **already looking at the actual record**, and furthermore I have no interest in who has saved your extract (not the image of the record) to their tree, I will want to turn it **off**.

    I will also not want to know that I have already entered an index correction to, say, a member of a given household (in the case of a US Federal Census enumeration).

    This also will not be much use to most Tree People, who hardly ever look at the actual image, but just blindly save your likely-to-be-partly-erroneous extract (the so-called “record”) to their tree.

    Also where will be the button to permanently turn off “the transcription for each record on the image” at the bottom?

    Where will be the place I can enter the index data for census items that have not been indexed at all, such as 2 pages of one multi-page image in the 1820 US Census enumeration for Monongalia Co, (West) Virginia?

    All help appreciated!

  10. Tom

    I agree with Tony #7. Search gives either thousands, or if one uses exact, nothing.

    If my person had no history other than the US I still get england! If my person was never out of Ohio I get California also.

  11. joan hanlon

    Would like to offer a suggestion. I have been building a family tree on here for a couple years. A cousin asked that I split it in two because they don’t care about the maternal side of my tree. I downloaded the gedcom, uploaded it into a new tree and now I find I have to reattach all the documentation….is there another way to do this so I don’t have to re-do everything?
    Thank you

  12. James

    My revelant finds are typically three star or less due to transcription / record taker errors. This seem to be a good feature.


  13. David Smith

    Hi Anne

    If you have already thought of it, it might be a good idea to put a relationship column in for the 1850,1860 and 1870 Federal Census.

    Members could help fill in the info that wasn’t recorded for these years.

    Dave Smith

  14. Reed


    Some of this looks potentially useful. But Tony C (#7) and Jade (#11) make very useful points, especially Jade’s “Where is the button to turn off that right-hand column forever? I will hate having to ‘close’ it on *every page* of data I look at.”

    Also, could you please, finally, add a “Rotate Image” button? Not all records are microfilmed (or displayed by Ancestry) in the correct orientation.


  15. Jade

    I realize this is a whomped-up sample view, but it hides the top of the enumeration page. Please ensure that the entire enumeration sheet is visible in your new view. The previous view for this enumeration shows the stamped folio number 44 (this is the verso of that folio). For proper citation it is essential to have that number, not just the sheet number written in by the enumerator.

    Thank you!

  16. Jade

    On further consideration about the right-side panel:

    –Even those principally doing trees, and the relative few who look at actual images (rather than your error-prone partial extracts) will mainly care about direct-line relatives. If they care about other trees that have their 5th cousin 3x removed, they would already have had ‘hints’ on this point.

    –If I want to know whether someone has my relative XY in their tree I can search the trees.

    –The suggestion to “add” relationships not given in pre-1880 US census items is a poor idea. The suggestion relates only to adding to the anonymous notes/extracts from the enumerations (which insists on erroneously calling “the record”). Those who care about what is in these items are 99% of the time going to assume relationships not proven with evidence. E.g., minors shown in enumerations could be children of a different head of household or of deceased persons. The extracts are inaccurate enough without adding viewer speculation, please. Oh, and in some of the 1880 enumeration, the notes actually add relationships that are **not** shown by the enumerator (what is held by the National Archives leaves the column blank). Eccch.

    Since this redundancy will not even be especially useful for those with trees, its main purpose must be to market interest in trees to those who have not added trees with names for’s selling points.

  17. Annie

    I like the idea of being able to vote on a correction, but on an entry that is obviously wrong. Most of the images and the transcriptions were done long ago. The technology advances have made reading images better. I know that I have submitted many names corrections just on the basis of being able to enlarge the image on my computer. I would suggest the use of a mediator for permanent fixes to the records. This might be too involved, I don’t know.

    The new viewer looks great to me and as with all changes, there will be frustration. You can’t please everyone in the genealogy world inluding me.

  18. Annie

    How will the communication be handled in regards to the Private Members and the ‘Inactive’ Members?

  19. Ina

    Am I not understanding these “new enhancements”? I enlarged your example of a census.You say the bottom section is a transcription of the image itself.It seems the entry below has totally different ages, states, etc. than the census. Is this supposed to be a “correction” by someone? Are they saying the census was wrong? I would rather read the census myself than to have an incorrect transcription!
    Some of the responces are talking about using this new “thing”, but I don’t have it on mine! All I have is the shortened menu bar at the top, only about 3/4 across the screen. Also, what did you do with the little “hand”? Now I have to move down or to the side scroll bar and then I lose track of the name on the census. And what did you do with the little magnifier? Sometimes I just want to enlarge a small section of a census. Am I missing something here?
    Also, since I’m writing, I searched on newpapers today for a name. It gave pages, but no highlights. Had to read the whole page to find a name, then it wasn’t there, anyway, although the search sent me there! Also, I found a family name in several city directories, the name starting with a “W”. It sent me to a page of “B”. Another with names starting with “P” on page 721 and 1181 pages to go through!
    Oh, and about printing! I used to click “Print” on the menu bar for a census. Now I do that, it refers me to another window to go to “file”, etc, and a few others places. it took 4 clicks to print. Old way, one.
    I am in my third year with you, but I really am not happy with all the “changes” you have been making!

  20. Kathy Marie


    Re: Privacy and the “New Enhancements Image Page”

    One of the tools being added to the Enhancements Image Page reads as follows: “a collapsible member connect panel [will be provided] so that you can see who has had something to add to this record, and who has been researching it.”

    Although it is not completeley clear as to what this means it does give me some concern about personal privacy. It appears that this feature will at least provide information to others as to “Who has been resarching it.” Does this mean, for example, that if I click on a Particular Census page, that I have been researching it, and if so will anybody then be able to click on the “Who has been researching it” panel and be able to see what I consider personal information, for example, my E-Mail address, etc., etc
    [See note below about “eyes of the beholder”]

    I consider my searching information to be private and don’t like the idea of any of it being made available to other than those whom I have personally let know what I am researching.

    Also I have been reluctant over the years to indicate errors on, say a Census Report, for fear that some day the trail of “private” information I provided when reporting the error would be provided to others. But it appears that is exactly what will happen in the implementation of this new feature

    Maybe, I haven’t been paying attention over the years and Ancestry.Com has always allowed this information to be seen by others, but I can assure you I will be paying more attention in the future.

    As you can see I am very concerned and I would like some further assurance/details on this portion of the Enhancement.

    I also, would like for Ancestry.Com to review this and assure themselves and their customers they HAVE NOT BEEN IN THE PAST AND WILL NOT BE IN THIS ENHANCEMENT providing “private” information to others.

    Also Note that “Private Information” is in the eyes of the beholder—what is private to me may not be private to you (Ancestry.Com), but it is better to error in favor of the Customer

  21. Anne Mitchell

    Ok, I have some catching up to do.

    Mike, calling anyone an idiot in any context is simply not nice, and will not be tolerated. You or anyone else who feels the need to address other members of the community in such a manner will have their posts deleted.

    Jade, if you click the maximize image button your panels will stay collapsed on any subsequent image that you look at, unless you remove your cookies. It’s a pretty quick click to collapse the panels, and user testing confirmed to us that this was not an issue. Also, this is not a transcription tool, instead it is a way for our members to share what they know.

    Joan, trees is not my area, but there is no facility to split a tree in our online tree product.

    David, we have considered add fields such as relationships to 1850, 1860, and 1870. This would have to be done carefully of course as it is not actual data on the image, but it could be a future addition.

    Reed, the maximize/minimize image functionally is “sticky”. I think when you actually use it, it will seem reasonable.

    Carol, the hand/cursor is not on the mockup, but it is on the actual page when it launches.

    Jade, all of the image will be available that is currently available.

    Annie, it’s an interesting thought about the mediation piece. I’m sure as we launch these and gather more corrections, we’ll have an idea on how big it is and whether mediation is feasible. I’m not really sure what you mean by Private Members and Inactive Members and what needs to be communicated to them.

    Ina, the example you saw was just a mockup, not the actual census with the transcriptions. The index panel will match the census. And the little hand will be there. As for the newspapers, it would be best to contact me directly with the specifics of your example and I could forward it on.

    Kathy, I’m glad you brought up the issue of privacy. Not everyone will want this information shared for a variety of reasons. When the Member Connect features are launched, you will have the option to not share the records you save, etc. I suggest you read more at A new way to connect with other researching your ancestors to get further details.

    Thanks to all of you for sharing your feedback.

  22. Carol A. H.

    I re-read the description of what this new enhancement is supposed to do for us. I understand it is totally collapsible, each of the panels one by one which equals 3 clicks.

    If I’m looking at a census immage, for example, and I can’t remember who I’m looking for, I’m in serious trouble!!! Senility is setting in!

    I know sometimes I put my keys down and forget where I left them but I see others a whole lot younger than me do the same thing. So I’m not losing it yet.

    I can pan around, enlarge, or reduce an image just fine and find my person. The immages are not so big or complicated that I need these new panels to keep me going in the right direction. When they are MISSING, then I have a serious problem!

    I don’t much care if someone else has saved the immage to their shoebox or tree on ancestry. I can search trees with no problems.

    Member corrections and comments might be interesting IF there is a discrepancy but I may know more than anyone about a person. In the end, I’m the one who decides what is correct and what I will use.

    If folks back up their corrections with some evidence or another source record, then maybe I could go to that record to see for myself if it is valid.

    My experience with other’s trees has been not all that great because most folks don’t cite their sources. they let the program add the source and don’t add any details. It is time consuming to do this and I can very well understand there are only so many hours in the day.

    So I always do the reaseach even if it is redundant.

  23. Carol A. H.

    I just a minute ago posted the following:

    “I can pan around, enlarge, or reduce an image just fine and find my person. The images are not so big or complicated that I need these new panels to keep me going in the right direction. When they are MISSING, then I have a serious problem!”

    I must correct this statement. There is an exception:


    They are a piece of work!!! Horrible indexing!

  24. Jade

    Anne, you say,

    “Jade, if you click the maximize image button your panels will stay collapsed on any subsequent image that you look at, unless you remove your cookies. It’s a pretty quick click to collapse the panels, and user testing confirmed to us that this was not an issue.”

    I remove cookies daily or more. I will hate going to a standard view (without the redundant right panel and error-prone lower panel of transcripts) with every renewed visit.

    Since any searcher can see on the “results” page whether there have been corrections or comments, and can easily view them if they want to, why impose this on the rest of us? The material on the new panel is redundant, and for me a very intrusive space-taker.

    I suggest making these items an *option* that those who want them can turn on, via a tab at top of page.

    I submit corrections to names / surnames in indexing / ancestry “record” often when they are **wrong** not because I have any interest in the individuals. I will not be interested in connecting with folks asking about those entries.

    “Also, this is not a transcription tool, instead it is a way for our members to share what they know.”
    Okay, you already have the limited means of submitting corrections to names in indexes (which are added as alternates to the indexes and maybe in the extract/so-called “record”. This new panel is just a space-taking way to give access to the same stuff, with the possibility of adding corrected state of birth.

    Since nearly all of the 1850 US Census entries that give birthplace as “Ia” mean ***Indiana*** but your extracts (so-called records) write it out as “Iowa” instead, why don’t you just do a global search-and-replace at least for the people enumerated in Indiana?

    A related issue is the tendency in your extracts (so-called records) to change ages of infants from 2/12 or 8/12 to ‘0’; will submitted corrections to these items appear in the extracts?

  25. Carol A. H.

    Wow! In the time I took to write my posts, others have been busy, including Anne Mitchell. So here are some further comments.

    I now understand the mockup is not the real thing so I will wait and see. I know the little “pan hand” will be there and the panels can be collapsed with one click, not 3, or individually.

    I must state my agreement totally with Jade. Folks do assume a minor child is a child of the head of the household. It is not true all the time. Young children frequently lost their parents and went to live with relatives who happened to have the same surname. Terms such as “daughter” could sometimes apply to a daughter-in-law. Same with sons-in-law. If folks were close to their in-laws, they considered them like their own children or parents. Sometimes, even stepchildren were noted as a daughter or son, so you wouldn’t know there had been another marriage by one of the parents.

    Terminology regarding relationships in the censuses should learned through some basic books or other media about this. I can’t think of a particular book but I know they exist and are in Family History Centers and genealogy societies in the reference departments. It wouldn’t take much time and would certainly be useful.

    So I don’t think ancestry should be adding relationships to their indexing, especially if it wasn’t an original question from the census taker. Experienced researchers of the censuses know how many mistakes were made, not to mention the problems with spelling of names, and the crazy handwriting.

    I also agree with Kathy Marie. I know there is a utility to search the site to see who is searching for a particular person. So far this has not been a problem. Anne suggested that Kathy “go to [and] read more at A new way to connect with other researching your ancestors to get further details.” When I clicked that I got:

    Oops – There’s Nothing Here
    It looks like the blog owner hasn’t written anything yet!

    Not much help there! I will still wait and see. I have been considering removing my trees to save myself time. Then I won’t have to duplicate my research on my home computer. I just haven’t decided….yet.

    The more stuff ancestry adds in the way of enhancements to the site, the longer it take to do my research. Even if I don’t use these enhancements, they still load in the background therefore taking more time.

    I wish ancestry would go get the missing parts of the city directories, fix the newspaper indexing as well as the obituaries and the voter lists.

  26. Mike


    On your #24, I used the term “idiot” there to make a point. And I did not mean people who lacked intelligence, but rather people who have not yet learned or worse, refuse to learn. The point is that either way they are woefully unqualified to vote on a genealogy research matter that requires learning and *valid* experience.

    But you know that and instead made an issue of my use of that term in order to avoid the issue of voting by unqualified users. Well played.


  27. Reed


    2 questions: In your post above (#24) you wrote, re my comment (#16):

    “Reed, the maximize/minimize image functionally is “sticky”. I think when you actually use it, it will seem reasonable.”

    I thought I was pretty fluent in advanced consumer-level computerese, but this has me stumped. Could you explain again, in English?

    Second, what about a “Rotate Image” button?


  28. Annie

    I’m sorry that my terms Private Members and Inactive Members was confusing.
    I should have said ‘Will Private Tree owners be sent notifications when other members are researching the same records/names that are in their Private Tree? Or will this type of communication be limited to Public Trees only?
    Will any type of notification be posted to a tree that a member has not renewed (Inactive Member)?

  29. Millie Redford

    When I sign in. Austin- Davis family come up on my screen as my family. This is not my family and I don’t know how to change the screen. please help me as i do not even know these people

  30. Francine

    You really should look into linking to Facebook which is where families are connecting with extended relatives these days!

  31. I sincerely hope the “old search” will remain available. I don’t “love” the old search engine, I just can’t find what I am looking for with the new one.

    When I specify “exact” I mean exact, no middle names or initials, I mean in the date I entered, for the place I entered. If I enter Canada I don’t want England. If I enter 1909, I don’t want 1911.

    The “exact” lets me judge who I am looking for, I don’t want the machine to second=guess my entries when I specify exact. Just show what fits, I’ll decide if it is relevant.

    So I think the problem in using the word “relevant”. Let’s just say,the results should meet the entered criteria as narrowly as the user specifies. If I want broader results, then I will specify that.

    Thank you.

  32. Jo

    *Please* don’t use cookies to save these (and other) preferences!

    Many people, including myself, delete cookies on a daily basis or even have our browsers set to clear cookies every time our browser is closed.

    Thank you.

  33. Kent

    Why can’t the search more like the Google Advanced search option? I agree with all the comments that the current search returns ENTIRELY too many irrelevant records.

  34. Andy Hatchett

    A few comments….
    #10- Mike- Bravo! I agree completely.

    #15- Dave- Is this really a good idea since no one alive really *knows* what the relationship was? I have one family on the 1850 census with three females that could be :

    1)Mother, daughter, mother’s sister.
    2)Mother, Mother’s sister, mother’s niece.
    3)Eldest sister, younger sister, youngest sister.

    Differnt branches of the family argue different relationships.

    #28-Carol- In my view *nothing* should be added as any “alternate” that isn’t on the original document. Corrections for any field actually on the document are find but adding anything else open’s a Pandora’s box of competing “facts” known by family members.

    #34- Marth- EXACTLY, all searches should by default be exact searches with no built in added “fudge” factor that isn’t even known to a first time user.

    If I want to broaden my search then let me do it- I don’t need Ancestry’s help in deciding what I’m looking for.

    #35-Jo- I agree about the cookies completely. There are much better ways to do this.

  35. Cheryl

    I really dislike the new ancestry software and the new interface. i have tried the new software but there are far too many windows within windows; one cannot access the notes and medical fields, it is really awful. I have gone back to Version 16.
    The new website searching is just as bad as the new software. Too much decoration. The old search functions were far superior. It now take tonnes of time to do something.

    I’ve used FTM since Version 1 and this new product needs going back to the drawing board.

  36. Kent

    Is there anyone there who would be receptive in viewing my own “redesign” of your search page?

  37. Virginia

    You suggest “I suggest you read more at A new way to connect with other researching your ancestors to get further details”. I went there and found that even if you opt out of sharing, your username and posting will still be shown. This does not sound like the privacy that comment #23 is asking for, and that I want.

    When I search images I often go back and forth to get printed page numbers, a more readable name of the enumerator, etc. Why not let me turn on the panels when I want them. Also the load time will be increased beyond the already slow load time of the images.


  38. Jade

    I just re-read Ancestry’s verbiage on the aggravating “member connect” stuff added to image/extract database pages.

    It says:

    “Member Connect will not only show you the member activity on the ancestors in your family tree, it will also show you who has saved or commented on records featuring your ancestors.”

    “We’ll scan public member trees on to find members researching the people in your tree. You’ll be able to decide if you want to connect to matching ancestors in other trees to build a network for each ancestor in your tree.”

    “A new box on your home page will show you all of the Member Connect activity surrounding your ancestors. This includes activity around records you’ve saved or commented on and members you’ve connected to through your family tree.”

    There is constant iteration of the stuff to be found about “your ancestors”.

    But this is a falsehood. It’s the same old Hinty junk about anyone at all in your tree, with the addition of Hinty junk regarding any image you’ve saved from a search, and any extract/notes you may have saved to your tree. Oh, and anything at all you saved to your shoebox or that someone else saved to *their* shoebox from a search.

    Essentially it’s keyed to a record somewhere of your search entries.

    Perhaps someone in knows that the ancestries given in most Trees are false. Only a non-genealogist would intimate that most of the people in Trees are ancestors of the tree owner or tree participant.

    Here is a “Jade Hint”: **descendants** of my ancestors are *n-o-t* *m-y* *a-n-c-e-s-t-o-r-s*.

    Another “Jade Hint”: you will not be able to discern from any tree I am involved with who my ancestors are.

    Since’s intention is to keep another hundred or so servers busy with traffic about multiple millions of non-ancestral people-in-trees, why not be honest about it?

    Stop the falsehoods about furthering research on “your ancestors”. It simply is not true.

  39. bill5827

    I canceled my subscription recently, not because it is hard to use, as the man at wrote, but because after persevering with frustrations for a looong time, the page layout was the final straw. I had to pencil in partial names and dates that didn’t print because the census image was compressed to 1/3 with promotions on the right 1/3 and navigation links on the left 1/3 of the screen and I need a magnifying glass to read it. (That stuff should be at the bottom of the page, out of the way.) It seems the developers are so preoccupied with their bells and whistles that they have lost perspective that genealogy is about who, what when and where.
    I think they should have their utilities in a separate companion program where they can copy family data into a temporary folder and minipulate the data to their heart’s content while they create gee-whiz reports, tables, lists, canendars and anything else people may want to print or compile. Our family data should remain safe in our family files.
    I’ve used Family Tree Maker since 1995 to organize my data and document the sources. That’s ALL I use it for. Some of the utilities may be nice to have, but I seldom use them.
    These are only my personal opinions but I’m entitled to them.

  40. Pam Zakacs

    I continue to be frustrated with having to go through useless records returned by searches. It’s to the point that I think subscribers should get a reduction on fees.
    I have deliberately searched for records I already have copies of from previous searches (before search was broken) and the record is there but buried 50-100 pages in. I don’t know what has been “fixed”, but my experience tells me search is still broken in supplying relative records.
    Do you think it’s fixed now and are no longer trying a fix? How about going back to your old computer code as to how it provides search results?
    If I say exact search for name, I most often get nothing when I know it should find something. Paying way too much to have this much difficulty for so long.

    Please tell me what your plans are for resolving the irrelevant records problem.

  41. Suzanne

    I don’t like the “enhancements” at all. There are too many trees that only want to collect names-most of which are wrong. There is too much cluttering the pages.
    I went to my tree and found that the person I had attached the day before (after searching through many records on Scotland’s People” was attached to someone else. I deleted it and he was gone off the correct tree too.
    This site seems to be trying to appeal the the masses that want a quick fix.
    I wish those that are “enhancing” would ask first. For the first time I am seriously considering canceling my subscription.

  42. Jade

    Pam (#47), the purported “enhancements” are only one part of the overall marketing scheme that commenced with the first tree-hosting enterprise years ago.

    The very purpose of the trees on is to take advantage of the internet-wide tree-piracy/vampirism (whatever you want to call it). Host trees, encourage people to copy parts or wholes, sell having so many “names,” encourage subscriptions (pretend they are “memberships”) so that tree people can see what the “records” are and link them. Now it’s coming almost full circle, using the “records” links to encourage more tree-copying and more names to sell (within the fiction that this is helping research your ancestors).

    This is the purpose of the so-called “records” that are such error-prone extracts or excerpts by unknown persons from an actual record (or from a nonsense genealogical book or horrendous database compiled from family group sheets or from non-researched genealogies). You can’t do the same kinds of marketing linkages with actual images of a record (say, a Census enumeration) that are uploaded *from your computer* rather than the mainly dreck *from the site*.

    This is not a genealogical enterprise. It is an enterprise to make money from the broad scheme in which actually-researched genealogies are but a tiny part.

    Any time you see a broad format change, it is to make money.

    The buggy “New Search” was invented to integrate better with Trees and the tree-related “Member Connect” scheme. This is why the place-fields have the infuriating type-ahead standardization feature, to eliminate trying to make the computer program recognize real places (Hundreds, Towns in New England, Townships, beats, judicial districts, Shires and Parishes in England and the myriad other geopolitical subdivisions in the USA, Canada and Europe). The majority of Tree users don’t understand those structures anyway.

    The tree New View is most likely a development parallel to the change in the Message Board format: intended to create space for more ads.

    They promised to fix the bugs in the Message Boards, but they did not fix the fundamental ones while adding ludicrous marketing features (the popups that cover the text you want to read – promoting useless books and giving ridiculous lists of counties-by-the-same-name-in-different-states).

    So there have to be marketing-linkage reasons for having several different code streams that result in what appear as the redundant tabs and path-links. They are not going to ‘fix’ this. They are not going to offer an “opt out” back to the former Tree view.

    The New View scheme is so disorganized in appearance because the template is the fundamental disorganization of the various sorts of databases and compensatory patches on the search-engine platform that are now being overlaid by the “Member Connect” tentacles.

    It’s the same developmental model as Microsoft’s computer user interfaces. Take bad code and patch it forever until it becomes a behemoth requiring huge amounts of memory and gets so clumsy that the user’s options have to be severely restricted. And don’t forget to call each stage an “enhancement.”

  43. I have a gr grandfather born in Pa. I have his birthdate and death date, both in Edenburg, and PA will not give me a birth certificate to identify his parents. How do you get around this brick wall

  44. connie

    Why is a banner for AOL Research & Learn thrown across the top of the search results page this evening? The obstrusive ugly orange thing is a distraction. It only appears on the search results pages in—it is not harassing me elsewhere. And the ugly orange color is the same as your feedback button. We are paying for Ancestry, not for a connection to AOL. Your “new trees” look is already a big problem and now it seems you want to inflict even more ads on us. Is this a new partnership Ancestry has entered into? If so, it is yet another reason for me to rethink my subscription.

  45. Donna J. Carroll

    I really do not like the new family tree pages. Like to have never found the “edit” link and page is really much to “busy”. Old format much more user friendly, especially after one has been using it for several years. And cannot find the US Census list to select the year I want to see. Good grief, must you persist in messing up a good thing? Cannot imagine, at this point, that I will renew my subscription next year.

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