Posted by on October 16, 2009 in Webinars

Hi everyone

Thanks to those who joined us for the Search webinar on Wednesday. We had more than 10,700 members registered for the event, which is a record ever for

We also appreciate all of the great questions. In total, we had over 1,500, so unfortunately, we’re not going to be able to address these all individually.

In this post, and over the next few days, we’ll be covering some of the common themes:

1. Can I watch the presentation again?

  • Yes, you can watch our recording of the webinar by clicking here

2. Can I just see the slides? I don’t want to have to watch the whole webinar

  • We will be making these slides available shortly. I’ll provide an update on this blog as soon as we’ve posted them.

3. Where can I find a list of hot keys?

  • We always show a list of hot keys on every results page, on the left hand side, below the “collections”.

Hot keys screenshot

  • In addition, you can find an overview of hot keys in our blog post  here

4. How do I make a correction if I have information about one of my ancestors that doesn’t match what is transcribed on the record?

  • Nobody knows your ancestors as well as you do.  If you know an alternate name, date or place, you can add that to the record. Once you’ve made the correction, anyone searching in the future will be able to find that record based on either your alternate, or the original transcription

You can access this from the record pages:

corrections on record page

or on the new image view page, on those collections where it is available:

corrections on image page

  • For a more in depth overview of this, see Anne’s post about how corrections work here

5. Where is the best place to start when researching African American family history?

  • We have a special feature on African American ancestry that provides information and tips here

6. Where can I find the substitute collections for 1890 (which was lost) or 1940 (which isn’t released until 2012) censuses?

  • Because these collections are not available, we have compiled a number of sources, including city directories and state censuses that cover the years that would have been in these censuses. Using these, you may be able to fill in gaps and track down who was living where at those times.  Our 1940 substitute in particular contains a huge collection of city directories from about 1935 to 1945 and has over 100 million names.
  • For more information on 1940 see our blog post here
  • These are available via the census and voter list page or you can find them directly by clicking here for 1890 or here for 1940

7. How do you reduce hits outside of the specified date?

  • If you provide us with a birth, death or other date in the record, we will calculate when that person could have been alive, and only return records that could fall into that date range. You can find a detailed explanation of how this works in our post here.
  • There are some examples where some dates may appear outside of this range, for example some family histories. However, if you find a specific example we’d be grateful if you could let us know so we can look into it.

8. When I go to, my pages don’t look the same as the ones you showed in the webinar, why not?

  • Last year, we launched a new search interface, which had a new layout and some additional features, some of which we discussed in the webinar. If you have started using since last July, it’s likely you are using the new search interface.
  • However, following feedback from experienced users (including much debate on this board) we have continued to make the “Old” search available for those users who joined before this time. If you did not recognise the pages we showed, you might be using “Old Search”
  • The webinar was aimed at beginner to intermediate users, so it focused on the tools available in New search.

If you are using Old search, your screen will look like this, with a link to new search at the top right hand side of the page.

Old search

  • At any time, you can return to old search by clicking on the same link in the same position.

9.  Is Tony from Yorkshire, Indiana, or New Zealand…?

  • Some good guesses… but not right, I’m from Hereford, England and moved with my family to California in 2007

10. This webinar was too basic for me – will you be doing an “advanced” webinar?

  • We’ve been really pleased that the majority of people found this webinar useful, and we are now considering options for extending this.
  • In discussing within the team, it seems to make sense that a more advanced webinar should focus on particular topics, ie Searching for records in the South or Searching using specific collections. We’d love to get your ideas on what might be most useful to the greatest number of people.



  1. Bill Synwoldt

    Good webinar. I learned a lost as a fairly new user. I hope I will be able to print out the slides when you publish them.

  2. You never Answer my Question and the question was When I fill up all the boxes with facts and dates and all of them are fill. A box Comes asking for more information there are no more boxes to fill. So what is up with that?

  3. Andy Hatchett

    Bill Re:#1

    I’ve found a trick to get the slides right away as the seminar is going on…

    Open the paint program and when a slide comes up just hit the print screen key, put you cursor in the paint window, hit CTL-V, save as- give it a name and then hit new so paint is ready for the next slide. It only takes seconds. You can then print them out when the webinar is over.

    If you run both paint and the webinar at full screen you can use ALT-TAB to switch back and forth between the two. Sounds more complicated than it really is.

  4. Steve

    I am sorry that I missed the webinar but I do have a question regarding the old search vs. the new search.

    Using the old search, searching for Flora Paq* in Rhode Island (selecting Rhode Island first and performing a search for Flora Paq*), the Rhode Island birth index does not come up in the search.

    If I search using the “historical records tab”, all countries, Flora does come up in this index (still using old search).

    If I search “historical records” and add Rhode Island as a birth place (advanced search in the historical records tab), she does not come up (still using old search).

    If I use the “new search” (and frankly do not like the format of the results page – too busy and too much to page through), she also comes up in the Rhode Island index.

    Why is it when I use “old search”, Rhode Island records, she does not come up in this birth index? If anything, that index should come up in the old search as it is specfic to Rhode Island.

    Hopefully I am making some sense.

    It appears that if we prefer “old search” (and many of us do), we will have to search via the “search historical records” and search all records rather than the location specific search (and it was just a birthplace – no dates!!) as it is not returning the same results.

    The fact that Rhode Island appears to be covered (your format – using old search by location or location specific in the historical records tab) is misleading.

    I have read that you are leaving the “old search” up for those of us that prefer same but it does appear that you are no longer supporting “old search”.

    In the very least, you should clarify this on your website.

  5. Larry Van Wormer

    “However, following feedback from experienced users (including much debate on this board) we have continued to make the “Old” search available for those users who joined before this time”

    And just wanted to say, thanks very much for this change. I’m very happy with being able to stick with the “Old Search”, for me it just works better. Hope you will retain this choice.

  6. Lois Ames

    I used my old FTM for creating a geneology report, then printing it to file on my desktop. I then could copy it into my Word program to use on my webpage, which was created on my Word. I am very disappointed that I am now unable, in the new version of FTM to do this. Lois

  7. BEE

    I watched the webinar and even tried – or should I say “tried” to try “New Search” again…..all I can say is, I’m so glad I’ve had the “old search” from the time I started my trees to the present, and found so many documents. For me, it’s MUCH easier and far less complicated then “New Search”.

  8. Teresa

    I would be interested in Searching for records in the South and/or Searching for Civil War records.
    My county courthouse burned twice, during the critical years I’m searching of course. And there are hundreds of George Webbs during this time period. I don’t even know if he fought for the CSA or the Union since east Tennessee was split in their loyalties.

  9. Sharon Tabor

    I am SO glad to see others who find the New Search functions undaunting and less user friendly than the New Search. I’m not sure Ancestry has changed for the better. I find the New Ancestry extremely frustrating.

    If I try to use a range of birth years (ex. 1892 = or – 3 years) and 1889 shows no results, than why can’t the other years be displayed? The old search engine didn’t care – it would show all results within the specified time range, even if there was not a hit for a specific year.

    I spend more time online with fewer results than the Old Search function.

    It appears that the team assigned to this part of Ancestry aren’t researchers and don’t have any idea of what is needed.

    I have cancelled my subscription (again) due to the frustrations resulting from waste of time I find using this site.

  10. Bettie Wheat

    The 1870 census of Clay co. Ill. page 59 family 63 Furgeson, John E. Was left out of the index. How do you change this. Also since I can’t find some of the people in census records. I wonder how many more are left out. Bettie Wheat.

  11. Rhonda

    After viewing this webinar, I tried the NEW search and was able to find more records with the OLD search than with the new search. The NEW search provides too many records when searching for common names and includes areas that I am not looking for. When I say exactit does not show the records that I find in the OLD search.

    It would be nice though if when searching from an individual using the old search if one had the ability to drill down to specific collections like the NEW search.

    On another topic, it would be great if one were able to search the Shoebox especially if you have a large amount of data saved to the Shoebox (more than 10 pages).

  12. Mary

    What happened to searching? This new change is not helpful. Where is the great content box with family members, dates? That small little box doesn’t do it! The type is too light and small. Why are you forcing us to relearn something that’s not helpful? Looks like you just went backwards in service.

  13. Malcolm Northrup

    Let me re-ask a question I asked two days ago directly to CS. When will you do something about Phantom Leafs (or Leaves)in FTM 2010???

    Starting with 2010 I have useless Trees (meaning they are duplicates or unsourced)that show up in a majority of individuals although sometimes I do get great historical recorde as well. After I click on the Leaves and merge them or mark them as ignore there are still Leaves on my people. Often there are supposed to be 8 hints and only say 3 show up in the search screen. I go back, the leaf is still there but when I click and return to search –nothing. CS suggested I change the name, which I did and sure enough the leaf disappears. But when I restore the correct name—Theeyy’rre Baack!

    Considering the Tree is 3000 individuals I need a fix as well as a method to get out of Finding Trees Automagically. Right now Search is useless to me!!!!

  14. Larry Van Wormer

    Just wanted to say, the more flexible use of wild cards in the search fields is greatly appreciated. I find searching much better now! (Don’t actually know when the improved version was put in place, I only found it a few days ago…)

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