Posted by Ancestry Team on July 23, 2015 in Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, Website

Welcome to our weekly update on the new Ancestry website. Last week we posted an article that called out upcoming enhancements that we had planned. Here is this week’s update on our progress. We have also included links to articles and videos at the end of this post that will help answer your questions and provide more tips on the new site.

Feature update:

We have updated a number of features, and we continue to add and refine features based on your feedback.

Features updated since the launch of the new Ancestry site:

  • Person Media Gallery – Show & Sort. SHOW allows you to show only the media types you want to see – Photos, Stories, etc. SORT allows you to view the data in the order you choose – New to Old, Alphabetical, etc.
SHOW allows you to show only the media types you want to see – Photos, Stories, etc.
SORT allows you to view the data in the order you choose – New to Old, Alphabetical, etc.
SORT allows you to view the data in the order you choose – New to Old, Alphabetical, etc.
  • Family Card in Hints – Allows you to see the family of the person you are evaluating Ancestry Hints for – this mirrors the Family Card in the Facts View.


  • Research tools – A shortcut that provides you nifty tools such as View in tree, View Notes, View Comments, and Merge with Duplicate. You can access these tools with just one click from the Tools button.




Features that we are still working on:

  • FamilySearch integration – LDS Account holders will be able to share information between their Ancestry tree on the new Ancestry site and their Family Tree on FamilySearch.
  • Print option on profile pages – A new printer-friendly version of the Facts view or LifeStory view of the individuals in your tree.
  • Profile picture cropping – Edit/crop a profile photo to fit in the circular photo space
  • Member Connect – Find other members researching a similar ancestor and save info from their family trees
  • Family Group Sheet – A family view of the of the person and their family

Top Reported Issues

Below is a status on the top issues surfacing from your feedback.

  • Inaccurate narrations in LifeStory and Facts view – We are looking at the language in the narrations and how to better generate narratives.
  • Photos added to events to appear as thumbnails in Facts view – Thank you for your feedback on this. We are evaluating whether to include this functionality in the new Ancestry site.
  • LifeStory map pins appearing in wrong locations – This has been an issue due to how the locations are evaluated. We implemented a fix last week that will prevent mapping pins for any location that doesn’t have a standardized place. We are also looking at improving the standardized place engine to ensure correct pin placement.
  • Relationship Calculator – We have had reports that this has been inconsistent in displaying on the profile page.  We are working on a fix and should have this available soon.

We appreciate your feedback and encourage you to keep submitting it. What do you love about the new website? Did you find a bug? Something doesn’t quite work like you think it should? Please submit it via this form. Thank you. We will be providing more updates over the next couple of weeks.


More Resources on Ancestry

Help Links






  1. Pat

    A couple things. Re: LifeStory-the wording, such as “John and Mary had one child…..” Just because there is only one child showing in the facts, does not mean there were no more children. When I’m researching a family, I usually only include my direct ancestor at first. Later, once I’ve determined there may be more children, I’ll add them in as I research. This is very misleading, sometimes you never know if you have all the children in a family. Second, in Classic, I believe comments showed up at the bottom of the Profile Page, so if you were on the page, you would see a comment. Now you have to click on tools? Why? You could have comments sitting on a persons page for weeks. Are we alerted to a comment? This is my main complaint about the new Ancestry. So many features are hidden, where before everything was right there for you to see at a glance.

  2. Jen

    I just wanted to mention that the Relationship Calculator is now also not working (where it previously was working) in FTM most current version/release. Thanks

  3. Thank you

    Thank you for doing these updates and for providing a weekly update. Looking forward to the progress you will make and the other improvements that will be forthcoming.

  4. Eleanor

    Square peg in a round hole. Nice picture. And you expect me to “adjust” 997 pictures in my tree, when my time is better utilized researching? “For I have sworn thee fair and thought thee bright, who art as black as hell, as dark as night”. Wm. Shakespeare

  5. Pat

    So, here’s another thing. I just went in to check out the new “sort” option that we’ve all wanted for so long. And as usual, I was disappointed. You still can’t sort them “in the order you choose” as is stated above. You can REVERSE the order, or A-Z or opposite, and Media Type. It STILL depends on when you loaded them. I think many us want to sort them, literally, the way we choose. Birth to death comes to mind. Far as I’m concerned, this sort option is useless. Please tell me I’m missing something?

  6. Guest

    Pat: You did not miss anything in regards to the sorting option, unless you upload images in a reverse chronological order under each person’s profile, they will not appear in order. You can however, re-title them, but that just throws out the order.

    Note: if an image is uploaed to more than one person or attached to sevral ancestors, it appears in the order of uploads.

    It was a uselss feature. Wasted how much time and money on this?

  7. Karen

    Can someone please explain to us WHY you are so committed to the oval. This isn’t simply customers disliking something because its different its not liking something because its not displaying correctly and hasn’t since day 1. Is all this angst over an easily changed design element necessary?
    The tools you’ve added for the media gallery are great for the entire media gallery, where strangely enough they haven’t been implemented. In an individual gallery all we wanted was to be able to put them in any order we want to for display and not be stuck with the upload order. Most individuals don’t have enough media to need all those fancy tools.
    Please move the search button back to front and center…it is the most important tool on the site….it should be easily accessed and seen. When will the continue searching button that is in old ancestry (useless waste of time fo rename it again) be added?

  8. Cheryl

    Comment just on the “gallery” updates. I refer to the gallery most of the time as the attic or the closet because you have to open the “door” to see what media you have attached (if any) to a person. In Classic is was possible to see at a glance on the profile page what media you had via the thumbnails. SO PUT THE THUMBNAILS BACK ON THE PROFILE/FACTS PAGE AND ALLOW US TO ADD MEDIA TO THE TIMELINE THERE!!!! Do you hear that? Don’t just consider it, DO IT!!!! This is especially important to the majority of serious researchers who won’t have anything to do with the #$%& Life Story where you have presumed to place our media on that timeline! Ignorant! Now as to the attic’s “show”. This is a good idea because I especially don’t want to see anything in the attic but what I have uploaded. I can see census/other records right on the facts page where you have stuck them right in the middle between the timeline and the family column (but I digress). BUT THE SHOW FUNCTION DOESN’T “STICK”! At least not for me. When I leave the attic and then return there, all that other stuff is back! MAKE THE SHOW FUNCTION STICK SO THAT IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE RE-DONE EVERYTIME YOU VISIT THE ATTIC! Now as to the “sort” function…THAT’S A JOKE! Most want to sort media from birth to death. At least I do. This simply cannot be done with what you have provided. I know there is surely a way this can be done…SO WORK ON IT!!! Anything less is NOT acceptable.

  9. BEE

    what happens if I have absolutely no interest in any of the things you are “still working on”?
    My trees have been “private” from day one. I reply to every single request for information and go above and beyond to help someone. I’ve contacted people who show up in “hints” with misinformation. They might be a “family”, but they don’t always know the proper spelling of “Grandma’s” maiden name, and didn’t do a very good job of “research”, which I do, as I search out as many documents as possible – not always an easy job with the ethnic names I’m working with. My trees contain no photos, and no “stories”, although I copy obituaries as “comments”.
    The majority of my trees don’t even contain the actual documents, just the link to them. All you are proposing is useless to me, and as I’ve said previously, it’s all a bunch of “gobbledygook” as far as I’m concerned.

  10. John

    I agree with Pat’s comments on the Media Gallery and share his confusion and disappointment. We should be able to sort our photos by the dates the photos were taken.

  11. DaveT

    The majority of people in my tree were born and died before photos were invented. I have little use for media records and would rather you concentrated on getting your search engine to work properly. If I know all the details from your website and do an exact search it invariably finds no records so I have to work through your endless lists AGAIN.

  12. HeulwenJones

    Please can we have an edit in each box on the facts page.When I have corrected info that you have automatically added which very incorrect it does not carry thro to the sibling and parent info on the fact page So please edit in every box

  13. Bev

    First off, I work for a while each day in new Ancestry. When I open my tree it automatically brings up Life Story view for the first profile I choose. Why??? It is the feature that is most useless for me, especially since I’m having to proofread and edit out the errors Ancestry has included in its “reinvention of my family tree.” Mercifully, clicking on HIDE historical insights carries over each time I open my tree.
    The Facts page is a total eyesore because of the Source documents that occupy the middle of the page. Still no ability to print a concise Facts profile that includes the left side Facts timeline and the Family view on the right.
    It is really frustrating that my stories are hidden in the Gallery. At any given time the Gallery might open or it might just sit and spin.
    Needless to say I’m very tired of square and rectangular images being stuffed into round holes.
    Scroll, scroll, scroll, click, click, click…I could go on and on…

  14. eplumley1976

    Is there a “trick” to the media gallery sort? Each time a leave an individual’s gallery – and come back, the sort I selected is undone, and we’re back where we started. Are these “Filter/Sort” features intended to be a “one time” while on the screen-only use?

  15. Mike

    “That it should come to this!” (Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 2) It’s good to know you have no more respect for Shakespeare than you do our ancestors. Stop the madness – profiles must be square. Period.
    The ‘Show and Sort’ feature of ONE person’s media gallery? Virtually worthless, since most of us don’t have that much media in any one person, AND it reverts back to the defaults every time you leave anyway. Customers want a full tree sort for their media, especially now that you make us spend so much time in the media gallery for everything. That was something ‘new’ Ancestry was supposed to provide. It still hasn’t. It can’t be that hard.
    One click for research tools? Wrong. It takes one click just to OPEN tools. Remember when you just clicked a little button called ‘Edit This Person’? That was ONE CLICK. Nothing about this site is one click. Remember when ‘Search records’ was on the left, where our eyes naturally look first? Now it’s up top, hidden somewhere, blended into the background. Backwards. Way, backwards.
    Your top reported issues miraculously have been whittled to four, when just a week ago there were 10, and most of those are NOT fixed. Plus the many more that you don’t even acknowledge (silly profile circles, media gallery doesn’t load, returns to page 1 every time, LifeStory needs to be gutted, multiple clicks and scrolls, ugly site, etc.)
    Here’s a really big issue, and not just for ‘old’ folks. The colors and fonts of your site are unreadable, they are headache inducing and ugly. I know you think they are hip and modern, but you are wrong. It has nothing to do with Windows or TrueType font. It is because you have chosen to use thin white font against a strange grey pattern(did a child design it?),some fonts in white BOLD, some fonts in cerulean blue, gross green, off-grey fonts, next to circles in hot pink and baby blue. The entire facts page is cluttered and visually nauseating. Plus purple! Yuck. Your designers tried to create a depth effect, but they failed. Get some decent font in widths we can read using easy-to-read colors. Check your ‘old’ site for some answers. Pick a decent, complementary color scheme. Less is more.
    First there was no communication, and now we must look at Shakespeare’s lobotomy to learn what’s going on…What IS going on?
    P.S. Ignoring these problems will not make the problems go away, but it will make your customers go away.

  16. Ann Mobley

    Basically, I really appreciate the new Ancestry~ many pluses. However, I just ran into a new wrinkle (for me) tonight. One of my 2 great aunts had a child years after the death of her husband. There appears to have been no marriage, but when I look at his “Facts” view, it shows the death of his “wife,” and other details which of course are not correct. I can “Hide Family” events, but then they are hidden throughout my tree. Is it possible to add an option such as “Hide Family Events: This individual only or Throughout Tree” or some such? I’d like his profile to be accurate, but I don’t want to leave out family events for all the people for whom they are helpful. Thanks!

  17. Mary M Zashin

    Please, please listen to the overwhelming majority of posters who DON”T WANT the circular primary photos! Will SOMEONE at tell me WHY you are insisting on a feature that almost everyone if not everyone finds odious? It just ruins the look of the profile page. WHY? JUST GO BACK TO RECTANGLES!!!

  18. I have to agree with those opposed to the round photo. Don’t waste your time figuring out how all of your users can change their images from the “Classic” rectangular to the less common round format. Change it back to the “standard” rectangular format. The design will be equally appealing, and more “user friendly”.

  19. Gene

    Ancestry just has to bite the bullet like LinkedIn did today: “LinkedIn brings back simple, instant contact exports following user outrage”. The longer you wait the larger the problem becomes. You start with the same thing they did, “We’ve heard you loud and clear”. Someone has drawn a line in the sand but there is no reason to do that.

  20. Monika

    Pat — I mentioned months ago how stupid it was for ancestry to give themselves the right to write my family story based on the individual profile sheets. When someone marries into the family, I feel no need to add all of his brothers, sisters, cousins and nephews. Why should I have one of those trees that have the niece of the uncle of the brother of the,,,, as some of these family trees have that have 40,000 names in them, 39,000 of whom are not really connected to their immediate family. So, when I add only the person who married into the family and his parents, the “story teller” at gives these parents only one child. QUIT WRITING MY FAMILY HISTORY FOR ME. YOU ARE NOT QUALIFIED TO DO SO!

  21. Bob

    Ancestry developers need to recognize that there are some very serious genealogist that use this application who DO NOT want or appreciate the useless features being offered by the “New Ancestry”. That being said you should develop or refine the” old ancestry site” to meet the needs of serious genealogist. I am sure, if you ask you will receive some very useful ideas from the serious dedicated genealogist who would like to see some worthwhile improvement to the application.

  22. Dee

    What I am coming to understand is that the programmers working on the new Ancestry format – well – THEY ARE APPARENTLY NOT GENEALOGISTS. Therefore we can fuss and fume all we want and they will NEVER understand nor get it right. I agree strongly with Bob’s comment above: “YOU are not qualified to write MY family story!” Stop presuming that you have that right; you do not! Having so many of the facts incorrect on the story line doubles the invalidity of it. Ancestry does have a lot of records, but with the new format, finding them is a chore I will not continue with.

  23. Dee

    I did type a comment and it was not posted. We’ll see if it posts later. Basically I said that it seems that the programmers setting up this new ancestry format ARE APPARENTLY NOT GENEALOGISTS! They don’t seem to have a clue about what they are doing. Seems also like the new heads of ancestry are no longer genealogists. They don’t have a clue either!

  24. Karen

    1.) Please make the search buttons clearer. I want an obvious search button to look for people in my tree , and another obvious button to search records.
    2.) Please make the Sources column on the Facts page smaller, use a smaller font with just a thumbnail of the record to click on taking you to the actual record.
    3.) Put the comments from other users back on the main facts page.
    4.) In the Facts column of the Facts page (rolling my eyes, because this should be called the person page), remove all the births and deaths of siblings, parents, and spouses, you can leave births of a person’s children because they were there; but their deaths are not necessary. If you have a person with many siblings, children, spouses, or records you spend all your time scrolling, leave it as an option to add manually if someone wants to.
    5.) As others have said : I can write my own story (correctly) and also find out what was going on in history while my ancestor was living. The life story has been a waste of time since it first appeared in the old program. Hide it away as an option in the tools if you really think it is necessary to keep it. 6.) There is a feature we need; a way to enter a date with -about/circa/before/after that does not show up in the Tree pages or in a basic search of Ancestry records. Thanks for the option to offer ideas.

  25. susan

    Just scrap it! there is no way you can fix all the problems. We don’t like it. I have reverted to “Old Ancestry”. I understand my time there is limited. I will have to make a decision when that time comes.

  26. BJ

    On the HINTS page… it looks like each hint is separated by a box or line, but the color of that line/box is so hard to see… it barely contrasts with the background… could this be made darker?

  27. BEE

    “We really do appreciate your feedback” really? No matter how you title the blog {and other blogs that go “off topic”} this subject generates the most responses, the majority of them are negative.
    With everything that is written about this “new ancestry”, I refuse to subject my trees to it. I said it before and I’ll say it again – I DO NOT need anyone to tell my story, the history of the time, or anything else that I don’t want. I am perfectly happy with what I view when I go to my trees – names, dates, ship manifests, census and other DOCUMENTS. If I want to add siblings, etc to further my RESEARCH, I do so. If not, I copy names with dates of birth and death and put it as a comment. Leave the colors alone. As a matter of fact, echoing others, leave everything alone! Give us more sources like the recently added ” U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007″ – I applaud ancestry for this addition. Thank you! Keep it coming!

  28. Sandra

    Can I please revert to the old format? It was sharper, easier to read, less fussy, I don’t like the comments on the timeline….horrible

  29. Alice Seabornea

    I do not like the New Ancestry and went back to the old format. Why can’t you provide us with a choice of using one or the other? I resent having to pay for the new format which I dislike for so many reasons. Why not just improve the original site but keep its familiar features?

  30. Andrew

    1) Hints Lie (the leaf is there, the information is not)
    2) Have you thought about ever implementing a search feature? I bet people would love that. Oh, wait… you had one and tossed it. The newer one is even worse.

    Switched backed to old view. Anyway I can switch further back?

  31. Julia

    Hello – I actually like the new interface. Change is hard. Everyone will get used to it and forget what the old one looked like.

    However, I have a question about transferring to or from – why is it only for LDS accounts. I have been using both for several years and would really appreciate the chance to meld the two. I talked to customer service at familysearch and they told me I would have to transfer over each person 1 by 1 – not really an option for my expansive tree.

  32. Monika

    Julia – Don’t patronize us. We have gone through enough changes over the years with and have learned that change for change’s sake IS hard on those of us who take research seriously. If ancestry just gave us as many records as is possible and feasible, the serious genealogist is perfectly capable of knowing what he wants to do with these records and how he wants to organize them. But, e.g., the “story telling feature” is something that, in my opinion, only the junkologists would appreciate. Just make the search easy for us. Don’t decide that we prefer it in pink than in blue or that we want our family history told by you, ancestry–THAT is not genealogy and it is not research. Could it be that ancestry is more geared towards the junkologists?? That would mean that ancestry believes that they are in the majority. I do not believe that this is the case.

  33. Gene

    A genealogy company that alienates genealogists. Doesn’t make sense. There is a trust issue now because a Company that can mess with their customer’s data by having them lose information built up over years or interject nonsense into someone’s story is a company that you cannot be confident in to spend your money with and entrust your family’s information. They have clearly decided to ride the storm accepting that they will lose some customers but those customers will eventually come back. Their bread and butter is not the people doing serious research but the people who sign up for the free trial and forget to cancel and never use – money for nothing. They prefer the monthly subscriber not the one who pays annually because they simply make more money that way. The Company is up for sale now so they have to make their own “lifestory” to attract potential buyers – modern user interface, new web site, mobile application, etc. Mark your tree private and not searchable that takes away a big part of their service to prospective customers. Do not renew your subscriptions. Complaints and petitions will not change their current course; the only thing that will affect anything is dollars. With all the complaints about the circle pictures, they had no reservation at all about putting a rectangular picture in the oval on this page. That was to send a message. It does not even get listed in the top things people complain about when anyone who can read knows it is.

  34. David

    The New Ancestry

    1. Its very colourful


    1. One Feature I use daily has been removed: Member Connect, last tab on the persons profile, has gone (I am told it is “being worked on”), but I suspect its gone for good. It worked just fine leave it alone

    The hint engine seems to do an initial sweep to find researchers seeking the same family, these appear as leaf hints. However it does not seem to repeatedly search. So Member Connect used to contain people who connected to the tree months or years later. Member connect used to contain many other people researching the same profile, that were never picked up in the first sweep, and their trees often contained brand new information eg name of wife, date and place of death etc.

    Removing this function in the new Ancestry is or might be a very poorly thought through decision.

    2. Features I use daily have been rearranged meaning at least two extra clicks per entry (trust me these extra clicks add up)

    I use tree overview with every connection but you have removed this link from each persons Profile, meaning I now have to go from profile to tree then to tree overview, then to member connect to see the hints and go through them;

    3. And while making it prettier, you haven’t even fixed previously reported errors (no story hints at all appear any more on my big tree, for well over a year) complained numerous times no replies, and still not fixed. Ghost hints are also still present – 46 empty photo hints now, up from 11;

    4. You have added features I really don’t need (story view adds facts I don’t often need eg which brother or parent died) and at least one historical photo proved quite inappropriate (eg: photo of “six o’clock swill” attached to someone very dear who died from her drinking)

    5. There is at least one link that misdirects [see below]. This is how I do my research:

    Tree Pages-Tree overview -[NB member trees takes you to the wrong link]- so click member trees again – click name of first person in list- click view his profile – click hints select – select relevant trees – carefully go through each set of trees for new information) This leaves you back in a profile [which now contains no link back to tree pages], go to family tree – find tree pages and begin again.

    6. You have put square photos into round holes?? thereby cutting off any heads to the side. Who on earth thought this one through? All my photos are already cropped for the square.

    7. Member Connect Tab on Profile: I can no longer see a list of members I have already connected under a persons profile, so I can no longer go back and review, add or correct any information found from these members without going into their tree and then opening ancestry a second time, finding my tree, lining up the two sets of entries up side by side for comparison,

    Wont this mean more rather than less pressure on the site?

    8. No matter what I say, you are going to make it compulsory

    9. I find the colour and the extra boxes far too busy

    10. You seem to have dumbed down Ancestry to the lowest common denominator and have currently removed some of its functionality. Put it back

    11. I haven’t yet looked at your life story option, but from the comments here … shudders


  35. Ian

    What happened to the Military Page? We put a great deal of work into those pages for our family members. Please don’t tell me they are gone!

  36. Janet Lyman

    Sometimes no matter how much you advertise and tout it a PIG is still a PIG and this new site it not great it is boring and time wasting and I just want to work when I am on Ancestry I don’t come here to be entertained by pretty pictures and graphics.

  37. genelady

    Please make the new optional. I really, really don’t like the changes and probably won’t renew if you make it mandatory. I’m a serious researcher and the new look is just clutter.

  38. carolyn

    I appreciate your efforts but looking now at shaky leaves is much more time consuming because of the ‘story’ you added and made that page much more busy. When I go on someone’s tree I want the facts not the story. I would like to have them concisely presented with the reference information. It is nice to have the online data available such as census pages etc however, if I am in FTM looking at shaky leaves I cannot enter in the census data under notes unless I leave the Ancestry page. I usually search in Ancestry as a separate open site while working on my FT. PLEASE keep the Classic or OLD way as a choice of which way we would like to view our shaky leaves and our trees in general. I had a very hard time trying to figure out how to contact an owner of a tree this last week as it wasn’t on the first page that usually comes up. Hard to manipulate the pages.

  39. Becky

    I agree with all of the above. I hate the “new” ancestry. I went into the “new” ancestry. And I disliked it so much my blood pressure went up. You had my grandfather being married 2 times. A big lie and I don’t know where you would have gotten that. The first time I went on it had my grandfather dying in another state then he did. Please go back to the OLD ancestry. A cousin of mine who had been on ancestry for years left ancestry and went to another site because ancestry no longer is a good place to do genealogy research. I wonder how many other people have left ancestry because of the “new” ancestry. Please, please why couldn’t you just have left things like they were?? I am very upset about the “new” ancestry. We put on photos and copies of birth and death records, etc. and you have made everything a big mess. I hope someone there comes to their senses. Thank you

  40. Bobbi

    I feel the need to apologize for all the rude comments that have been sent in. People do not have to be so indignant over the changes that have been made, and they can express their likes and dislikes without name calling and berating. Ancestry has been such a help to so many of us. Because everyone is on a different level of genealogy, it makes sense that not everyone will love changes, but anger and hate-filled speech is not the way to deal with things. As a society we need more graces and less contention.

Comments are closed.