has over 12 billion records and finding the ones you care about is easier when you have a few tricks at your disposal.

One of the best? Filters.  Name, Location and Date. And to make those filters just a bit easier to use, we’ve added the new Sliders feature. Do you have 5 minutes? Watch this video and I’ll walk you through it.

image01Happy Searching!



Anne Gillespie Mitchell

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


  1. Kagey

    Unfortunately, the settings on the sliders don’t stick once selected and must continually be re-set (among all the other field edits, pulldown menus,and re-entering name spellings or maiden and married names). The time spent on adjusting all the gadgets could be better spent by providing user preference locks for continual efficient searches.

  2. Jan Murphy

    While I do like some of the recent changes to the search interface (Smart Filtering is great — when it works), the sliders are not one of them. The slider implies that the user can set the fuzziness anywhere along the range of the slider (like tuning a radio dial). The degree of fuzziness in the search is not a continuum — it is a small number of discrete settings (like a radio which can only bring in a small number of settings). When you only have a small number of ‘presets’ is is far more efficient to jump from one to the next than to try and finesse them with a slider. I also agree with some of the comments made on the “farewell to Old Search” post that I would rather have the older display which showed what search terms had been entered (that used to be where the sliders are now). There is plenty of empty space, so I don’t know why that information had to be removed in order to put the sliders there.

  3. sylvia

    I followed the instructions unfortunately they didn’t help one bit, still the same thousands of useless results. Too much scrolling, clicking,updating & going back and forwards like a yoyo. Complete waste of time.

  4. Tina

    The Slider….complete waste of time…insults our intelligence, reconsidering all of my subscriptions.

  5. Heather

    I have been a long time user of Ancestry and have always told my friends that it was the best genealogy website. So I am very sad to say that the new search is almost unusable. What took me about 10 minutes to find in Ancestry today, took me about 1 minute in FindMyPast and I got similar fast results in
    Too many results and too much time spent fiddling with filters to find what you want with the new search. I am very disappointed.
    I wish you could put the old search back until all the bugs are worked out with the new one.

  6. Karen

    Once again, Ancestry’s little geeks have screwed up something that was perfectly good. Each “new” search version has been worthless as far as I’m concerned. I prefer to search using Boolean logic tools — since you have apparently wiped out any link to the “old” search, I am exceedingly disgusted.

    This “new” bit is NOT user friendly. It’s a pain in the back side. It’s worthless.

    “Old” Searchers Unite!

  7. BEE

    My comment #164 on “A Fond Farewell to “Old Search”:
    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.

  8. Toni

    Amen to everything said here. It’s time for me to resubscribe. Guess what? Not gonna happen. Just last week I sent a totally new to genealogy person here. I can’t even help her search. The sliders are beyond useless. I won’t be giving any more money. I abandoned familysearch when they abandoned those of us who were doing serious research. I will abandon also. Why spend an hour or more trying to refine a search for a person I know lived in the time and place I specified but ancestry says didn’t? Think I will take my tree and go elsewhere.

  9. Tom

    Your new “search” is totally useless in comparison to the old search.
    Thanks for ruining a good thing.

  10. 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.

  11. Kristen Cart

    I have to say that the elimination of “old search” will lose a big chunk of your loyal users. You have already lost my 70-something cousin. My mother, who is in her 70s, has used Ancestry for years but has now given up in frustration and switched to Heritage. While your whiz-bang computer geeks have thought of “better ways,” you have forgotten your loyal customer base. People over 60 have clung to their Windows XP machines and their “old search” because frankly, it is not in their best interest to be spending time learning new systems when their time is better spent doing what they are good at–using the tools at hand to efficiently find their information and do their research. What you have done is take what has been easy to find and hidden it. Or turned the lights off and moved all of the furniture. It is a horrible thing to do to your loyal customers–I count myself as a fairly savvy researcher and I have all but given up hope of ever finding anything on Ancestry again. It is a real shame. My passion for family research is dampened by making things needlessly, and heedlessly, complicated. Next time, hire a genealogist who understands your customers needs.

  12. BEE

    Please get rid of these sliders! They are a pain in the neck!
    Besides the fact the information that shows up in a search is ridiculous!

  13. Frank Hannigan

    What’s good to be said about the New Search…….. absolutely nothing, nada! Very laborious and time consuming! I had a census sheet in my hand, and entered tidbits into the search engine and it never found that census! Since it’s institution, I’ve been using to speed up my research and then once I locate the appropriate info, go back to Ancestry and add the info gleened from the LDS site into my tree. Then, Ancestry pops up with the Historical Record and I can review it and allow the record to become part of my tree. Something sounds wrong here……..why couldn’t I get that from the search on I know, because I have other things to get done as well as spending my time searching on!

    Here’s a better one…..using, I wanted to see the record, but had to go to I found what I was looking for but since I wasn’t a paying customer, I could only review the info. I decided to take the ‘newly’ acquired info back to the search engine on I don’t know why I even bothered, but something in the back of my head said that and are family. Using the search engine came up with nothing. But to give the devil his due, there was a transcriber’s error in the last name, but I didn’t find that out until I had perused the particular Precinct and Ward (195 pages) and spotted the confugalty. I then corrected the info so someone else can more readily find it in the future. But had the correct last name………? As did!

    Years ago I had an account on which was acquired by if I’m not mistaken. I kept this account for two reasons: one because the census sheets were in TIF format and very clear and two, when I couldn’t locate them on, came through!

    I’m an early riser and use the quiet time to do my research. Since my World Explorer (unlimited access to everything on subscription is up May 27 and I’m not going to renew, I decided to get as much done as possibly before that comes into effect. But I already can’t access things on and have to wait until I can contact customer service! More lost time!

  14. BEE

    Might as well add my comment here as well as {not so} fond farewell: 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.

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