Posted by Ancestry Team on October 7, 2013 in Site Issues

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve provided you with an update on our site performance, so I wanted to take a step away from working with our team on our site to tell you about what we’ve been up to behind the scenes.

As I mentioned in my last post, the amount of data that we host on the site, along with the complexity of the services we offer (trees, search, records, hinting, etc.), has led us to a point where we began to experience performance and stability issues with our site. In the past, we’ve been able to add hardware to keep up with needs, but now we have to make smart and purposeful changes to our infrastructure, which are taking time for us to execute.

This is a really big deal, and we have been putting a lot of focus on this issue across the entire company to make sure that we can deliver a fast, reliable experience to our customers and scale our technology to keep up with the growth that the company expects to have over the next 5 years and beyond. It has been all hands on deck to make sure we’re addressing the issues impacting our customers.

Site Performance and Stability Update

Though some of you may have felt the impact as we’ve been working behind the scenes, I want to point out that we’ve made some good strides in improving the site performance and stability. Some quick updates on how it’s going:

  • Performance – In the short-term, we’ve been focusing on the main areas of the site that you interact with most – the top pages and features that are used. We know that the load times and stability of those pages hasn’t always been optimal as we’ve been working on upgrades to our infrastructure. We still have work to do, since it’s not fast enough for our expectations, so we will be continuing our intense short-term effort over the next 4 week period to accelerate changes and this will remain an important priority as we move forward.
  • Stability – With a system as complex as ours we can’t guarantee that there will never be failures, but when a failure does occur we can handle it better so that it has less impact on people visiting the site. This means being more resilient when unexpected tech issues happen to help minimize the impact to our customers.

There is a lot more detail behind these two highlights – including network improvements, storage enhancements, and other updates to our sites – but I wanted to highlight the key things and let you know that we are fully committed to keeping a higher level of focus on performance and stability over the long-term to make sure that our systems are capable of what’s needed from them.

There may be some pain as we attempt to change the wings while the aircraft is in flight because we can’t shut the site down while we make these fundamental changes. This will take time over the coming months, but these changes are necessary and we will do everything we can to reduce the pain as much as possible.

Customer Communications Update

I also wanted to note that we’ve been building and updating a few tools to help communicate better with you around site issues. We’re just as frustrated as you are when site issues occur and we aren’t able to communicate fast enough to everyone. This is something that is top of mind for us and we’ve pulled together a few things to help keep communication more open with you.

I want to highlight a few – so you know where to expect site alert information from us moving forward.

  • Site Banners – If a certain section of our site is having issues, the first place we will post will be directly on the site or page that is having issues.  We know that not everyone has Facebook or visits our message boards, so you will see planned maintenance or site issues communicated in a blue or red banner on the top of the site. This communication vehicle has been our #1 spot to communicate in the past, and we’re currently working to make further improvements to it to ensure it continues to keep you updated on what’s happening directly on the site.
  • New Site Alerts Page – Outside of the site banners, we have created a new page on our customer help section that will keep you updated real-time about site issues. You can get to this section by clicking the “Get Help” in the upper right hand corner on It’s not available for all geographies yet, but we’re working to make that possible. This should be your go-to spot if you’re ever curious about what’s happening with the site, as we have a team in place that will work hard to communicate regularly as we have planned maintenance or as site issues arise.

Service Alerts

Again, we appreciate your patience and understanding as we build an improved site experience for you. I’ll be posting again as I have more information to share.

Scott Sorensen

Chief Technology Officer


  1. Kirk Sellman

    Your site banners should be in bright red to get our immediate attention whenever there is an issue.

  2. Cindy Musgrove

    I work in the IT industry and understand the growth challenge you are facing and the complexity of upgrading your infrastructure to handle current volume and plan for future growth. I am a patient person and can always find other genealogical activities to keep me busy if the site is having issues.

    I do have one suggestion, though. During this upgrade effort you may want to refrain from offering specials for free access. Users may not have a great experience and you are just adding to the volume of users during a difficult time.


  3. Leslie Blankschen

    Thank you for the update. It’s good to know that it’s not always my old computer having problems when things go wrong! Actually, I haven’t experienced that much downtime on the site, and I research from 6-8 hours nearly every day! Keep up the good work!

  4. Kathi Murray

    I think, under the current circumstances, you are doing a great job in keeping the site running while making the upgrades and changes. I know this isn’t a very important change to worry about, but is there a way to add the “Shoebox” to the page I am currently working on in order to access that information without having to go back to “Home” and then back to the page, or….open a new browser window? Now THAT would be a huge benefit to me personally. Thanks for your consideration and I appreciate all of the company’s hard work in keeping this site up and running.

  5. Carol Lanza

    I agree with # 1 and with #2. The free access is how I first experienced and if I had not had a good experience I would not have been a member all these years so it’s important to not offer free access when paying members are having difficulty already. I would love to have people have that free access but if it’s not a good experience because of system issues then those people will not come back and we all lose then. I soooo appreciate your site and all the hard work you do!

  6. James

    When you are going to fix the drop down menu issue? It’s been broke for almost two months and made use of Ancestry pretty much impossible. I lost 2 months of my 6 month paid subscription because of this issue. I chose not to renew when I received notice. I clear cache, cookies, etc. so it’s not that. Also, all other sites I use that have drop down menus aren’t having this problem so it is an ACOM issue, not me.

    Tried reporting it to no avail.

  7. Charlene Bowman

    You need to be more specific about exactly what you are doing to fix this ever worsening problem.

    Although not all members of Ancestry are computer experts, there are a few experts who have been diagnosing your problems for you. I don’t know if you have seen their messages.

    The anger that is being generated on the Community pages, the message boards, and your Facebook page, is getting really heated. Not to mention comments growing elsewhere on the web, on sites not under the control of Ancestry.

    Your support staff is poorly trained. That is not their fault. That is the fault of you and your management staff.

    Previously your support staff was polite and tried very hard to be helpful. But things are starting to change. Some are so overwhelmed that they make snippy remarks when someone repeats a question on Facebook. They make remarks when asked why they don’t know things about how Ancestry and Family Tree Maker works. They post comments on Facebook that are poorly written.

    You also need to tell your staff to stop telling people on Facebook to send a private message via Facebook. In order to send messages that way the customer must allow access to all of their Facebook info including their FB friends.

    Post a complete list of contact info on Facebook and another on the sign in and home page of every single person who comes to Ancestry. That includes email, phone numbers, and mailing addresses. Currently the contact info is scattered all over Ancestry. Very unprofessional.

    People want to work on their trees. They don’t want to work for free for Ancestry. Asking users of FTM 2014 to create a test tree and send your IT people a sync error report is not encouraging.

    Asking people to unlink their trees, download them again from Ancestry, and then wait over 12 hours for all their media to load again in the background is unacceptable. Do you have any idea how many times some people have tried doing that?

    Do you have idea how many times people are told to clear their cookies and their cache in a vain attempt to make FTM work? Then we get notices on Ancestry saying that we must let you track our cookies. No one is stopping you.

    Do you realize how many times people are told to change the internet site they use? If your system is not supported by every site, then you need to let people know that clearly.

    Your system fails to recognize email addresses in peoples personal accounts, so it repeatedly puts up a banner, either above or below the cookie banner, saying to confirm our email. And no matter how many times we do it, both of those banners show up.

    How many banners will there be in the coming months? It’s hard enough to navigate around Ancestry as it is. Banners and other extras on the screen make it difficult to search, even when the system is up.

    Banners should ONLY be for important info, not as a personal messaging system. I send messages to other Ancestry members and receive them all the time. They not only show up in my Ancestry messages box, but I get a duplicate of the messages in my personal email account. The same email that your site keeps putting up a banner about.

    And obviously you get my cookies. Why do you need to warn everyone they must let you get the cookies you already get?

    You also need to seriously consider offering people their money back. You have people who have paid $300 for a World Wide annual membership who want to cancel. I know your TOS clearly says no money back, but I would think that was referring to people who changed their mind or found it too difficult to learn to use the Ancestry site.

    But, you are no longer providing a reliable service. You need to return money to people, stop advertising, and focus on fixing the system, not adding more to it.

    For those who really do want Ancestry and FTM 2014 to succeed, you need to give them free time on Ancestry. Not because they deserve it necessarily, but because it would be the best way to keep your consumer base.

    There are also problems with the DNA pages. I am not referring to the results themselves, which some fail to understand and others expected much more than was promised. I am referring to computer glitches that cause the info to display incorrectly.

    I hope you will take a step back and look at this from the point of view of the consumer and that of your support staff.


  8. Fran jajal

    Thanks Scott, I appreciate you getting back to us and keeping us advised. I agree also with 1 & 2 and 8. so in lieu of that, I will not be subscribing again till some of the kinks are ironed out.

  9. Marcelle Duffel

    I live in Arkansas and I’m on ancestry 24/7 and just about anytime of the day and night. I guess I have been fortunate because I’ve experienced no problems in the years I have been with you.
    I appreciate all the hard work you guys and gals doing.

  10. Melissa Leahy

    I sort of want a refund. It has been pure hell the last couple of months. I realize provides a service but I also provide photos and documents you don’t have. I am sick of pages not loading, getting error messages, not being able to see recent member connections. And last but certainly not least, getting hints that require World Explorer access NOW that I didn’t subscribe. When I did subscribe these hints did not come across ( they’re basic ones ). And oh yeah, something is really wrong with search. If I only put a person’s name and the state of NC I do NOT want to look at page after page of NY, NJ, PA info ESPECIALLY when the first name is not even the same as what I entered !

  11. Alexandra Stafford

    I couldn’t agree more with #10, thanks for stating things clearly Scott. I also agree during free access periods paying subscribers should get extentions, or at least we should all be credited for one month because of the ongoing problems. It is so frustrating to finally have a few hours late in the evening to sit at the computer to work on Acom and then not be able to use the site I am paying for. If it happened occasionally I would be more understanding but the problems are much more frequent of late. I do my bit to add correct alternate information, it makes me feel like I can contribute but to be honest I’ve delayed updating my FTM software because I keep reading about problems and glitches. I look forward to the day I can read a succession of good reviews before updating any software to use in conjunction with Acom. Hopefully that day will be soon !

  12. Marianne Granoff

    If you have been in charge since April 2013 – then all I can say is that in the period since you took charge, the problems have been much worse than they were before that!

    I have completely lost confidence in ancestry’s IT department at this point. I have records of individuals in various of my trees that are “locked” – they will not display and are not accessible by me. I have previously reported them only to be told that “someone is working on the problem” – but they are still locked two months later!

    Today, I found out that all the people to whom I have given access to one of my trees have now been “scrambled” so that the Username doesn’t match the Nickname which doesn’t match the Role I gave them. Ancestry support informs me this is a KNOWN PROBLEM and “a technician is working on it”. Really??? I haven’t heard about this problem before! If I had known about it, I wouldn’t have used that function.

    I am a retired IT professional, manager, director, and Vice President. I have never seen as bad an IT environment as ancestry’s.

    I do NOT see anything getting better at ancestry. It is getting worse if anything. You can tell people how hard you are working till the cows come home – but until you fix the problems, I for one do not believe you.

  13. Bernt Månsson

    Will you this time fix the broken Facebook-import?
    “Can’t render your tree at this time”?

  14. D King

    Just not happy with the performance level . If you did not foresee the expected growth that supposedly is creating the problem then from the top down needs to be replaced.

  15. Pam Sullivan

    I was with another site a few years ago as they had the 1911 before you and when the were any Problems they would reimburse by adding extra days automatically to members subscriptions.
    When my Utilitie Company are late with dealing with a problem within a few days of reporting they will give a discount on my account.
    When my Internet Provider has issues they discount my Bill .
    Same with my telephone provider if they can’t fix any issue withing a certain promised time they reimburse Pro rata .
    I will not be renewing my membership in Dec there are other sites that perform much better.

  16. alan garnett

    i think we all appreciate you are undergoing a massive restructuring of the site which will benefit us all in the future and problems will occur on the way but thank you for keeping us updated. i have only had very a few minor problems so i am happy to carry on without complaining because of the long term benefits which we will all enjoy, genealogy is an interest which can last many years so for you to supply us with the best and most comprehensive records we have to expect some disruption occasionally. keep up the good work

  17. Terry Morgan

    i have not been able to access dna matches or the list of new search lists ( other than those on the front page) in google chrome for months. These things used to work in chrome so i’ m wondering if they will eventually work in chrome agaiin?

    thank you

  18. Betty-Anne

    It is truly unfortunate that my experiences with the site, the software and the staff have deteriorated since I first started. I do have a number of years to make a comparison. Hopefully you will make the changes as outlined by #10; 13 (a big one for me) and 15.

  19. William Maxey

    I think it would be nice to have more user controls options and a personal page to work with and create personal family boards and photo shares. Also I have been really tired of looking to find icons to change pages from pedigree to family pages.

  20. Jeff Ely

    I endorse # 10. Well said. When people whine about the website, I tell them if they think that one is bad, they should try using the site. Speaking of the government, as soon as they are back to work, we ancestry users/funders need to collectively approach the new Consumer Protection Bureau and enlist their help to generate appropriate credits and refunds from ancestry for all members. If that doesn’t work, then maybe we need to start a class action suit.


  21. Pat M

    I too am an IT person and can understand some of the work required to satisfy the requirements however, releasing a new version (2014) which is destroying years of work is not professional.
    Two weeks ago I downloaded 2014 and as of last night, have reverted to 2012 – Thank God I did what was required to revert to the older version.

    2014 killed my linkage to my on-line tree as well as unlinking tons of media.

    While I’ve wanted to pay for the world wide plan, this certainly has deterred any thoughts of doing so.

  22. Agnes Derry

    I lost the last 3 months of a World subscription due to site issues. I feel like I was cheated out of my money!

  23. Charlotte

    I have to agree with #13….the search engine stinks. For example: you enter Mississippi in all the locations and the top results you get is for Massachusetts or California and a completely different surname, then something is wrong.

  24. mary abrams

    Thank you. It is nice to finally hear from someone who is not providing “canned” and patronizing answers. The problem is NOT with the users. I understand there are problems and that you are working hard. However, I really can’t get excited about the evolving ethnicity results in Ancestry DNA or new apps or anything else “new or improved” when what we already had doesn’t work.

    Why not back off on the “new” stuff and attempts to recruit new business until the current features are working properly? Put those people on the current problems. I have reported many times that I cannot successfully view more than one DNA match at a time without “ghosts” from previously viewed matches (“People with the surname null.) I won’t bother to list all the other issues that have prevented any successful sessions with my Ancestry account for a significant period of (paid) time.

    From my perspective as a member for a number of years, you can’t afford to fool with “new” until you fix “now.”

  25. Mike

    I understand the need for an upgrade. What i have found VERY useful is what was used in the past: A banner running across the top of our page stating there will be “routine maintenance” from say 10 pm until 3 am Monday January 6th. It doesn’t need to be a specific color but it must attract attention. That will help everyone out.

    Thank you for your patience, while every one goes through these “growing pains”

  26. donna goodwin

    #10 Charleen. Bravo, could not have said it better. I would just like one place to call or email when I have a issue. I will not use FB period. I just moved and had not used ancestry for awhile, and when I finally go on , I now have this horrible monstrosity of a Profile on the right of my tree. (In the pedigree format). Good grief, can this be removed? Anyone.?

  27. TD

    If you need to close down the site for a period to fix things or make major changes then do it. Give plenty of warning and credit all members with extra time on their membership – whatever period you close for plus extra time as a goodwill gesture. You have a great site but it can be frustrating not being able to use it. I get on long enough to discover something new then can’t follow up as the site slows down. I also agree with stopping the free periods until everything is sorted. As it is I know a free period means I can’t use the site as it becomes too slow and it truly annoys me that I am in effect paying for someone to access it for free.

  28. Beverley

    Being a long term user I would appreciate some sort of compensation for the constant problems we / I have experienced lately.

  29. Long time user

    Re: #30 Donna

    I think you are referring the the right hand flyout which shows a profile/timeline of whoever the cursor lands on. I also have it but you can X it off, but it keeps coming back. I have emailed ancestry and telephoned and complained multiple times. I am surprized no one else has complained about it.

    Email Ancestry: or call 1-800-262-3787 Eastern Time, 9 am to 11 pm. You will have to figure the time difference for where you are. I recommend trying both email and the telephone. They only pay attentiion when enough people make enough complaints.

    It’s the worst of the dumb ideas they have ever had. If you are looking at a tree, it covers the fifth generation. If you close it and move to a new person it comes back. If you are in the family view it does the same thing. You have to X it out, but it will return. No escaping it.

  30. CH

    RE #10 Charlene

    You have problems I have never heard about. It must be frustrating. Money back or credit for down time has never happened in 12 years. I don’t use FTM so I have never been asked to offload/unlink/download my trees. I am asked to clear cache and cookies. I don’t use DNA or any social media. I do have my share of problems and contact Ancestry constantly. I do experience some really wonky situations and it baffles the support people. I don’t think the different departments do a good job of communicating with each other but then I’m not there. It just seems that way when support people sometimes don’t even know how the site functions. They have always been patient and polite to me but I get frustrated when I have to instruct them. Lots of times I don’t get my problems resolved. Sometimes I can figure a work around on my own. I’m not a newbie so I have seen the site get really complicated at times.

  31. Artfox41

    This response is a vast improvement. I appreciate being treated as an adult.

    So the problem is scalability of the site, right, makes sense. And you are trying to keep the site going whilst introducing the upgrades. Whoah. Best wishes on that.

    Expect bugs, Expect lots of complaints, expect support staff to burn out or to get testy dealing with hundreds of angry users.

    BUT keep us informed. And please no more “we are working on it” platitudes. No-one believes that after the problem remains unfixed. Obviously there is little time for small fixes whilst addressing scalability.

    You will find that most of us will support you in this huge task provided:

    1. You tell us what you are attempting
    2. You warn us when you are about to attempt it
    3. Even if it is every second hour till it is done
    4. And You dont feed us pap


  32. Susan Cangurel

    It’s #1, #2, and # 10 for me!

    Having been an user for many years, and even not renewing a couple of times, my experience is, “nothing new…nothing changed.” You have always had an inordinate amount of issues that keep us – your clients – from getting full access to what we have paid for. I recall one period of time when not one day went by where there wasn’t a message explaining that we could only get partial information, no information, etc. Worse, help us if anyone contact you when there is a problem or we need an answer with respect to YOUR issues, that is if they expect an answer because it never happens. However when we don’t renew immediately, there are plenty of reps available to call us and call us and call us, asking for our renewals. If there were any other option – and I hope there will be sometime soon – I would not keep returning to this service.

    Please discontinue allowing people free access – it is not fair to those of us who pay an overpriced amount for the level of service we obtain, and it is certainly not fair to potential new customers.

  33. Doug Robinson

    Scott’s mea culpa bit unappreciated by the run of the mill user. As if we are running some hack server data base that can be tweaked to magically clear the traffic. Everyone should read his blog entry to gain some insight to the problem, we are pushing the technology here. I quote from his blog entry for everyone’s edification:
    “Eleven years ago, had 200,000 subscribers, historical records numbering in the thousands and 40 developers. Today we have 2.7 million subscribers, 11 billion records and images (4 petabytes of data), and our developer corps has grown 10 fold, to about 400. In 2002, our search capability we were using was AltaVista. Now, thanks to our innovative vertical search technology customized for our business, our servers handle 40 million searches every day, and our technology-driven ‘hints’ are generating an impressive 60 percent of user discoveries. Back then, all customers used our software on desktops.
    Change in the tech world has fueled change at This has always been a technology company, first and foremost. Last year we launched a new direct-to-consumer DNA test, AncestryDNA, that’s caught on fast and is helping subscribers build out and understand their family trees. AncestryDNA is generating exponential amounts of data that we’re managing with Hadoop, MapReduce and Hive. We’re also exploring narrative technologies to give users another way to turn their family history into compelling stories, and photo recognition software to identify similar facial characteristics of ancestors and thus help users find more family matches. We’re always on the lookout for great engineering talent, and have hired gifted data scientists who are using Natural Language Processing, machine learning predictive analytics to understand future user behavior and enable us to make smarter business decisions. Our teams also innovate in the way we scale and manage our systems to be more robust.
    – See more at:

  34. Ronald Montague

    Most service providers offer free extensions to existing subscriptions when they have a bad patch of performance that discomfits customers. A two week or one month extension is normal when that occurs.

    Also, you really need to find a better way to accept and acknowledge customer complaints. Asigning each one a case number and using canned acknowledgements are better than leaving customers in the darkm as to whether their invaluable feedback has gone into a black hole.

    Your tutorials are barely at par for such a resource. The lack of a user manual is at best a major convenience to users – especially those who only have rudimentary database query experience. That needs to be implemented as a living document. It should be updated every time there is a visible patch or new release of Ancestry.

    And, lastly, Ancestry seems to have different variations for each country. I can appreciatte the legalities that may well have created this, but if infomation is better obtained using these country-unique ancestry sites, we should know better to access them. I find using for Canada is much better for some Canadian resources.

    Keep on keeping on – you are provding a needed service that is improving.

  35. Peggy

    Agree with 1. 2, and 10 also 13 and 15 – I did end up cancelling simply because I could never use the site. Tomorrow is my last day afer being with you since 99. Sorry to part this way

  36. L. Howard

    Bravo # 10. Well said, but probably falling on deaf ears. To # 24, I took my complaint to the Better Business Bureau of Utah. The response I got was the same lip service we’ve been getting for months now, I hope you have better luck than I did. What this seems to boil down to is the almighty dollar. They have ours and that’s all that matters to them. Bureaucratic red tape. This latest info update from Scott (in this position since April 2013) is more gum flapping. He should be embarrassed by the companies performance and the role he plays in it. Their entire management team needs an overhaul not scapegoats to send messages to subscribers in hopes of appeasing them for the umpteenth time. I come from many years in the Customer Service field and the way this is being handled, or lack thereof, angers me to no end. Sorry for the rant but this just never seems to end and the excuses are stale.

  37. Mel Mileham

    Sorry, but the growth in a business like Ancestry is not exactly unpredictable! I have been a member for many years and the situation has got much worse in the last couple of years. During this time you have hiked the subsription to ridiculous levels whilst performance has fallen off a cliff! The Management seems to have no regard for subscribers – the very least you could do as a gesture of good will is to refund part of the membership fee and hold your prices while you sort the problems out.

  38. justme

    Face it, you are crap, Ancestry is going down the pan. I have posted.problems, with images on the FB page, ones mentioned above about search not producing what you ask for. Ancestry told me ‘we really want to resolve this issue for you’ they tried and failed. Well kind of, old search did the job to perfection it was the new ‘improved’ search that they insist on foisting on us that is rubbish. That makes sense, kill the one that works and replace with one that doesnt. Anyhow as you said you really wanted to sort this for me have you done it yet?

  39. justme

    There again 43 comments to date from how many members? Do you think they care? They certainly dont listen, remember when they messed with the ‘prettiness’ of the timeline, spreading it out so you have to constantly scroll?

  40. Chris Nolan

    I have been a member of Ancestry for many years now and have always enjoyed it and haven’t encountered any problems. I haven’t been on it for a while due to uni studies but now I am free to access it, I feel like I am with a different company. It appears to be more basic than it was with in particular the search hints are not coming up like they used to, especially in relation to other trees. Hoping that your glitches are fixed soon.

  41. Robert

    You spend a boatload of money for Findagrave even though you cannot fix issues on Ancestry. Everyone needs to check out the last few SEC filings and see how much $ they spent to buy Findagrave. It is disturbing how much they spent. Promising to keep it free and add a ton of stuff. You kept Rootsweb free, but gutted it and put the best part behind the firewall on some lame excuse.

    You owe me for 3 months of the World Explorer since I have not been able to do anything for that long. Glad I did not renew.

    You need to hire some business experts who could fix your money issues and hire some IT people to fix the tech issues.

  42. Karen Palmer

    Its hard to feel sorry for the issues facing as most of them are self-inflicted and ultimately lay on the shoulders of the man who has remained remarkably quiet in recent months. That man is -Tim Sullivan-CEO.

    -out of date/unstable infrastructure
    -marketing beyond infrastructure capabilities
    -advertising that misleads the customer as to ease of use of product or over exaggerates results (DNA)
    -poor training of customer service personnel.
    -poor utilization of customer contact channels
    -release of products before major bugs worked out (FTM 2014)
    -failure to provide 24 hour customer service for a world wide 24 hour business
    -Spelling, grammar, syntax, and flat out factual errors on company website, blogs, Facebook pages, support pages, advertising e-mails.
    -failure to provide timely, open and honest communication with subscriber base.

    There are issues across technology, marketing, product and customer service. The one person in common for all those departments is Tim Sullivan. Despite that he chooses to publically let department heads and front line customer service personnel take the heat from the upset customers.

    We are told he is hearing us but why won’t he speak to us? Why is Tim Sullivan refusing to address the issues plaguing his company with the subscriber base that provides 100% of his company’s revenues?

  43. Sharon

    I understand that there are going to be hiccups when you are trying to upgrade things and people are trying to use your site. I think it’s great you want to allow more people to use your data bases by offering free weekends. What I don’t appreciate is being a paying customer and the site goes down because of these issures and we are not offered an extra day on our time. It seems to me that I’m paying for a SERVICE and if you are not providing it I’m entitled to compensation. And athough this isn’t directly related to this post; I was one of those idiots who purchased FTM2014. I pre-ordered it- and here it is almost a month later and I STILL CAN’T LOAD IT ON MY MACHINE. Why was it released if your customers can’t use it? And 4 emails later- still no response from support.

  44. donna goodwin

    #33 Thank you so much for the info. Yes that is the problem I speak of. Good lord who came up with that idea? I hope it bothers more users and they also email and call. Which is what I plan on doing, of course, I know diddly squat will change. Ya think?
    #37- Your retort does nothing to easy some of the tension felt using RUN OF THE MILL USERS? Excuse me.!

  45. Karen Palmer

    #37…Doug Robinson Can we interpret your use of the term “we” as saying you are an employee of

    “Scott’s mea culpa bit unappreciated by the run of the mill user. As if we are running some hack server data base that can be tweaked to magically clear the traffic. Everyone should read his blog entry to gain some insight to the problem, we are pushing the technology here. I quote from his blog entry for everyone’s edification”

    Showing a clear lack of respect for your client base by insulting them is not the best way of winning them over to your side. Frankly people really don’t care what you have to do to make the product you are selling work properly. Its a basic formula…you sell a product, people pay for product, product needs to be provided in consistently working condition. The customer has done his part….its time for your company to do theirs.

  46. Janis Thomson

    Thank you for the update it always helps to know that you are taking the problems very seriously and sharing your input. Keep up the good work

  47. Charlene Bowman

    When I posted my first comment here (#10) I tried to focus not on just my own experiences in the past few months, but that of many others.

    I tried not to ask for specific fixes to changes that are made daily to the way that Ancestry itself is accessed. But, as I do want Ancestry to succeed, I want to comment on a couple of the complaints about Ancestry:

    Re the complaint about a profile showing up on the right side the Ancestry tree screen: Go to the bottom of that box and click the button. I can’t recall the name of it right now, as I have only used it twice.

    Re searches that come up with info outside the search parameters: There are a lot of boxes to check and uncheck within the search form and they don’t seem to be stable. They revert back to former searches or at least they appear to (I’m not a computer techie).

    If you are getting info you don’t want, play around with the exact boxes. If you select USA but don’t click the box to the right, you get everything. If you put in the age and say + – 10 years, click exact, or you will get everything.

    Re extra time credited to members: When this topic first came up on the Ancestry message boards and on Facebook, it was when the down time and the glitches were less often. I personally still get a lot from Ancestry despite not enjoying it as much. I am not asking for extra time for myself. I believe I couldn’t find another way to obtain this info at this price. But, that doesn’t mean I am not frustrated and disappointed. There are others who have found the system access to be even more limited than my own. Reimbursing for time lost is a way to keep customers.

    FYI a slight correction to my original message. I mistakenly thought that the big orange button on Ancestry’s Facebook page was the only way to send support a private message while still on Facebook. When I posted a copy of my message from here onto FB, I was embarrassed to be reminded there is another way to send messages while on FB.

    The regular message button. I had thought it would post my message on the page itself, as it is a group page, but I was clearly wrong.

    Still, that goes back to the lack of a listing of all contact methods.


  48. Disgusted

    I just opened Ancestry to my last entered ancestor, and what do I see in my tree…blue highlighted banners letting me know I don’t have any media, Facebook imports, comments, and web links for that person. I checked a person I know who has sources and I who I am essentially finished researching, and the same blue highlights are there.

    * I purposely don’t add media because if I make a GEDCOM backup of my trees, none of that gets included anyway and I choose not to add any of the few pictures I do have.

    * I never use any social media.

    * There are no comments on any of my ancestors and if there were I would check them out, make corrections, and then delete them.

    * I don’t add web links because they are not generally a primary source and the URLs could change.

    I don’t want these blue highlighted banners. I want to see sources and MY OWN NOTES in the description areas in my trees, not what Ancestry thinks I want. I want control over my own trees. I want options and choices to do my work the way I want to do it.

    Has anyone else got these blue highlight banners? Why is Ancestry wasting time and resources with these unwanted, unasked for, frivolous features when they should be working on site dependability? I’m getting to a point after more than 10 years where I just may take all my trees off the site.

    I want control of my own trees. If they want to keep these stupid additions to the profiles, they can make them options in the site preferences section so we can customize our own work!

  49. Amanda

    I too understand and expect a few problems here and there. But it is getting silly. I feel I lost the last 3 months of an expensive World membership because of site issues and have now not renewed because I can’t afford to waste more money. I will gladly come back if and when this is fixed. Also I agree with the earlier comment about a personal page. A place perhaps to welcome others to you tree, make relevant comments etc.

  50. Connie Robinson

    I have the FTM 2014. Not able to sync even after the update. Please fix this or give me a refund.

  51. CH

    The 14 day free trial is ongoing everyday, all year ’round. It’s just when there is a holiday weekend, or they are adding new records that they step up the visibility of this offer and include the new records for the free trial. Carrots! the paying subscriber is the one who suffers most. I’m getting hints to tiny trees of maybe 10 or 20 people which have been abandoned. But I still have to look because you never know when one of these snippets may have a good hint.

  52. Suz

    Working in IT, I know how difficult it is to come up with an architecture that will accomodate everything necessary to maintain the site and plan for the future, and know the time and effort it takes to put it into place:

    — keeping up with user growth
    — allowing for future features/improvements/databases
    — keeping it nimble for quick adaptation for new technologies down the road
    — long-term planning.

    Six months into the job is not really that long to get up to speed on everything (both the good and the bad), develop a workable solution, and start to implement it. I’ve worked on mere upgrades to existing applications that took over a year to accomplish.

    Thanks for your hard work, and good luck with your implementation. And thanks for keeping us informed.

  53. Jade

    Scott said “There may be some pain as we attempt to change the wings while the aircraft is in flight because we can’t shut the site down while we make these fundamental changes.”

    No problem, the site shuts itself down. The pink “can not retrieve message” banner. The Sorry this feature is not available error 504 page with the gold-panner. Some days this is all you get, in the past few weeks.

  54. Peggie Ford Cosgrove

    If I hAdn’t read your message and responses, I would be taking my computer to the repair shop. All summer long I have been unable to load pages on Ancestry. It just gets stuck. over and over again. I would very much like this problem to go away, and I will be requesting an adjustment on my membership.

    I know that your staff is working hard, but the situation is very frustrating for your customers.

  55. Mark Stickle

    I would respectfully disagree with your comment that you cannot shut the site down while you make needed improvements. If that’s what you need to do, you should do it. With enough advance notice, subscribers could cope with a planned outage of, say, 24 hours, if the end result were a site that is fully functional and consistently available to users. That would be a huge improvement over the current situation in which the site is constantly up and down for days on end, and subscribers don’t know from one hour — or indeed one minute — to the next what is and is not working. Why not get it done??

  56. donna goodwin

    #52 TY very much, I will try this also.
    #60 Yes, they should have no problem with advance notice to shut it down, Banks do it all the time.
    #53 If you have the regular FTM (2012) you can upload/export a GEDCOM (it does say it will not upload media- but it does) I didnt have any problem when I put it on my tree in Roots Magic. Unfortunately you do have to add all the media individually to each person though. But at least I have it on a tree I know is not going anywhere or crashing or not syncing.

  57. stringbeanannie

    I cannot believe that mostly ALL of the complaints on this blog could have been written by myself!! #10, you have listed everything I have encountered, and then some. Also, #53, I do NOT use FB or any other social media either.
    FYI … I am a computer techie-guru, having started using computer technology in 1984 with a Wang computer, then an Apple, then a Mac II SE, on to Windows 95, all of them at work. After retirement, I purchased Windows 95, Windows XP, and now I own a Windows 7 PC and a laptop! I have been using Ancestry and FTM since the very beginning; and I might add that I have learned most of it myself. Actually, I have found it quite ‘easy’ once I understood the format. I couldn’t agree with most of the bloggers/complaints on this site!! The more ‘improvements’ they say are being made, the more Ancestry becomes unusable?! Even I cannot fix some of the problems, also like many others here.
    Yesterday, after much extensive research and uploading of Citations and pictures, etc. on Ancestry, I attempted to ‘sync’ my two trees. Have been doing that ‘forever’, since 2005. I kept getting the message that I was not connected to the internet; but, I WAS connected to the internet! I did EVERYTHING possible – nothing worked. I haven’t tried to sync today as I don’t want to feel ill like I did yesterday due to the anger and frustration I felt. Now … after reading these blogs – WOW!
    One fact stands out for me – that The person who is running this site came on board in April 2013. Well … that is when I lost ALL of the information I had input into my tree(s) – had to re-install all of it, and of course, a lot of my info. did not ‘reappear’.
    #46 – re. Find A Grave – I had been able to find the headstones and information on relatives in Canada and an uncle’s grave in France circa WWI! all for FREE

  58. stringbeanannie

    To continue with my previous blog/complaint #63:

    Yesterday, I attempted to find more information on cemeteries/graves here in the USA – could not do it without paying a ‘fee’ or at least giving my credit card info., etc. NOT … with the amount of money I have already given to Ancestry, this should be absolutely free, as advertised.

    A few years ago, when I first noticed problems using Ancestry/FTM, I purchased RootsMagic, and LOVED it. Due to family and life issues, I could not input all the data I had gathered. I purchased their most recent version, V6, late last year. Boy, was I disappointed when I discovered Ancestry had bought them out. It is like having two of the same thing, and a lot of what I liked about RootsMagic is no longer available. I had wanted to replace Acom with RM. Still may use their software to produce a Family Tree and/or book.

    Like #36, I also had opted out of Ancestry a few years ago; but, re-purchased it a couple of times. When Ancestry and FTM work well, which is getting more seldom as they ‘improve’, one does glean a lot of good info. I have been able to confirm ancestors back to the early 11th century.

    I totally agree with everyone that we should demand a refund for the times we cannot use Ancestry and for all the hard work that just seems to ‘disappear’ somewhere into technological space!

    May as well get it all off my chest – when, oh when, will I get the promised improvements to my DNA information? My Ancestry subscription ends in the spring of 2014. Something tells me that is about the time they will be letting me know ‘it’s coming’; more than likely right after my subscription ends!

  59. CH

    Quick note to #64: I think Billion Graves is a pay for use site, but Find-a-grave is still free as of this morning. They aren’t the same site and do have different information. Some of the people can be found on both sites.

  60. CH

    For #63: If you make a GEDCOM file to backup an tree (not FTM), photos, and stories do NOT get included. Sources, and notes in the description area do get saved, plus the usual BMD.

    The GEDCOM utility just doesn’t include photos and stories. Photos can be real photos or copies of any records made into a “picture” file. Those with hundreds of photos would have to reinstall all that, if they need to reinstall their tree from a GEDCOM file.

    In some cases, the GEDCOM file you make may not be able to put all that info into some home programs. There may not be a corresponding field for it. It may ONLY go back into an tree on the site.

  61. Annie

    #60 Mark

    Years ago they used to shut down the site totally for short periods. They let folks know with a banner. They seem to solve their problems and when they came back on the site worked!

    Now they just shut down parts at a time or not at all and suddenly you have somethng different than you had, with no notice. Each day I wake up to “new” things I didn’t ask for and don’t want, and then I get frustrated because I have to give them feedback that I don’t like what they are doing.

    They never seem to understand don’t fix it if it ain’t broke!

  62. Eileen Sullivan Tormey

    This announcement is all well and good. However, the issues have been going on for 6 months now and is an issue each and every day. Case in point – just now while trying to work on my tree, it slows right down again. And what is at the top of the page? “Note: You may be experiencing some intermittent issues with the family trees service. We apologize for any inconvenience this might cause and appreciate your patience as we work to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.” Really? Enough!! Please get it together soon.

  63. stringbeanannie

    My latest attempt to sync has worked; having just confirmed it! Today, I got a message on my computer from my virus protection provider that a program was trying to access the Internet. So, I spent a few minutes after sending the blogs above, #’s 63 and 64, determined to try once again to fix the ‘problem’; I am very persistent. I had read one of the blogs above that stated this problem seems to have gotten worse after they had downloaded and installed updates to the program(s).

    No viruses were detected, but an alarming number of suspicious activity was found in the report they provided after a scan was performed (I have my computer scanned automatically once each day). I checked the report and confirmed that my preferences were correct. I also cleaned my ‘cookies’ and ‘cache’, etc. In the report, they listed two local IP addresses. The report also stated “Unauthorized connections blocked on xxx xx xx Family Controller”, and the amount of connections was over 200,000!! I think that was the total number of information units between my two trees? not sure. Anyway, I clicked a couple of boxes and can’t remember which ones; they allowed certain web sites permission to open on my computer.

    I have never received a report like this one, and realized the problem happened after I had installed the latest update.

    I then opened my tree on Family Tree Maker, opened, and attempted to ‘sync’ the two trees. Didn’t work, the sync button dimmed and froze once again. I then noticed an option where the sync information was listed under the heading, “Tree Sync – Access via Ancestry”, located in the middle of the left hand column, where it lists past syncs and the dates, etc. I can’t remember what the underlined terminology was, but after I clicked on it, I was able to open my tree online with Ancestry, and was able to initiate the syncing process – I did have quite a few new people and pictures/stories, etc. This time, the process took only a few minutes to complete.

    As stated above, I am very persistent in solving problems, always have been. However, if this is the process one must follow, the customer should not be the one to ‘fix’ the problem(s), especially after paying upwards of $300.00 and $99.00 for a DNA test. Ancestry should do the detective work and provide the solution, not the other way around! I totally agree with others on this site that we should either get a pro-rated refund or some free added time to use Ancestry.

  64. stringbeanannie

    Answer to #66: Thanks for the info. I am well aware of all that. Yesterday, I DID create a GEDCOM, my original one had disappeared when I lost everything in late April. I could not transfer the information from my GEDCOM! FTM 2014 does not support it.

  65. stringbeanannie

    Answer to #65: Yes, I am aware of the fee charged by Billion Graves; but, I had always been able to access Find a Grave in the past for free. Txs.

  66. CH

    To stringbeanannie:

    Guess I can’t help you. You can get free tech support at 1-800-262-3787, 9 am to 11 pm, Eastern Time, for FTM. I don’t use FTM. They are always having trouble.

    I was able to get on Find-a-Grave with no problem. I’m a contributor. The day they don’t let me on because I have to pay is the day I take my memorials off. Ancestry promised (for what it is worth) FAG would remain free.

  67. Disgusted

    Got an email from Ancestry. They say the blue bars are there because people requested an easy way to see what they are missing.

    Yeah, right! I don’t need to have a dumbed-down site to work with. If folks can’t see empty boxes for media, comments, facebook or web links, it sounds like they need to see their eye doctors.

    I will never understand why they can’t make these unwanted, unasked for, intrusivie, stupid features, options in the site preferences!

  68. white_roses

    stringbeanannie, I’ve never been asked for a credit card at, including this morning.

  69. Suz

    White_Roses, those are former Ancestry executives, not current ones. I don’t believe the YouWho project has anything to do with

  70. Maggie

    I just did a search on an ancestor whose given name is John George. I got 327 items, all of which were totally irrelevant. The search picks up anyone named John or George. This is not helpful. It is not helpful to make a search, have several items of interest and be taken back to the tree or the profile page and have to do the same search over again. As others have said, getting results for people in different locations or in different eras when searching is annoying. Would be nice if media downloaded with GEDCOMs. Would also be nice if all those annoying little pieces of clip art did not show up in searches and hints.
    This is not to say that I don’t recognize that the site is extremely complex and no doubt difficult to manage. I do and for the most part it does a great job.

  71. Annie

    Forget the right hand fly out. This is NOT an improvement. It is truly terrible, and totally useless. It is an annoyance. It won’t stay closed, covers the last generationin a tree if it opens and is time consuming to deal with. The very worst thing you people have come up with. Serves no purpose.


  72. Jan

    I have just unsubscribed from ancestry after deleting all my trees. My friend can see all my media files even though I marked them private.
    Before I unsubbed I was getting all my own info when I used the search engine! I emailed them and the answer I got was “you shouldn’t be getting that” !!!

  73. Debora Baxter Jackson

    I’ve just been getting error messages for the past week when I try to Search for Records in my member tree. Also, I can’t open any existing records, as I get the same error message. I read Scott’s message to Ancestry members, and I get it. The current popularity of genealogy is causing my old to overload! I understand, but I think it would be best to just come right out and announce this to your members in a mass e-mail. Then give us all a credit for lost time–mine has been about a week so far. How much longer will the site be down?

    Another beef is that when I called to report that I was getting these error messages, the tech person tried to sell me a World membership. I said I wasn’t asking to upgrade, I was just asking for my basic service, which is DOWN!

  74. Aubrey Jean

    I refuse to continue to pay for a service that does not work properly and I encourage other’s who have had terrible experiences with this company to cancel their services.

  75. Aubrey Jean I encourage you to take responsibility for your website’s issues and CREDIT your customers for the money they are spending to use a service that is non-functional during periods of “maintenance” and “upgrades”. Please prove to us all that in the internet era, Customer Service still exists.

  76. Jocelyn

    #10, #52, Charlene: Your thoughtful posts — nodding, nodding as I read them — broke my heart: We do not ask for refunds because, really, what is the alternative? There is more to be gained from paying for subpar service than saving money on nothing at all. This is why consumers benefit when monopolies are dismantled. Imagine if had a viable competitor!

    Why bring in world-class coders? Why hand out free compensatory days? They know we won’t leave en masse. Because here we all still are. This is not a non-profit pulling at our heartstrings for understanding in a tough fundraising environment. This is a successful business model.

    Let’s resist consumer acquiescence. But how to do this?

  77. Debbie McBride

    I have had so many problems that I don’t know where to start. Telephone support tries to help but they are not very knowledgeable beyond sending me the same information over and over. There needs to be a higher level of support – people familiar with Mac and Mac Family Tree. I have uploaded, downloaded, unsynched at least 50 times. No one can tell me why media has been lost , why it continually shows media downloading for weeks, why it contiinually crashes, why it adds 20 of the same sources to one person. The glitches have prevented me from being able to do anything but try to fix things. I have been a subscriber from the beginning, but even my patience has reached the end. While I write this I am trying to compact a file. Elapsed time is 30 minutes. Estimated total time is 4 hours and 18 minutes. WHAT????

    • Trevor Thacker

      Hi Debbie! We’re very sorry to hear about these issues you are experiencing. We recently attempted to collect a TreeSync error log via email, but we haven’t heard back yet. We’ll reach out again to you to collect more information so that we can get to the bottom of this for you as quickly as possible.

  78. Delores Vega

    None of my data entry is posting to my tree today. In addition, I keep getting a message that says my tree is not available. This has been happening for over a week. What is going on with Ancestry?

  79. murphyscat1

    No idea why, but all of a sudden the past few days, when I try to compare various family trees, the button to do so doesn’t work. Never had this problem until recently. Get some weird, unintelligible message regarding java on the lower left side of my screen. Java is supposedly properly installed on my computer, when I checked that.

  80. Eddie

    This blog posting is a follow-up to an email I sent about a week ago. I haven’t been able to get the page to load of anything under my DNA tab. This started about a month or more back, around when a maintenance notice went out. It fails about 95% of the time.

  81. Kathy Hojnacki

    I called support about a month and half ago and was told they were working on a fix for internet explorer users for the feature Review Member Tree hints. The problem is still present. Any time frame for when a fix could be available? I feel like I am wasting my time and money.

  82. Edward Steiner

    This update was offered on October 7, 2013. It is now January 8, 2014. Not only I have not experienced any improvements with, the site’s usability is, in fact, getting worse. I don’t intend to bail, but I would like to know when I can expect the site to once again provide value for my money?

  83. Nancy H. Settle

    Reading all the above comments is very discouraging! I have been a member since at least 2001 and never had problems until recently. I have been inactive for a couple of months and since returning, I’ve run into several problems. When trying to compare or add info to my tree from others, I get no results when I try to combine info … but the worst thing is that when trying to view census, I get nothing but Blank/black pages of originals! I do get version of what is there, but I usually want to interpret for myself, check data, etc …….

  84. Becky Wolford

    I am having all of the above issues and worse ! stringbeanannie hits all nails on the head. I can log in more quickly but all other problems occur and unable to sync to FTM. The app on my phone works but I now have duplicates upon duplicates… I almost need to start over ! I am in agreement that we need credit on our accounts as it appears we are all having the same issues. I will call customer support, again, but we need to be credited for these issues. Thank you all for the comments, you have all been very helpful and I am glad to know I am not alone in my frustrations.

  85. Tim D

    I’m having the same issues trying to use the search function. Am only able to view the information I’ve already found.
    Calling the help line was not helpful, was on hold too long and never did get to speak with someone.

  86. Barbara

    I just paid my 99.00 today and I already am experiencing difficulty. All the trees I try to view say temp. unavailable? This is not what I paid for. My six months means every day of six months or I expect a better value. Not good when I am disappointed the very first day. Geeez.

Comments are closed.