Posted by Ancestry Team on March 10, 2014 in Site Features, Website

Last week we said a fond farewell to the “Old Search” functionality on the site. Over the years, we have been maintaining two separate search experiences – “Old Search” and “Primary Search.” 

Old Archive With Drawers

With offering two search experiences, it has limited the resources we could use to make improvements, and also increased the complexity of every improvement we tried to make on the site.

Specifically, the technology powering the “Old Search” functionality is fragile, as much of it is no longer supported, and it can no longer scale to meet the needs of the growing use of Ancestry across mobile devices, operating systems and browsers.

So we’ve consolidated the two systems in order to address customer requests faster and allow us to direct more investment into other areas like adding more record collections and correcting transcriptions on existing collections. Additionally, this consolidated search brings forward and improves the best features of both search experiences.

Many of the features enjoyed in the “Old Search” functionality are now available in the primary search experience, such as searching exact, searching only historical records and more. This Knowledge Base article explains how to get at these features in the primary experience.

Other features included in the consolidated search experience now include:

  • A category + exact mode to make it quicker to do exact searches and see results by category. Learn more about this feature in this Knowledge Base article
  • Tightening up of the spacing in the category view to make it easier to see more of the results
  • A research summary view for searches started from a person in your tree to show you quickly which records you have already attached to your person
  • Smart filtering to which let you hide results from collections where you’ve already found an ancestor’s record
  • Sliding controls to quickly broaden or narrow your search results

That’s just the beginning. We will be continuing to improve our search over this year and have improvements planned in our location data, relevancy, results filtering and more.

We understand some of you may not agree with the decision, but we hope you will come to find as much use as you did from the familiarity of “Old Search” in our consolidated search experience as we continue to improve and invest in it and our data.


  1. Far be it for the customer to decide what works best for them, but that being aside, the issue with the new search is that there are far too many check boxes and drop down menus and if you don’t use them, what is returned is huge amounts of data to sift through!

  2. Karen Palmer

    Hindsight is 20/20 but this article REALLY should have come out BEFORE you disconnected old search.

  3. BEE

    As I wrote on the previous blog – and believe me, I have searched for and found ethnic names spelled like you wouldn’t believe on “old search”!:
    From the day I joined ancestry about 10yrs ago, I loved searching for information and documents. Not so much now. I just keep going around in circles! Yes, I’ve watched the YouTube instructions, but I still find it all very confusing.
    “old search” was simple to understand, and simple to use.
    I didn’t have to go “round in circles” or stand on my head!
    I’m sure at some point, I’ll figure out {and remember!} all this “drilling down”, but for now “it ain’t fun”!

  4. Rick Waggener

    I have dreaded this happening for some time. In my opinion the Old Search was much easier to use and manipulate the parameters of what you were searching for. The New Search is clumsy and awkward and not nearly as useful or effective. This is a big mistake on the part of and seems to further show in my opinion, how out of touch you are with your customers.

  5. Johnna Davis

    Why can’t people understand that change does not equal improvement? There is nothing “improved” about the new search. It’s tedious, it’s complicated, it’s circuitous. I can’t imagine how someone new to genealogy will ever be able to use this without a huge amount of frustration if we genealogy vets can’t even navigate it.

  6. Bonnie

    I’m surprised to see so many comments from people who feel the same as I do. I was very content with the “old search” & had no problems using it. I have been a subscriber on & off (when I can afford) for the past 14 years.
    I think in the long run you will be losing money because once you get the senior citizens to buy into your website, I’m willing to bet that the majority will not renew their subscriptions!
    What’s with all those boxes??? Very complicated…we want the old search back!

  7. Connie Kelley

    Many years ago I tried the OLD search and found it to be useless. I like the advanced or now called “primary” search. It really is not complicated at all and has a lot of flexibility. Ancestry made it well known they were going to do away with the old search and everyone has had ample time to learn how to use the advanced search. I for one am relieved to see the old search gone so that site issues will be greatly reduced. Thank you Ancestry for all you do in providing a great place to create trees and research at my leisure.

  8. Martha

    I don’t have a problem with changes, and I’m certainly not averse to improving search parameters and results. But the fact is that the new search does NOT improve the ability to search for and find the results needed. As someone already said, it is clumsy. It’s like wading through mud and it takes longer to find what one is searching for. I have actually given up. Exact filters DO NOT WORK! I really don’t understand why Ancestry staff refuse to acknowledge the man complaints about this fact. It makes one wonder why….

  9. Cathy Kesseler

    I have been using ancestry since about 2002. My age falls into the senior category and I have no trouble with the ‘new’ (now called primary search). I stopped using old search when the “new” (now called primary search) came along. I use ancestry almost daily and have not have trouble finding records for my ancestors. I am always finding new things since ancestry adds new collections all the time. I think ancestry does a great job of providing instructional information on how to use the new features.

  10. Sylvia Bergman

    I also am not resistent to change; many changes made to the site in the past have been extremely helpful. I also understand that we will never see the “old search” back. If it was causing problems with the integrity of the site, then it needed to go.

    However, the new search is not by any means better. I just did a test as an example. I looked for information about my father Wayne Bergman and requested only Indiana as exact. Included in my results (among other incorrect results) was an entry for an obituary for Nora Maxine Georgi who died in Ohio, had lived at one time in Fort Wayne, Indiana and had a relative whose last name was Bergman. The old search would not have included this entry.

    I have been attempting to use the new search for a couple of months as I knew the old was going away. I found that I constantly got many inaccurate results and often they were mixed together. The old result category screens were much easier to read and to pick out only those categories you wanted.

    I think we long time users would appreciate attention being given to tightening up the definition of EXACT and simplying the result screens.

    I will continue to use the site and hope that my patience pays off and the problems listed by me and others will be given top priority in updating the site.

  11. Diana Nelson

    I find searching for people in the census with the new search very challenging. I DO like that you now find records where the person being searched for is a parent, not the primary person. Family Search has always done that and it’s very helpful. What I really don’t like is that they have removed the ability to edit the search on the results page. I’m still getting used to the sliders – not sure they are really that helpful. I design UIs for a living and I agree, there are too many choices for what I suspect is your “typical” user. I am the president of a local genealogical society and I can tell you, this is going to overwhelm a lot of people. We’ll end up doing programs on how to use it, as soon as some of us figure it out.

  12. I have been with ancestry for over 10 yrs, and I agree with all the comments above, where the old search was so much better and simple to use. I can’t find anything now, and spend so much time trying. It’s a waste of my time. I always loved working on my research and finding new clues, and now it just makes me frustrated. I am not afraid of change, usually change is good. But this change is not good, and is certainly not an improvement to this site.

  13. Kurt Moser

    Add me to the list that will miss old search. I know some people like new (primary) search and so be it, but for me old search was far and beyond easier and more accurate. While I understand Ancestry had to move forward, why can’t there be a search engine that mimics old search. For me I have been using new search for several months now and seem to be finding what I need, but its taking me much, much longer. The whole process is confusing and EXACT SEARCH is a JOKE.

  14. Delores Vega

    Your new search system is full of bugs and very ineffective in returning relevant data. In trying to be all things to all people all the time you are ruining your whole system. I am rapidly becoming disillusioned with Ancestry and wonder exactly why I continue to pay your membership fee in view of how poorly your system now works.

  15. James Walton

    I have always found the ancestry search almost useless. I tend to first cast wider nets at (which in my opinion have a much more elegant user interface), then locate the specific documents on ancestry.

  16. Rhea

    I have not really used FamilySearch much since the new relationship with Ancestry. What I have noticed so far is that if I find something I want to open in FamilySearch, the first option is to take me directly to the paid Ancestry website. But if I want to open it in FamilySearch, I now have to be logged in before I can view the record. What I see is an immediate payoff for Ancestry. Family Search has records that Ancestry did not have. What I do not see is the benefit to Family Search of this new relationship between the two. I think FamilySearch will be the loser in this relationship with Ancestry. FamilySearch has had access to free records. What the new relationship does is benefit Ancestry. I personally do not get what the relationship does for FamilySearch. Ancestry will now also have access to all of the family trees that are in FamilySearch. Like the other posts so far, I do not like the changes I have seen so far.

  17. Rhea

    Why does it now say “search results from user submitted genealogies” before the search results appear?

  18. Rhea

    I just did a search. It is worse than I remembered. When I want to view an ORIGINAL record, it appears that I either have to go to the paid Ancestry website or I have to go to a Family Search Center to view the original. I cannot view the ORIGINAL record except in those two circumstances. How does Family Search conceive that this is possibly a benefit to its users. I don’t get it. Are any of the rest of you finding the same thing or is it different for you?

  19. Rhea

    If this is going to be such a hot relationship, then will you please add Ancestry as an option under “Share” so that we can automatically add a record under Source Information on a record/profile page in Ancestry? Or maybe you can’t consider doing that because then it would be free and that would defeat Ancestry’s purpose in this relationship. I would like very much for someone from Family Search to tell us the benefit that it derives from this relationship with Ancestry.

  20. Katharine Nester

    @Sylvia – You can still see results in a category view in the consolidated search experience. At the top right of your results are two tabs, “Records” and “Categories”. Selecting “Categories” will show you a list similar to what you saw in Old Search. We are also working on adding sorting back to the view when you drill down into a specific category bucket.

    @Rhea – Can you email me directly with a screen shot of the “search results from user submitted genealogies” and your steps on how you say that –

  21. Maria

    I’ve been a paying customer of long enough to well remember the advent of the new search and what a miserable experience it was compared to the old. I even went so far as to wonder if the new search was configured for for perhaps the typical and largest percentage of customers who weren’t hard core into genealogy and research, who weren’t likely to be paying customers for any longer than it took for them to find the bare minimum of information, so Ancestry decided to make it harder for them to locate it. Dunno.

    All I do know is it’s crazy how I can feed in something very simple to be searched and have to dig through 5 pages of peculiarly and absolutely irrelevant returns to get to even one result which should have come up top.

  22. MJ

    I, too prefer the old search, so much more concise. I have not been able to find what I need with the new search, even the “simulated old search” Exact does not mean exact on the new search and wading through a ton of irrelevant returns consumes way too much of my time.

  23. Pamela Vazquez

    You could have created a new search that interfaced just like the OLD SEARCH. You have missed the fact that it was common sense and user friendly.

    For example why hide the filter choices on: soundex, phonetic, and meaning? Is there really a big difference between a soundex and a phonetic match ? Was that necessary to have all those? And I find that those options keep resetting themselves and I have to keep checking them every time to know what they are set at. Why not just display with an on-off check box?

    Why have search a search for person in family trees and force us to create a mother relationship and father relationship instead of just having the boxes there ready to use?

    Why have all the search screens with such big boxes all spread out so that we have to scroll to the bottom to find the “Search Button” That’s not user friendly.

    I really hope you will fix your new search to look and work like the old search !

  24. Pamela Vazquez

    The “Simulate” with Exact does not work to simulation the functionality of Old Search. Most of us always search with Advanced Search criteria.

    Regarding “Smart Filitering” the experienced researcher starts out searching only the category they have pinpointed. Experienced researchers don’t usually do a general search on all categories at once and then want to pick through all that. Usually we would pick let’s say US Census 1860 Wayne County, Michgan and work from there.

    We can do OUR OWN SMART filtering!

    The slide bars on the results screens are horrendous and they take up valuable room that should be used to display results.

  25. Pamela Vazquez

    I have found that the SLIDE BARS DO NOT WORK well. They are contingent on what was selected in the hidden filters on the search page. If one unknowingly had the search filter set to “phonetic” and not “soundex” then the result page will not produce as many hits. Then no matter what you slide the slider to it won’t help.

    You should drop the sliders and just use a check box on the search page for either exact or soundex. Who’s going to search on name meaning?

  26. Pamela Vazquez

    I think your programmers who put New Search together have never researched anything themselves. They just seemed to want to show off making something new.

    I can understand your OLD SEARCH code was fragile…..why not just use new code to produce the same interface and functionality of OLD SEARCH ?

  27. Sharon Huffman

    My membership is coming up for renewal. After being a member for so many years that I cannot count… well, you have just lost a customer by eliminating the old search. I will NOT be renewing my membership.

  28. Mark B

    The new search is awful. I have been a member for 12+ years, and can handle change, but when change takes more of my time for thousands (or hundreds) of needles results, it’s a problem. Many of us would love to do this all day because we love genealogy, but we don’t have that kind of time, so when we do research, as a Vet, we want to find what we need quickly and move on. I have not even done much research this past week, not because I haven’t had the time, but because I hate the new search, and the process seems tiresome and slow. Just awful.

  29. Judy Janssen

    I too have been a member for at least 10 years and found the old search help me to navigate the site best. I too am up for renewal and if this does not change I will cancel. I am a daily user but, now get off 10 minutes after signing on.

  30. norma frisch

    IF you truely cared what WORKED for the reseachers you would STOP fixing what isn’t broke – I’ve loved Ancestry from the beginning it was quick, easy to use and I didn’t have to leave home to use it – I’ve been reseaching for longer 35 years – Since the NEW search happened I’m at a stand still – The NEW just doesn’t work for a lot of us –

  31. Dan

    @Pamela Vasquez –

    I can answer one of your questions – “Is there really a big difference between a Soundex and a phonetic match ?”

    My grandfather is listed as Nimzinsky on the Hamburg Passenger List on emigration. He is listed as Minzinsky on the NY Passenger lists on arrival.

    Sound the same? Pretty close. But Soundex? Not hardly.

    My question to Ancestry would be why can I find a daughter in a US Census from a search (Number 1 at top, first result in list), but then cannot get the search to find the mother, using information found ON THE VERY PAGE where they are listed as part of a family unit? Results done over and over with ever-broadening search terms, trying to get the mother to show up as a result of a search do not produce the correct result, even when I look at 50 pages of results. Nothing difficult, either – Mary Davidson in Indianapolis (both mother and daughter same name of Mary) with good handwriting on Census form, and good microfilming results. And when looking at the result from the daughter’s search, that’s EXACTLY how the name is spelled in the border at the edge of the Census that Ancestry shows as the transcription. Using criteria for mother to search, daughter shows up as a result after several pages of results, but still not the mother.

    Also, saw the sliders in looking over my wife’s shoulder on a search she did the other day, but when I tried to find them later that night on my laptop to see how they worked for me, do you think I could find those sliders? Not on your life, just boxes.

    I begin to see why people have questions. Reminds me of another site that programmers seem to have disdain for customers that I’m all to familiar with: eBay.

  32. BEE

    What a relief to know that I’m not the only one who is having a problem with doing a search. I commend anyone who figured out how to use it before the switch was made final. I kept trying to use it, but always went back to “old search”.
    I just printed out the five pages of the Knowledge Base article and tried to follow along as I did a search, but I give up – as far as I’m concerned, it’s one big headache.
    While I’m at it, will someone PLEASE get rid of that “story view” button on the “Overview”?
    What a pain! It’s in a place where it gets clicked on in error, and it has to be closed before doing anything!

  33. Pat

    I am not opposed to change or new ways of doing things but I am finding your new search engine to be cumbersome and it just doesn’t narrow done the results. Yes I know how to use it
    I am now using other websites to search my ancestors and I use the hints on the ancestry site You need to listen to your users. Most of us are not happy As a leader in my profession, I have learned most complaints have real substance.

  34. Ellen

    I agree with most of the previous posts, it is almost impossible to find things that have already been found. I do a lot of Swedish rseacrh and if I put the GID number which used to take one to an exact page of information, it no longer does, it just says that you have to add more info about the ancestor, which also does not work. My subscription is up in May and I doubt that I will renew.

  35. Angie

    So frustrating. This “new search” is horrible and way more time consuming. Not to mention the “exact” search option is a joke. Grrrrrrrrrrrr!!! Very VERY disappointed.

  36. I have been a member since 2000. I am not a fan of the” new search” I find the “new search” difficult to navigate, it feels as though they have gone backwards. Subscription will be up for renewal soon and I may reconsider. The old search produced more results and was so easy to use.

  37. Vicky Hammond

    My husband and I have subscribed to since 1997 and have seen a LOT of changes – mostly good. Taking away the old search is NOT one of them!

  38. Larry Pumphrey

    I also am a fan of the old search and so far I am not impressed with the latest incarnation of new search. I immediately found the following 3 problems in new search, which in my opinion should be fixed. They worked fine with old search.
    1. In menu selections, all visited databases should be grayed out for a period of time so you will know if you have recently visited these sites.
    2. New search doesn’t restore previous search parameters when “backing up” in menus. One has to re-enter all your search parameters when you only wanted to add, delete or change one of the parameters.
    3. One cannot manually enter a location; one must select a location from a pre-existing menu selection. Example, before 1861 West Virginia didn’t exist and if you try to find an entry from the 1860 or earlier census from one of the counties now in West Virginia (but in Virginia at the time) you cannot select, for example, “Uphur County, Virginia”. It only allows one to select “Upshur County, West Virginia” and then you get no hits because Upshur County, West Virginia didn’t exist before 1861. In short, one cannot find any census information from the current West Virginia counties before 1870.

  39. Jackye

    How sad that the wishes of the customer are ignored once again. I see no reason why they couldn’t have listened and improved the “old search.”

  40. Brewbaker2

    I have had an Ancestry subscription for 10 years or more. This time you renewed my 1 year subscription and changed the site immediately after. It’s useless now. You really should return the customers’ fees. Personally, I am very angry about the $200 you basically acquired fraudulently. I will close my account and take the loss rather than frustrate myself for all the same reasons sited here.

  41. Carol

    I always kept trying the new search (whatever name you wanted to give it), but always went back to old search when I really wanted to find something and get some real work done.

    I don’t think the old search needed to be “improved.” It worked just fine. It was fast, easy, efficient and found the best results. And it displayed them in a neat no-nonsense order, so I could decide what was good and what to discard.

    I’m working on a new tree and having a terrible time. Finding good sources is now almost impossible. It seems there are no records that apply to this new tree. I think there is somethng very wrong with the only search we now have. It just doesn’t work well.

  42. mbittickg

    This ‘new search’ doesn’t make any sense at all. I’ve been with Ancestry over 10 yrs and this is one of the worst moves they’ve ever made. I am now using familysearch or Vitalsearch to do most of my birth, marriage, death, etc searches. I’m sure this must make sense to someone but not to ‘seasoned’ researchers who know where they want to search in a simple manner. You’ve got great images although I was very disappoined when the dpi was reduced – seems to be the rule now. I think you designed this for new members who don’t know what they’re doing. Not that it makes any difference to Ancestry but I’m not likely to renew again. You should have fixed the old search to make it better not create this mess!

  43. Patricia Lee Salter

    I agree with all the above complaints, New Search is horrendous, I have tried to use it but all I get is a list of names that have nothing to do with the people I am looking for. I’ve been a customer for over 10 years and have spent hours on this site finding all the information I looked for, now I find zilch and am definitely thinking of cancelling my subscription when it comes up for renewal in a couple of months time. And as for the slider – totally useless and unnecessary.

  44. Omainiowa

    Like many others, I tried New Search off and on over the past several months, but would give up in frustration and return to Old Search to find something quickly. New Search is horrible. Very time consuming with few results. I find myself going around in circles with no success.

  45. Nivard Ovington

    Well done Ancestry for turning your site into a *joyless*, *fruitless* experience

    New search does not function, it produces either millions of hits for totally unrelated hits or *none*

    I can’t even find things I know are there so what chance has any user of finding new data

    Whoever came up with new search has clearly never researched or they would realise what an utter mess it is

    I and many others (you know, part of your made up 2% of old search users) have complained since you announced old search was going, yet you don’t pay any attention

    You say you can emulate old search in the new, let me tell you *you can’t*

    All you had to do was create old search functionality in the new search as an option if necessary

    I feel even posting this is pointless as you simply don’t listen to your customers, will the new users with smart phones replace all those ignored old search users who are not going to re-subscribe? I doubt it

  46. Mike Tedd

    Nivard Ovington (above) said it perfectly – “Well done Ancestry for turning your site into a *joyless*, *fruitless* experience”.

    It is clear what kind of customer Ancestry is looking for and its not me. I have occasionally drifted over to the New Search for an idle pot-luck search but for serious work I want to get only what I ask for and that is far easier on the Old Search.

    It is no wonder only two percent use the old search. It has not been the default search for ages.

  47. Phyllis

    How do it HATE it — let me count the ways!
    My time for research is very limited. You have just made it more limited by eliminating the Old Search. Searching for everything takes MUCH LONGER with new search. I have compared the 2 on many occasions. When I could quickly find the record I needed in Old Search, I have tried the New Search without finding the same important record. Over many years I have told other how wonderful is. That WILL NOT happen again. New users will be totally lost and won’t use it again.

  48. Mary

    I will add my comments to those who don’t like new search. I volunteer at a local genealogical society and I teach genealogy. I can’t tell you how many times people say “Ancestry is useless” ” I didn’t find anything on Ancestry” They were amazed at how I could find so much information for them and then I showed them old search and they much more successful in their searches and much less frustrated.

    When they made the announcement about dropping old search I tried to switch. I watched the videos and I tried to use new search exclusively. I found that it would return no records or millions of records. To find what I wanted required many extra clicks. I would always switch back because I just didn’t have that time to waste. Now I can’t.

    I don’t mind change, but I don’t like it when the change is for the worse.

  49. Nancy

    Add my name to those who want the old search back. I can’t find anything. I ask for something in the state of Florida and get long lists from Australia. And why does this new search pull from fraudulent family trees and put that information, including wrong pictures, at the top of my search?? I’ll pay double, triple, to have the old search back!

  50. John Grimes

    There are some new buttons, but most of the problems at Ancestry are the same old ones that have plagued the site for years: ridiculous names on abstracts [what comes from reading documents with machines], the inability to find even absolutely verified information if two or more “exact” boxes are checked, the mixture of some good information with a lot of junk totally extraneous to the search being made, etc. I have tried on both Old and New search this experiment with identical results. I enter the names of someone for whom I previously found information and simply check two or three ”exact” boxes, and BINGO!, back comes the white screen telling me the info is not available. It’s maddening. And then there are the records for Ireland, my interest. What a mess! The Irish question is complicated by many factors, but let me just say that if other countries were as poorly represented in Ancestry’s files as Ireland is, Ancestry would be a pleasant corporate memory by now.

  51. Given how massively and rapidly your competitors have been improving this step backwards because of a failure to invest in scalability (handling volume) is a particularly dumb move. The new search is not easier by a longshot … and I built a tree with 2500 persons using the old one heavily. My world membership with you is now at considerable risk.

  52. Dennnis

    I also have used Ancestry since before 2000.

    I explain Ancestry at a local library, and now essentially I cannot. New entrants to this hobby are looking for results and are easily discouraged.

    Fortunately, FamilySearch continues to improve their search engine and results and scope of materials.

    This is simply solved. Rehook “old search”. It works, and works well = rather precise results with minimal chaff to go with the wheat. Genie research is often looking for the needle in the haystack, and “Old search” could do it. We now get the whole pasture scattered around complete with Noah’s Ark and output.

  53. Janet Welty

    Hate it. Sticking around only because you will get PA death certificates, after I have gotten all that information I’m out of here. Takes too long to find anything

    One example, why don’t family trees come up when I search. Why do I have to use the pull down menu and search again to get them. Why can’t I train it to keep the little X checked for exact search. Why can’t I train so they always come up categories instead of by records. Just more steps and more time wasted

    Would have suggested the customer is always right, but no one is listening anyway. You have made your decision, next your customers will make theirs. Selling my stock. Beginning to look like a loser

  54. Carol Robinson

    I agree with so many of the comments. The old search was very easy to use & the switch back & forth between family trees & historical documents was easy. In the new search, every time I want to switch, I have to re-enter all the facts. This is a gross waste of my time!!!! Please bring back the old search. I do not like all the facts thrown in together. Either I want to check family trees or I want to check historical records, not everything all at once!!!

  55. David Hampton

    After being required to use the new search, I finally realized what I disliked about it. It is very difficult to narrow the results achieved, no matter what “exact match” boxes you check, you will still get extraneous hits.

  56. Gene Ewert

    I guess I’m the only one that wasn’t that thrilled with the old search. I haven’t really had problems with the new one. Both seem to work about the same if you are lucky enough to be able match names/places pretty closely. I was always frustrated that when I said they were born in Kansas that I got people born in Ohio? Really?

    I guess I just remember the days of microfilm reels. I have added about 300 census notations on deep branched families in the last few months. I would NEVER have stuck with it for the amount of time it used to take. The side branches would remain pretty much un-researched.

    As a programmer (NOT for Ancestry!), I realize that people don’t like change. I don’t really like change. But I also want to be able to move forward. There are so many types of data being added and so many people accessing from so many platforms, sometimes you have to bite the bullet and say we can’t support it any longer the old way. Think of all the complaints we would hear if Ancestry came out and said, we will keep the old search, BUT you can ONLY access Ancestry from a PC with Windows 7 or before.

    Hang in there, we’ll learn the new format and eventually love all the new records and access points from which we can reach them.

  57. Kay Torpey

    I have been using for a long time and Old Search was great. I could find anything. I helped a lot of people. Now I can find nothing. It’s a mess. I guess it’s all about “hits” even if they’re irrelevant.

  58. Bob Hughes

    Add my name to the list that would like to have the old search back. I am in total agreement with the reasons stated previously. In addition, Ancestry does not support the newest versions of Internet Explorer. They tell me to go to another browser when I can’t sign in through Internet Explorer.

    My renewal of Ancestry is coming up at the end of the month and I will definitely be dropping back to the lower priced access.

  59. Ken Hinds

    I generally use Ancestry at least three hours per day, and my experience does not match that of most of the postings here. I almost never get more than a few dozen results to any query (except my rare searches in the Family Trees). And almost always I can find the information I’m looking for, if it’s available. I would like to offer two pieces of advice to those who are having trouble.

    First, if you don’t know much about the person you’re researching, don’t start with the global search from the home page. It is too unfocused. Figure out what information you’re trying to learn, and go to a specific database, or use one of the categories from the “Search” menu drop-down. Use the global search only to find those elusive obscure bits after you’ve picked all the “low-hanging fruit”.

    Second, use “match all terms exactly” mode, but also don’t fill out every single box on the search form. That will eliminate matches that can’t be right, without eliminating the match you do want. It takes a little practice to figure out the right balance between too much info and not enough. Generally I first try what I think the record should look like, and if that doesn’t work I gradually whittle off information until something comes up. (For example, if nothing comes up for “william robertson born in TN”, I next try “wil* robertson born in TN”, then “wil* rob*son” with no birth place, then “robertson” with no first name born in TN, etc.)

    That is how I do it, and I am usually successful without too much effort.

    I have to point out that you will still get bad matches from some databases, but that is a problem with the index to that particular database, not the search engine. Many of the obituary and marriage databases were “indexed” by simply recording every name that appears on the record, whether it was the primary person or not. I remember these “matches” used to come up even when I used Old Search. Ancestry really needs to fix these indexes.

  60. Greg Haley

    Old Search was superior in simplicity and effectiveness. If code must be re-written to stay up-to-date, the goal should be to maintain the Old Search functionality. It is hard to believe this is no longer possible. Given the results of the new search experience, it’s hard to believe that this was ever the goal. Either this project was incompetent, over-reaching or deceptive. Back to square one, ancestry. You need a re-think on this one.

  61. krista Reynen

    I have been dreading this change for a long time and the result warrants my fear.

    This change belongs in the Obamacare website design school.

    If you enter a name the next page will give you the results. When you return to the page where you entered the name, the name you entered is gone. In other words, you have to keep track of what you entered. This is absolutely ridiculous because I enter names all day long and I cant be bothered to remember or note down what I enter.

    I am not sure who this change was meant to benefit but not people like me who use this website all day long and dont need to see fify thousand boxes to check.

    Ancestry listen to the customer like Obama did and bring the old search back. By the way, it is not Old Search, it is EASY SEARCH.
    krista Reynen

  62. Nancy Wickam

    I’m in total agreement with the comments above. Change is okay, but in this case it is not. It did not improve anything. Only makes everything more complicated & I have used ancestry for more than 15 years.
    I agree with Krista above, this myst have been designed by the Obamacare team.
    Nancy Wickam

  63. Disappointed


    Please restore the message I submitted that was flagged for review for unknown reasons. Thank you.

  64. CJackson

    I searched for my family in the “Web: Hancock County, Ohio, Obituary Index, 1808-2010” database (using a variety of search parameters) and came up with zero matches, which wouldn’t be a problem if it weren’t for the fact that I know for certain there should be multiple hits, having used that database many, many times before.

    Additionally, if you follow that database back to its source and search from there, bingo! There’s my family.

    If my family doesn’t appear where they SHOULD, where else might they be missing? This is highly disappointing… not sure that Ancestry is worth the subscription price any longer.

  65. I have always doubted the claim that “only 2% of researchers use the old search” as an excuse to eliminate it. It’s only after the fact that they started with this interface stuff as the reason. Spend the time to fix it rather than recreating the whole thing. Having been a subscriber for 15 yrs., a genealogical author and teacher I can only say BAD DECISION! I have heard ongoing complaints from students and long-time researchers when the first “new search” was revealed. The only reason they didn’t use the old search is they didn’t know you could. Ancestry hid that option so well that most couldn’t find it.

    Now this “new” search is even worse. Even when I put US records and CT as the state (using exact) I get results from all over the world. I spent over an hour trying to find records that I had already found and none showed up. What gives? Does Ancestry not care about customer’s input? I think not. Reading the previous 60+ replies only a couple are in favor of the new search. Does that tell Ancestry anything? You will also lose my 15 yr subscription if Ancestry doesn’t listen. Sad that you will lose long-time subscribers to market to the mobile device users. How many folks under 30y actually do serious research. In over 22 years of teaching I’ve only had a few younger people in my classes. Most wait until retirement to start this research.

    Also, the “younger” generations wants things instantly, their attentions span is short. Do you really think they will tolerate all the sliders, boxes to check and reentering all the data every time they want to adjust thier search?

    Come on Ancestry. Technology should NOT overrule common business sense – customers made your business and they can leave just as easily. There are many competitors in the market who will benefit from this move.

  66. Barbara Gardner

    Add me to the list of those who want the “old search” back. The new method is not an improvement in my opinion. Just stick with what has worked for years, Ancestry!

  67. Barbara Ristow

    I am also in total agreement with the comments above- old search was easy, new search is not useable. I’ve tried the tips on how to make new search work like old search, and it is somewhat better, but one big complaint: If I am looking for a first name only in a specific county (because I’ve had to select exact match on everything) – I have to enter an exact year of birth, no option for plus or minus 1, 2, 5 years etc. – or no year of birth at all. We all know census dob are often wrong – so not having that option, and not entering a year of birth produces way too many hits for people not nearly the correct age.

  68. Katharine Nester

    @Pamela Vazquez – The setting for filters, showing the advanced form and whether or not to see all types of records (historical categories, trees, etc) are all sticky within cookies, which can be unreliable. We are looking at other ways to store those settings for you so that they will “stick” better. Stay tuned!

  69. John Grimes

    Is anyone at the company even reading these posts? With very few exceptions, your CUSTOMERS are telling you that you blew it; that you put money into visual razzle-dazzle but neglected updating and improving things that have really needed to change for years (eg, the scope of your files). Whom exactly do you think this fooled? When potential enlistees in the ranks of genealogy ask me, I tell them NOT to start with Ancestry, that in fact its advertising is really the only strong point in its business plan. I tell them to stick to the free sites; they are often what I consult anyway when I can’t find the things that SHOULD be there on the (very expensive) Ancestry site.

  70. Katharine Nester

    @Larry Pumphrey – Larry, a couple of things. We have a few things planned this year that should help you see which things you have visited and which you haven’t.

    In “backing up” I think you mean using the back button? If so, that is a problem and we are working to better preserve information when you use the back button. However, you can also navigate back up to the lists using the links on the left hand side showing the categories and specific collections. These will preserve your search parameters as you move down to specific collections and back up. You can also edit your search on any results page by using the “edit search” link in the left hand panel of the page or using the keyboard shortcut of hitting the ‘r’ key when on results.

    Lastly, you can enter just plain text into the location field and into the keyword field to find historical locations like those in West Virginia, as well as smaller geographic areas we do not have in the place type-ahead field. This Knoweledge Base article has some examples of how to use the location field and the keyword field to find those types of places:

  71. Robin

    I am also very unhappy with the new search engine. I have subscribed to Ancestry for years now, with the old search engine, searches could be narrowed down, eliminating useless information.

    I now find that trying to use the new search engine, is a pain, you have to enter so many more specifics trying to narrow your search results, ONLY to get blasted with tons of useless information.

    I am unable to sit at my computer all day long, trying to search for information, I would much prefer a more efficient method as my time is limited.

    If I have to spend triple the time trying to locate information, I may as well cancel my subscription and go to familysearch, at least they have a better search engine and its free!

  72. Katharine Nester

    Regarding the Sliding Controls:

    All, just to let you know that the tool we used to release sliders to our users broke this weekend, which is why some of you saw sliders and then did not see them. We are in the process of fixing that, and are targeting everyone to have sliders again very soon. I’ll post again when they are back out to everyone.

  73. Sherry

    I do not understand why Ancestry does not LISTEN TO THEIR CUSTOMERS! Far more users prefer old search, and yet, it was eliminated despite that fact. I feel I am trapped in one of those old Saturday Night Live skits about the phone company, “We don’t care. We don’t have to. We’re Ancestry.” As another user stated, exact search is a joke. That might work if the census takers could spell. And while I am very grateful for their efforts, most of the names I am searching for are MISSPELLED and thus new search almost guarantees frustration at every attempt. Thanks Ancestry, for once again, refusing to listen to the people who provide you with an income.

  74. Rick Waggener

    There is some small comfort in reading all the above comments and affirming my belief that the Old Search was much more useful and effective, and New Search is clumsy and much less useful and effective. My assumption would be that for every subscriber who found this blog and took the time to write a comment, there are hundreds of others who are suffering in silence. I have been a full and loyal subscriber to for many years, and I feel that my patronage and loyalty has no value or meaning to

  75. Deloris Williams

    I was wondering why everybody keeps talking about “sliders” and such because I have yet to see those on any pages. It sounded like Ancestry was offering one of those little sandwiches from a restaurant as a prize for anyone trying their searches. I’m one of those who have been trying my darndest to use so-called New Search, for the past month or so, but I find it to be the biggest waste of time I’ve ever seen. Aside from the really annoying fact that names I was previously able to find in Old Search, take me forever to locate now, what is the issue with not putting thing in some sort of alphabetical listing? And what is so difficult about about giving Census years listings from highest to lowest, or vice-versa? I frequently want to follow families in every Census year through a quick look, and that could easily be done in Old Search, limiting the names to the locations I select. But now the way results come up when I use anything having to do with a Census is ridiculous, I used to be able to look at listings from 1790 -1940 very easily, now I have to study the results harder and then try to locate the year I want to look at, which by the way, often include hundreds of additional locations I DIDN’T ask for. What I don’t understand is why can’t a simple search for a name and location, actually be a simple search with a name and location anymore?

  76. Chris H

    Ancestry lost another of it’s “2% customer”. Thanks for all the years you had old search. No thanks for the new search and no subscription renewal!

  77. Your “improvements” are a disaster. I’m another longtime customer disappointed with this replacement for Old Search, which was 100 percent better and more focused. Apparently the opinions of customers mean nothing to the corporate gurus.

  78. Katharine Nester

    We do apologize to anyone taken by surprise by the retirement of the Old Search functionality. We directly emailed those using Old Search that we could contact when the announcement was first made and did have a message on the Old Search pages that the retirement was happening to spread the message broadly.

  79. Tina Gemmell

    Although I live in Canada 80% of my research is UK based. I can no longer go directly to the UK search page and select a specific collection to search from the list on the right-side. I am automatically redirected to and it now takes 3-4 clicks for me to locate a specific UK collection. This is an improvement?

  80. Keith F

    I am also extremely unhappy with new search. Old search worked fine and was simple to use. I don’t need to spend 5 steps to get to info that old search got me to in two. you lost another customer. I also want to report that the people on the message boards, specifically site comments are extremely rude and also a reason to quit using ancestry. Simply asking a question about new search or commenting how user friendly old search was got me attached and gnaged up on by borad members, rediculing me for using old search. Well apparently I am not alone and those rude people can have the new and definitely NOT improved new search.

  81. Mary

    I am not a happy camper. I tried using the new seach before but always found myself going back to the old seach. I always found exactly what I was looking for. I am not adverse with change and I have tried using the new seach and only get frustrated with the results. There are far too many results to sift through and time cosuming. I am trying to use this new seach but I don’t know how long it will take for me to get used to it. Therefore, being a member for many years, I just may need to retire Ancestry.

  82. Kay Mix

    I agree with most of the comments. I am very unhappy with the new search. The Old Search was simple and easy to use as the new site it is too busy and you have to search for what you are looking for. I do not like the left side of the site why dial whether you want exact, when before all you had to do was just check and if you wanted soundex just change it.
    Please ask your customers before you change. The website tech do not know what a person wants. They make the website their way.
    Please change the site back to the original or close as possible to it. An older person reads black or green better than blue.

  83. Sherry

    ANCESTRY: Please READ what we are saying! We are not complaining about being “surprised” by the elimination of Old Search . . . we are telling you that the New Search is NOT helpful, NOT an improvement, NOT faster or easier, and NOT appreciated by your long-term customers. You continually ignore what we are telling you and more and more of us are looking for alternatives to your site.

  84. Nan

    Katherine, where did you see a complaint about being “surprised” by the end of Old Search? The point is that New “Search” is (a) more complicated to use, and (b) does not give as good results. It’s very simple, but apparently isn’t interested in what the actual paying users think.

  85. Carol Atkinson

    I spent a sleepless night when the change was made to eliminate the “old seach”. But after over 30 years of family research and at least 13 using, I wasn’t ready to give up just yet because of the new search. I read all the training material and suggestions and while I somewhat improved my new search abilities, I still struggled even in finding my own birth record, which popped up easily in the “old” search. Then I read – A Fond Farewell to “Old Search”, which prompted me to write. I can understand the expense of maintaining two search engines, but why not keep the old search experience instead of the new search? New technology was the suggested reason – but please do not attempt to pull the wool over our eyes. Having worked for over 7 years as the main contact in my company between users of our system and our IT Dept. and working with databases, I know that what goes on behind the scenes with computer programming does not have to affect the way results are retrieved/displayed for the users. Programmers often told me that certain things could not be done, but I soon realized that it was because they didn’t know how to do it! Some of my observations:

    1. We were constantly told that new search users outnumbered old search users – I believe that new users were directed to the new search, so that’s what they used and why their numbers were higher.

    2. What has improved with the new search? The only thing I can find is seeing a preview for newspapers in the listing with the person’s name highlighted. This saves one step in pulling up the full page.

    3. “Many of the features enjoyed in the “Old Search” functionality are now available in the primary search experience” – Somewhat true, but only after you spend time drilling down to it. The category feature of the old seach allowed us with one click to decide what category we wanted to look at. This was a real time saver.

    4. Everyone who has posted here, on Facebook, or on the website are passionate about their research. Getting needed details or breaking the brickwalls is hard enough and takes time. The last thing we want to do is struggle with the website and extend the amount of time it takes to find anything. But the folks at Ancestry already know this, shouldn’t they! Which leads me to ask, how much user testing was done to determine how easy or hard the new search experience would be to learn and use?

    5. My account renews in October. While I paid for the old search experience, I have until then to see if I can find any redeming qualities in the new search.

    By the way I did not get the suggested e-mail announcement that old search was being retired (see post #85). The banner announcing this on the website did not give a date, only early March.

  86. Rick Bisker

    As I mentioned in other posts about the “New Revised Search” there are just to many variables to have to choose from every time you do a search and then when you do a new search you have to start over again. If you miss setting the parameters like you did for the last search you get results you didn’t expect and then you have to start over again. Nothing but frustration if you do a lot of searches like I do. Can’t you make the last setting you have be the default for the next search? This would do a lot to relieve the frustration everyone is having. I could never get use to the new search and always had to fall back to the old search. It is also much more complicated to search the old newspapers when old search would give you the list of all of the newspapers that you could scroll through to pick the one you might want to search. Please help those of us that like to do a lot of searches.

  87. Katharine Nester

    Sliding Controls

    The sliding controls on your search results pages should now be back and rolled out to all our users. Please let us know if you are still not seeing them.

  88. BEE

    Well, I’ve read all 90+ comments – as I read them and Katharine’s responses, I wondered if she was reading the same thing I was!
    How many blogs on this subject in the past couple of years got this same reaction with people saying the same thing they are saying now?
    For all the time people took to comment on these blogs, all the the time people took to answer questionnaires, etc, NO ONE WAS LISTENING, AND THEY STILL AREN’T!

  89. Robert McWilliams

    Ms. Nester,
    It is clear from your postings that you have no idea WHY the old search was superior to this NEW search.

    The problem with the NEW search is that there are too many layers of ERROR that NO Algorithm, no matter how sophisticated, will ever be able to deal with. The first layer of error comes from the original enumerators: Last names AND first names mispelled, sometimes unrecognizably. Illegible handwriting, poorly preserved census originals which produce poor images. The next layer of error is the indexes, which sometimes reproduce mispellings or come up with new mispellings on their own.

    I understand that Ancestry is probably committed to this new method of searching and that demands that the old search be restored will be ignored. I also understand that if I have to go back to visually scanning census images to do my work, then I have no further use for my Ancestry membership and will cancel it when it comes up for renewal next February.

  90. SGS

    I agree with the comments above that old search was better compared to new search.

    For instance today I searched for my grandfather under his full name: First Middle Last.

    I had previously gone through all the censuses, marriage records, death records, birth records, city directories, etc. and entered his First, Middle and Last names under the Add Alternate Information section found to the right on all records.

    Well, most of his records did show up, but so did others that had a different first name and lived in a different country. Newspaper articles showed up that had his first name in one place and his surname in another place.

    Under old search this never happened. I know as I verified the records in which I had used the Alternate Information Section to make certain his First, Middle and Last name now showed up on the search making it easier for other relatives to find him.

    So, the new search engine is more like a wild card even when an exact first name, middle name and surname are used.

    That’s not the type of search engine I expect from or any website to which I subscribe.

    Get your IT department on this – the search engine needs to be fixed.

  91. Dissatisfied Ex-Customer

    Fire the people who approved the new search, fire the managers of same, and e-mail the heck out of the investors. Don’t renew. That’s how you get their attention. Better to have eaten the cost of the silly new search than lose customers. Never received an e-mail about old search and it’s the only one I have been using. FindMyPast, MyHeritage, and a few other genealogy sites are enjoying the money I formerly spent at Ancestry.

    It was bad enough you spent a small fortune – check Ancestry’s financials last year to get a good guess at how much – to buy FindAGrave, then you jacked the subscription rates this year to cover the costs of buying FindAGrave and having to pay Tipton for millions in lost ad revenue. The copyright lawsuits from the various news outlets for illegal use of their photos on FindAGrave will be icing on the cake, especially considering some of the worst offenders are the FindAGrave admins.

  92. Candy

    This is horrible, horrible, HORRIBLE. I just want to cry. I agree with everything everyone is complaining about! Actually I’m surprised so many have the same opinion as I thought I was one of only a few. My membership is over in 4 days, and I am not renewing. After being a member for 10+ years, I hate to leave, but this site is way too confusing for me to figure out. I really hope someone from Ancestry contacts me so I can give them my opinion, but I doubt they will listen. Obviously from reading these previous posts and the posts on Facebook, Ancestry doesn’t care what we would prefer.

  93. Donna Goodwin

    DAN # 35. Wow, thanks for letting me know that I am not the only one who can not get the mother, or child etc to show up in a search, I have had to print out the census scan and add it to my tree. No matter what I do or how I input the information, nada, the person will not show up.

    I can not quite figure out the search criteria. I have Family Tree Magazine with there how to on Ancestry , wellllllllllll, still does not work. Hummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.


  94. Larry Pumphrey

    I notice that you’re going to do it again! I now see a notice that commenting on this article about the New/Old Searches will only be open until 24 March 2014. So, after that date we can’t even complain or make suggestions about new/old searches. In other words, this very blog on which we’re posting our opinions will soon be deleted.

    On another (but in a way related) subject, what does ancestry think about NEW COKE?

  95. patcoghm

    as the first attempt to stuff unwanted change down our throats, the second time its just tastes as nasty as before. Its all counterproductive and slows down research.

    Its really non logical and produces poor results.

    This is all about the mobile interface not working with the old display methods, so my answers to fix this is lets not allow mobile genealogy. That is the same logic ancestry is doing to all the computer users, you must change for a flash in the dark idea of making a tree on a smart phone or touchpad. They will be gone before the computer is gone. Microsoft found that out the hard way with windows 8.

  96. Frustrated

    I don’t think anyone will have the great results we had with the old search by using the newest search until Ancestry has better indexes. The indexes are the foundation of the searches. Bad indexes equal bad results.

    What ever it was that made old search work so well isn’t in the new search.

    I feel like I’m trying to get into Obama care. At least Ancestry didn’t promise, “If you like your old search, you can keep your old search!” They promised a “rose garden” but never said anything about the thorns!

  97. MWBritt

    How could they mess up something as simple as looking through records…just leave things alone, it seems like every time I get time to research alittle I get on to find that you’ve made changes to better my “researching experience” I don’t won’t to have a experience, I won’t to look for records the right records not all these other ones I’m going to have to go through now….I no its hard for a multi-milllion dollar company to just sit back and let things run…but this is not a restaurant where you have to keep up dating a menu, this is not a new car rolling off the line each year, this is looking at records thats it…it’s not that complicated and your making it that way and your pissing me off……JUST LEAVE IT ALONE AND STOP MAKING CHANGES except bring old search back please…..pretty please……………..

  98. Mary Taylor

    I have to agree that this new search is inferior to the old search, and is complicated, too many options with not enough answers. Old Search was not broken; but, the new search is. It, apparently, will never be as helpful as the old search –even if it is limping along on one leg! It looks to me like the customers are mainly interested in using the Old Search and a wise provider realizes that the customer is always right and provides what they want. To ignore them is to lose customers to other groups who seeing the need will step in to provide what we want in a friendly and respectful manner. It is time to listen to your customers and stop trying to fix and replace Old Search with something not wanted or needed. I’ve been a member for 15 years, and I’m looking now for a provider that is worth all the money I spend and makes the experience a “fun and easy” one.

  99. Sandi

    I would love for Katherine Nester and maybe Adrian Brienza find a person for me if this search is so good and easy to use. I’m looking for Edith “Edy” Caroline Johnson in the 1880 census.
    Here is the thing, I know this much, She is widow Johnson living with one of her daughters. Daughters are Susan, Martha, and Mary A Johnson. Now I know they are in the census records. I have seen the record before and now it will not come up. She could be listed as Edith Edy Eda or Caroline Johnson. And the daughter she is living with is married. Thanks for your help.

  100. Sandi

    I get what you want to do with adding phones and pads to the search, but somehow there has to be something better than this. The other night I tried for six hours to get a person to come up in census records. I was determine to find him using new search. I finally gave up and found him on Family search. Then to find a grave. Oh the changes you made for mobile phones aren’t working to well either. When I first got my phone it was so easy. Now it’s not. So I don’t see them staying around for long.
    Oh and I didn’t get one of those emails telling me that the old search will no longer going to be around. I don’t want a slider I want my exact matches to come up.

  101. Rick Waggener

    Katharine, the fact that you let people know that you were making this change, does not diminish the fact that this change was the wrong thing to do. The folks who are responding to this blog about why they think this is a bad idea, are the core customers to You need to listen to them. Not listening to them is very bad business. Telling people that only a small percentage of users were using the Old Search is meaningless. The fact is that the so called New Search has been the default search mechanism for some time. For me, even though I have kept using the Old Search, the website was constantly trying to reset me to the default New Search. For any new user, which apparently are the majority of the users, just finding the Old Search would have been very difficult. If you didn’t know about it or what it was, you would not even try to find it. Of course they didn’t use it. Clearly, you are out of touch with your core base of customers. This is bad business and you will come to regret it. We all hope that you rethink this and reinstate the Old Search. If you really want to make things better, you should get rid of the New Search.

  102. Sherry Hicks

    I have to say i agree with many of the comments about New Search NOT being better. I have switched back to Old Search every time, until it was removed. I subscribe to Ancestry not to learn the latest in electronic technology but to research my ancestry. What a boon it was when the records came online and we could be released from microfilm readers. As many others have said, “the filters don’t filter out anything.” I am very disappointed in Ancestry and the response to the people who have paid to keep Ancestry going. Better get working on those filters or your going to lose a large knowledge base. The cost of a subscription has already lost the site many contributors with years of experience.

  103. Rta Clements

    I too hate the new search. I have been a customer since you started Ancestry. When you made changes in the past sometimes it took a bit to get used to them but eventually I did. NOT THIS TIME. This new search is so cumbersome. Even when you put the sliders to exact you still get hits all over the place, way too many. Also I used the Birth, Marriage and Deaths sites a lot. Going directly to them I could narrow down the states I was interested in and find what I wanted. I have been doing genealogy for over 35 years so I am not a newbie. I do serious research. This new search seems to me to be aimed at the novice genealogist. That’s ok, we were all there once. However, don’t shut out the experienced genealogist. We are really your bread and butter. PLEASE, PLEASE , BRING BACK THE OLD SEARCH. Also, for the record I never received a notice of the change.

  104. Virginia

    Ancestry – YOU DO NOT APPRECIATE feedback or the old site would still be here! The New Search is worse than AWFUL, a total waste of time. After 14 years with Ancestry – very sad, I use to be Ancestry’s biggest fan, recommended it to many people who were just starting their research. Cannot do that any longer. I’m gone! You asked for comments, I’m positive you received many and still didn’t listen. Ancestry just doesn’t pay attention to the subscribers period. I tried to log in to Ancestry yesterday at the FHC, my name and picture came up, but as soon as I entered a name, an ad appeared asking me to SUBSCRIBE!!!! wouldn’t let me do anything. As one subscriber said, BAD Business is an understatement.

  105. Amy Nichols

    I could resay what everyone has already said here, but instead I will ditto it, agreeing with it all. The ‘new’ search is just impossible to narrow down enough to find anything in. It might look like you’re getting ‘a lot’ for a beginning researching, but to seasoned one it’s just worse.

  106. I know this will get lost in all the complaints about using “new search,” but I just have to try:

    The stupid sliders are a gigantic mistake.

    They give us no functionality we didn’t already have, and they take up the space that was used to show me what my search parameters were. It’s a giant PITA!

    When I can’t see which search parameters I’ve already tried, then I can’t make a good decision on which ones to try next. And if I click on edit to see the search parameters, then I can’t see the results, so comparing my next attempt to the previous one is useless, so then I have to go back to the page with the results, so then I still don’t see what I need, so then I try a third search, but then I’m not sure about the search parameters of the first two (Did I add the spouse by first name or last name? Did I look for them living in Minnesota or Wisconsin?) I’m very good at this and can quickly track down people even when they moved around a lot, when their names were misspelled a lot, when I’m making a wild guess at their ages, when they used different versions of their names, when they had more than one spouse, etc.

    But not seeing the search parameters makes my job MUCH more difficult. Did I mention that the stupid sliders don’t do anything I couldn’t already do??????????

  107. Katharine Nester

    All –

    If you have a specific example of a search that isn’t returning good results, please send it directly to me,, so I can look into any bugs or issues.

    In your email, please include:

    1. The URL for your search results page – this is very important so we can see what you searched on and how things are being matched.

    2. The position of the results that are not valid for your person or that you deem are not good

    3. Whether you are using Ancestry in a library or on your home computer.

    Thank you.

  108. KGetting

    If the goal is to make improvements to the search utility = please do, and quickly. Once I set my preferred search parameters, I’d like the option to make them stick, rather than re-set every single parameter each time I log on, or change screens. It now takes too many clicks, scrolling, slidebars and pulldown menus to create a time-effective search. I’d appreciate it if all the toys and gadgets were able to be locked for those who know what they want. I fear otherwise you will lose the people who use your site the most.

  109. Vickie

    This new search is a real pain. I have had a subscription with you guys pretty much since the very beginning. I have been trying to use the new search off and on for over a year now because you kept saying you were getting rid of old search, but my time is limited and I don’t have time to go through tons of crap that this new search brings up. It takes twice as long if not longer to find anything. I have tried everything like your blog and youtube videos say and I am doing searches with people I have found on here before and it will not bring most of them up no matter how I try and search. Honestly how is this helping anyone, if you want to keep subscribers you are going to have to figure something a little simpler for searching with out so many different check boxes.

  110. Bruce Katkin

    It seems that all the people who have complained about the new system are those who use only desktops or laptops. Mobile devices and tabletsa need to be taken into account.

    I have no problem with the new system, what I do have a problem with is the keying of documents at such a speed (as in the race for the 1921 census) that they are not verified as hundreds of errors have appeared that are clearly legible or where common sense does not reign, such as someone who is born in Austria does not have an Irish nationality.

  111. MWBritt

    Hey K Nester…..Wake Up and get rid of this piece of crap ya’ll are calling better….it aint……this thing is like someone else said set up for the newbe to get on here and just copy everything that comes up… have to be able to go through each record……there will never be enough filters that are smart enough to do what a person can do on their own….hours and hours of going through records is ok as long as they are right records not stupid records that aren’t even close to what we are looking for… are saying it can be fixed….it wasn’t broke and thats the problem…you are breaking something that worked just fine…..99% of the changes ya’ll have made in the last few years suck they make everyone have to click on or pull down or whatever….you are just making it all so difficult and time consuming…..its should be just about researching records.. period…the way it was when you started……duh…..get your act together and do the right thing…….dump it in the trash and just let us research records the right way.

  112. Steven

    I agree with everyone else. The new search is horrible. What you could find before with relative ease now becomes an exercise in aggravation. This is a hobby as well as a passion for us. No one pays hard earned money to be frustrated and aggravated.

    I have been a subscriber since about 2011. But since that time I have helped to improve your site by correcting wrongly indexed names, dates, etc. I have also added a couple of hundred death certificates from my home state (Maryland) at my own expense. As well as the many photos of graves I have added to both this site and Find A Grave.

    And what do I get in return? A few automated “thank you for helping us to improve our site” emails. Well, you’re welcome. But you know what I really need? All my time and money returned to me for the privilege of being one of your beta testers while you slowly work out the kinks in your new “improved” system.

    I know you won’t go back to the older version and I accept that you don’t care. Just stop telling us to stay tuned because things will get better. My subscription runs out in August and I am out of here.

    And I know you don’t care.

  113. Kgetting

    After another fullday of searching, I have a couple suggestions for search sanity:
    **Set up Catagory Exact Mode in your Profile User Preferences. This helps frontpage searching occur with fewer clicks, but doesn’t work in your Trees (in fact, why doesn’t Ancestry promote CE Mode on its frontpage to lessen the reputation-denting its getting about its “new” search?)
    **Activate the Quick Links gadget in the Customize Your Page. This helps jump more quickly to specific collections, and avoids some of the search box frustrations.
    **Downgrade your membership. And consider using other large web collections such as FamilySearch, which is free. Until “new” search gets worked on, we’re stuck with frustrations.

  114. arlene miles

    The research screen should show only the fields that have been indexed; this would save time and effort for the researcher and the search engine.
    The slide adjustment should automatically recalculate the results as they are changed.
    I am still getting poor results; wrong names, dates, countries, states, sex when filled in.
    You are on the right track, you need to fine tune.

  115. Larry Pumphrey

    Katharine, I have a suggestion. I know you have to tout the company line as all employees do or you will all become ex-employees. My suggestion is to request that all the members of the Board of Directors for read all the postings on “A Fond Farewell to Old Search.” This should certainly promote some discussion at the next board meeting.

  116. Stephen Arvin

    Absolutely disappointed! First of all calling in to speak in with customer service resulted in a “deal with it” response from what came across as an employee that cared less of my customer status over the years and spending thousands of dollars on this website.
    The new search is horrible for quick responses to isolate information. There are way to many leads to further isolate. I have even put in exact search data found before without getting results.
    Sad to see such a horrible transition to the negative in my opinion. And yes I utilize desktop, ipad and android phone versions!

  117. Malissa fox

    If any of you at ancestry bother to read these comments, then even a blind person can see that we hate the way you’ve changed the search ability!!! What’s the game — figure we’ll all “just get use to it”. Wrong!

    Since our paid memberships pay all of your salaries, you’d think you would take into consideration the paying customers wishes. Or have you grown soooo arrogant that you no longer care??
    With the exorbitant amount some of us continue to pay, year after year, for all access ($300/year) that amount should give us control of what is changed or at least the choice of how “we” choose to search.

    You have really lost sight and no longer seem to care about your members.
    STOP trying to build some monument to yourselves. Less is more.

  118. Jan Davenport

    After 12 years with Ancestry I will not be renewing. I will spend my money with a company that listens to their customers. For $300.00 dollars a year that will almost buy me a plane ticket to SLC.!

  119. Donna Goodwin

    #102 Too funny. Thank you
    #103 Play nice. Name calling is not nice, maybe bullying.
    #116 Very nice thank you for positive help.

    Finally, Ancestry, try doing your searches like New England Historic and Genealogical Society does. It work.

    Have a great day all.

  120. Lynne Collins I think it is quite obvious that you have blown it. Easily, more than 90% of your dedicated users are now annoyed, upset, down-right-mad, and frustrated (I can’t even imagine the frustration of beginners!! ‘Free trials’ are not going to result in ‘keepers’). We rely on, and now we feel that we cannot find records we want. The new search is simply awful – absolutely ridiculous returns for the data entered. Please, make certain that your IT people are USERS, otherwise, you are paying for “improvements” that your ‘users’ cannot use.

  121. Lynne Collins

    @116 Katharine Nester. I am responding here to avoid covertness.

    1. The URL for your search results page – this is very important so we can see what you searched on and how things are being matched.|0|1652393|0|2|3246|20|0|1033|0|0|&msgdy=1825&msgpn__ftp=Fleming+County%2C+Kentucky%2C+USA&msgpn=1033&msgpn_PInfo=7-|0|1652393|0|2|3246|20|0|1033|0|0|&msrpn__ftp=Rush+County%2C+Indiana%2C+USA&msrpn=2567&msrpn_PInfo=7-|0|1652393|0|2|3247|17|0|2567|0|0|&msrpn1__ftp=Clark+County%2C+Illinois%2C+USA&msrpn1=623&msrpn1_PInfo=7-|0|1652393|0|2|3247|16|0|623|0|0|&cpxt=0&catBucket=rstp&uidh=pz9&msbdp=2&msgdp=1&_83004003-n_xcl=f&cp=12

    2. The position of the results that are not valid for your person or that you deem are not good.
    ALL – what? to filter through all this nonsense is TOO MUCH!

    3. Whether you are using Ancestry in a library or on your home computer.

    Here’s what I searched:
    Randolph (Names with similar meanings or spellings – as Randolph was sometimes Randal/Randall) Lee
    born 1824 +2 Fleming County, Kentucky, USA
    Marriage (there may only be ONE marriage!):
    1825 +1 Fleming County, Kentucky, US
    Lived In:
    Rush County, Indiana, USA
    Clark County, Illinois, USA

    And, here are the results: [the Results speak volumes], do you hear me? These are the results of a simple, though somewhat delineated, search. And LOOK at the irrelevancy!

    Census & Voter Lists
    112California, Voter Registrations, 1900-1968
    10West Eau Claire Argus (West Eau Claire, Wisconsin)
    6Southwest Virginia historical records
    4Arkansas Census, 1840
    4Census of the state of Michigan, 1894
    See all 177 results…

    2,436Birth, Marriage & Death
    1,141Berkshire Evening Eagle, The (Pittsfield, Berkshire, Massachusetts)
    464The Valley Independent (Monessen, Pennsylvania)
    160United States Obituary Collection
    70Historical Newspapers, Birth, Marriage, & Death Announcements, 1851-2003
    51Virginia, Prominent Families, Vol. 1-4
    See all 2,436 results…

    333Stars and Stripes Newspaper, Europe, Mediterranean, and North Africa Editions, 1942-1964
    239Official records of the Union and Confederate Armies, 1861-1865
    204Stars and Stripes Newspaper, Pacific Editions, 1945-1963
    57Register of former cadets : Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, Virginia, 1939.
    22Register of the commissioned and warrant officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps : January 1, 1931.
    See all 1,121 results…

    2Immigration & Travel
    1Quaker Arrivals at Philadelphia 1682-1750
    1Texas, Index Card Collections, 1800-1900

    325,708Newspapers & Publications
    28,574Moberly Monitor-Index (Moberly, Missouri)
    15,398San Antonio Express (San Antonio, Texas)
    10,664San Antonio Light (San Antonio, Texas)
    10,048Progress-Index (Petersburg, Virginia)
    8,967Tucson Daily Citizen (Tucson, Arizona)
    See all 325,708 results…

    429Public Member Photos & Scanned Documents
    173Private Member Photos
    8Historic Catalogs of Sears, Roebuck and Co., 1896-1993

    4,670Stories, Memories & Histories
    1,312Public Member Stories
    511Private Member Stories
    239Official records of the Union and Confederate Armies, 1861-1865
    57Register of former cadets : Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, Virginia, 1939.
    51Virginia, Prominent Families, Vol. 1-4
    See all 4,670 results…

    371Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers
    317U.S. and World Atlases, 1822-1923
    23Lippincott’s Gazetteer of the World, 1913
    23Missouri State Gazetteer and Business Directory, 1881
    3Iowa Gazetteer and Business Directory, 1884-1885
    1The Universal historical atlas
    See all 371 results…

    1,568Schools, Directories & Church Histories
    90California City Directories
    87Detroit city directory for the year commencing August 1st, 1893 : containing an alphabetical list of business firms and private
    78New York City Directories
    72Detroit city directory for the year commencing August 1st, 1894 : containing an alphabetical list of business firms and private
    65Connecticut City Directories
    See all 1,568 results…

    525Tax, Criminal, Land & Wills
    317U.S. and World Atlases, 1822-1923
    64U.S. General Land Office Records, 1796-1907
    31Genealogies of Kentucky Families from The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, Vol. II
    13Genealogical material in Oregon donation land claims
    13Hand-book of Alabama : a complete index to the state, with map
    See all 525 results…

    592Reference, Dictionaries & Almanacs
    317U.S. and World Atlases, 1822-1923
    23Lippincott’s Gazetteer of the World, 1913
    23Missouri State Gazetteer and Business Directory, 1881
    16The Compendium of American Genealogy, Vol. VI
    16Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography, Vol. IV
    See all 592 results…

    385Family Trees
    271Public Member Trees
    82Private Member Trees
    15Family Data Collection – Marriages
    10Family Data Collection – Individual Records
    5Family Data Collection – Deaths
    See all 385 results…

    **NOW, here’s what I found via the Old Search:

    1801 23 Oct
    Fleming County, Kentucky, USA,

    1820 Age: 19
    Not Stated, Fleming, Kentucky
    as child of Randolph Lee

    Marriage to Eliza Hammonds
    1825 6 Jan Age: 23
    Fleming Co, Kentucky, USA
    Kentucky Marriages, 1785-1979

    1830 Age: 29
    Western Division, Fleming, Kentucky

    1840 1 Jun Age: 38
    Walker, Rush, Indiana, USA

    Marriage to Elizabeth Stites
    1846 16 Feb Age: 44
    , Rush, Indiana, USA

    1850 Age: 49
    District 97, Rush, Indiana

    1860 Age: 59
    Washington, Decatur, Indiana

    Marriage to Elizabeth Sears
    1861 8 Sep Age: 59
    Clark Co, , Illinois, USA
    Illinois Marriages, 1851-1900

    1870 Age: 69
    Wabash, Clark, Illinois

    1876 7 Jan Age: 74
    Wabash, Clark, Illinois, United States
    Age: 75

    Marshall, Clark County, Illinois, USA

    My tree: 1-Timothy Lee Collins

    Please FIX IT,

  122. S_kerr

    The issue with the new search is that there are far too many check boxes and drop down menus and if you don’t use them, what is returned is huge amounts of data to sift through!

    Ancestry is now similar to Fold3 – #UNUSABLE. It may be time to end my subscription that I’ve had since 2000 and finally sign on My Heritage.

  123. BEE

    Don’t know if it’s worth the effort to complain {again} about the “sliders”, etc. and anything else about this “search”. It’s exhausting.
    Anyone use the “location” feature? Used to be able to click on the location, and a map would come up. It appears to be gone.
    Can’t find anyplace to report a WWI Draft Registration card that is scanned incorrectly. Perhaps it’s being worked on, since I reported it many times before?
    STILL have “phantom” hints in one tree – over two years now?

  124. Katharine Nester

    “Stickiness” of settings

    A few of you have mentioned that you are having troubles with the stickiness of the settings you choose, like “Exact”, showing the results in the collection list view, restricting to a specific geography, etc.

    We are aware that the stickiness settings are not reliable as they are based on cookies and are working on settings fixes that should make the settings stick better.

  125. Katharine Nester


    I am not sure if you entered all the same information into the old search form or if you used the simple version of the form, so I can’t recreate what you might have seen in Old Search exactly, but there are few tips/changes I’d suggest that helped me find most of the records you listed more easily.

    1. Make the last name “Lee” exact.

    2. Use the “collection priority” drop down and the “show records only from these collections” check box to limit to records just from the US. Just using the “collection priority” drop down only gives preference to US collections, it doesn’t restrict to just those collections.

    With those modifications, the query returned 5387 total results, and many of the records you mentioned finding were there in the small sets returned within specific collections.

    Here’s the query so you can see what changed.|0|1652393|0|2|3246|20|0|1033|0|0|&msrpn__ftp=Rush+County%2C+Indiana%2C+USA&msrpn=2567&msrpn_PInfo=7-|0|1652393|0|2|3247|17|0|2567|0|0|&msrpn1__ftp=Clark+County%2C+Illinois%2C+USA&msrpn1=623&msrpn1_PInfo=7-|0|1652393|0|2|3247|16|0|623|0|0|&msgdy=1825&msgpn__ftp=Fleming+County%2C+Kentucky%2C+USA&msgpn=1033&msgpn_PInfo=7-|0|1652393|0|2|3246|20|0|1033|0|0|&msrpn2__ftp=Kentucky%2C+USA&msrpn2=20&msrpn2_PInfo=5-|0|1652393|0|2|3246|20|0|0|0|0|&cpxt=1&catBucket=rstp&uidh=2f6&msbdp=2&msgdp=1&_83004003-n_xcl=f&cp=12

  126. Sandi

    There is no Jefferson County Texas on your drop down. There is a Port Arthur, Jefferson County, Texas, but the person doesn’t come up cause her and her husband didn’t live in Port Arthur. There has been a problem with Jefferson County, for years. I was told that there wasn’t enough people that needed the information to trouble over. Is it still going to be that way?

    I had a good day yesterday researching, All but the slider problem but I pushed the buttons, got tiresome, but I went about my way. BUT last night all the sudden While searching the White surname in exact I was coming up with no results. I bet 80% of every County has a White surname and 100% of States has someone named White. But nothing was coming up I checked some other names that were come up earlier that day and they didn’t. So I shut down. I am getting them today So what happen?

  127. Kagey

    @ 116 Katharine Nester

    You asked for specific examples that include:

    1. The URL for your search results page – this is very important so we can see what you searched on and how things are being matched.
    **See below

    2. The position of the results that are not valid for your person or that you deem are not good
    ***Within a Member Tree, selecting the Census and Voter Lists catagory, trying with the Exact Sliders and without them
    ***Using the homepage search box, with Catagory Exact Mode user preferences, trying both EXACT and without selecting EXACT

    3. Whether you are using Ancestry in a library or on your home computer.

    Search 1
    Searching within a Member Tree individual profile for the 1940 census, for a woman named Pearl with either maiden or married name.

    Best Match Results: 1

    1940 United States Federal Census
    View Image
    Name: Robert L Feldhusen
    Birth: abt 1920 – Michigan
    Residence: 1935 – Escanaba, Delta, Michigan
    Residence: Detroit, Wayne, Michigan

    Less Likely Matches: 170

    NONE of them named Pearl

    Search 2
    From within the Member Tree profile, editing the search to include only one surname (the field automatically contains both maiden and married surnames, but only searches for the last one)
    Moved all the sliders to EXACT
    Results: 1
    Correct person, but 1930 Census (I’m looking for the 1940 census)

    Search 3
    Using Category Exact Mode search box on the Ancestry homepage:
    Same search: 1,057 results under the Census & Voter Lists category
    Pearl might be in there somewhere…. I’m still looking, but at 10 items per page that’s 106 screens to click through.

    Search 4
    Using Category Exact Mode on the homepage and clicking EXACT:
    Same search: 1 result = The 1930 census (I’m still trying to get the 1940 census)

    OH FOR PETE”S SAKE…………..
    Back to Search 3…… I see one of Pearl’s parents names on Screen #1. I open that 1940 census synopsis, click on Pearl’s name and then attach the 1940 census to Pearl’s tree. Done.

  128. krista reynen

    Katherine Nester,

    Dont you think that having to give users instructions on how to do a search totally proves everyone’s point on how bad the design is.

    These searches should be intuitive like it was before.

    What on earth were you thinking when you implemented this new search? You were obviously not thinking of the customer.

    I called Ancestry customer support and the wait was so long, I had to hang up.

  129. Richard Simerly

    Your new search may be fine for the younger crowd.. however.. if the older people cannot use it then I am not paying for it.. The old search was simple and I could change the surnames as I wanted to search for them… now you have made it to hard unless your young.

  130. Linda Armstrong

    What an appalling development finding this pathetic search engine upgrade. It’s designed to be **Better**? You mean like lipstick on a pig (Bling Bling) Better?
    I thought I was losing my mind trying to narrow the parameters. Nothing will be more efficient than ‘Old Search’. This may now be the biggest time drain ever for online searching. I’ve got a few months before my subscription runs out FOREVER after 14 years with which started declining when it no longer was a USA company.
    You can fool some people all the time and all people some of the time but not ALL of us ALL the time. Blithering about what more there is to come makes me shudder. Shame on you, geeks.

  131. Linda Armstrong

    This is an appalling development; I thought I was losing my mind trying to narrow the parameters to be as efficient as “Old Search.’

    An upgrade made to “to address customer requests faster and allow us to direct more investment into other areas like adding more record collections and correcting transcriptions on existing collections”.

    What the blazes does that have to do with searching?
    This upgrade is BETTER? like lipstick on a pig (Bling Bling) better?
    Shame on you Ancestry British owners and techno geeks; you threw out the baby with the bath water.

  132. Philomene

    Fare thee well The ONLY reason that I joined was because you ATE UP everything that was FREE. I’m sick of your lame excuses and your BS messages. You are running the site for your ease and comfort, not for PAYING subscribers. I can revert to previous methods: the library and mail order. Heck, I’ve got the time because I’m now rid of your sorry buttocks.

  133. Nancy Erwin

    OMG are you kidding me. I thought I would give this a try for the 5th time, which has consumed the last 7 hrs today with no results! Then I thought I know surely the Newspapers would not be touched. OMG are you kidding me. That was my last resort. I am done! I have to say, my tree is well documented, I took the time over the last 15 years over 4600 people I gleaned every census that applied. Now, I’ll take the time to polish it up.
    There were times I felt I was working for Ancestry, making corrections so others would have an easier time finding family members.
    1. Those taking the Census were often in a hurry, the writing was terrible, I found by looking at the hard copy of the Census the name was a given, if you are from most European Countries, their dialect was broken English. So, the blame can’t go there! The dates I found 30 looked like 80, in searching that is a big difference.
    2. Those transcribing, I wouldn’t want your job. So, the blame can’t go there!
    3. The computer, those who created “Old Search” enabled us to search with all our tools in our tool box. The human factor. So, the blame can’t go there! In the beginning when I couldn’t find someone, I physically turned every page till I found them. So, the “Old Search” gave me the power to change things up, and I found who I was looking for!
    4. The blame, just who do we blame? The computer programmers are human, but in this case I don’ t think they understand, this is not a game. So yes, I do blame Ancestry for taking on people who want to play games! From the top to the bottom. This “New Search” program makes me feel like a hamster in a wheel. Maybe, that is the game.
    I have read many of the comments, the frustration, the sadness, those who went through all the trouble to explain in detail the problems.
    The only reason we do this research, build our family trees, is to leave the generations to come, some since of where we all came from. The hardships, to a better life, the Farmers, Builders, Railroad Workers, Carpenters, Bankers, Business Owners most of all the Veterans!
    All, these people on these trees have made a difference. Help us pay them respect!
    Ancestry knows this was a bad move, time will tell. I ask you to please reconsider returning to the “Old Search”.
    You owe this to the dedicated members, that just want to tell a story and be counted. There have been many friendships that have been formed with Ancestry. A community, now that is human!

  134. Joan l.

    I’ve just mistakenly renewed my world wide membership without using my eyes that my favourite ”old search” was on the way out.
    I’ve given the new search a fair trial, but find it frustrating and long winded. It certainly doesn’t stick to my ”exact” requests.
    For a simple enjoyable search as before I now have to trawl through
    thousands upon thousands of un-requested names and places.
    Roll on January 2015 when I can find another good research site as Ancestry once used to be.
    What a pity.

  135. Rita Mayfield

    I can not believe how disgusting and disheartening it is to try to use the New Search. For the ten years I have been using Ancestry, Old Search has been the best thing around, as long as you guys were keeping you fingers off. I have tried this “upgrade”, why don’t you call it what it really is, and frankly don’t have the time to research here anymore. I have no trouble using it, having researched for years, however it is so time consuming and tiresome that I find it is not worth the trouble, plus it doesn’t even return finds that I had already found using Old Search. So not only it is a disaster to use, it is useless for finding records. I am in the process of finding a site where I can move my 18 trees the is user friendly and efficient. I can’t cancel my subscription until I get everything moved and deleted from Ancestry, so you have got my money for another year, but that is it. I have thought about doing it for a long time, because of the mess you have made out of the site, but this time I am sure. I hope you are happy, I sure am not.

  136. Rita Mayfield

    Just one more thing. On going back and reading the other comments I noticed that you said you sent emails to Old Search users. I DID NOT receive said email. I used Old Search 100% of the time. I answered all the feedbacks on New Search each time you put up a new one, after trying to use it, telling you how useless and time consuming they were for seasoned researchers. Stop with the smoke screens.

  137. Barbara Gardner

    I put in the information for MYSELF and couldn’t even find that! This is terrible. My membership runs out in a few months, and I see no need to renew as things stand now. I am very disappointed. Even though I don’t mind trying new things, I can’t help but feel this is a lost cause. Why change something that has worked so well for so many for so long? It’s not as if this is an improvement, because it certainly isn’t. I’m sure you put a lot of money into the changes and therefore will probably not go back to the previous system, but why should we pay a membership fee for something that yields no/poor results? I can’t use this myself and won’t recommend it to anyone else either. Please listen to your established customers!

  138. Joanne Baucum

    I’ve been with since the beginning and I’ve watched as you have laboriously added massive amounts of data to your website. You’ve done an extraordinary job.

    The Old Search was clean and intuitive and brought me what I asked for. I could always find what I wanted.

    Let me give you a quick simple example of the capabilities of your so-called New Search. I clicked on “Search Records” for a person in my database. The name and birth/death dates were carried across for the New Search parameters. However, the system neglected to carry across the birth/death locations like the Old Search did.

    For this person, who was born and died in Wisconsin, the New Search found a stunning 19 million results, starting first with the LONDON Electoral Registers and followed second by the AUSTRALIAN Electoral Registers.

    These are not search results. This is a *Data Dump* that wastes my time and makes me angry. This software was poorly designed and badly executed, with no input from customers who actually search genealogical data.

    I know how much data you have out there because I used to be able to get to it. But I am not willing to spend hours hacking my way through a jungle of extraneous nonsense for data I could once find in minutes.

    Nothing should be this difficult. I have invested years in building my ancestry database and that *alone* prevents me from dropping my membership right now. Please know that if my renewal were based on the search functionality you now offer, I would cancel in a heartbeat.

  139. Hilary

    NO! NO! NO! Who are you trying to kid? The new search is clumsy, time consuming and inaccurate. It is even a nightmare trying to EDIT a search. I now take LONGER thinking how to search than entering details. Results page either show up no results at all or every result possible.
    No one ever complained in this way about the OLD SEARCH. Total nighmare.
    and just to make it clear, when you first bought out the new search function some years ago, I forced myself to use it for several months until I realised thaere was still the old search feature. Naturally I went back to it.
    Trying to convince us, the consumer, that we are wrong is derogatory.

  140. Sandy Ramos

    Why did you fix something that was not broken. It’s a joke looking
    for information. Unless you know everything about the person
    your are look for your going to be looking for a long time. I have
    doing genealogy since 1993 and I have more problems in the last
    5 days then the last 20 years. You raised your prices and double
    my blood pressure. I hate the NEW SEARCH!!!!!!

  141. KarenS

    This stinks! New Search is a big waste of my time. I’ve removing everything I’ve contributed to Ancestry, Fold3, and FindAGrave in the past and cancelling everything. I’m sick of Ancestry’s attitude that they know better than we do what works. Are the programmers teenagers?

    I have been doing genealogy research for over 40 years and online research as long as it has existed. Going to libraries and courthouses works better than “New Search.”

    Remember folks, a lot of what Ancestry “sells” to subscribers was contributed by us, with no compensation to us. I’m not leaving a bit of it behind when I go.

  142. I hate the new search and if I enjoyed your new search, I would have been using it. I plan to give it one month and at that time, if I can’t do the new search I’m done.
    I will go to other sites or back to books.
    The only reason I stayed with Ancestry as I enjoyed searching but when the searching become an all night search with just a bunch of junk, it’s no long useful for me. I will move on and try to do what I used to do before using ancestry.
    Ancestry used to be claming to me and helped with my high blood pressure, it’s no long like that for me. I find my blood pressure raising with each search..

  143. Roger

    I agree with all of the dissident comments. The new search is clumsy and pretty unhelpful. I now have to use FamilySearch for classier and more accurate help. OK – an associated site and a shame Ancestry hasn’t learnt off the back of that. I shall also be continuing to use the search facilities of another provider particularly when they have released improvements and a better Family Tree facility. I may just have to port my tree over to them.

    I have tried searching for Sarah McPherson – B: 1800 +- 10 in Public Trees. I am unable to exclude USA records even when checking UK and Ireland only and updating. Really quite hopeless.

  144. Rhea

    What I would like to see changed is having less clicks to accomplish something. I have consistently told Ancestry probably for the last 2 years that they seem to think the more clicks to accomplish an action the better. They always seem to do things to add another click to accomplish the same thing and think they have done something good because they added another click. I have over and over again told them ways they could shorten the # of clicks for certain actions taken. I continue to think that the people who make these changes know nothing about genealogy, i.e., they have not researched from our end. The people that make changes to the database ought to be required to set up their own family tree and know what it’s like from our side. Otherwise Ancestry will never understand us or learn to run its database in an efficient manner. Plus, Ancestry seems to think that the more search results you have the better. I have searched for names that included a middle initial and would end up with 78,000 results. In many cases, the only thing in common with the search results was the middle initial. In other cases, the names in the search results bore no resemblance whatever to the name I was searching for. I am not even sure the programmers have a basic knowledge of research techniques. If they did, I do not think Ancestry would be getting so many complaints. How in the world can Ancestry put out what they think is an enhancement but the people who use it think that think it is detestable. It doesn’t make sense at all.

  145. Sharon Miller

    Never liked the new search that came out years ago. Too much crap that had nothing to do with people you were actually researching. Suggesting keeping both old and new search. Never used the new! As it was a total waste of time. This new search will no doubt be my reason for leaving Ancestry. Much easier to search other sites to get info you can use. I tried doing searches on this “new and improved” search using people I had already researched to see the results. Ohio marriages for only 1970 on up showed up an no other older records were in the results. This was for people alive in 1800″s that I had in the past found marriage records on Ancestry. Useless crap

  146. Frustrated long time user

    #154 Rhea:

    I too have begged and pleaded for less clicks, as we had in old search. My emails never were even acknowledged. One hint: don’t use middle initials or names in your searches. I have noticed, that for 13 years the system would zoom in on them. But in the results (old search of course) if you don’t add anything for a middle name or initial, even if you know it, you get better results and frequently the right middle name or initial will be there, too.

    The only search we have currently was always slow, unproductive and required the patience of Job.

    I have never known Ancestry to EVER go back to anything they dropped. I sympathize with everyone because I’m in the same boat.

    #151 Karen S:

    They may not be teenagers but they have that mindset, and are not far from their teenage years. They think the actual search is the fun part and the end itself. Not so. The fun part and end objective is the names of the people you find. The search is no longer fun as it is now.

    To all; Just in case there are some users of XP and/or IE8 out there, Ancestry no longer supports these. The help section gives a list of what operating systems and browsers they support. Note: XP and IE9 are NOT compatible.

    US only yearly subscription is $189.00 plus tax for some states. Last time I renewed in June of 2013 it was $155. World subscription is $299.40 per year which seems to be close to what it always was.

  147. Annie

    I think I can put into words what I’m feeling regarding the changes Ancestry has been making in the last few years. Especially dropping the old search.

    Since I am, at this time a long time user, I compare it with drug addiction. When I wanted to relax my body but keep my mind challenged, I would do research. I always found new people or a new source to verify my research. If I got stuck with someone, I’d move to another line and let the first one jell a bit.

    I would feel better and my BP, like others, would go down. Now I go looking for my “fix” and I get a placebo, which doesn’t work, and my BP goes up. I’m beginning to think I need to quit genealogy completely. Go cold turkey. It’s not fun anymore. I had a good time while it lasted but it is time to get off the merry-go-round, or find a different one to ride.

    Last year I broke through 2 brick walls. Both I had been working on a long time. Made major advances and added many people. Of course Ancestry’s old search wasn’t my only source, but it was an important one. Maybe there was an unspoken message there.

    Ancestry’s new search just doesn’t help, and I did keep trying it over the years. The level of frustration working with new search was and is just too much. I kept thinking, “I’ll try a new approach.” But when that one doesn’t work, I’d really feel cheated. So I may add to the number of those who will not renew. I have a couple of months to decide. Move over in the lifeboat! I’m about to abandon ship!

  148. Rae

    Why don’t you ever listen to your PAYING customers? I am fed up with hearing about getting things to work better on mobile devices – I bet very few of us use those as our MAIN way of using the site.

    Searching for anything is so frustrating now – useless results and things I know I spotted on’Old Search’ now nowhere to be seen!

    Not sure how much longer I can put up with it – and why should I, your site is very expensive and no longer fit for purpose.

  149. Lois Johnson

    I use new search, exact mode, follow the instructions, get nothing where I know there was information in Old search. It’s very frustrating, so frustrating that I go to the FREE site, and get my information with little or no difficulty. Unfortunately, familysearch doesn’t have as much information as Ancestry does, but they do it better! You should have your programmers take a look to see how search should be done.

  150. Sandra Raymond Jarvis

    I have loved the new search and its techniques. I get better results than any other family history internet program out there. I find most of what I am looking for. I love how I can control the searches I make. I can make them as broad or as specific as I want.
    I have one request: Is there a way we can search family trees by the title of the tree. I have relatives that want to view the tree and if they could just type the name of my family in a search field, it would be great.
    Again, thanks. I have enjoyed the site very much.
    Sandra Raymond Jarvis

  151. Sara Angle

    I am not one for reading blogs so I was in the dark about the loss of the “old search”. But, now I know why I can’t find anything I need anymore. I hate that I have dozens of pages of results that don’t match even a little with my search parameters.

  152. BEE

    I’m amazed that people are still adding their comments to this blog.
    I’m going to post mine here, as well as: “Ask Ancestry Anne Search Tip #5: Start Small, Go Big — Using Sliders in Search”.
    I’m surprised more people aren’t adding their comments to that blog.
    First of all, I have read every single comment on the “ blog” each time the subject of “Old/New Search” came up.
    I definitely find this “new search” frustrating, but I took the advice of one of the posts on the blog, and it has helped some:
    “**Set up Category Exact Mode in your Profile User Preferences. This helps frontpage searching occur with fewer clicks.
    **Activate the Quick Links gadget in the Customize Your Page. This helps jump more quickly to specific collections, and avoids some of the search box frustrations.”
    I’ve said for perhaps 10 years now, “I live on ancestry” when anyone asked, meaning I love it! but not so much now.
    As someone wrote on the “A Fond Farewell to “Old Search” post: “This “New Search” program makes me feel like a hamster in a wheel.”
    This “click, click” – slide and reslide, is getting very tiresome very fast!
    Also, as each day goes by, I am more and more offended by the title of the post – “A Fond Farewell to “Old Search” – because to those of us who spend many hours “lost in history”, it has certainly NOT been a “fond” farewell.

  153. Shelagh Boardman

    It horrifies me that the old search was switched off BEFORE the new search was thoroughly tested. What was Ancestry thinking of?
    In a normal business environment programming is tested to destruction before being let loose on the general user. Ancestry, it DON’T work!!!

  154. Bobbi Mcmullen

    I thought the customer is always right. With so many that preferred the old search and how horrible the new search is, Why can’t you continue to give us the option to use the old search? The new search is too time consuming and does not give effective results. I have used ancestry for 14 years. This is the worst blunder you have made. When you are doing genealogy for a living you don’t want to waste time and what to be able to control your results with ease and not get a lot of usless results.

  155. mike

    New Search is HORRIBLE, and is the reason I cancelled my existing subscription, and attempting to get a refund, although Ancestry says No, Better Business says, Yes.

    They have completely stonewalled on this, the New thing DOES NOT WORK, AND IS HORRIBLE TO, USE THEY DO NOT SEEM TO CARE.

  156. mike

    Ancestry would you please stop telling your customers they don’t really know how they really feel about this, that you know better than them ????

    You don’t.

    Do you have ANY idea, yet, how angry people are ????????

  157. MaryA

    One of the main problems is why the problems they had with their searches previously were not rectified before just transferring them across to the so called new search. Your customers problems are now compounded with double trouble.

    Your customer service staff don’t read and respond to their emails, they merely send out stock answers that do not address the enquiries.

  158. Kurt Moser

    I’m a long time subscriber and I really liked Old Search. I could easily find what I wanted from one screen. I just tried New Search looking for Benjamin Mitchell born about 1841 and lived his entire life in Wyoming Co., Pennsylvania. It took 15 screens on new search using exact search to find the 1870 census report for him. And then I got census reports from Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey etc. WHAT PART OF EXACT don’t you get Ancestry!

  159. MWBritt

    #162 is exactly what Anc. wants….click on a few high tech looking buttons, slide one here slide one there click on this click on that and this person thinks they’re a genealogist and within seconds boom you have a zillion matches and this person thinks they’re kin to all of them, they save everything to they’re family tree and within minutes they think they’re family came over on the Mayflower……..this is not a knock on this person, but they are led to believe its that easy with the tv shows and commercials showing how easy it is to find everyone in their family tree from Jr. born in 2014 to your uncle Neanderthal who came over from Europe with a club in his hand an all this with just a click of the button,…thats just what Anc. wants them to believe…it makes them millions of dollars and they are not going to change because a few people don’t like the changes… I’ve enjoyed this for years and will miss the some what ease of researching, but Anc. has dropped the ball with this piece of glittering crap that they’re calling gold…when i get all my ducks in a row I’m outa here…

  160. Bring back old search

    SInce when is “Indiana” an EXACT location match to “California”?
    Since when is “William” an EXACT match to “Roberta”?
    Since when is “1920” an EXACT match to “1870”?

    These are just 3 examples of what I am searching for (1st term) and what EXACTLY I get (2nd term). That, in a nutshell, is how “new” search behaves compared to “old” search.

    I too am reconsidering my $300 annual subsciption renewal in October.

  161. The new search is clumsy, inexact and difficult to use. I am NOT impressed with the new search and resent being forced to use it. There is nothing intuitive about it. One almost needs a user manual to figure out anything. And the results returned on a search leave a great deal to be desired. With the old search, I could specify a range of years for a search (1900 to 2000). I cannot do that with this mangled new search. I am appalled that Ancestry would force its PAYING customers to use such an unfriendly method. Shiny and new is not always good or even warranted.

  162. Annie

    #164 Bee:

    I think the reason why there are not many comments on the sliders is most people don’t know what to do with them. I know you are a long time subscriber of Ancestry from your other posts. Good for you for trying so hard to use this clunky, junky, funky search that is the only one Ancestry offers.

    I am having such a frustrating experience (Ancestry likes to use that word) that I’m only trying to learn one thing at a time. I’m a long time user and I consider my skill level to be advanced in research. Now I feel stupid with this new search. Gone are the dependable easy to use, guaranteed excellent results I used to get.

    What the heck is happening to this company!? For the past few years it is all going downhill. I know if you want something messed up, you give it to the government to run. Is that what is happening? Nah! Not all the idiots in the country work for the government! Ancestry has a large share of them in their marketing department!

  163. I too am HATE the changes. You would think that with this many unhappy members ancestry would listen. You are going to lose a good percentage of your loyal customers so why can’t you just change it back? Why should you be able to decide what is best for the people who spend their hard earned money withyour company? I sincerely hope you consider all the comments being made & fix it. I have a chronic illness & ,have found something that take my mind off of the prognosis & painful treatments so is truly sucks……

  164. Judging from all the comments, it would appear that the poorly designed new search program (that’s been around for awhile) is frustrating folks because Exact is not very exact. How in the world has Ancestry decided to discontinue the old search without working out bugs in the new search? I get the concept that maintaining 2 searches would be a huge problem, but you had a responsibility to make sure the new search functioned properly. It doesn’t.

  165. Lewis Kiehn

    New Search takes far more time to use and has inferior accuracy as compared to Old Search. This is progress? What was fun to do in the past is now tedious. I have 30,000 people in my database and have been using Ancestry for over 10 years. I’ve notified Ancestry that I will not renew in April.

  166. Paula Roehrig

    I agree with all of you above who are having problems with the new search. If Ancestry calls this progress, I’m thinking it is only because it slows people down and they keep their membership longer. The new search is totally off and gives unexpected results even when all the bells and whistles are checked properly. I’ve kept my membership even though I haven’t used Ancestry as much during the last year as I have previously. I’m thinking of cancelling too. It’s not fun anymore.

  167. Katharine Nester

    A few people have commented on having to go through multiple screens to find specific records and census records in particular.

    Many of the searches provided in the examples have known a birth year and where the person generally lived. With this type of search, I recommend you enter the birth year in the birth event field, but do not put the location in the birth event, rather use a “lived in” event to put in the location where the ancestor lived. This better captures census information which typically doesn’t have birth locations at a detail level, but does have lived in locations.

    I’d also call out again that when looking for records in specific collections, use the tab at the top right of the search results to change your result view to the category view. This helps you see more quickly the results in specific collections.

  168. Katharine Nester

    I should also add to my previous comment that when you put the location in the birth event, it will return censuses from other states if those censuses included birth event locations, as it will match on that field and can provide results which don’t look exact, even though it did match exact on what you asked it to – namely the birth location in the data.

  169. Katharine Nester

    @Sandi – comment 108 – did you have any location information or age information for your search? Even in old search there would be hundreds if not thousands of results without some location or age data to narrow it down. Let me know if you have any further information and I will see what i can find.

  170. Tom

    Did Ancestry actually pay to have the “new search” function developed?
    It is a great waste of time. Those who had problems with the old search will find the new “search” totally useless.

  171. C

    #184 Tom:

    No, Ancestry paid the programmers. But who do you think paid Ancestry? The subscribers! Same pants, different pockets! We pay for all the site and more. That’s how they make a profit. It’s always the last person in the food chain.

    Old search never gave me problems. I can’t speak for others. It was fast, concise, and gave me correct results.

  172. Helen

    It is frustrating enough to dislike the new search forms and those sliders on the results page (as I do). However, the biggest problem is that the results obtained using the same input data used before this “improvement” yields totally different categories, let alone detailed records. Months ago, I saved a 1911 census record found by executing a search from my grandfather’s profile page. Today I did exactly the same thing and didn’t even get the 1911 census category listed – only the 1911 census summary books which contained 14 records of which none were in the Mile End area (part of search).
    As an IT professional for over 30 years, it would seem to me that either 1) the records have been migrated from one DBMS to another or 2) the indexes on the existing databases have been changed or 3) the programming language has been changed requiring recoding of the database calls. Whichever it is, major mistakes have been made. Is anyone undertaking an integration test using the old system and comparing to the new? As it stands at the moment, legitimate records don’t seem to be selected. Many folks have already commented that there are alternative sites to use and if customers don’t have confidence in the Ancestry search, there may very well be another “migration” in the near future.

  173. Annie

    All US censuses noted the state (or country) of birth since 1850. Any genealogist knows that! No guarantee it was correct, but it was there!

  174. Carrie

    “A Fond Farewell to “Old Search”

    Nothing “fond” about it! One of the saddest days in my 30 years of research!

    “Specifically, the technology powering the “Old Search” functionality is fragile, as much of it is no longer supported, and it can no longer scale to meet the needs of the growing use of Ancestry across mobile devices, operating systems and browsers.”

    It was robust not fragile! If it became fragile, it was because you didn’t maintain it. You were too interested in getting more customers with all the new tech gadgets.

    “this consolidated search brings forward and improves the best features of both search experiences.”

    Is that what you call it?

    “We will be continuing to improve our search over this year and have improvements planned in our location data, relevancy, results filtering and more.”

    Does that mean you will fix incorrect databases and incorrect indexes? That will be a new wrinkle after all these years!

  175. BEE

    #180-183: as someone else wrote – huh? I think that response shows the disconnect between what we have been saying in blog after blog on the subject, and what is being heard{read}.
    Again, the complaint from day one – it takes three clicks to do what one used to do, and something that was so simple to use, is now so complicated, which can’t be justified by the results!
    #175 Annie, Re: “Ask Ancestry Anne Search Tip #5: Start Small, Go Big — Using Sliders in Search”. I just meant I was surprised there weren’t more complaints being posted on that blog as well.

  176. Annie

    So, how do you shut off the sliders? I enter the information I know, sometimes a lot, sometimes a little, and the sliders make a decision on the level of exactness. I don’t want the system to do that. I want to be the one to determine what my results will be.

    I guess I liked fuzzy searches. If I didn’t know much for the search, it was easy to peruse the list and determine what was possible and how close it was to being possible.

    The indexes were sometimes way off but if I saw other information that matched or was close, it was worth a look. I found many people whose names were mangled by stupid extractors. Some people just don’t realize there are vowels in most names.

    Old search would bring up these crazy extractions and often the name was wrong but it was the right person I wanted. I would then submit a correction.

    I would really like to know why the old search worked so much better with fewer bells and whistles. What was the magic that made it so good? The new search has so many options, it can’t think straight!

    Bottom line here is I may know whom I want, but the system doesn’t have the person indexed to match the person I want. Hence, the fuzzy search was much better.

  177. Carol

    A big question on my mind is why was it so easy to use “old” search with no learning curve and now we are directed to read all kinds of articles/instructions for using “new search” and it still isn’t working right, with so many long time users still struggling?

    On a hopeful side – while trying to use Ancestry last night, I got one of those pop-up surveys that seemed to ask a lot of questions about my ability to find what I wanted from searching, other sites I use and if I plan on renewing my membership. Could it be that someone at Ancestry is listening to all our comments?

  178. Debi

    I agree that “New Search” is not as effective as old search, it is frustrating and takes much longer.. even when you diddle around with the search criteria. Is trying to drive us away?

    I have been a loyal subscriber since the early 2000’s. I was a real advocate and supporter of them. I have gone through many of Ancestry’s format changes over the years but nothing like this. I have changed now to a month to month membership and will likely jump ship if old search is not brought back soon. In many of my Gen. Study Groups we are looking for new sites now to subscribe to. I have suggested that the websites we use remove the adverts and links as it is not user friendly anymore. I think I will spend the next few months copying everything off Ancestry and removing my private tree’s within the year.

    As a full-time researcher, I can no longer recommend Bottom line, they either bring back “old search” or I’m gone with a few hundred other people.. family, friends, and fellow peers. I would even PAY MORE if “old search” was available. Sorry folks, but when dealing with a HUGE co. like, I don’t think the squeaky wheel will get the grease this time.

  179. krista reynen

    Debi (comment 193)

    I am a full time researcher as well and I could not agree more with what you said.

    I renewed my subscription but I am keeping track of the number of times I am logging in and checking if I can get the information elsewhere. If by the next time my renewal is up, I will drop the site if they have not restored “Old Search” which I call “Good search.” The new search I call “junk search.”

    I cannot afford the time it takes to wade through this onslaught of irrelevant data. Before the removal of “Old search” I would always check Ancestry first, now I check it last and simply dread having to go there.

    It is not obvious to me that Ancestry management is listening. If Ms Nester has to come on this page and explain to us how to get to a result, I think she has proven the point it is difficult to use.

    I get it that technology changes and that the back end of a site has to change to stay up to date. It does not mean that the front end should become useless.

    The Ancestry site is now where the site was when it first launched. No amount of marketing could make the site better only a complete revamping with software engineers with a brain and end user understanding.

    If I was CEO of I would fire the IT manager and his entire staff who dreamed up this so called improvement.

  180. M. D. B. Blocker

    PLEASE RESTORE the “old Search” to the site immediately!! I was in tears when I discovered it gone on 06 Mar 2014. I registered my complaint the same day via telephone. I have been struggling with the new search ever since! I did not like it the first time I saw it and I still do not! I have a 1000+ page family history document to update/complete with the 1940 Census plus anything else that I can find. I cannot find an option with the new search to only access census information, etc. I learned how to manipulate through the old census to look for specific information, even search to by first name only! After I had performed all the tricks I had learned and found nothing I would be satisfied that there was nothing to find. I have sent it many “corrections” for census that had been unbelievably inaccurately transcribed. The only way I can make any progress at all with this new search is to find a family tree and go from there. This is leaving a lot of information that I was previously able to find with a “FIX LATER” annotations in my family history document, which I hope to be able to FIX” after you have restored the old search to the site. Yes I will have to cancel my subscription and learn how to search at a different site if this goes on much longer! I see that there are many complaints, how can you ignore them? Working through the new search is exhausting, excessively time consuming, and incredibly frustrating.

  181. FHC Librarian

    22 March 2014

    Today I had a patron come in looking for himself in the 1940 census. We jumped through hoops and found nothing. He knew all the facts and we tried all kinds of combinations even omitting some information.

    After an hour I suggested we try We found it in 2 minutes and of course it gave us the image. I have been a FHC librarian for many years and kept up with the changes.

    I can’t believe it took going to to get to the Ancestry image! I don’t knoiw what you have done to “search” but it isn’t working like it used to work.

  182. Charlie

    We now have the Edsel of genealogy sites with the present search. The records are probably still on the site but it runs badly!

  183. C

    Small suggestion: Once/if you find a record that may be useful and you’d like to look at again later, save it to your shoebox. You can’t sort the shoebox, something I have begged for, many times, but records are saved by the date you saved them. Warning: this file can get very big and the only way to find a saved record is to remember approximately when you saved it and for whom.

    So if you had a problem finding the record, you can get back to it faster by using your shoebox, on your homepage.

  184. Joann Salvo

    I would say things have been falling apart on the website in the past year. I use to get email notifications from ancestry to my personal email account. I called ancestry customer support and they told me that my email address was rejected/blocked by ancestry and there was no way to unblock it and that I would need to get a new email address. I don’t want another email address to check. I kept getting a message when I signed on that my email address was invalid and that I needed to update it. My email address was valid, Again I called customer support and they could not tell me why this was happening and to wait for their database maintenance and it should correct itself. That took 3 months. I added a new tree and the people I added did not show up on the searches, again I called customer support and they told me to wait for the database maintenance, that took another 3 months, 1 person still does not show up. And now they get rid of the old search. I have a mundia account, I cannot login. I called customer support and they could not help me. I still cannot login. What next?! I am a volunteer at my local Family History, I am not going to show people, the people new to genealogy will be totally confused by the new search, especially when I am totally confused by it. I will show them and other websites. I just deleted some of my trees, next I will cancel my subscription. Why pay all that money for something I am not using anymore.

  185. Debi (again)

    Considering this is almost the last day we will be able to comment on this article, I am of the opinion that the Ancestry will not accommodate our requests to bring back “old search”, and not offer another newly modified “old search” type product to passify us.

    If these changes were due to technical advancements for mobile devices etc as they document, or to free up financial funds to purchase new records to add to their collections, I think they will end up spending more money on survey’s, promotions, correspondence and marketing to “get back” old customers and try to retain the ones who are the sideline observing. I think this breach in trust and customer satisfaction will tip the scales and only become an issue when they acknowledge and calculate the financial loss in membership revenue over the next year but they will likely never be able to repair the damage done to their client base. can be dismissive of our complaints and concerns; I doubt we are being heard at the higher levels of management or at the board table. I can almost hear it now, “it is only a handful or a select group that are resistant to the change”. This could spin into a public relations nightmare. Hopefully, the national media outlets will take notice, as they love a good story like this.

    *I thank all of my fellow Ancestry members for taking the time to express your concerns and thoughts here. I read each and every post. We are all on the same page.

  186. BEE

    I sit here each day and shake my head as I read all these comments {as I have on every single blog on the subject}! How in the world…………..?
    The earliest date I can find for my subscription is April 2003. There is no way I can calculate the hours I’ve spent on
    One of the greatest rewards has been the number of people – relatives I never knew I had and strangers alike, that I shared information with, and made lasting friendships. It has truly been a blessing.
    I still marvel at all the information I found. Some was relatively easy to find, but most took a great deal of hard work, time and effort.
    I enjoyed every single minute of the “hunt”, and was often rewarded for my efforts. I always said if a document was there, I would find it.
    From the VERY FIRST blog on this subject to the present, people far more knowledgeable about computers and genealogy have said, “IF IT AIN’T BROKE DON’T FIX IT!” From the VERY FIRST blog on the subject, “THE POWERS THAT BE” – or whoever is “in charge”, have said, “we know better”, and shoved this abomination down our throats! So I sit here and choke on it!
    But from the sound of it, a lot of people are a lot smarter than me, and will not put up with it.
    Truthfully, I have no place to go, and don’t have the energy to try. Besides the trees I created, I have the DNA results of both my husband and myself attached to our trees. I’m just thankful I’ve done so much research during all these years and have already accumulated much valuable information.
    For that, I DO thank ancestry. As for the present situation, I’m totally disillusioned, and very sad.

  187. Dawn

    The New Search is just awful. It’s practically useless. No matter how I configure the search options, I am always left with far too many (generally irrelevant) results. The Old Search was much easier to use and produced far more useful and relevant search results. Please bring back the old search!

  188. Tod Benedict

    New Search absolutely sucks, so much so that I will be considering canceling my subscription as a result.

  189. Diane

    I have been trying to adjust to the new search. I find it frustrating that I have made all the adjustments to make it “like” the old search, click exact matches, and by default, it seems, it gives me tons of results. I then have to adjust the slider bars to be more exact. If I have started off with exact matches only, why do my results have to be adjusted once again. I find with the new search that more steps have to be applied to get results. Also, when I’m working on my tree and I hit “research records” on that person, the results are not even close to the person in my tree. Once again, I have to make adjustments to whittle them down. I do like, though, that you list all the records I have attached already to that person. That is a huge help. But, not the results. I do not feel like I am finding more information in my research. In fact, I don’t really feel like I’ve found anything new yet, only verifying those records that show as hints.

  190. CG

    Just cancelled my membership a week ago after 10+ years. I sincerely hope everyone who “threatens” to cancel their subscriptions really do. Everyone says they will, but haven’t seen anyone actually say they did it yet. I have found many other sites for free with the same info Ancestry has. Yes, I now have to open several new windows & click on different web sites to get my results … but it’s free. If I have to be aggravated with several clicks, I don’t want to pay for it. And I just talked someone at the library into not getting a membership, told them why and showed them all these responses. Really wish Ancestry would listen to all the responses, but obviously THEY DON’T CARE. Shame on you Ancestry for putting money over your loyal customers.

  191. FHC Librarian

    24 March 2014 8:59 pm

    #200 Debi and any others who are struggling:

    I know the blog shows the date for commenting ends today, 24 March 2014 but frequently Ancestry will keep open an active blog past the end date. I agree the present search is not friendly and is frustrating. If we could give them constructive criticism, it would help more. However, most of us have no programming knowledge so it is very hard to express what we don’t like about the present search. All we know is it isn’t like the old search and we are not getting the results we used to get.

    I wish I knew how the how the old search worked…really worked, because it was so easy and efficient and gave good results. It did the work for you. Now I find there are too many variables that it is hard to decide how to make a search. So continue to point out what doesn’t work for you and maybe they will come up with answers or changes. Make use of the extended hours and the toll free help. If you don’t like an answer, call again. You will get another person and they may be able to help. 1-800-262-3787.

    For years it was such a good site, I know. I showed so many people how to use it and everyone who I worked with went home with a good start for their family tree. It was a good feeling. I personally would like to know more. I hate to give up on anything. My subscription is up in June. I may just give it up too. I have 3 months to decide. They never have brought back any part of the site they discontued. Sorry ’bout that! Wish I could offer more hope.

  192. Debi

    #206 FHC Librarian
    I am not struggling with the new search, I wasted abt 20+ hours playing around with it, changing info in all the fields, running multiple tests, changing which collections to search..which I might say always defaulted to whichever site I was logged into…regardless of what I had selected. The point is, it is a time-wasting search engine now. Completely useless with no value for money.

    With my 30+ yrs experience in doing genealogy research, participating w/local seminars, tutorials, teaching people the keystokes over the years, belonging to dozens of on-line genealogy study groups and writing local history.. been there – done that.. but what Ancestry has done is unforgivable.

    There is absolutely no way that “someone” at Ancestry who had this brain storm to dismantle and reconfigure the search engine would not be privy or experienced enough to foreshadow and know exactly how the new search engine would function or not function. Unually these types of changes are financial motivated.. they say old search was costing too much to maintain in addition to the newer uselss search, humm I’m not buying that. For years it worked just fine. Somehow I doubt that Ancestry has a cash flow problem but they certainly have a PR problem now. So, I guess Ancestry will have to make a choice..either run 2 platforms (old & new search)or accept our “farewells” over the next few months.

    I am absolutely crushed about what they have done.

  193. Rita

    #205 CG
    I too canceled my membership last week. I started it in 2004, ten years ago. I have put up with all the horrible upgrades, and time consuming changes over that time period, but I finally called it quits. I too wish everyone who threatens to cancel will do so. Until that happens the powers that be will never do anything the customer base wants. Despite all of this, if they did bring back good old reliable “Old Search” I would subscribe again, because it was an easy and great place to work from, even if they did make it very difficult to find at times.

  194. Caroline Hickerson

    Honestly, as much time as I spend doing searches on Ancestry, if this thing were rational, I would have figured out how to get around it by now. Old search, new search–who cares? The problem is Ancestry’s programming: a person doing a rational search does not get a rational list of choices.

    So what, from a genealogist’s point of view, would be considered a reasonable choice? It’s important to note that census takers and court clerks could read and write, but many other people could not. People did not know how their names were spelled; the census taker wrote down the name the way he believed it was spelled.

    Hence, the first choices that come up on a search should be reasonable spellings of the name I’m searching for. But that’s not happening. I often get NON-PHONETIC versions of the name as FIRST choices–unbelievable.

    Also, a reasonable phonetic version of the name I’m searching for will often come up in the middle of a long list of non-phonetic versions of the name, on, say, p. 5. So, in other words, I have no choice but to look at all the stupid choices because I have no idea where a good choice will pop up. I cannot possibly tell you how much time I waste doing this . . .

    I am not the problem here. Logical people like me will always figure out ways to do a search that gets the results we want. For example, I know exactly what google likes and what it doesn’t. But from the looks of it, google programmers are rational and Ancestry programmers are not. And I don’t know what I’m supposed to do about that.

    I wish Ancestry had some competition. Then maybe they would get their act together.

  195. Carrie

    I’m sorry I didn’t work harder and longer when we had the old search. I always thought I’d be able to fill some of those holes. I’m having a terrible time getting anything close to what I want. Results are all over the world! Haven’t filled any holes!

    You snooze, you lose! Lord, bring back the old search!

  196. " for Dummies"

    I have never used a program more unsuited to what it was designed for in my life as the current search on Ancestry is. I don’t mind changes IF they work. The last couple of weeks I have been alternately tearing my hair out, swearing like a longshoreman (I’m alone), and crying real tears of frustration.

    In my life I have been a mechanical drafter, going from the board to the computer with ease and pleasure. I’ve also been a circuit board designer for 25 years, going from tape and Mylar to computers just as happily.

    Now I find that one lousy company has finally beaten me down. My subscription runs out in June after 13 years. I may let it run out forever.

    What we need is a new book, “ for Dummies!” We already know how to do genealogy so that is not the problem. It’s the illogical and non-intuitive way the site works that makes no sense. So Ancestry, get busy and print a book. As it is, I’m sure not getting my money’s worth, and I’d welcome and pay for a book with some good instructions and hints about using the search. I KNOW how to do genealogy. I just can’t get the records to come up the way I want. My head is spinning when I finally give up for the night.

    I need a drink…a BIG drink!

  197. " for Dummies"

    One more thing. Get busy and fix the indexes. Searching is no good if the indexes are bad. That has been a problem for years but with old search it was easy to figure what was worth looking at and what was not. Forget the fancy graphics. They don’t help in searches at all!

  198. Linda H.

    Very frustrating! I, too, feel like I am going in circles editing my search, back and forth, checking and unchecking options. What am I doing wrong?? Sometimes less is more.

  199. Katharine Nester

    Regarding comments 180 & 181 –

    I am guessing that based on the experience of the people who have been commenting on this post that I have misinterpreted what folks were doing in some of the complaints about things not being exact.

    From what was written in some of the comments, I had understood that folks were putting the place where an ancestor had been born and lived their entire life only in the location field for the birth event, which delivered results from other states or counties, which is not exact to the place their ancestor had lived his/her entire life.

    If that was what folks were doing, then let me clarify a bit more what I was suggesting. As pointed out, the censuses do have birth locations, but those are typically only recorded at the state or country level. If you know your ancestor always lived in the same city or county and want to narrow the results to just those city or counties, then adding the location information in a “lived in” event will facilitate that narrowing, as we will be able to match with the more detailed location data (city/county) recorded in the residence event in the census.

    Additionally, if you only put the location the ancestor lived in all their life in the birth location field, we will return results for censuses with the residence for that census year in other states if the birth location matched – a case where the person in the result from the other state was born in the place of your ancestor, but later moved to a different location. By putting the location your ancestor lived in all their life in the “lived in” field as well, you should get more results for the one place your ancestor lived.

    I hope that help clarifies the previous comments.

  200. Katharine Nester

    @Comment 173

    Could you provide some URLs for the search results that are returning the matches you describe?

    “Indiana” matching to “California”?
    “William” matching to “Roberta”?
    “1920″ matching to “1870″?

    This will help us track down bugs that might be causing this.

  201. Katharine Nester

    @Annie – comment 191

    With the sliders you can change and control the level of fuzzy matching – you can select to have the broadest matching which will use all name variation algorithms we have, including soundex which was the fuzzy option in old search. You can also try narrower choices of fuzziness and still use wild cards with exact if you want finer control on the specific parts of the name you want to be fuzzy.

  202. Linda S.

    I echo the comments about the problems with New Search. I seriously doubt that “only 2% of users” used Old Search. I’ve been using Old Search very successfully for over 10 years (or as long as it’s been around!) and I’m an advanced user in genealogy.

    The New Search is awkward, cumbersome, and is not “exact”, despite checking the “exact” box everywhere. It returns far too nonsensical and “inexact” results.

    When I have been able to narrow it down to actually find specific information on who I’m looking for, I don’t trust the results–because I would have gotten more and better results in Old Search.

    I really hope Ancestry gets with the program and cleans up this dysfunctionality. I think you won’t be able to hold on to those subscribers very long who are already challenged with searching–that would be the people new to genealogy who are older.

    Despite the numerous surveys from Ancestry that I’ve filled out over the years, very few of my experienced comments were incorporated in New Search.

  203. Katharine Nester

    @ M. D. B. Blocker, comment 195

    You can still just search censuses. You can use the category drill down on the left hand side of the results below the sliders to narrow down your results to just censuses.

    Or you can use the short cut links on the search home page ( in the right hand side under “Special Collections” to start a search just into the censuses.

    Or you can search for specific censuses using the card catalog link the top level menu under search.

  204. M. D. B. Blocker

    This new search is just impossible and exhausting to control/maneuver through. For instance I have an individual whose first name was Warren Barton but sometimes went by Jack. Through some stroke of luck I was able to find him as Jack (and with a family) in the 1940 Census. No amount of struggle and/or guessing produced the 1920 or 1930 census, in spite if the fact that he lived and died in the same location and had the same wife and children. If I had not already compiled a family history I would not even know where to start! Find-a-grave frequently is a great source of information, as is the hints on the left side suggestions (sometimes they are on the right side). I am finding that some information that I had found through “Old Search” and added to my document does not seem to be found in the “new search”! What a weak explanation from that the reason that the old search was eliminated was that it was fragile! If it was fragile it could only be because let it become that way! I have a great idea, eliminate your entire new search program, restore the Old Search then and put all you resources to support the ‘Old Search”. I do not think my blood pressure can deal with the exhausting struggle with the new search much longer. My sympathies to those who are just starting their genealogy family research and only have the new search to use.

  205. Annie

    #216 Katherine Nester:

    I still would like the sliders to be gone and not considered by the search system. I think the system has too many choices for setting up a search and some cancel others. There doesn’t seem to be a logical order of which the system looks for first. Never had that problem with the old search. Even when I didn’t know a fact about a person, I could leave it empty and good things would come up. I was even able to search for people using only a first or last name, and guessing the birth year and place.

    I can’t cite examples of my old searches because I can’t remember how I found each and every person. I seldom used wild cards because old search did such a good job without them.

    So explain the order of information the search uses. Then we would know what the system would look for first, second, third and so on. As it is right now I have no idea of what it considers most important. The sliders don’t help. No matter what I do, I get results from other countries, dates 100 years off, and names that are not even close.

  206. FHC Librarian

    To Katherine, # 214:

    Your quote: “As pointed out, the censuses do have birth locations, but those are typically only recorded at the state or country level.”

    Katherine, the FEDERAL CENSUS had the birth country or state on them since 1850! It may have not been correct but it is there. State censuses were done in the years that ended with a 5, such as 1855, 1865 and etc. There are not many state censuses since it was costly to do and most states relied on federal censuses.

    I don’t think counties did any censuses.

    (See Lainhart’s book on state censuses.)

    Most genealogists know the about the federal censuses since it is one of the most used sources.

  207. M. D. B. Blocker

    I have just read all 220 posts. It has occurred to me that I never was involved in a discussion involving until the “Old Search” was removed from my search options. I feel like I have been cheated/ripped of/scammed/etc. The “Old Search” was working very well for me and I was never frustrated nor did my blood pressure rise, in fact the process was therapy for me. I would be on the computer for hours each day in order to complete the challenge of bring up-to-date the various family histories that I had compiled. There was never a need to consult anyone (including Katherine Nester) for advice on how to manipulate my way through the site! Unbelievable that is “still fixing” the new search. I do not pay a annual membership fee so that I can struggle with the new search, or assist with fixing it! Thank goodness I never posted any online family trees that I would have to delete/move. I am looking for a new site to join!

  208. krista reynen

    @Katherine Nester

    If makes my blood boil that you are suggesting we send you our problems so you can fix your bugs. Well, at least you are admitting you have bugs.

    What is really interesting here is how many seasoned researchers and long term users are commenting on your “new search” or what I call “junk search.” I am a long term user and full time researcher as well and I don’t want to see 97,323 hits to a query. sliders or no sliders. Who dreamed this up?

    Ancestry failed as badly as the start of the website. The government fixed their problem but it does not look like Ancestry is doing the same. Your CEO has not even bothered to publicly respond to the uproar which I find unacceptable.

    Business mistakes have a way of reorganizing the marketplace. There is a competition out there for you already and while it may not strike your bottom line right this moment, it will in the medium term.

    Nobody can sell a junk product and hope to survive. Not the government and not you.

  209. Pam Wilkins

    I detest the new search. I am now going to to do searches for census records. They come up quickly without a lot of hits. The only problem is I have to relocate most of them on Ancestry. The good thing is that at least I know they are there – somewhere. I just came up with a 1905 NY state census on FamilySearch, clicked the link & there it is in Ancestry. I went into New Search to locate this record that NEVER came up after searching an hour. I had typed the name several times exactly as it appears in the record & on FamilySearch results page, alone & with individual variables, & it never came up in Ancestry. Even after I located the scan in Ancestry via FamilySearch link, no matter how much or how little info I put in the New Search, I cannot get the 1905 NY state census to come up. And once I am “in” the 1905 census, running a search still brings nothing up on the name. This kind of thing NEVER happened with the old search. I’m sure some of the new researchers must assume that what they are looking for isn’t available & give up. It may be there, you will just never find it with this horrendous New Search debacle. This is just one of many different aggravating issues that I’ve had with New Search. Call & tell them what you think. I have.

  210. Sharon

    The most disappointing thing is how many clicks to get to the same results as the old search. I now find myself using family search to find the results and then come back to ancestry as there is just too much to wade through. I have used the old search for over 11 years and it was the one thing that kept me coming back over and over again to ancestry as it was so powerful, sadly no longer. FindmyPast is supposedly improving their search engine so they might be getting my money next time around. When we has both searches at least we had a choice, and the results were so much easier to view and narrow down. Aah, I could go on forever but I feel it’s one of those brick walls that will never come down. Shame on you ancestry.

  211. Roger


    ” FindmyPast is supposedly improving their search engine so they might be getting my money next time around.”

    Please don’t hold your breath. It has deteriorated as much, if not more than the difficulties we are experiencing with Ancestry. Another example of hype that has not delivered. I am coming to the conclusion that there is a conspiracy within these Companies to try and reduce their customer base. Trouble is, the good researchers will go; not sure where but they surely will.

    I would like to thank the blog owner for continuing to keep this open beyond the 24th. Clearly, they see a need . . . .

  212. Larry Pumphrey

    I would like to suggest that you request the CEO of to read all 200+ postings on this blog. Then he should make a comment on this blog to let us know he is aware of the user disatisfaction. He should also provide his thoughts on the subject.

  213. In time, with a lot of work, we’ll all get used to the horrible new search. We know it doesn’t work well. Ancestry knows it doesn’t work well. They don’t care. My personal opinion is that the new search is tailored towards folks who aren’t overly interested in good research, and want a lot of “possible” results spoon fed to them so they don’t get discouraged. They are the same sort of folks who click on the funky little green leafs and incorporate what they find there with little or no question. The whole rationale with the unstable and unscalable old system is a smoke screen. They could have easily made the new search work the same as the old. They didn’t want to.

  214. …and come on, people. Where are you going to go? Seriously. These people will still get my money, because as horrible as the search is (and it stinks to high heaven), they have the databases.

  215. Judy Stevens

    Add me to the group of people who go crazy trying to find the simplest thing with the new search.

    I’ve gladly paid the subscription price for over a decade and urged others to do so too, but I’m done now.

    Sure, you’ve got all the databases, but what good it is if we can’t find anything?

    So include me as one who will be cancelling.

  216. Carrie

    #228-#230 Allen Dean Peterson:

    I don’t think we are aiming our complaints and comments to Katherine personally. It was and is her JOB to do this blog and because of its nature, she gets the flack. We are venting on this blog because we are frustrated with the direction the company is going. I don’t do social media so I can’t complain anywhere else. Katherine has the option to remove any comments which are abusive or use foul language.

    As a long time paying subscriber, I have seen so many changes and most of them are not to people’s liking. I don’t think they are trying to get rid of customers, but make everyone conform to what they think will give Ancestry the most financial profit.

    Yes, the “name gatherers” will be with us always. These folks will collect and save anything. I know some of my immediate family are in trees that have nothing to do with my family. Remember the film, “Six Degrees of Separation?” If I make a mistake and then correct it, the “name gatherers” don’t correct it.

    I always check the shaky leaves because it is my method to leave no stone unturned anywhere. While some of the hints are not related and some are from my own work, some are records I just haven’t gotten to. So many records, so little time! I do not save from other peoples tree, but I will look and check out what they have posted because sometimes they have something I don’t have and it proves to be true. I do the research.

    Whenever anyone adds a record to their trees, Ancestry sends out hints to all people that the new record may apply. That is of course the way the “Recent Member Connect Activity” comes to all. Real researchers will use many sources, not just Ancestry. Unfortunately, Ancestry seems to have the most scanned records. They do have a monopoly. has their own agenda and it isn’t primarily financial.

    Finally, I agree with the comments on this blog and I’m having a terrible time trying to make sense of this site. I have a few months on my subscription and may let it drop if I don’t do better.

  217. Jim S.

    I provided feedback to Ancestry but I doubt I will get a direct response. I work in a field where we often get new software and at first the new “look and feel” is a bit overwhelming but after going through a learning curve it almost always turns out for the best. This is not the case with the new search. This is a terrible decision on Ancestry’s part. I can understand getting rid of the ‘old search’ due to technical issues, but that doesn’t mean the new search has to be a step back. Please Ancestry, fix this!

  218. Carrie

    #233 Jim:

    Pardon me if I’m telling what folks already know here. The search we call “new search” has really been on the site for many years. Maybe 4 or 5, in addition to what we called “old search.” Ancestry got so many posts complaining when the new search first was presented. Fortunately for many of us, they kept the old search active and usable for all that time. It was the original search (with some modifications).

    During that time they also kept tweaking the new search even more so. So for several years we had an old and a new search. Many folks didn’t know about the old search. To get to it you had to find the words with the extremely tiny font that stated, “Go to old search.” Clicking these words would get you into the old search.

    So the search we have now is not quite new, but they did make some terrible changes when they made it the only search. The sliders being one of them. I used to go to new search every once in awhile to see if over time they had finally made it better. I never found it to be better. So the new search isn’t totally new. It’s just totally time consuming, inconvenient, inefficient, clumsy, and generally a real drag! It is worst than stepping backward in time with all the clicks and scrolling and screen changes.

  219. Meredith

    I agree with the above posts. I’m a tech geek and I’m always open to technological improvements and more accurate algorithms. Unfortunately, the new search does not offer this. When it comes to user experience, sometimes you get it right the first time. I feel like this new search is the equivalent of Windows 7 — more graphically focused, less intuitive and less accurate.

    Here’s what was great about the old search:
    It was primarily text and check box based, allowing us to fine tune the searches within a database or collection with ease. We can now fine tune to some extent, but the sliders are clunky and less specific to what we’re looking for, defaulting to broad always (which means more work for us as we slide things back and forth, rather than simply click a checkbox).

    It was easier to browse for and select a specific database, and to quickly alter the search WITHIN that database if results weren’t perfect. Now, we default to ALL databases and have to go through more browsing within collections to find the specific database we are looking for — 1910 census anyone?

    It was easier to see the results in a nice, long list with data listed as tables, not chunks of information. Anyone who has done research, or who has transcribed records, knows that excel-like tables are the fastest way to scan and find information. Got a potential hit? Simply mouse over the record to see further details so you can determine if the record is the right one or not. In the new search, data is listed in chunks, which are large, limiting the number of records on the page and making the scan for the right one more cumbersome and requiring many more pages of searching.

    It takes MUCH more time to find accurate records under the new search. The graphic-heavy/font-heavy/space-heavy format of the new search is the equivalent of switching to a Yahoo! search when Google offers a simple, clean and elegant search solution.

  220. Irish Lass

    Sadly today is my last day on Ancestry. After seven wonderful years of garnering phenomenal records, making global family connections and putting together fantastic Family Trees, I have decided to not renew my $300.00 subscription to Ancestry which expires today.
    The reason being, their decision to force everyone to use the disastrous New Search, and taking away the Old Search option for the seasoned genealogists. I don’t even have to go into more detail as it all has already been said.
    Ancestry has without a doubt the best records available for researchers, but unfortunately the worst program of all to try and find them.
    They used to be the number one company for online genealogy searching, but I have a feeling their decision to change their Search Program may move them down on the list. It is a shame that all they had to do was listen to their members.
    Should they ever decide to go back to making Old Search an option again, I will renew in a second!
    Until then…..I wish you all Good Luck with your journey on New Search!!

  221. Jim S.

    #234 Carrie:

    Yes, I was aware that the “new search” is actually not all that new. But I made the old search my default when opening Ancestry. From time to time though it would revert back to “new” and then I would go about again finding the old search. I knew it was there but you’re right, I imagine most new users didn’t know about it. I guess I got so used to it I didn’t think it would ever go away. But I was off Ancestry for several weeks in early-mid March. The other day I just wanted a quick check of a name from 1860 in a certain place and couldn’t believe how bad the “only” search is. I gave up. It’s too bad my annual subscription was just renewed. I’m sure the folks at Ancestry monitor these posts and there’s really nothing else I can add but just to say how disappointed I am.

  222. FHC Librarian

    #235 Meredith:

    You expressed the way things are so clearly. I have been trying to get Ancestry to tell me in what order the search looks for matches. Say for instance, what is first, second and third and etc. in the order of importance. I can’t get an answer from customer support. It’s possible they just don’t know! It’s a secret known only by the programmers! I think marketing only cares for the bottom line…profit.

    When I call, they send my question to their supervisors. Then they say they will send a “get help” document to me by email. I’ve gotten the same batch of canned answers no matter how I ask the question. That wouldn’t be bad if those answers answered my question.

    I can’t seem to find the logic in the search. I do get some hits sometimes but compared to the old search, the percentage is woefully low. Even the previous version of the new search was not that frustrating. I’d like to get rid of the sliders. I’m not sure exactly how they affect the results. I’m sure I could better serve our patrons if I could answer my question. I’m in a position that I really need to know. I can’t just walk away from this problem.

    For years I paid for a personal subscription and could answer any question on Ancestry that patrons had, and I could make good suggestions. It isn’t the same now.

    Most of our patrons come in to look at films. They get their films and then disappear into the dark area where the readers are, and don’t surface for hours. These are the real researchers. New people come in occasionally and so I have time to help them to get started. Lack of results can really dampen the enthusiasm of a newbie.

    If there is anyone out there who has the answer to my question, I would be very grateful.

  223. Sandi

    I’m not sure if this page is still being monitored by any Ancestry people.
    I’m posting on everything I can. No one is answering.
    I’m using Simulate old search. Well, it only looks like old search doesn’t work the same or as good.

    Anyway I put in a first name last name and a state. When it goes to the result page the first or last name disappears. If I just but in the last name
    and a state, the last name disappears and I get billions of results for that state with everyones names. This only started happening right before the last maintenance was done. This is so time consuming to have to redo this information for every search.

    If I do an advance search from the home page, I make sure that all exact is mark and country, what type of things I’m looking for and the systems changes this and does what it wants. I look to see why there is no results in an area and that areas box has been mysteriously unchecked.

    Yesterday I did a directory search for Brackens in Texas. My person didn’t come up. I was just wanting to check my dates again. I know she was listed and that she use an alias for some of those years. I had to do a first name search to make her records come up and not all of the years came up. And I know there is no misspelling of her name. I just gave up.

    If anyone at ancestry can fix the disappearance of the names,please let me know.

  224. Diane Ethridge

    When I spend good money for a product, I want that product to deliver & be what I purchased. This so-called “new search” is a waste of time and money for me. It should be an option, not a requirement & nothing should be forced on a customer without their consent. If Ancestry wants to do their changes, then make the “old” available & a choice for those who want it. They don’t mind taking our money but withholding what we paid for! Try purchasing a new Cadillac & receiving a used 1999 model & see how far you get. As far as I’m concerned, that’s what happened to me with this “new & improved” service! I’m retired & genealogy is (was) my passion. Thanks a whole heck of a lot!

  225. Ellen Maki

    I have used the old search for years. Among the various subscription websites that I have used over the years, it was the best search tool available. It was simple to use. Now I’m stumped. It seems that the new search tool doesn’t allow wild card searches. As far as I can tell, there are two choices only: either search for an exact match, or use the default setting which returns so much nonsense that it is useless. I’ve read the “knowledge base article” and found that it was not helpful in clearing up the issue of whether wild card searches are or are not allowed. It’s unfortunate that Ancestry didn’t test this out with their users before implementing it.

  226. George

    I used to be able to get 4 or 5 good results every day. Not so anymore with the current search. It’s been almost a month and I’m still struggling. Most of the time getting results that don’t fit.

    I’m really discouraged since I usually work on Ancestry every day. I feel like I want to do research but then when I start, it is a very frustrating experience. I wish I knew how this system works.

    I know Ancestry will NEVER bring back old search, but can’t they give more help?

    Bottom line: I’m spending more time on the computer and finding less…a whole lot less, pertinent results. I’m trying to work a puzzle that has only one color and a zillion pieces! It’s exhausting!

  227. Carol

    One of the many things that worries me is, if I am not getting the records I used to get, but only a few; well, what am I not getting that might be on the site?

    Now that is serious!

  228. Frustrated user

    I took the time to re-read Katherine’s blog.

    Katherine, you stated in the above article: “•Smart filtering to which let you hide results from collections where you’ve already found an ancestor’s record” I assume you mean to say, “Smart filtering which lets you hide results from collections where you’ve already found an ancestor’s record.”

    I don’t think that is a good thing. There are situations where I have saved a record which seemed to be match, and later I learned some new facts, and had to redo a search in the same collection because of my own mistake. It also affects the hints which the system generates. If you have wrong information in your tree, you get bad hints. I would rather see the same result again than see new results that don’t match names, dates, or places. I don’t think you people have thought this one through enough. A real problem with the “same name, same place” trap which I have fallen into on occasion.

    I’m finding the current search to be a hindrance in many ways. Don’t you folks know how many mistakes are already in the trees? This filter, wherever or whatever it is, is a red herring.

    Eliminate the sliders. They just add to the problems.

    Your quote: “That’s just the beginning. We will be continuing to improve our search over this year and have improvements planned in our location data, relevancy, results filtering and more.” After all these years, and you still don’t have it right, (and you don’t) I shudder to think about what you are cooking up for us!

    I am NOT finding the site as useful as before the early part of March!

  229. William Schroeder

    AFTER over a decade of using your products (Ancestry, Family Tree Maker and MyFamily) I am bidding a not so fond farewell to both Ancestry and FTM. Somehow you have managed to take two extremely useful programs and “improved” them to the point to where they are virtually useless except to a novice.

    My only hope is that someone in the management of your orginization will realize that there are tens of thousands of users out here that are not stupid. If you wnt to see stupid look to the designers of the “new search” who in all likelyhood never even used the product.

    Perhaps a competitor will surface that has a litle common sense but for Ancestry and FTM it’s so long. These two programs are now officially two of the most terribly ineffiecent upgrades in the history of software.

  230. Hautie

    I have unfortunately, been completely annoyed by the killing of “old search”.

    (It is nice to see that us lowly 2% have been vocal about it too.)

    Yes, I am a long term subscriber. Over a decade. And I have always enjoyed coming to Ancestry to search. And have spent the last couple weeks trying in vain to use “new search”. Which I finally realize that it is a piece of junk. A very poorly written and executed upgrade.

    I hope that Ancestry did not pay out any bonuses to the programmers/code writers, who wrote it. Seriously. As much cash Ancestry spent on PR/commercials in the last 2 years. I would have hoped they would have spent more, making sure their search engine, was an effective piece of it the site.

    My main focus in researching and my main use of Ancestry… was to work the Census images. Census work is never done. Ever. Those images are always going to be the center of the universe, for locating individuals for any tree.

    So image my horror when it became apparent that there is no logical way, to use “new search”. There is no way to efficiently search decades of Census images.

    Up thread I saw this … #235 “Here’s what was great about the old search:
    It was primarily text and check box based, allowing us to fine tune the searches within a database or collection with ease. We can now fine tune to some extent, but the sliders are clunky and less specific to what we’re looking for, defaulting to broad always (which means more work for us as we slide things back and forth, rather than simply click a checkbox)….”

    Thank you. That covers it perfectly. Those sliders are a joke. What is wrong with a simple text and check box based search page? Nothing. There is nothing wrong with a basic page. That is obvious about how it works. And worked extremely well.

    Matter of fact, “new search” just does not work at all.

    Which I suspect is why so many paying subscribers are angry, is that we can’t even effectively search the US Census any longer.

    The cornerstone of tracking people through the decades… and Ancestry once having the best search engine to do that search with. That one tool is now gone. If that one tool would work effectively. I suspect all the angry phone calls would greatly be reduced.

    So please leave the whole argument of “only 2%” of our subscribers used old search”. No one believes you. And the same people, do not appreciate being lied to either.

  231. Anita Hansen

    Oh my, these new changes are HORRIBLE! I won’t speak about the search results because I can’t get over the useless change to the user interface! To change a name or other information you need to click on the Edit Search instead of just making changes in the field boxes, because there are no more field boxes on the results page! I frequently change the names or other information when I’m looking for information. Now it doesn’t even show me what I entered, e.g. marriage date. What if it was a simple typo? No, I really really don’t like clicking on “Edit Search” just to change a first name or add a birth year. I’m so glad I let my subscription lapse a couple months ago and not renew! How hard would it have been to simply ADD the slider feature to the other interface? I hope you fix this!

  232. Anita Hansen

    Oops, maybe I’m confusing this with the interface for Anyway, I like being able to adjust the search parameters without going back to another screen. So if you are looking for a way to improve things, maybe look at their interface.

    The number of data items returned by has always been confusing to me. I can’t imagine it being any worse! If I specify a person being born in a state then just show me those entries, not everything across the country.

  233. BEE

    How frustrating to do any kind of “search”. The silly sliders are driving me crazy. Either I have a ton of irrelevant information, or no information. I do 99% of my research on my PC, but I sometimes try to do a little on my Surface tablet. Forget it. There is no way to use the sliders on it.

  234. Roger

    I’m in no way defending Ancestry and their abysmal marketing and really poor Customer PR, but, BEE, the sliders seem easier to use on the Surface, with a stylus or tablet pen. A rubber tipped pencil works too – even a stubby finger. But radio buttons are a bit trickier to home in to. Having said all of that, tablets are not the best device for research and I do prefer a PC.

  235. BEE

    Hello Roger, I do use a stylus – nails made it impossible to do anything without it. I certainly hope “They” do something about these “sliders”, because using ancestry has become a very unpleasant experience.

  236. My husband and I have been members of Ancestry for quite a few years now—and I never had a problem with the “Old Search”. But now I find myself not able to find anything!!! In fact—I can’t even figure out how to get into the different categories so that I can search for anything. As hard as it is for some of us the pay for these subscriptions, it does look like it should be made user friendly—-which this new way is NOT. I hope we don’t have to give up our subscription because of this—but if we can’t use it—we can’t keep paying for it.

  237. Carol

    I have decided not to renew my subscription when it expires in June. In talking with a friend who is a computer professional, he said the only way to get the attention of a company is to stop paying for the product.

    One can complain to the end of time but the money is what makes a company sit up and take notice. No money and they notice. He cited the Microsoft Windows fiasco.

    I would have paid the $189 for a USA subscription (up from $155 last year) if the search had worked as well as the old search did. I’m not giving up family history research. There are other sites that I can use and there are the library versions of Ancestry at the local public library and Family History Centers

    There comes a time when the money is not worth the product, and this after 13 years, is it.

  238. Larry Pumphrey

    Well, it’s been a month now since my first post (#43) on this blog and ancestry still hasn’t fixed the 3 problems I listed. Why can’t you have data persistence when using the browser back function? This is the most annoying waste of keystrokes to have to re-enter data fields just because one wants to add/delete/change a single item. Also, ancestry still doesn’ “gray-out” visited previous selections. Yippee, lots of wonderful improvements to the new junksearch!

    I notice a popup window for a survey that ancestry is showing occasionally. There is only 1 queestion and that deals with the sliders and new search. Please take this survey as I’m hoping the reason for it is that ancestry is finally having some second thoughts about the new search.

  239. Carol

    I got the pop-up for the survey. It had lots of questions so I’m not sure it was the same one that Larry #256 got. I did the survey and added as much as I could think of regarding my frustrations. Since I have not tried everything on the current search, there are probably problems lurking that I just have not experienced. I will have to find them by the end of June and then I’m ‘outta here!

    Ancestry isn’t fun anymore. It’s a real pain in the you-know-what!

  240. Joann Salvo

    2% of 2 million subscribers x $300 per year = $12 million dollars
    A lot of money to lose per year.
    The funny thing (not funny HAHA) in a previous post I said I wasn’t getting email notifications to my personal email address and I was told by ancestry customer service to use another email address that my email address was blocked and it could not be unblocked. Here is the funny thing, they must have fixed it because on the same day I received 2 emails to my personal email address from ancestry and I also received an email from ancestry that it was time to renew my yearly subscription. Isn’t that special?!
    I am going to cancel as well.

  241. Tried to do a census search. With the old search I could pick a state, enter a last name, leave the first name field blank, and get complete results for everyone with that last name in the state. Apparently “new” search finds that concept a bit tricky, as it only returns hits for those who literally were listed with no first name. I’ve already said this was all garbage. Laughable garbage.

  242. Roger

    Allen, I just tried this on the 1911 census specific search and, leaving the first name field empty, I still had returns that included records with first names. I searched on surname, birth county and birth year + or -. Seems to work and I can’t seem to reproduce what you are experiencing.

  243. BEE

    Sliders are useless. Searched PA death certificates. Exact first name, year of death, broad search on surname, which turned out to be spelled incorrectly. No results. When I ignored the sliders and searched on first name only, and first names of parents. There it was.

  244. M. D. B. Blocker

    I am getting used to the new search. However using the new search just proves to me how superior the old search was in terms of ease of use and chances of finding accurate results!

  245. Totally frustrated

    If anyone is still reading the posts to this blog, I hope you won’t think I am crazy. I still can’t figure out how to do the new search and get the results I got with the old search.

    So, since I have trees on Ancestry, I have been relying on the hints. Now don’t get the idea I just copy trees and accept all hints, please. When I get a hint, I look at the actual record and check it against my person in my tree. I have always felt the hint system was pretty good and Ancestry hasn’t messed with it…so far.

    I’m not on Ancestry as much as I used to be and it is like “working with one hand tied behind your back,” so to speak. I do not like depending on hints because many times there are no hints. I don’t think this site is worth the money anymore. It certainly is not as satisfying as it used to be. There must be a better way but I haven’t found it yet.

  246. DeborahWales

    I’ve tried to like the new search but after a few frustrating weeks have decided I will not be renewing my membership. The old system was superb – quick, to the point and easy to narrow down the search criteria to get the result needed. The new search is convoluted, requires too much thought, and too many clicks to get the desired result (which doesn’t always appear despite you KNOWING it IS there). It is also hard to backtrack and remember what you’re looking for. I’m an experienced researcher with over 10 years experience. What you’ve done may suit those new to the game but not the likes of me. Very sad!

  247. Irish Lass

    RE #264
    Deborah, and anyone else who may not renew their membership, even though you opt to not renew and cancel your membership to Ancestry, you will will still have a mandated “Registered Guest Membership” which is free. I tried to cancel the “Guest Membership, but in their words” Note: We do not currently cancel Registered Guest accounts.”
    I am happy I removed my tree and all information before I cancelled as I would not want it still on a site that I more than likely will not use much as the free records can be found on other sites., and I also find using the new search way too frustrating . Also while you may do a search and find a tree connection, if you do not have a previous invite to that tree, you cannot contact that person.

  248. Jennifer Sims

    After over 15 years of I will not renew when my current world subscription expires. The site doesn’t work as well as it did when I had the option of using the old search and no amount of them telling me it does will convince me. I’ve tested it by searching for information I have already secured through the old search and have been bombarded with records that are in no way related from all over the world even though I’ve used the slide bars to ask for only US records. Some records I haven’t even been able to locate after searching through pages and pages of returns. These changes have made a once pleasant and exciting activity frustrating and unsatisfying. now sucks!

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