Posted by Laura Dansbury on December 2, 2010 in Website

Hello Everyone!  I wrote a couple blog posts about the updated pages in New Search a few months ago.  

I thought it might be worth discussing a few more of the features in greater detail.  

How often do you step away from your research for a few hours and then have trouble remembering exactly where you left off?  Is your desk covered with little reminder notes?  What happens when you take a break for a few days or weeks?  Do you wish you had an easy way to get back to the collections you were concentrating on?  The Recent Searches and Recently Viewed Collections tools can help you remember what you did last and restart your research quickly. You can find both features on the New Search homepage. 


Recent Searches 

When you are logged in, we remember and display the last 4 searches you did. To find them, look beneath the search form for Recent Searches.  You may have to do a few searches before you see recent ones.  When you click the names, we will redo the same search that you did in the past.  If you are trying to recreate a search that you did beyond your last four searches, click “See More” on the right side of this section. 


On the Recent Searches homepage, you can see your last 100 searches. They are organized chronologically by date.  You can see when you did the search, what information you provided, and in which category you were searching.  Clicking on a name will redo the search. Clicking the trash can will delete the search. 


Recently Viewed Collections 

Sometimes, you are focused on just a few data collections for a person or family group.  You may do a lot of reasearch in just those collections.  Recently Viewed Collections is designed to help you quickly get back to those data collections by placing them on the top right side of the search homepage. We display the names of the last three data collection homepages you visited. 


Similar to Recent Searches, you can also see a longer list of the data collection homepages that you have visited.  Click “See More” to go to a longer list of data collections.  You can see the name of the data collection, the category, and the date you last viewed the collection homepage.  Click on a data collection name to go directly to that collection home page. You can also delete any titles that you don’t want keep in your list of recently viewed collections.  


Just a few tips to help you return to your research quickly after you’ve stepped away.  I hope you give them a try.


  1. lijah

    i hate your new format. the kind of research i do is to cast a wide net and narrow it down i cannot do it with this format. i want to see everyone in the area with that name. i may stop using your site because of this. eyuck.

  2. Jade

    1) “Recently Viewed Collections” is inoperative at this time.

    2) The “Recent Searches” list only shows searches done from trees. It does not show all searches. So if you are working on something not involving your own tree, “Recent Searches” will not help at all in logging what you have looked at or where you left off.

  3. Laura Dansbury

    Hi Jade,

    Thanks for testing and sending me an update. I am puzzled by your experience. Recent Searches works for all searches, not just for trees. And Recently Viewed Collections is working just fine for me from several computers. We will test more to see if we can replicate. Are you perhaps blocking cookies?


  4. Jade

    Hi Laura, I am not blocking cookies from this site and have not deleted any today. My ‘recent searches’ detail page shows only what I searched from trees up to yesterday, and no non-tree searches I did today. I am always logged in when searching.

    I wouldn’t think there would be some sort of indexing delay.

    Earlier today I tried both “recently viewed records” and “recently viewed data collections” and got a ‘500’ error page with message, “We’re sorry but this page or feature is temporarily unavailable. We are undergoing maintenance or resolving some errors. We apologize for the inconvenience and ask for your patience at this time. Please try this page again shortly, or try one of the links below.”

    Now I get that error page only for “recently viewed records.”


  5. Jade

    This is strange. Yesterday evening I looked at the Searches page and saw that my most recent non-tree searches were listed.

    This morning those searches are gone, and this morning’s non-tree searches are not listed (remaining on the list are tree searches from 2 days ago)

    My browser clears cookies automatically when shut down.

    So it seems that non-tree searches are somehow dependent on cookies. But that does not explain why this morning’s non-tree searches are not on the list.

  6. Herb

    A number of times I’ve done a search and found information on a Census. Then the next day I enter the exact same search request data but the Census won’t come up or says there is no data. Is there something I am missing? It makes me wonder what other information is in ancestry’s database but I not finding it? I have tried different name spellings, ages, but nothing comes up. I luckily copied the original census form to work with.


  7. Carol A. H.

    #1 lijah:

    Use old search. I use both old and new but old works better for me. And it is a whole lot faster! It gives you that broad picture you are looking for. Don’t give up.

    To all: I do find some very strange happenings every now and then. Very quirky. I just keep going because I can’t reach customer support (wrong hours)and the email “help” is not very good. It is so much easier to verbalize the problems. For sure I’m not going to search online help often. Sometimes I can’t even think how to phrase the question to get an answer. I won’t wade through thousands of canned answers. Too bad it’s not as easy as Google.

    I should keep a log on the different problems I encounter. Nah! I’m too busy doing research!

  8. Barbara Lee

    In reports:
    1. I know you can determine paternal & maternal relations, because you indicate thia in some relationship reports for close relativea. Can you not specify this for all persons? To preserve space, a simple “P” or “M” would help.

    2. How do I get a print out of all service ancesters, in all wars back to the French & Indian War ? I’ve input quite a number, but don’t know how to search for them.

    3 How do I find records of family members who served on active duty through the National Guard? E.G. my son-in-law is a retired pilot, Lt. Col., who aerved in Iraq, yet I can locate nothing on him.

    4. How does one find information in native Indian records, if there are many I know there are Cherokee lists, but not about others.

  9. Karen Senseman

    I really don’t like the “tree” section of your new setup. Previously if I wanted to switch between a profile and a tree view, I could simply click on the tree and the view would change. Now if I am working on my ex’s side, when I switch from a profile to the tree, it always throws it back to me. It is a real nuisance to have to go through the procedure of re-finding the individual on whom I was working. Thanks. KFS

  10. Census is one of the most reliable sources of information. But I believe, all information gathered is held confidential by the responsible census agency. Personal information should not be accessible in public unless it’s legally requested and undergone prior hearing. But I’m still glad to hear that you are able to view and trace up your roots by using the census. Cheers!

  11. Jade

    Barbara Lee, your #9

    1) “I know you can determine paternal & maternal relations, because you indicate thia in some relationship reports for close relativea. Can you not specify this for all persons?”
    –Are you talking about “relationship reports” in some census enumerations, in your home-genealogy program or in your tree? In general, items such as the OneWorldTree poorly compiled material (much of it wrong) from user-submitted Trees. The users may have different representations of many families. To the extent that encodes background items from user-submitted interpretations to identify particular individuals, its computers have some relationships-data that is a component of some “hints” to AncestryMemberTrees. But since so much of the user-submitted data is invented, wrong, etc., cannot pretend to have any accurate genealogies in its background coding.

    2) “How do I get a print out of all service ancesters, in all wars back to the French & Indian War?”
    –If you are talking about from your MemberTree, there is no way to do this on-site.

    3) “. . . my son-in-law is a retired pilot, Lt. Col., who aerved in Iraq, yet I can locate nothing on him.”
    – does not pretend to have all military records, particularly recent and current ones. Such records can be obtained by authorized persons from the military personnel center.

    4) “How does one find information in native Indian records . . . I know there are Cherokee lists, but not about others.”
    –Again, does not claim to have many Native American records, let alone all those made by the US Government. Some are accessible through the National Archives. Other records are held by the particular Nation and not necessarily open to access by the public.

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