Posted by Anne Gillespie Mitchell on March 6, 2014 in Ask Ancestry Anne

If you want to break down your brick walls you need to do more than search.  You have to learn new tricks and methodologies so you can vary your approach.

And if you want to understand your ancestors’ lives and be able to tell their stories, you have to find new ways to look at the records and understand what they mean.

But who has the time?  Do you have 5 minutes? We have the solution: Five Minute Finds


On the YouTube Channel you will find the Five Minute Find playlist  which has a growing list of new ways you can look at your research.

Looking for that elusive maiden name? Check out Five Minute Find: Wife Hunting

Want to manage your hints better? Should I Take the Hint  and Are You a Hints Power User

Looking for a little gossip about your ancestors’ neighbors? Check out Nosy about the Neighbors

Sometimes all you need is one new idea to send you down a different path.  And check back monthly.  We add a new video at least once a month.

Happy Searching!


Anne Gillespie Mitchell

Anne Gillespie Mitchell is a Senior Product Manager at She is an active blogger on and writes the Ancestry Anne column. She has been chasing her ancestors through Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina for many years. Anne holds a certificate from Boston University's Online Genealogical Research Program. You can also find her on Twitter, Facebook and Finding Forgotten Stories.


  1. Elaine Blackman

    The new search has always made me mad. It does not restrict according to the way I ask and there are too many possibilities. Now, the search is even more restricted as to how I can search, but it still does not restrict the way in which I want the search restricted. I am so ready to get my husband to stop our membership. You have no idea how mad I am.

  2. Charley Carpenter

    I’m sure you’ll be inundated with complaints about removing the option to do an old search. Let me add mine. It is very difficult to use the Drouin collection of Quebec parish registers using the new search. The old search was both easier and much more direct. The indexing is quite poor — if it included parents (nearly always listed on the original document) along with the birth/marriage records, then it would be a snap. As it is, one needs to actually look at all the individual images with the same surname at a particular parish in a date range. Using old search this was easy. With new search, it’s basically impossible. You’ve made the point of your service — the vast database of original records — much harder to realize, not easier.

  3. Nancy Erwin

    I have tried the New Search when it was first introduced. I was not impressed. I went back to the Old Search. Now you have not given us an option. I just renewed! I work on my family tree daily, for many years a member. Bring back the Old Search, please!!!!!!! I am spending too much time going in and out of screens. In a perfect world the name and dates would match. Now you have not given us an option or the opportunity to play around with the errors in transcribing names and places by Ancestry. Again I ask you to bring back the Old Search!

  4. Rina

    Ancestry – do you actually care about your customers? You are just not listening to our comments about “new search”. I’ve been researching for many years, have created many trees, helped many others who have contacted me & have contributed to the correction of thousands of mistranscriptions. Obviously this is of no value to your organisation. Old search enabled the compilation of accurate, valid family trees. The trees that will be created from this monster you have now created will be exactly the opposite and will contaminate all future research for the dedicated genealogists amongst us.

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