Posted by on September 18, 2013 in Mobile, Website

We are excited to announce our latest update to the Ancestry iOS app. This update brings a bright new look that feels right at home on Apple’s new iOS 7 operating system. Now you can easily add your living relatives to your tree using Facebook, read through your ancestors’ life events in story-like narratives, and dive into historical events that your ancestors lived through. Other new features include the ability to correct relationships in your tree and attach photos to life events.


Building your tree with Facebook

First of all, let’s put some concerns to rest—if you connect to Facebook using the app, we never post to Facebook on your behalf, and information from your family tree is never shared on Facebook. That said, this feature is a convenient and fun way to add living relatives to your tree or photos for living people already in your tree.

After you connect to Facebook we look for matches between the people in your tree and your friends on Facebook. If we find a match, you’ll see a screen like this pop up where you can confirm your matches.


We also look for people who are not in your tree. If we find relatives on Facebook who are not in your tree we show them as suggestions. Tap on them to either add them to your tree (Keep) or remove them (Ignore).


Historical facts

We insert historical facts into your ancestors’ timeline to shed some light on what was going on in the world when they were alive. You can tap on these to view other historical events from a decade.


Type-ahead menu

The type-ahead menu is handy when adding living people to your tree or if you need to correct a relationship.

  • Adding living people: When adding someone to your tree, if that person is a friend on Facebook or saved in your contacts list, a type-ahead menu will appear so you can easily add their info. The icon next to the name in the menu indicates where the info is coming from.
  • Correcting a relationship: If the person you are adding is already in your tree, you will see their name in the type-ahead menu with a little “family tree/pedigree” icon. To correct a relationship, start adding a new person where the relationship should be and select the person with the wrong relationship from the type-ahead menu. This will break the old relationship and define a new one.


Attach photos to life events

It’s easy to attach photos to life events. Tap on the event in a person’s timeline to view the details. From here, you can tap the “Add Media and Sources” button to view the event gallery. Then tap “Add Photo” to take a new photo, choose from photos saved on your camera roll, or pick from photos already saved to that person in your tree. Photos attached to events will appear on the timeline.



Layout changes

We moved a few things around to improve the layout of the app. Tap on the menu button to get to your list of trees, tree view, tree settings, people lists, and account info.


We hope you enjoy the new update. If you haven’t installed or updated to the latest version, you can get it in the iTunes App Store.


We’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback about the update or the app in general. Please feel free to comment below.


-The Ancestry Mobile Apps Team


Don’t have an Apple iOS device?  We have an Android app as well!




  1. Jen White

    Thank you for all you’re doing for me! Several QUESTIONS / requests:
    1. Can we “merge” on iPad? That would be great! 2. Can we/you make the notes” feature black or dark brown on iPad? It’s really hard to read the new light orange color! Not only is it hard to read, but proofing or editing it is almost impossible! 3. Can we delete any or all of the historical inserts? They are interesting (for the first time) but then get tiring and interrupt studying what/when my people did things. Thanks for considering these comments. I am really enjoying ancestry (beginning with Crista while I get ready for work in the morning) then for 6 to 8 hours at night after work until I pour myself in bed and go to sleep with ancestors “dancing in my head!”

  2. Joe Healy

    Insert here the usual request for kindle fire / win8 / android apps…
    I’m scared to see high levels of innovation being inserted into the fruit ecosystem device, when the traditional web stuff doesn’t have them. Web is still the bread and butter for ya’ll I think.

  3. Henry Singer

    I have installed the updated app on my iPad. I have since experienced a high rate of crashes while in use and when loading. I have used the Facebook integration to add living relatives, which seems to be related to the problem.

  4. Karen Palmer

    Screen is way too cluttered now with the historical events. Its nice information but interferes with easy reading of the tree itself. The app itself doesn’t seem too stable, it crashed several times when attempting to use it.

  5. What is happening to all my media – photos and documents that I have downloaded are all turning into a gray square with what looks like pieces of census records as a background??? Please help!!!

    I. May Noble

  6. Linda

    I agree with Jen and Karen regarding the historical events on the timeline. Remove them or give us a way to turn them off. Also, I liked the list of people on the left rather than hidden away as it is now. The sources usually don’t load the images in the gallery view. I do like the darker background but I’m afraid that’s about it.

  7. Richard

    The visual appearance seems improved, although without seeing it side by side with the former version, it’s difficult to pinpoint the changes. I do like the new look. As others have mentioned, it would help to have the option to not show historical events in the timeline. I applaud the feature that links a fact with its sources. Hooray! It would be really good now to go the final step and show the source citations themselves, and not just the source names with media. Additionally, I was dismayed to discover recently that the app displays only predefined fact types – no custom events that have already been attached to an individual. Hopefully that will be forthcoming as well.

  8. William Parker

    Henery Boyer
    Birth: 14 Oct 1772 – Washington, United States
    Death: 29 Dec 1863 – Perry, Ohio, United States
    F: Michael Boyer
    M: Margaret Clapper

    The above is from the Clapper Tree. The birth location is missing the city (understandable) and the state. The city is Hagerstown and the state is Maryland, from my research.

  9. Howard Sederquist

    It installed with the wrong home person and I can’t change it.
    It can’t handle large trees.
    It crashes every time I open a person’s info that has many pictures.
    It crops the pictures so faces are cut off unless the picture is square.
    I’ve removed and reinstalled this app 3 times and still have all of the same problems.
    For me, this app is totally useless and unusable.
    This app should have been debugged before release.

  10. Gary Buck

    It’s MUCH better than old app…I have over 15000 in my tree and it is stable and usable. I have fairly new iPad. I like design.

    I can’t see any historical facts….but agree that you should be able to turn on and off

  11. John

    The new iOS app is a major disappointment and severely limits the value of what had been an incredible mobile app. The font colors and sizes combined with the poorly thought out timeline layout makes it very difficult to check facts contained in new sources with the existing profiles. I also miss having the name list readily available. Adding the historical facts to the timelines is an interesting idea, but needs to be much more context specific. As it stands we need the capability to toggle off features that are simply getting in the way. Sorry to say, if we could go back to the old version, I would do it in a heartbeat.

  12. Barbara Woelzlein

    Will NOT be updating based on reviews and I would also like to say that some people choose not to do FB so hopefully that is an option not a “requirement”!!!

  13. Denise Gillespie

    I don’t understand why this app cannot be used whilst not on line and then update once connected to the net. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to go to a cemetery where there is no internet access and be able to add the details from graves etc. Also when visiting rellies without internet access, details could added and then uploaded to Ancestry when on line next.
    The way I look at it, if you have to be on line to use the app, you may as well use Ancestry instead.

  14. Charles Bash

    I’d like better place abilities, like the FTM version. It might even be better as a separate app. “geoAncestry” when started would ask for a location (default is current GPS location.) It would then present you a list of events in that township (first), county (second), state (only for small trees). e.g., Hamilton twp, Madison co, 8/19/1941, birth of Charles. It would be good to also provide the source data.

    Matching that would be a list of resource centers known to be in that area, e.g., Hamilton Village library (13 Broad St, Hamilton, NY), Hamilton township clerk (28 Broad St, Hamilton, NY 315-824-1212), Madison County Records (Wampsville, NY)

    With these two pieces of data, when traveling, and having a few extra hours, I could go research important missing data.

  15. Charles Bash

    Using Facebook match, I get some duplicates. It would be nice to be able to connect an “add” with another person in the tree. Or to be able to drag the duplicate over another person and start the merge person dialog.

  16. Faye Hiller

    Just having a little extra time to read comments. I too, am not a fan of FB and hope it doesn’t become a requirement. Remember what happened to MySpace?

  17. Shera Tyner Guillory

    I agree with everyone else about the historical records need to be taken out. Also, I do not like the fact that you can’t edit someone before you add them to your tree. If there is one fact that is wrong, it is just wrong, needs an edit button.

  18. Donna

    I’m also not too keen on the historical information. I don’t really want it right with my family tree. While I like learning about it, I do that off to the side, not with family info.

    My other comment is that I wish you had such an app for a Windows Phone. There have been times when it would be nice to pull up a bit of my tree for someone.

    Thanks. I’ve made good contacts and learned lots from Ancestry.

  19. Sandy

    I don’t like the new update. I don’t like the Timeline, with the historical events that you can’t turn off. The thing that my relatives enjoyed the most was looking thriough the photo galleries and being able to zoom in on photos and census records, etc. I liked being able to swipe through full-size photos. Now, you have to make 4 or 5 taps between full-size photos. That gets old very fast. The notes feature is another thing that does not look right to me. I use the notes feature in FTM. The notes show in my online tree and look halfway decent, but on the iPad app, it is completely unreadable. I like to copy and paste some of the info that I find on the “Find A Grave” website, which has hyperlinks in it. It looks really great on FTM, but with all of the hyperlinks, it looks like gibberish on the iPad app.

  20. Helen Lastinger

    I can’t even log into my account because I can’t remember password when I click forgot password i put my email says it sent but I’m not receiving anything in my email!

  21. Angela Murphy

    I was hoping to see that the new version had resolved the problem with duplicates. Some months ago the software started to create 4 duplicate people records and these are now cluttering up my tree. I have searched on a number of forums and this seems to be connected with macs – and probably with creating new records with the iPad app which I like a lot otherwise. No response anywhere from Ancestry (avoiding responsibility?) except to point to merge. Is this problem now resolved ? New version not attractive until issues relating to Timeline clutter, left-hand list, photo problems and merge functionality are resolved. Also would need reassurance that it is very clear that the Facebook connection is option only & cant be implemented accidentally. IMHO this is promoted to help Ancestry marketing as with other apps. Would prefer it not to be there. No privacy. .

  22. Deborah Young

    Well you updated…the colors for male and female are quite bright and a little irrational to the eye….your former colors were subtle and more pleasing to the eye when you have many older ancestors with no photo.

    Next you think the timeline is great? Well, if I wanted the history lesson
    I can always look that up …but cluttering my family tree with information
    That may or may not be relevant to me is quite irritating to say the least.
    I am interested I the basics when researching….name ninth marriage death and locations where my ancestors lived or worked. Not having any option to control my own family tree timeline is frankly an insult.
    Only someone who never studied history would need the idiots pass to know that there was WWII or the grat war or the depression…etc….

    Your users in the past asked for a delete option …..I am requesting that
    A paid subscriber have choices. I don’t see choices and it is upsetting that you would dump excess information into a family timeline that one
    Must pay for extra ink to print.

    To all of you on the old system….don’t upgrade till they fix this mess!

    Facebook ….well there are a lot of users out there who lovem and those who don.t use them. Count me in the last group. Again, no choices!
    Facebook is quite intrusive and the fact that you would allow them to scan our data for potential matches that you can push our way is an insult to our privacy.

  23. ralphshumaker

    The “correcting a relationship” needs clarification, in my opinion. Maybe a couple more screenshots.

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  25. Helen Topp

    When I downloaded the new update to my ipad 3, I completely lost all my Family Trees. There is only a blank screen. Can I take off the updated version?

  26. Jason Aguirre

    My grandmother is very upset about the added timeline events. Does anyone have a way to remove them?! I’ve seen a screenshot about turning them off in Family Tree Maker but I don’t think she has that and I don’t want to get it for her if it doesn’t affect the app. Does anyone know if there is a dedicated message board for this app?

  27. Daniel Haubrich

    When I try to update a death date for family members in my family, I don’t have the option to edit the date only the sex and name.

    Please help.



  28. Endlsdremr

    Since I updated, I can no longer use this app on my first generation iPad. The app crashes everytime you open it. Either do not download this app, or do not update if you have an older version on your iPad.

    I used to love showing my older relatives our family tree on my tablet, without having to connect to a wifi source. The update has taken that away not only from me, but from generations of people who may not be tech savvy enough to traverse the Internet and ancestry website (as my 85 year old grandfather and 60 year old mother).

    I don’t need Facebook integration, I need an app that works. Please updat for iPads that can not upgrade to the new iOS.

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