Posted by Anne Gillespie Mitchell on September 10, 2015 in Ask Ancestry Anne

We get a lot of questions here at Ancestry. And it’s not surprising. Every time you discover something new about an ancestor, it tends to lead to more questions. And we are always looking for new ways to get information to you so you can get the most out of your Ancestry experience.

The latest addition to our education offering is Ancestry Academy, where Ancestry employees and other experts in the genealogy field answer soseptember ancestry anneme of your most common questions. Like these:

  1. AncestryDNA. Are you not sure what is required to take a DNA test? Do you know what to expect when you get the results? Anna Swayne introduces the basics about AncestryDNA in DNA 101: An Insider’s Scoop on AncestryDNA Testing, and Ross Curtis, one of our resident DNA scientists, explains the ins and outs of AncestryDNA Circles and matching in Expand and Support Your Genealogy Research with DNA Circles.
  2. Want to know how to control your search results more effectively? Do you suspect you aren’t finding everything there is to find? Check out my class Seek and Ye Shall Find: Become an Ancestry Search Expert for my favorite tips and tricks on searching Ancestry.
  3. Family Tree Maker. Do you use Family Tree Maker? Are you getting the most out of it? Check out our very own Duff Wilson’s course Getting the Most Out of Family Tree Maker and you will see your tree in a whole new light.
  4. New Ancestry. Not quite sure where everything is on new Ancestry Public Member Trees? Trying to understand the LifeStory page a little bit better? I’ll walk you through our new look and features in my class Learn About Your Ancestors Using the Latest from Ancestry.
  5. Wills and Probate Records. Want to find your ancestors’ wills and probate records and get the most out of them? I show you how to find what you need in Navigating Wills and Probates on Ancestry, and Judy Russell explains what you are looking at in The Records of Death: Using Probates in Family History.

We have over 25 courses available in Ancestry Academy and we add more every month. Many are free, and some will cost you a little extra if you aren’t a World Explorer Plus member. Check out what we have, learn something new, and grow your family tree!

Happy searching!

Anne Gillespie Mitchell

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


  1. AbbyA2

    Why can’t we still have the option to click on the option to go directly to the Internet to seek others who have information we need…instead of closing Ancesty and going on the INet, closing it and going back onto Ancestry ?????????????

  2. Jim Eubanks

    I can see there are three emails where the envelope is at the top of the DNA page. When I try to open one the screen just blinks. I have sent two msgs to 1st and 2nd counsins and do not know if they got thru. Im am not a month to month suscriber yet, does that mean I cannot send and rec. msgs?

  3. Marjorie Hardcastle

    Correction. Alfred Goux and third wife Gladys Rasch had four children not one as stated, they were Gladfred A. Goux, Monterey Ann Goux, Edgar Louis Goux and Larry Lee Goux.

  4. Owen Doman

    How can I change the Family Tree identification name in the Ancestry file It is now “Domans from VA with Wise and Ryan tree 3_18_14_2014-03-18_02(2)” to a simple name like “ORDoman from VA with Wise & Ryan trees”?

  5. Launa

    I want to make a copy of one of my own pictures on my own trees classic site. When I switch the pic to enlarge and try to save it, the pop up does not say .jpg. WHY?

  6. Pa

    I am disappointed as I am awaiting your most weekly update on NEW ancestry!

    Yes, so many questions from various users across the world, and no real answers.

    New ancestry is a DUD!

    Where is Tim Sullivan? We want answers.

  7. Mark Wynn

    Where are Virginia Wills and Probate Records? I’ve noticed that every other state and the District of Columbia have been released but not Virginia.

  8. Carla Martin

    I saw a video about the new mom and dad filters on ancestryDNA but those are not showing when I go to my matches. I wonder if something is wrong with my page, or is it that the features are new and not showing up on everyone’s page yet? I tested my parents a few years ago and tried to link their tests, but the tab to allow me to do this doesn’t show on the page either. Does anyone else have this problem? Carla Martin

  9. Barbara

    Really frustrated with New Ancestry. what happened with my home pg. connections? Half the time I want to go back to home pg. I end up having to leave ancestry completely.

  10. Marla Kirby

    Why did you guys have to fix something that was not broken. I have chosen to stay with the Old Ancestry, will it still be available down the road?

  11. Kendra

    What can be done to find information on 4th great grandfather. Unable to go any further. He is what my 82 year old mother wanted information about.

  12. Elaine Castner

    I like the new Ancestry, but I can’t find the Relationship to me on the tool bar. Can you please add it back to the new Ancestry pages.

  13. Nikoli

    Some info regarding the Salem Witch Trials? There was rain in the area just as the crop was being harvested. Getting the wheat wet produced a chemical called ‘ergot’ – it’s now used in some tattoos, and one migraine pill, called Ergotamine. But as ergot, when the damp wheat was baked into bread, it produced illusions, panic, bad judgement. The fate of all those people who were tried as witches came down to bad bread!

  14. Helen

    I am staying with OLD I tried it when it was first launched, and then a couple more times, and I have been using for 5 years now and it had better remain available. If you ever shut old ancestry down and force us to use the new ancestry I will end my five year membership.

  15. Vince L.

    Are there any census like records from the territories before they became states. Have several pioneer families.

  16. Tien Le

    I watched the Curtis Ross video twice and still don’t know what I’m doing wrong with the Ancestor Discovery. I found the collateral connection, added the people to the tree, but only the husband became a DNA circle. The wife is still a Discovery. #perplexed

  17. Andrea

    Could you tell me if there are divorce records in the 1920’s? I have been trying to find my grandparents divorce records which would have been in the 1920’s. My grandmother was married 2 more times after her first marriage – all marriages in Detroit, MI. If my grandfather went back to New York during the 1920’s, could he have filed for divorce there?

  18. Eugenia

    Do you mail the answers individually? Does Customer Service handle the questions above? Thanks for the information I learned about my family over Labor Day weekend when it was free.

  19. Candi

    Are the new wills and probate records only available to you if you use New Ancestry? Hate New Ancestry and everytime to go to a will and probate record it switches me to New Ancestry!

  20. Patricia Levesque

    Why can’t I find my grandparents names on my fathers birth certificate.I also would like to find my uncles and families

  21. Candi

    Larry – I use and in the upper right corner of the screen under my user name is a drop down box. Click on it and you will see Old Ancestry listed which if you select will take you back to Old Ancestry. I am sticking with Old Ancestry!

  22. Jim Broyles

    I am an All Access 6mo. member–thought I could have acces to “all”. But, when I request Birth, Death certificates, I get ask to join for “all access1 year”.
    Is that the case? If so, that means another $200

  23. CecileWalker

    cant find my grandmothers date of death -have given a lot of detail – this new Ancestry is not good enough!

  24. Rita

    I agree with several others – how does one go back to old Ancestry. Prior I could go in and find what I want. To use Sandy’s phrase – the new Ancestry is ‘cumbersome, incomplete, and poorly designed.’

  25. Alexandra

    I’m sticking with OLD Ancestry as long as I possibly can. It was perfect the way it was, all that was needed was a clear focus on adding more records. The long time & serious researchers don’t want bells and whistles…we want records!

  26. In researching my family I have been using the hints, but there are so many mistakes that people copy. Than one mistake makes more mistakes it just keeps coping. Is there anyway more proof can be found before wrong information is out there.

  27. Bonnie610

    Just wanted to say I really enjoy the Ancestry Academy classes and the videos on Youtube. Have found several helpful suggestions this way, including one which helped with two brick walls.

  28. Peggy P

    Like many others have commented, my favorite is the 2006 version, instead of the 2012 version which is the latest one I installed. I prefer using 2006 on my old XP computer ( which is no longer supported online) instead of newer computer with Windows 8.

  29. kathey

    In Hints it shows I have exp; photos 235, but when I click on it, nothing comes up. Same with Stories and Ancestry trees. How can I pull up Hints and separate by Wills, Photos, etc. like the list sent out by Ancestry.
    Edits in Gallery is very time consuming to do. Why can’t the edit be easy like on the old version of Ancestry?

  30. Michelle s

    Where are the answers to these questions? And I also do not like the new ancestry I too have been a member going on 15 years and do not want all of the bells and whistles.

  31. larry osborne

    I see many people have the same question – I see no answer. How do I revert back to the older version?

  32. ReeBaumgardner

    Is there a way to delete the trivia
    information and pictures that have been added to my tree. They do not apply to my family. Thank you.

  33. Ronald

    I see something in the complaints of New Ancestry. One used the word “cumbersome”, and I think that describes it well at times. Biggest issue is that all the blue fields (sibling died/born, etc.) sometimes is nice to see other times it is more of a hassle to go through–especially if they had a large family. Sometimes I just want the bare facts the way old ancestry was for quick easy reference. Is there a way to toggle off those blue fields? If you take away the blue fields then it would be much like old ancestry, and easier when doing research. I do love how the source documents will go to the facts they support. That is one feature I hope you keep.

  34. Nancy

    I’m trying to stay with OLD Ancestry. Tried new one when it first came out and too much junk on the page so I reverted to the old version and have been happily using it for months – I want bare facts that I can see in an overview. I keep having to close windows trying to send me to the new interface. There was nothing wrong with the old version and from all the blogs, comments, etc. it seems the old version was a winner for the past 10 years that I’ve used it.

  35. Monica Gottfried

    Is there any way to extrapolate from the people list where they lived. For instance I have many New Englanders. Find what towns they come from in a list form?

  36. I trust it won’t be considered disrespectful if I say that I, too, am really struggling with the new Ancestry features. It seems that I was just starting to get the hang of things, and I am basically back to ground zero. Any hints?

  37. Barbara

    Oh, I am getting queasy about joining Ancestry. I have debated for a long time, and also old and not tech savvy so I will probably have to wait longer till an elementary version comes out–but wait, the elementary kids could teach this grandma.

  38. Kathleen Glass

    The idea that ergot was a factor in the Salem witch trials has been around since the 1970s, the research that I have done on the trials indicates that this theory is NOT VALID. not all of the symptoms were described in the records of the day and whole families would have been affected not just 1 or 2 members.

  39. Todd Bogart

    Is there any way to maintain my tree as “private” to general browsers but “public” to those in the AncestryDNA community?

  40. Janice Scales

    I really dislike the new format for Ancestry, especially when I view an online family tree. I prefer the old way, when you are able to see wives, children, pictures, etc all on the same page. Is there any way I can choose the old format?

  41. Gary Olmon

    — I would like to see an “Advanced User” setting that would allow deep research into the data base and be able to query the database of your own tree for answers you know are there, – like ‘who was that guy buried in Germantown?’ or ‘which people lived in Lancaster between 1750 and 1805’.
    — I too am happy with the Old Ancestry version. The new is fun now and then, but to get any work done I want “Just the Facts, Mam.”

  42. David Wilcox

    I agree with Carolyn S. F. Smith, above, More effort on correcting errors, especially since you are now using OCR that has the reading capability of a 3-year old. It’s guessing, not transcribing; and transcribing is bad enough. You need an EDITOR.

  43. New Ancestry is great to a point; but I think in cross referencing with other family members Facebook or others have confused the pages. Now has my P.Grandmother as my Mom. Has my P.Great Grandmother and my Mom mixed up. Their names are very similiar and have same Birthday except for years are different. Plus Fb cousin cause he has his Dads name is now my Moms brother. Help I have straightened out on paper, but on here confusing.

  44. Mia Mora

    Is it possible to print out a one-page profile? I have a binder with all family member profiles so I can easily find answers if I’m in the middle of a search. Do people open Ancestry twice and toggle back and forth?

  45. Diana

    I do not believe anyone answers the questions on this site other than another poster if they can help you.
    I wouldn’t bother asking a question about your particular family members either. We don’t know how to help you with the limited information you provide. Just keep digging! Get off ancestry and contact vital records in the state you think your ancestor lived, contact historical societies and see if they will do a look up ect.. Look at other trees, but verify that they have sources BEFORE you copy blindly. Have your DNA done. I have found cousins that have info on some of my brick walls. Just keep plugging away.

  46. Gary A

    Thumbs Down on the New Ancestry. I haven’t seen any new features yet, except the storyline which I don’t consider relevant and it screws up the format and uses too much screen space. It is irrelevant to real genealogy work. Make it an optional feature in case you want to present your work to family members not really interested in genealogy. You blew it big time.

  47. Mary Britton

    I too am frustrated with the new Ancestry. It is missing many features that I really used on old Ancestry. To the person who asked above, yes you can open two or three Ancestry pages and toggle back and forth for comparison. I do this, plus two pages of Find a Grave when I am searching or looking for more info.

  48. guillermo palacios


  49. Gery Allen

    Is there a way to filter the little green leafs? — I am a first generation American and have had no previous family members in the United States. I search European records exclusively because no others apply. I continue to get 11 to 15 “hints” that show immigration records and such that are simply not applicable. Is there a way to limit the “hints” to Europe ?

  50. alex

    I think that customers are being used to perfect a system that has not been properly tested before launch. We are guinea pigs for the software designers.
    As education levels improve the world needs to find something more productive for the next generation to do….rather than tweaking things that are not broken, set them to design solutions to world issues!

  51. alex

    A temporary solution for some of you out there…….you can convert your tree to a GEDCOM file, downloaded to your computer and then upload it free into a different ancestry website where you will be able to print out all sorts of versions, including single pages of info. Do it quick before the option is pulled!!

  52. alex

    I agree with David Wilcox that accuracy is a big concern……digital imaging has improved immensely in quality in the last ten years so perhaps some of the earlier records need re doing…..?

  53. Jane

    A THUMBS DOWN on the new ancestry. It is apparently set up by a “non” genealogist. Don’t fix what isn’t broken. Too much data is scrambled and incorrect on the new.

  54. Lauren

    I, too, find the new ancestry format difficult and not just because I don’t want to relearn.
    What ancestry had was not perfect, but was far easier…don’t try to reinvent the wheel.

  55. Nancy C

    Add me to the list of long-time Ancestry subscribers that hate the New Ancestry. I log on much less frequently now because of the frustration of navigating through my data. I am seriously considering not renewing if the debacle becomes the only option.

  56. Speaking as one who was just beginning to feel comfortable using the old, this new program is totally frustrating me. Why make it more complicated than it has to be????

  57. Lydia L.

    I’ve enjoyed the new Ancestry. Took some getting used to, but having made the effort I now like the new tools, options, and displays. The Storyline feature is in some respects sort of dorky, but it gives me the chance to add some background and interpretive info. to various family members that the straight facts view just doesn’t accommodate.

  58. I need to know how to find out specifically what my revolutionary soldier Abraham (Abram) did during the revolutionary war. I also need to know why he moved to the Rochester N.Y area. I checked muster rolls which showed where he was but I do not know what he did.

  59. I just checked out the new format and I really do not like it ! Is there a way I can continue to use the old format ? Also noticed there’s alot of wrong information there .. Was coming back but now I’m not sure about it !

  60. Bonnie

    I agree with Lois Ann Moss and others, who are disappointed (to say the least) with the new Ancestry. I thought I’d give it a chance, but it’s very frustrating to use, and although it may appeal to the novice because it’s “cute”, it hobbles the more experienced researcher. Please give us the opportunity to revert to the old system while you figure out the kinks!

  61. Charles Robinson

    I have mixed emotions about the new Ancestry format. There are some positive features, but too many negative one. To me the screen colors are disturbing, However, the most disturbing feature appear in printing out the family tree. The family connecting lines do not print. Almost impossible to see relationships. And, photos attached to the person’s records do not print. Are there any plans underway to correct the misgivings of the new format?

  62. Margaret Ullman

    Please stop sending advertisement and request to purchase a membership to those of us who are already members. THANKS

  63. Josephine

    I am another dissatisfied member who cant’t stand the New Ancestry. This system is designed to attract the casual “researcher”, the person who constructs a Family Tree and loves to show it off. Serious researchers are more concerned with facts and valid sources. If most of them are like me, the work is done for our own satisfaction and those family members who are interested. I am a long time World subscriber, but if this becomes our only option I will say goodbye and join Find My Past.

  64. I’m working between Family Search and Ancestry and both are changing but I really dislike what ancestry is doing, changing the whole format when I was just getting use to how it had been. What is the purpose of printing all of these questions if no answers appear? I was frustrated when I opened up this column & now I see that I am just part of a major revolution. Still no answers, back to the worn out drawing board. I do appreciate all of the hints but I can’t keep up with them.

  65. bobl

    Why don’t you have informationon Switzerland? I put in swiss names a addresses and I on getinformation on germany names and addresses.

  66. Robert Shuck

    After building my TREE back 5 or 6 GENS solelyon, I decided to share the full Tree in color with several PRINT version – Paternal & Maternal sides. I was unable to contact any associate vendor who could process my cash order for an enlarged custom printout, no matter at any price. I need about six copies. Explain, if possible,
    why is not helpful on this simple request ? Robert Shuck Phone: 252 638 6340
    Email :

  67. Brenda

    More records are needed. Less new formats for recording what has been learned. More access to county and state records, more access to old newspapers–without having to pay extra. New bells and whistles on New Ancestry make us feel like the fire bell is ringing in the night. There are enough problems already with Familytreemaker formats and programs.

  68. Dave

    I am also dissatisfied with the new ancestry. I found that
    when many of my ancester’s pictures were transferred
    from old to new the top of the picture was cropped off.
    Is there any way to correct this and/or switch back to the old ancestry? Where are your answers?

  69. Pammil

    I have found I cannot link pictures to other people, such as weeding photos or marriage licenses that we were able to do before. This is more cumbersome than the old Ancestry.

  70. Ruth Wright

    I, like many above responders, wonder why, if you “really do appreciate” feedback, there are no ANSWERS to any questions????

  71. Audrey

    Have tried to use ancestry to find bio patents but I have no info on who they are. does an adoptee find out

  72. Ralph Thompson

    How ’bout a drag and drop feature to facilitate arranging items in the gallery. As it stands now one cannot change the order without deleting and re-entering, a real pain in the neck !

  73. Ruby Maureen

    I am like many others -I really do Not like the new format as it is very hard to use to find anything. Please go back to the former format. Why when looking for records in one state sometimes we only get a completely different country? Also now have trouble transferring pictures or stories to my tree.

  74. bandia

    I can’t speak much to the website format, because I do my tree on my computer with FTM software; I then back up all my files, documents and pictures on an external hard drive and Carbonite as well because I don’t want to lose anything. As an historian by training and an abstractor by trade I deal in facts and I have spent over 15 years gathering information here and there. is only one of many places to get information, and not all of those places are online. Although I sometimes use the leaves for hints I more often use the advanced search to dig deeper for specifics. Having spend many an hour pouring over source documents on paper and microfilm/fiche, I know how hard it is to decipher old text! tl;dr – I guess it just saddened me to see so much anger and frustration for something that should be fun and rewarding.

  75. Genevieve Bullock

    Like many have commented – the NEW ancestry does nothing for serious genealogy researchers. It panders to some demographic – OR the designers. Just put in the data – we can take it from there. I have answered COUNTLESS surveys saying just that and have said would be happy to give further input either by phone or email. NO RESPONSE! DON’T TRY TO FIX WHAT IS NOT BROKEN. Add new databases, get them well indexed, fix the weighting of the search function – which is a MESS, enhance some of the poorer Census images so I don’t have to and let us do our stuff. Just because you are one of the “only kids on the block” don’t take advantage of that and short change folks who have been subscribers for some 15 years. And stop messing with Findagrave – it was doing JUST FINE without ancestry putting their foot in.

  76. Ancestry was not broken, but you sure fixed it. I have tried to like it and just cannot. If you force us to convert I don’t know if I can force myself to keep paying for it.

  77. David Wilcox

    Almost all of my other questions are answered above. I am expecting your responses to the recurring questions soon after your “closing date” Thu 24 Sept. Maybe that needs clarifying too–and perhaps shortening. The natives are getting frustrated and restless 🙂

  78. Matt Wells

    I am having great troubles with the New Ancestry; It feels like all I do is “put out fires”, spent two days trying to convince your program that my great-great-grand father CAN’T be married to his son . . . The Old Ancestry worked, but it’s nearly impossible to correct other people’s mistakes. Can we still switch?

  79. Anthony DeBella

    I also feel the old format was much easier than the new. As an aside your Customer service has me using two different passwords ( not of my choosing) –one on my PC and another on my I Pad. Very inconvenient, please straighten this out.

  80. Sue Huckstep

    I have not been working on my family tree nor my subscription for awhile. Got tired of DNA being shoved down my throat. I can!t afford it and being 80yrs old, I would like to find out some things from marriage, divorce, and death of my ancestors so my family does not have to trace for things after I!m gone. Please send an email to let me know if I have missed some “quaking leaves” in the last few months. I think I am paid up until November.
    I do so entire to know about my mother’s mother before I dive
    Sue Huckstep.

  81. Jade

    Why have so many New Jersey Wills been deleted from the site, and what else in the probate databases has been deleted?

  82. A L

    There are so many negative comments about the new ancestry,. Now ancestry is forcing people to use it in order to be able to access the newest records, such as Wills and Probates. Am disappointed in this new manipulative policy.

  83. EB

    If I’ve paid for a WORLD CONNECT MEMBERSHIP (for years now) then I should have access to the newest WILLS AND PROBATES. I should NOT be forced to change over to the “New Ancestry” to see these or save to tree. I have ZERO desire to change over to the NEW Ancestry and the constant popups trying to get me to do so are beyond annoying — they are prohibiting me from using the site with the ACCESS for which I have paid.

    Bait and Switch? Yup.
    Edits to my tree without my permission, in the NEW Ancestry? Yup.
    MANY customer complaints? Yup.

    Answers and appropriate customer service to the feedback? NOPE.

Comments are closed.