If you happened to be at RootsTech in Salt Lake City last week, you may have heard the buzz as we unveiled the beta version of a new and improved Ancestry website. If you weren’t at the conference, it’s not too late to learn about what’s coming and be a part of the Ancestry beta program.
A New and Improved Ancestry Website
Ancestry is continually working hard to improve our site and make it easier to discover, share, and preserve your family history. While we constantly make incremental improvements, it has been a few years since Ancestry has made a major update to the site. We are sensitive to the impact changes have on our members. However, substantial research into the needs of our members and the experience they are having on the website have helped us to see new and innovative ways to reinvent the way we help you do family history. The improved website makes it easier for anyone to discover and tell the rich, unique story of their family, while also helping them to become better researchers.
A Fresh New Look
We wanted to make sure the new Ancestry website is a site our members love to use even more than the current experience. The new experience incorporates a new look and feel and simplified navigational elements to streamline key tasks – making your family story the focus. All of the changes are anchored in three underlying principles that are the driving force for our design team:
- Make it beautiful
- Make it usable
- Make it delightful
The Rich, Unique Story of Your Family
One of the greatest unmet needs of our members is the desire for story. We love to hear stories and share them. Unfortunately, we’re not all great storytellers, and we don’t always understand the story that our discoveries are trying to tell us. The new Ancestry website includes several new ways to help you discover the rich, unique stories of your family and help you share them too.
We’ve introduced a new LifeStory view for each ancestor in your family tree. The LifeStory uses cutting-edge technology to analyze all of the records and information you have discovered about an ancestor and then generates a narrative following a timeline of their life. It uses maps, historical records, and photos to enrich the story. You can then customize the LifeStory to make it even richer and more personalized.
The LifeStory also includes another exciting new feature, Historical Insights, to help you learn about important moments in history that your ancestors may have experienced. They are filled with historical images and descriptions of key historical events, acting like a time machine or a history teacher so you get a deeper understanding of your ancestors’ lives.
The new Ancestry website also includes a completely new Media Gallery. The Media Gallery makes it easier for you to manage all your media – records, videos, photos, stories – in one place to enhance the story of your family.
Become a Better Researcher
The new Ancestry website makes it even easier to manage the information you discover about your ancestors. We’re introducing an updated Facts view for each ancestor that makes it easier to manage the facts, sources, media, and relationships associated with your ancestors. The Facts view also brings core genealogical concepts to the forefront, such as the relationship between sources and events in an ancestor’s life. We’ve also made it easier to use media and historical records to support the details of your ancestor’s life.
Many of our beta participants have discovered that it isn’t just the Facts view that helps them be more effective researchers. The LifeStory view helps them more easily see potential errors in their data, ask new questions about the life of an ancestor, and generate new theories about their ancestors’ lives.
Be a Part of the Beta
We’d like to invite you to become a part of the Ancestry beta. To join the beta, simply add your name to the waitlist at this link:
We will be inviting people on the waitlist to join the beta in batches over the next few months. When you are next, we will email you instructions for how to access the beta. You will be able to send feedback to the Ancestry team from directly within the beta site. We want to hear your feedback on what’s working well, what problems you discover, and your suggestions for improvement. When you send us feedback, you are helping Ancestry to reinvent the way we do family history.
We look forward to seeing you in the beta!