Posted by on November 18, 2010 in Website

Over the last year we’ve been working on a better way to let you view your member tree.  We’ve built this new tree viewer based on feedback from members, extensive user testing and hours of development and design.  We focused on finding ways to let you view more of your tree at once and as I’ve viewed my own tree with the new viewer, it’s been great to be able to see my 12th great grandmother in the same view as me.  I’ve also found that seeing more of my relatives in the new family view has helped me see new family lines to start researching.

You can check out the new tree viewer by going to your member tree and by clicking on a link in a blue banner at the top of the tree viewer.  The first thing you’ll notice is the “What’s new” feature.  You can move your cursor over the headings to see pop-up boxes highlighting some of the new changes.  You can dismiss this at any time by clicking the x to the right. Here’s a list of some of the other new things we’ve done to make it easier to view more of your tree.

More Generations in the Pedigree View – When there are more than 5 generations visible in any branch of your tree, you can click the arrow icon next to your 5th generation ancestor to expand another group of 4 generations.  You can keep expanding until you run into that pesky brick wall.

Drag Your Tree Around the Screen – Now that you have so much more of your tree to look at, we’ve made it possible to simply hold down your mouse button and drag the background of your tree to move it around the screen without scrolling. 

Larger Display Area – if you’re one of the lucky people with a larger monitor, we’ve made it so the tree view can expand the full width and height of your monitor.

Header changes

  • Tree Pages – We’ve consolidated all the links to other tree pages to make them easier to find and give you more room to view your tree.  Just hover over  “Tree pages” in the header for quick access to these pages.

  • Find a person in this tree – we’ve consolidated some other features to make more room.  Hover over the “Find a person in this tree” search area to see the “last person viewed” and the “list of all people” links.

Tool Bar

  • Home person link – We’ve moved the home person link to the tool bar for quick access
  • Re-center the root person – Click the curved arrow icon to position the current root person in the vertical center of the screen and reset the zoom level
  • Zoom – you can zoom in or out by clicking the plus or minus icons or by dragging the side bar.  I like to expand branches of my family then zoom all the way out for a star-like view of my tree.
  • Print – We’ve moved the print button and made it possible to print more of your tree.  If you have expanded branches of your tree in the pedigree view, you’ll be able to print all the viewable generations at once. 

Mini Person Card – When you hover over a person in your tree, a mini-tree card appears.  When you click the name of your person, you’ll be taken to that person’s overview page.  If you want to see this person’s tree, click the link that says “View his/her family tree” and this will redraw the tree with the selected person in the root position of the tree.

New Family View – Now you can see your relatives in what we’re calling the family view.  This view allows you to see up to 2 generations of descendants, up to 3 generations of ancestors and all the siblings of a selected person.  It’s a great way to see your family grow when adding siblings, children, cousins, aunts and uncles.

I’ve been using this new feature for over a month and it’s been great to be able to view more of my tree as I expand generations of my ancestors.  In the new family view, I love being able to quickly add siblings and aunts and uncles and get the instant gratification of seeing them in my tree.  We’re really excited to offer you these great new changes and hope to hear what you think about the new viewer.  Once you’ve seen the new tree viewer and explored the changes, you can give us feedback by clicking the “Provide feedback” link in the new tree viewer or you can click here.

Click here to see your tree in the new tree viewer.


  1. Valerie C

    I’m getting a “Check Back Soon” message right now, but I was able to play with this a little before it went down. One immediate suggestion: I’d like to be able to expand more than one family line at a time on the pedigree chart.

  2. Lorna Gunsauls

    I like this feature. I have been working on building a descendant tree and would LOVE a way to view it at Family tree maker lets me do it but I want to include one in the publication option here.

  3. Vernon Painter

    I seem to be having trouble getting it to function correctly and now I cant get it to go back to the old mode. Any suggestions

  4. worshacf

    This new feature is nice, but I don’t want it to be the default page.

    Every time I work with the hints, and finish, I select “Return to family tree”, this Pedigree view comes up. I want it to return to “Tree Overview” as it normally would before you put this feature into operation. Instead, it takes another step to get into “Tree Overview”.

    Also, I’m ‘Editor’ for two other trees; when I go into those trees this “Pedigree view” is what I see first. It takes another step to get into “Tree Overview”.

  5. Robert Esch

    I like the new tree spread, but I miss the button it replaced, allowing one to see immediately the list of siblings & the spouse and children. That button made the navigation a lot easier.

  6. Jade

    Adding a direct link to the Tree Overview page is very good – many did not know that it existed.

    Please restore the “view family members” link to the handy drop-down list(s) (and add-family-member options) that used to be where the link to pedigree/family views is now.

    You can put the link to pedigree/family views back where it was last week – above the main person-data box.

    The “view family members” link was very handy when the user was editing a source citation, editing an event, writing a comment or doing anything else in one of the tabbed pages, since in these circumstances the family members listed in the right sidebar cannot be viewed. The pedigree and family charts are no substitute since they are on ~separate pages~. I want to be able to see brief data on family members *while* doing the aforesaid edits.

    This link to the dropdowns in particular makes family exchanges via the “comments” much easier if you don’t have to go back and forth between windows to see just who you are writing about.

    So please restore this 😀

  7. SAS

    It’s a big improvement I like it but the print option needs a major improvement, at present it only prints to Portrait, it should give you the option to print to Landscape and also to resize the tree.

    In mine it says it will take 20 pages for Portrait mode of which 4 are blank or nearly blank.

    I would also love a way to print the whole tree out for display or to give to people who don’t have a computer. This makes it easier but there should be an option to print it all out, your competitors offer this so why can’t you?

  8. Robert Esch

    #15 Jade and I are on the same page. It seems that with every addition, there is a subtraction. Also, is there something wrong with the search feature? I can search, but if I try to get too specific (like entering the state of birth), I get the dreaded “Report Back Soon” page. If I cannot narrow down my search, then it will take me forever to find a “hard to find” individual. Has anyone else noticed this, or is it just me? Best Wishes to all.

  9. Sharon

    Has anyone been having problems viewing the bottom half of the census the part where you can click on the name. It’s not showing up at all when I try to few a census.

  10. Jo

    Yes, please restore the “Show immediate family” feature before this is rolled out permanently.

    For anyone who has clicked on the preview and now doesn’t have the “Show immediate family” function on your profile pages, it is still there but you have to click on “Exit preview” in the pedigree view in order to go back to see it.

  11. Michel Bryson

    I love the new tree, but am disappointed to see that the new “View his tree” or “View her tree” link has replaced the “View immediate family” link. When looking at hints, birth records and census records refer to other people. I used to be able to view the immediate family, while keeping the same Hints tab up, and quickly see whether that hint was for my person or not.

    Now, I have to click on the Overview tab, look at the family members, then go back to Hints and process accordingly.

    Would really, really like to have the immediate family access back.

    Thanks and keep up the good work!

  12. The whole image is much easier on the eyes. Thanks for the change. I just found it and I’m trying the features out.

    Meanwhile, please forward a bug. I cannot save information from an outside tree to each of my trees. It wants to transfer to my husband’s separate tree ( I guess because his name starts with A) The small window offers the option to save to a different tree, but the link to go to my tree does not work.

    Donnas family tree, Absherfromkings

    no comment on his name choice.


  13. Robert Esch

    I hate to be a pain, but the search feature is still not right. I can fill in all the information about an individual, and then press search, and then I am sent to the right place, but if I happened to fill in the birthplace for the individual, the “Check Back Soon” page pops up. If I then return to the previous page, I have to enter the information again. This never used to happen; in fact, I first noticed the problem a couple of days ago when the new changes were being initiated. Since that time, the search feature has not allowed me to enter the birthplace of the individual without the “check back soon” appearance. I am using “old search” when this occurs. So far I have not noticed the problem on new search, but I find that “new search” doesn’t allow me to set the age range, which can be a pain finding an individual whose birth date has been messed up by the enumerator or transcriber (an unfortunately too common occurrence).

  14. Randy

    Overall, I like the new Pedigree View and the Family View. However, there are two major issues/bugs:

    1) In the new Pedigree View, the primary photos of the people in the tree are being cropped typically such that the bottom half of their faces are cut off. The Profile View and the new Family View display the photos correctly; it is only the new Pedigree View that has this bug. (The OLD Pedigree View also displayed the photos properly). I have also confirmed that this issue exists whether viewing the tree in Internet Explorer or Chrome. When ancestry was prototyping the new pedigree viewer many months ago, this bug existed, and I reported it a number of times to no avail. This really needs fixed, as many people (including me) have spent a lot of time cropping and creating primary photos for people in their trees, and this indiscriminate cropping feels like ancestry’s software is vandalizing my tree.

    2) I loved using ancestry on my iPad. The new Pedigree View and Family View cannot be dragged around to see the parts that are off the screen.

    I hope you’ll work to fix these issues before permanently releasing this new Pedigree View.

  15. Robert Re: #25

    You said:
    “So far I have not noticed the problem on new search, but I find that “new search” doesn’t allow me to set the age range, which can be a pain finding an individual whose birth date has been messed up by the enumerator or transcriber (an unfortunately too common occurrence).”

    On the NewSearch search form have you clicked the “Show Advanced” link in the top right hand corner of the form? It adds extra fields- one of which is ability to set date plus or minus a certain number of years. Is that what you mean by “age ranges”?

  16. worshacf

    Donna #23
    Try signing off your browser. Then re-sign onto Firefox. Go back and try again to save information from an outside tree to each of my trees.

    It happens to me most of the time. Today I got one headstone photo from another tree moved to my main tree. Usually, it tries to attach to my small tree that I’ve made up for the mother my husband.

    I’ve called into tech support many times regarding the problem. I’m told that the ancestry system doesn’t work well with Safari, and to simply switch over to Firefox.

    Hope this helps you too.


  17. janet1964w

    I am having problems with printing. Neither program has never been printing friendly for me. Also, lately I have been working on the HINTS page. In the new program, I can’t seem to find a way to easily go from the pedigree to “people with hints”. There is an extra step. I do like the new look, but dont want to have it as a default. Can we have both? I hate to think I’ll lose out on some of the stuff I’ve been doing for the new look. Keep up the great work. Also, when looking at the hints, you used to be able to just look at it at a glance…but now you have to really open it to find the info you need. I’m not really sure, but someone else mention it and I would agree. I spend too much time in front of the computer as it is doing this…hahahaha…..I don’t need to spend more. Thanks for all you do. Janet

  18. Chuck Conklin

    Hay Guys,
    Great work on the new tree view! We’ve been waiting years for this type of view.

    Now, the question arrises, when are we going to see this up date on FTM2011? Will you be sending out a patch soon?

  19. Jeannie Havel

    I agree with Jade & others about restoring the drop-down box with “view family members.” This was such a useful feature. I’m surprised this did not come up during beta testing. Otherwise, I appreciate the changes. Great work! Thank you.

  20. Jade

    Aside from the new pedigree and ‘family’ views’ previews, some actual changes were rolled out at the same time.

    One is layout of the screens for handling hints from the ‘list of people with hints’ page. It is rather wider, and requires more scrolling about for many of us not having huge monitors. Putting the ‘review’ button and ‘ignore’ link in a more central location will help many of us.

    Also added are summaries of what might be found in various items that appear as hints. One of these has a factual error — the description of the 1870 US Federal Census that states the user can find out about nationalities of parents of the persons in the enumerations. Well it is true that birthplaces are given for most people (as they are in the 1850 and 1860 enumerations) — but they are not given for ~parents~ of those enumerated as in the 1880 through 1930 enumerations. This item should be corrected.

  21. Megan

    I am constantly amazed at the improvements and usability of this website. It’s a really wonderful job of design, IA, coding, etc. Thank you for all the hard work.

  22. rich dietz

    terrible, much harder to navigate change for the sake of change visual enhancement is not something i want i want to be able to bring up the same kinds of views as before family member list was great dropdowns of my children were great. I/T was my business for 33 years this is not improved user friendlyness even if somewhere it is enhanced functionality user friendly is the most important requirement in interactve applications

  23. Nancy

    The “View immediate family” link is very important to me as well. It was one of the best additions, and I hope that you replace it before rolling out these changes.

    I also have the problem of photos being cropped in the pedigree view, as it was in a prior version. Please fix this also.

  24. I love the new improvements. Thank you!!!! Now, I would really love it if upon viewing a member’s tree (as in using Ancestry Member Connect) we had a quick way to determine the relationship (if any) of the person who created the tree with the person on the tree that we are viewing.

  25. Taneya Re: #37

    A great many trees don’t include the person who created it. If the person who created the tree wants that information public all they have to do is use the relationship calculator and it will add that info. Others, however, have no right expect that this information should be available to them automatically.

  26. Anna Richter

    I too do not care for the tree as the default. I prefer the profile view of a person-any person on the tree-as the default.

    I have a number of people participating in adding names to my tree. I am having to coach them on how to avoid duplicating names-a problem that plagues many on Ancestry. The problem lies with the choice to choose a name already on the tree-those letters, that link, is TINY and is overlooked. I know because it took me forever to notice it myself. If you could please make those letters larger, maybe even have a WARNING symbol large enough to catch the eye, I think that would go a long way to preventing the duplications. It would be a very small but significantly helpful change.

  27. Carol A. H.

    I am probably in the minority here because I’m happy with the present system of the family/tree view and the way it functions. The new one, while pretty, takes more scrolling and clicking, and seems to take longer to change screen views. I dont’t want to see more than the 5 generations I’m working/concentrating on currently. I hope for one thing: You will give me the OPTION of seeing my family/tree as it is currently. The key word here is OPTION.

  28. BEE

    I’ll join #41 in that minority on how to view membership tree. Yes, it is “pretty”, but the “old view” is fine with me, especially since I don’t have any photos on my trees, and I’m more interested in finding information about someone, and being able to confirm it through census, etc.
    I do use the “hints” for information, especially maiden names, and hopefully, the proper spelling of names, although so many people just take what is written on a census and assume that is the correct. I just finished deleting a young child listed on a census that a dozen trees have as a living person. In reality, the name was badly misspelled on that census, but matched the young fellow on the next census, who wasn’t on the first! Because they don’t find that particular name on the next census, they assume he died young – when he never “was”!

  29. Christine

    Awesome!! The Mundia side of Ancestry is what lured me in and they had an older version of this. It was a lot slower so it is fantastic to see it again!

  30. Nathan

    I like the new family tree view, but when trying it out, the “Show Immediate Family” link disappears from individual profiles. That feature was incredibly useful when comparing new sources or potential member connections. It made it easy to compare the known family members with the ones in the new record. If the cost of the new tree view is removing that feature, it’s not worth it. Please make sure the “Show Immediate Family” link stays.

  31. Karen C

    I like the ‘pedigree’ view. I like that you can magnify, there are ppl who use Ancestry who do not have the best eyesight, that will thank you for this.

    I also like the fact you can see more generations- but right now I just get the ‘swirling leaf’ pattern and no more after 5 Gens- maybe because it’s new, or it’s a preview??

    The new ‘family’ view doesn’t come up for me, I just get the old one. But, if the template up top is what it’s supposed to look like I won’t use it. It reminds me of the GENI website, which is VERY UN-userfriendly.

  32. Joe

    I love the new view and particularly the Family view. I have had a number of Check Back Soon issues where I think it didn’t know what to do in rare situations.

    One in particular is when I had three sibling ancesters married three siblings of another family. Two of those siblings spouses passed away and the two remaining widows\widowers married each other (go figure). But the family view did not like that at all. I first got a CHECK BACK a couple of times and last night it drew a straight line connecting all of them and children together. I had to leave that part of the tree and come back and view the individual trees.

    I would also recommend although there is the PINK-Hers\BLUE-His “View His\Her Family Tree” buttons associated with a person, there should also be a similar button to collapse that family view rather then having to then select someone elses Family Tree to view.

    Also, I have a large monitor and it seems to default to a maxinum 5 generations on the screen before having to open up individual trees going back. It would be nice to have (unless I missed it)a user configuration on how many generations to view (particular from the home person) before having to expand. Even if some of the require dragging up or down to get to.


  33. Eric

    Genedocs offered this for FREE in Jan 2009 with its Hybrid (PED+)chart…nice going Ancestry!

    see Genedocs charts on facebook

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