Posted by Ancestry Team on October 8, 2015 in Australia, Canada, Germany, United Kingdom, Website

Welcome to our weekly update on the new Ancestry website. This week we are rolling out a few new enhancements based on feedback we have received from you over the past couple of months.

Feature update:

We explored a wide range of use cases on the size and shape of profile photos, and we are changing the profile photos to a square shape that is similar to the profile photos in the old Ancestry website. We are also introducing a new photo-cropping tool later this week that allows you to zoom in and crop a profile photo to get just the right image.

As always, we have included links to articles and videos at the end of this post that help answer questions and provide more tips on the new site.

New Features this week

  • Square Profile Images – You will see square profile photos in the following places:
    • Tree Viewer – Person Card
    • Person Page – Profile Image
    • LifeStory – Relationship Card



  • Photo-Cropping Tool – This new tool allows you to drag the corners of a photo to zoom in on a specific area or select one specific person in a group shot. We hope this makes it easier for you, as you now only have to upload a group shot once, and then you can make individual profile photos for everyone in the photo.
Select “Resize Profile Image” by clicking on the Profile Image
Select “Resize Profile Image” by clicking on the Profile Image
Select “Resize Profile Image” by clicking on the Profile Image
The profile photo is automatically updated based on your preference as shown below on the Person Page and the Tree Viewer
The profile photo is automatically updated based on your preference as shown below on the Person Page and the Tree Viewer


  • Improved Readability – On the Person Page, the name of the person has been bolded along with some other spacing adjustments to increase readability.

Features we are still working on

  • 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 Issues Reported

Below are some of the issues that surfaced from your feedback this week:

  • Want type-ahead dates when adding media to someone else
  • Dark background with white font is hard to see
  • “Continue searching” is missing
  • Want to see the thumbnail of photos attached to events

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.

Help Links



Help Articles




  1. Elhura

    In reply to Kristie Wells as found under the Oct 4th Update:

    @ Kristie Wells: The “core functionality” of Ancestry may be the same (with some losses), but the path to using them is so convoluted the site is no longer workable nor desirable. The “look” as you say, is “different”, but that as well makes the site unusable for many of us. By sticking to only the new, remains callous to the needs of thousands!

    We are told over and over by those outside Ancestry with technical skill that a continued interface between Classic and the new is very possible. I do not understand why you and your colleagues cannot see and say that.

    I am not trying to be difficult or even rude to you. I am trying to make the message loud and clear that Classic Ancestry should be kept. I will continue to send that message and encourage others to do the same.

    Kristie, until the new removes the clutter, the horribly distracting and blinding purple lines, fixes the color scheme, shortens the path to “functionality” for even basic moves, saves my well-written and carefully-done stories, saves my detailed source citation narratives, saves my photo captions when copied to Life Story in mine or other trees, fixes Life Story to the point of reliable accuracy, and assures our photos and stories will be visible and accessible from the profile page, and addresses the numerous other concerns so astutely pointed out by us your consumers, the new Ancestry is clearly not ready to stand on its own!


  2. douggrf

    The bold text is a huge improvement over the previous thin font scale. Good to see that come thru.
    The dynamic square for profile photos is another huge improvement over the silly portholes!
    But here on FireFox 40 browser the editor to access resizing and framing profile photo doe NOT work at this time.

  3. BEE

    I agree with everything Elhura said. I would also like to see “search web”. I found many archived obituaries online that way.

  4. douggrf

    I would add an edit to my post above. I finally got the profile photo edit to work for resize and frame.
    But then I noticed all of the GUI SCREEN edit to select primary photo in the New site is missing from where it had been in the gallery edit before.
    Counter with the findings that Classic site does not recognize the photo frame edits that are created in New – however it appears that Classic is now the only site given the correct GUI to select and deselect primary photo. Making this whole thing overly complicated it appears…

  5. Kenmaag

    If there was a “like” button I would be liking what Elhura wrote above. I agree with her totally!!

  6. Pa


    Are you listening finally?

    You are finally going back to the square photo after thousands have screamed about this issue from day 1.

    Now, will will get rid of the ugly “GRAY” background, and all the gray color schemes and return to the more pleasingly traditional Ancestry® green and leaf!

  7. Jan Murphy

    Good grief — now the Ancestry blog has fallen victim to the current fetish for putting headlines in huge fonts and the body text in tiny fonts. The font size in the comments is much more readable than the font size in the blog posts themselves. Why did you have to change it from the way it was before? I wish you would hire someone well-versed in vision science, so they could beat some sense into your so-called web designers.

  8. Joy Morgan

    I’m a Senior with barely enough sense to operate a semi-intelligent conversation on a computer. Forget all this understanding of acronyms and symbols that are part and partial of anyone who operates successfully in the electronic age. I managed to function, just barely, with the classic version of Ancestry. I only want you to know that I’m trying to learn more and complain less because I love genealogy and all the avenues of finding my ancestors that Ancestry has opened for me. I hope you receive pep talks and pats on the back each day (you deserve them). I have noticed the smaller fonts and believe me my eyes have tired from looking at my desktop monitor. I print out hard copies and highlight important facts just to be able to see them. I joined Ancestry in May and I think my optometrist will be surprised in December to see the drastic change in my eyes. Just kidding! I’m wanting new glasses anyway. Keep slugging away guys and I will work to do the same because when I find and get to know about my ancestors, they become real to me. I feel a relationship has been formed and appreciate more what they experienced so that I could live and hopefully leave behind footprints my descendants will find and be proud to follow. Why else would God have placed us here? Strive on!

  9. Crystal

    Count me in on everything Elhura said. And thank you, Elhura!

    But, Ancestry, so you “fixed” the name heading in people’s profiles? I really do appreciate your attempt (finally!) to appease your users, but you’ve gone from one extreme to the other. A wider typeface is great. But it doesn’t need to be such a HUGE size in comparison to the rest of the type. Now, if I try to print out that page, the name takes up a ridiculous amount of space. If I reduce the what’s printed on the page to a smaller percentage in order to make the name heading a more reasonable size, the rest of the type on the page is too small to read.

    Actually, with the wider typeface for the profile name, you could probably reduce the size of that type by half and have a much more readable (and printable) page.

    There’s still a lot of work to be done to fix the readability of the New Ancestry. I still can only stay on that site for short periods of time before the eye strain and headaches begin. There’s more to designing a readable page than just increasing the size of the type. Thank you.

  10. Mary M Zashin

    So, THANK YOU for eliminating portholes! It is much better now. BUT—why the black edges to the photos? Is it because of the grey background? Don’t stop now! Keep going forward by going back to the Old color scheme or something similar in tone. Also, I noticed that on New some of my photos (maybe all of them, there are over 3000 and I haven’t checked more than a handful) are no longer identified by type. “What kind of media is this?” is not pinpointed, even though when I checked on Old, the photo is in fact identified (ie., portrait/family photo, building, document, etc.) What’s with that?

  11. Erica

    I just want to say that Elhura does not speak for ALL of us. I like the new color scheme and a number of the changes. I don’t believe it will be possible for you to keep two interfaces indefinitely. I think you should continue to adjust to reflect your user base, but there is more diversity in the views in your user base than you are seeing here.

    I’m sure you are very much aware of the rule of thumb that those who are unhappy are far more likely to speak up than those who are happy, but I thought I would weigh in because I do get a little tired of the constant anger and righteous indignation.

  12. Derek

    I have tried to get started useing for years with no luck! If you ever get it to work correctly I’d love to use it but there is no way I’m giving you my credit card number until there is some proof that your website works.

  13. Monika

    @gp_4hbc -Thank you for your kind words in the October 4 blog. I too am writing a book. Was originally going to do it on My Canvas, but now will not reward anyone associated with by giving them my money/business. I have now moved my trees onto Rootsmagic. Am very pleased with that site. Also downloaded my trees onto Family Tree Maker and then unlinked my FTM from and made my trees private and unsearchable weeks ago. Hope life is good to you now, gp_4hbc! @Erica. You have a right to your opinion and I will fight to my death for your right to express it. By the same token I will not permit you to take away my right to do the same. No one is forcing you to read this! John in West Cork has it right. Ancestry should create two websites, one for people like you, who are pleased with New Ancestry and one for us who, like Elhura and others, feel better served with the Old Ancestry.

    @Kristie Wells. Thank you for updating us more than once a week now. That is really helping! Needless to say, it is not going unnoticed that you do not mention LifeStories and your “historical (or should I say “hysterical”) facts”. As a matter of fact, the fact that you are now encouraging members to switch to New Ancestry is telling me very clearly that New Ancestry is here to stay. Far be it from me to dislike change for the better. And, I understand that for every member who would want a darker background you will find a member who will want a lighter background. And for every member who wants to “hover” over a location, there will be a member who will want to press on that location, etc. Where I become more inflexible is when someone thinks they have the right to add or change data to something that I have spent years creating and working on. None of my family members have “editor” status on my trees and they would create far more accurate data than your LifeStories or “historical facts”. This brings me back to my questions from yesterday: When your company “brainstormed” the creation of New Ancestry, how many members requested what? How many members wanted circle profile pictures? How many members wanted LifeStories? (If you know anything about computer generated programs like LifeStories, you MUST have known that, in order to keep it accurate, the stories had to become trivial–he was born, he married, he died–and that, if you wanted to expand data beyond that, inaccuracies could not be avoided. How many of your members are serious genealogists (amateur or professional genealogists) and how many are junkologists? Whom do you (your organization) plan to cater to? Is it worth losing your reputation as a superior ancestry site or should your focus be on gaining and retaining the serious genealogists? I know that you are very intelligent and that you therefore know why I am repeating the questions that I asked in the October 4 update. I am very protective of my ancestors and my still living cousins. For you to, e.g., tell them in your LifeStories and historical “facts” that they were born in the Czech Republic instead of being born on German territory inhabited since the 12th century by Germans is tantamount to telling a Palestinian that he was born Jewish because he was born in Jerusalem. I repeat, you cannot force such a program on people who take genealogy seriously. Erica might be able to live with that, but for God’s sake! PLEASE! When my German cousins were forced into these cattle cars (as I described to you months ago when I first started to complain about your inaccurate LifeStories and “historical facts”), and they were given the choice to choose between a cattle car going to Austria or a cattle car going to Germany, they chose Germany. Unfortunately, nobody had explained to them that–the direction the cattle car was heading to was EAST Germany. So, when my cousins arrived at the end of the line, they had to spend years in East Germany before they escaped over the wall at great risk to them! You want to enhance their life story and establish for them what country they were born in? Are you kidding me??? And you want them to have access to YOUR LifeStories and “historical facts” when they are invited onto my tree?

  14. CAH

    I think I have figured out why the colors bother me in the new version. There are too many places where one is looking at white text with a large dark background and it is hard on the eyes to keep focusing to the changes.

    One would think that would not be a problem because when we watch a movie, scenes are constantly change from light to dark and back. Maybe an eye doctor could explain it, but it is very bothersome to me. And I love movies. But we don’t watch movies from 12″ to 24”.

    I keep trying the new but in addition to the white text on very dark backgrounds plus the inefficient way the whole site works is just uncomfortable. I can work hours at a time with the classic. It stays the same. Light background, black text.

    I would want to personalize the colors, to say nothing about the rest of the site.

  15. Kay

    Joy Morgan, if you are having trouble seeing the print, I have a suggestion for you. Hold down the CTRL key on your keyboard and press the + key. This enlarges your entire screen. Keep pressing until you get the size you want. Use CTRL and the – (minus sign) to decrease the page size. To go back to normal size, CTRL and 0 (zero).

  16. Robin

    Elhura, thank you. You spoke for me, and much more eloquently than I could. Now for my own thoughts…somehow the switch to and or back from new ancestry to old, messed up my tree. It is right across the board. I have people (and their records, my research notes, pictures) missing. In two cases, the pictures are irreplaceable. The research and story I had written on my 5th great grandfather are gone, because he is missing. I have gravestone pics from John Doe on Jane Smiths page. My dad, born in 1930, has an 1860 census record now attached. Facts are duplicated, tripled, and in some cases quadrupled on my pages. Then there are all the errors that your Life story introduced into my tree. I cannot create a gedcom full of hundreds and hundreds of errors. So thanks to the new ancestry I am one person by one person transferring all my information to another site. I have done 212 people out of 7102. I did not create these errors, Your fixes are too little, too late for me. This new ancestry should never have been put in place until you had the bugs out…those bugs destroyed my tree.

  17. Walt

    Thanks for returning to the rectangular photos. Don’t especially like the black borders on many photos, but this is far more appropriate for documents and photos of headstones and buildings.

  18. bornthird avenue

    @Robin. Like you, I’m removing my people, one by one, but I’m printing out the dearest and then deleting them. No more trusting storage clouds. That’s all Ancestry is. I’d rather kill off my creation than let strangers at it. As I re-read each Classic profile and remember the weeks – and sometimes months – it took to get each person’s life accurate and memorialized, I recall hearing once about some women on slave ships who jumped overboard with their children rather than let them be harmed.

  19. Cheryl


  20. Aaron

    I enjoy Ancestry and have for years. The site is like my car insurance and cell phone a bill I pay each month. If you folks don’t pay attention to us it won’t be anymore. I don’t that to happen! PLEASE come to your senses Ancestry! Hear what is being said…I want to continue paying for your service…but I will only do that if you leave the family tree alone. I like it how it is. For years my tree was online only and now YOU have force me to get smart and to get a tree on my computer (not cell phone or tablet) and now the tree is not online only. Most of my paperwork, death certificates, obits is NOT online. While you decide if you are going forward with New Ancestry/the Edsel I am preparing to leave. NOTE: I do not want to leave and I think a lot of others feel the same way.

  21. caith

    Many of us do not like “waiting games”. We have a right to know “when” this event is taking place – approx. when will Classic be disabled. So we can make our plans accordingly.

  22. Monika

    @Robin. Sorry to hear about your experience. I had the same one. Fortunately on a tree that I have created in duplicate. One tree has only the direct blood line and the other is an “Extended” tree that also has a lot of info on the families that married into my husband’s family. So I was able to delete all the incorrect profile sheets and put the people back in using the “Extended” tree to duplicate what was there before the pages got distorted by going into New Ancestry and getting back out of it. I know how you must feel. So sorry!

  23. gp_4hbc

    To Monika, Thank you so much for acknowledging my posting on the previous “update.” That is great you are writing a book. I did a lot of searching before I came up with the website I wanted to use for mine. I use Booksmart (Blurb) software and I do not know if you know about it. I wanted some software that I had complete control of and not something where I had to imput data into software elsewhere other than my own computer. They did a marvelous printing job with mine and I recommend them highly. If you are at all design-conscience you will do well with the software. Good luck in whatever you decide to do.

    Robin, sorry for the loss of your data in your family tree. That is why I always recommend that you back up your work somehow and often. Too late for that now, in your case, but hope you can rebuild your tree but do not chance it with the new interface. Sounds like a lot of work ahead for you.

    Derick, The old Ancestry (classic) did work very well and what did you want it to do? You do not make it clear what your expectations were/are.

  24. gp_4hbc

    Sorry about the duplicate entries here. I thought the previous ones were deleted by Ancestry. I apologize. There should be someway to delete and edit comments in this forum.

  25. BEE

    It does sound like our voices are being heard and somewhat heeded, but I would like to see Kristie Wells address the specific{constant} concerns and complaints on this blog instead of lumping everything under “feedback”.

    • Kristie Wells

      @BEE: We actually take feedback from the comments here as well as those from Facebook, submitted in a survey online, phone calls, emails, etc. and curate them into a master list that is then reviewed and prioritized. I understand your frustrations and appreciate every single comment you have made to help us build the best site possible and hope you will continue to share your thoughts when new features are made available.

  26. Sue Emerson

    Why is it that decides to fix what IS NOT BROKEN every few years. I find the new site extremely hard to traverse. The previous site was very easy to follow and for a person of my age, this new system sucks pond water. is my new home.

  27. Jade

    Thank you for giving up the circular images interface. Stubborn insistence on that was a great aggravation for your customers.

  28. What I really want to know is when the Old Ancestry will no longer be available and the New Ancestry takes over – so I know how much time I have to salvage my trees before this Facebook look-alike destroys all my work. This is not about “connecting with people” it is about saving a family history for future generations. Classic Ancestry should be kept for those of us who are serious about research. For those who want to use New Ancestry – that’s fine – they will grow tired of the “hunt” quickly and be gone. I agree-it sucks and I will not be renewing my subscription.

  29. Elhura

    Thanks to each of you who responded with a “thumbs up” for my comments. I appreciate you, too, and that you are hanging in there to encourage to do what is right.

    The following is a part of a message I sent to Ancestry today via THIS FORM found at the top of this page: “Perhaps it’s time for to stop, as the old adage goes, “trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear”, and realize it will be a long time, if ever, that the new version meets the quality and expectations of your faithful consumers. You will – and should – keep plugging away at it, but, in the meantime, you must realize there are significant numbers of your subscribers who either will not or cannot continue if only the new version exists. Please concentrate some of your time, wisdom, energies and part of our paid subscription revenues toward continuing the interface between the old Classic and the new.”

    As you know, I feel the continued message from all of us to “Keep Classic” is absolutely necessary if we are to keep Ancestry’s “ear”. I also agree with BEE that our voices are being heard. Continue to voice your needs and concerns. Tell others. Pass the phone number 1-800-262-3787 and the petition link along:

    Monika and Robin, I am so sorry for your loss of data and hesitate to re-enter the new format for fear of the same. Since downloading my tree to FTM and also to an external hard drive, I have done rapid and considerable work (an impossibility with the new), trying to add to and polish up my tree. The tree downloaded to my computer is linked, but not auto synced to Ancestry. In your opinion, do I run a risk of contaminating my tree by trying to sync it now with the additions while I am still in Classic?

  30. Eric

    Thanks to all the members of the Ancestry team for all your hard work on upgrading the site. I’m sorry you have to endure such bitterness and complaining over issues like color and the thickness of a border. Please know that plenty of people appreciate the new design, including this UX designer!

  31. mike

    Eric, you have to be kidding! “Bitterness and complaining” is beyond belief with such a comment. Users have a perfect right to express this discontent as they are PAYING customers. This site is will no longer be used by serious genealogists. Dream on…I don’t think you get the point!

  32. Trisha

    To Eric “The UX Designer” I wasn’t going to take the bait at first and respond to you, but then I looked online to find out exactly what a UX designer does. And this is what it says = “The process of enhancing user satisfaction by improving the usability, accessibility, and pleasure provided in the interaction between user and product” So no UX designers working on the new ancestry then Eric that’s for sure!

  33. Hello Kirsty. Re your post at 4/37pm. Strangely enough (not in a conspiracy-theory way), I got the long survey to do yesterday (the one with 30+ questions). One thing that struck me was that it never referred to New Ancestry so some of the questions were difficult to answer when a straight yes/no was required (experiences being different in Classic & New for the same thing). I was not sure whether it was my response to New that was being requested (so I did write several times that I was still using Classic) and some of the questions I found hard to see what was being asked. One question was whether I would like to be able to write more about my ancestors (or words to that effect). Before New Ancestry, I would have said yes and moved to the next question. My answer IS Yes but now that New Ancestry is in existence, I can see that my ‘yes’ could be interpreted as wanting a new way of recording, ie. leading to Life Story. But in my mind, my ‘yes’ would just have been for more space in the description fields on the Profile page in Classic. The REASON for the question isn’t clear. If it had said “Would you like to see a NEW WAY of recording information to write more about your ancestors?” I would have said no, I’m happy with how things are but a bit more space would be useful. It has just made me wonder if the changes made due to “the things our members have asked for” are SPECIFICS or have been extrapolated from replies to questions for which the reasons for asking them are not clear? I did give a lot of feedback (mainly on how I thought the search function could be improved) but wonder why you want to know if I’m a ‘poster’ or a ‘reader’ (I assumed this referred to Facebook?). Again, the purpose of the question wasn’t clear and I was left wondering how and for what purpose my answer could be used. I don’t believe that the survey is in some way designed to get the answers Ancestry wants to hear (like I say, I’m not a conspiracy theorist), but I just felt as I was completing it that it wasn’t transparent enough. I think it also needs to be updated somewhat to at least ask some direct questions about New Ancestry OR indicate which ‘experience’ (Classic or New) you want the responses to consider. Sorry for the long post but I think if feedback is what you want from the survey, the questions need to be far more specific. Best regards Karen

  34. Gene

    @Eric – You’ll be happy to know that there is an equal number of complaints about how you navigate the New Ancestry with the extra clicks, the missing buttons, and the uncertainty on where to click as there is with the visual design.

    Perhaps when you have time, it would be helpful to you as a UX Designer to learn more about color and how it can cause reactions – which is what you are seeing here. The right color choice can be calming while the wrong choice for color can cause irritation. Even Pharmaceutical Companies spend a lot of time and money on choosing the color of their pills, even though that may seem inconsequential in the scope of medicine.

    When programmers and designers stop listening to their customers and get sloppy by doing “Good Enough” jobs, people notice and will complain or stop. These people care enough to not just stop but to complain.And everyone, customers and Ancestry, will reap the rewards of their so-called bitterness.

    You come to a genealogy site to do genealogy not for the Graphic Design or UX Design. Those are things you just don’t want to get in the way. They should be transparent and inviting not annoying and frustrating. Today, with New Ancestry they are getting in the way. People are spending more time testing and giving feedback than doing genealogy.

  35. Carmen

    I do appreciate the return to square pictures! I can’t help but wonder, though, why the progress on other issues seems so slow?

  36. Janice

    I find neither of your advertisements to be true:

    Get a complete, biographical view of your ancestor’s life based on the events, sources, maps, and relationships in your family tree.
    1. Not all the life events of the timeline are transferred.
    2. Too much work to edit.
    3. Already have a lifestory made via the fact page, with my own events, stories, and images attached.

    Facts View
    Easily edit all aspects of a person’s story, from facts to sources to family members, in a simple, streamlined view.
    1. Much easier in classic ancestry, to create an event, add a short description, attach any and all media to event.
    2. Much easier to view with icon, and one click to see all attached.
    3. Hunting the gallery for a story that was attached in classic is such a waste of time.
    4. Not at all user friendly.

  37. Janice

    Ancestry: Again, asking for only two things:

    1. ALL media, images, stories, text, documents, whatever is attached to a fact should show with ONE click. Stop the searching in the gallery. Way too time consuming and impossible to read a multi-page story in the correct order.

    2. Return the icon so I can see a preview, before I go waste time searching in the gallery, or going to LifeStory and reading a bunch of stuff I don’t care about.

    Your baker occupation fact is a perfect example of what I am talking about. Why should I go to the LifeStory when a simple line like that could easily be put in the description on the fact time line?

    Then, if I have a picture of my cousin in his bakers outfit, I would attach that image, the icon would show, and maybe I have a quick family story about the bakery that I type in, I would attach that, too.

    Anyone scrolling down the fact timeline first see that there is Joe in his bakers outfit, one click and there is the photo AND the story.

    For me and my family, this has been the greatest thing in classic ancestry, to see everything as it relates to the rest of the events on the fact line. Then, with ONE simple click, see everything attached to that fact.

    PLEASE re-establish the icons and one-click viewing of everything back! We can still use the LifeStory if we want, but please let that be our choice! Enhance, not degrade. As a paying user, I would like to KEEP the things that brought me to ancestry in the first place.

  38. Janice

    For more than 10 years you have been so great for me and my family 46,088 profiles.

    Many of the document and images added by family members only reside on ancestry, as we want them to be readily available and to be shared by all of us.

    Many hours of scanning Mom’s documents and stories, she has gathered over 65 years of searching.

    I am all for upgrades that improve functionality, however, in my opinion, this latest is a very big down grade in user friendliness, especially for those of us that actually do ‘research’ and not just enjoy the family tree.

    I do not understand this lack of consideration and respect for all the work that has gone into building our family trees.

    For now, I have not lost hope that will be looking at some of our posts and comments and actually read all the emails that we have submitted with our requests and then actually act upon them.

    Right now, I feel that for $600.00 a year, I am feeling a bit left out, talked down to and treated like I don’t know anything about research or genealogy.

    Still hopeful, Janice

  39. Monika

    @gp_4hbc – Thank you so much for the tip re the Booksmart software. I will definitely investigate it. Right now I have a local printing company that has taken me “under their wing”, but I will definitely look into Booksmart based on your feedback.
    @Elhura. Thank you Elhura. You have been our “rock” these last few months. After my experience, I am scared of leaving my FTM linked to ACOM. I am not convinced that ACOM understands the full extent of all the glitches that they are having. “We are working on bringing you a better and richer experience” or “We have updated a number of enhancements…” is not detailed enough to reassure me. I know that Robin and I are not alone having had that experience because I have communicated with people who are sharing their trees with me and they had similar glitches. Like Janice, I wish that ACOM would focus on upgrades that improve functionality. They should have invested their time and money into fixing some of the long standing problems instead of creating New Ancestry. Look at BEE who has been trying to get Ancestry to get rid of ghost hints since 2012 and yet, as of today, I am still getting new ghost hints. I know I sound very negative and that is a shame because despite it all I love, the same way you love family even if they sometimes drive you up the wall. I just can’t, for the life of me, understand why they have to “fix” things nobody asked them to fix and not fix things that they have been asked to fix for years.

    NOW TO THE BAD NEWS! I went to today, where I have created a tree six or seven years ago, and, when I signed in, it automatically bounced me into New Ancestry. Panic time! But, since I was already in there I looked around. G-g-grandma was born in 2009! Nooo! But I did download all of her birth, marriage and death records onto in 2009, after coming back from a trip to the archives in the Czech Republic. Also, the tree summary claims that I have absolutely no pictures in that tree. Again, NO! There should be hundreds of pictures in that tree. They are there in the Classic version of that tree. When I tried to get out of New Ancestry I could not. So, I sent an e-mail to ACOM support and have not heard back from them. (Am sure that I am not the only one that is trying to get their attention these days!) Then I talked to a very nice lady in Customer Support. She tried desperately to get me out of New Ancestry in, using the http//…./leave address, etc., but nothing happened. So, I am still in New Ancestry on YET, when I go onto I can also see that tree (always have been able to–in the pre-printed data is printed in English instead of German, but I can view my trees that are in or on as well, of course). Well, on that tree is still in Classic Ancestry (with all the accurate data and pictures) while on that identical (same) tree is in New Ancestry! Hhhhmmm! Oh, gee, Eric, I am so sorry if I sound like I am complaining! 🙂

  40. J Russell

    Computer and the net are tools. Until recently was one of the best tools in my genealogy tool kit. The New Ancestry is not a tool that will help me in my genealogy research. I have been researching other tools to add to my tool kit. Anyone else have any recommendations?

    And to support: Your new product apparently was designed for a different demographic, and certainly not for serious researchers. I wish you luck in your new endeavor.

  41. JM / UK

    Sign the petition – I just did – it only takes a moment – leave a comment – here is mine: Having spent many hours and much money on producing several trees with complex details and connections, set out in a format I was glad to share online, I am now presented with pages that look as if they have escaped from a poorly presented Primary school project. I will not be using New Ancestry if it imposes this ‘one style fits all’ approach. I want the choice to remain with Classic Ancestry. My extensive research, both on and offline, is recorded in my trees for all to share. I want it to remain as I have designed it, not re-interpreted in a sensationalist or
    trivializing manner. I do not want to struggle with a site designed to attract transient new members on mobile phones. Yes – the ‘Who do you think you are?’ format is attractive [on TV] but it lacks substance. Serious researchers want the whole truth presented with clarity not a flimsy story padded out with irrelevant detail from elsewhere. I will have to reconsider my subscription – why should I go on paying for something I don’t want, which offers ‘improvements’ which degrade my time, effort and loyalty and which appears to have drastically altered its customer focus.

  42. Roger

    I’ve dragged this over from the previous week’s blog because I really would like an answer, Kristie:-

    “One simple question to Kristie – Kristie, why are you and by definition, Ancestry, so right and we by definition your bread and butter serious research paying customers, so wrong?”


  43. Trisha

    I just took another quick peek on new ancestry to see what other mistakes they have made on my tree. Didn’t take long to find something, two minutes to be exact! I can not stay on there longer than five minutes anyway because I can feel my blood pressure rising too much. But this is what I just found. THEY ARE ARE SAYING MY ANCESTOR MARRIED IN JULY 1864, THEN THEY SAY HE MARRIED HIS 2ND WIFE IN SEPT 1864. (He soon got fed up of the first wife didn’t he, that’s only two months apart!) He was only married the once ancestry, something they did back then as a general rule! You have become a complete joke of a site, you should be thoroughly ashamed of yourselves ruining the brilliant format you had. Why fix when it ain’t broke, it’s certainly broke now ancestry!

  44. sleuthjan

    Good grief – so many complaints! True that those who have few or none are less likely to post. I am happy with most of the site and know Ancestry is working hard to make things even better. Next, maybe the functionality of adding something like a Library of Congress photo to a profile and the “continue searching” feature. I’m sticking with Ancestry because there is no better place to be.

  45. Barbara

    Thank you Ancestry for all the great services that you provide. I enjoy your blog but the comments are distracting.

    One of the commenters in this thread spoke of his lack of computer skills, something that I was thinking about this morning. I am a senior, but with advanced skills. However, I would venture to guess that if you ran the demographics on your membership, you would find a good percentage in the 50+ and 65+ categories. You might want to keep that in mind. Likely your programmers and planners are young so what they believe is easy is very difficult for seniors. Older people were not raised with computers so perhaps testing with a sample group from your demo market would help with acceptance. Additionally, when you roll out such major changes, why don’t you offer free webinars to help fclks with the transition to new features and functions? Frankly I like the new ancestry. I think the life story has a very limited function. for the complainers, why don’t you offer a way to turn it off so they can’t see it.

    I use online and Family Tree Maker. There are two features in Tree Maker that aren’t available online and might improve the quality of oneline trees. #1: De-duping. It’s appalling to me to find so many trees that need this feature (four sons named Robert 3 named mary and 2 named Willliam). Sad that people don’t look at what they just added to their tree. I de–dup every few weeks on FTM. #2: Resolving place names. Place names are a disaster in most trees some of it records, some of it from guessing the county name, abbreviations or comments/facts appearing in the place name.

    My own pet-peeve has to do with geography when resolving place names. (Texas is a mess in your database and I’m not certain why. Another is “Y Somme-Picard France. This is a result of putting “Y” –for yes in the place name. People must believe hundreds of their ancestors died n France.) Maybe you should just take that place out of your mapping. Also, there should be some kind of database to help us learn the new name of a renamed city/country/country. “Ltterluna, Ireland” is a good example. I have many records showing this place but I cannot find it in your database. I know it exists or existed because the Carroll / O’carroll family (founding fathers) of Massachusetts came from this place.

    Anyway, my two centavos.

  46. Mary M Zashin

    I’m really glad the square photos are back! Thank you! However, I object to the black bars that appear on the sides or top and bottom of rectangular photos. They are very ugly. Sometimes there’s no way to crop the photo to eliminate the bars. For example, cropping a tombstone–very much a rectangle–into a square eliminates too much detail, and I have found that even photos of people sometimes can’t be cropped without cutting off either the top of the head or the chin. This isn’t good. On Old the fact that some photos were rectangles wasn’t obvious because the background color (white) matched the color of the bars (white). No cropping would be necessary if the same held true on New. In fact, in this very blog, your examples (see FDR above) demonstrate what I mean. The bars are grey like the background, so they aren’t visually intrusive. So, you know what to do and it is clearly possible. I hope you change the grey color entirely, but if you keep it, please make the bars the same grey! Thanks.

  47. douggrf

    Hooray for adjustable dynamic square photos in profiles – just exactly what is needed. For those of you who are even fussier about framing and background colors – keep in mind the following options.
    1) Use the raw original photo image at its native resolution. The Ancestry adjustable cropping tool with movable framing can do the job for 99.9 percent of the members.
    2) If you are unhappy with the framing possibility with native resolution, then take your photo into an independent editor and adjust the resolution to your liking. Then import back into Ancestry for some slightly different resize/frame perspective. This will be necessary for about .001% of membership uploaded photos. And then again why bother at the fuss?
    3)If you are unhappy with background color/border issues, then again an independent editor treatment will solve the problem. This will be helpful to a small sample of some unusual photographs. Can be done very well but not really for those who faint near the computer keyboard.

  48. Mary R.

    I read through these Comments and see that subscribers are reporting damage done to their trees when they go into the New format and then back to Classic. It’s terrible that you’ve lost so much work and have to deal with this high level of stress. But perhaps there’ll be justice for us after all: In the rush to make money off our family trees, the head honchos are rendering them useless. Scrambled dates and countries; mismatched marriages and mates; media vanishing; public trees gone private. Young or old, smart-phone or laptop user, no one will pay for this mount of misinformation.

  49. Elizabeth Hebert

    I am incredibly frustrated and disappointed in the new Ancestry interface. It is SO hard just to find a document that was formerly easily found on Ancestry’s Search function before but now requires going thru every darn “collection” on the site and “guessing” where it might be, whereas before, your site searched by name for any and all documents. I don’t’ care about other people with the same family name when I’m searching for a specific individual, especially when I already have copies of documents found on Ancestry for such persons when I used Ancestry under it’s old format. What the heck??? I cannot renew if the site has become so darn complicated and way way to many layers deep to find anything on a specific person without searching every single collection you have. Go back to name specific searching or i’m out.

  50. Carrie

    For Barbara: I don’t use FTM but in the online Classic trees, you can “de-dupe” as you say, by using the Merge tool. It’s in the profile page under options.

    Even in the well used and well liked Classic Ancestry, I do find the system will save different records differently, and sometimes give you a duplicate person.

    People who copy trees probably have this problem more than the ones who look at others’ trees, and then go and do the research. Very important NOT to be a name-gatherer.

  51. thameslass

    It is really good to have square photos back!
    However, when the images are rectangular, there is a black strip showing on two sides. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to have the background to photos in the *same grey* as the background of the *rest of the top pane* to avoid this?

  52. thameslass

    I really wish there was a quick way here to show our appreciation of others’ posts. However, lacking a ‘like’ button, I would just like to thank Monika and ‘Karen in England’ (as you might guess form my name I’m also from England) for all their constructive posts over over the past few months.

  53. thameslass

    I notice that Trish has already written about the apparently very short marriages that Life Story creates when different sources *from Ancestry* have added the info as separate facts/events. I really don’t want to have to go through every profile to check and remove or add sources to every fact (even though it is easier in new Ancestry), and am just amending them as I come across them.
    I really hope that no-one else ever tries to read the Life Stories in my tree which give the impression that many of my ancestors seem to have problems with committing to their spouses.

  54. thameslass

    I notice that the ‘relationship’ detail is missing from the images in this update – its appearance seems to have been intermittent over the past few days.
    I know that there have been various problems with it (often the calculation itself doesn’t tally with the result displayed), but I do hope that it will be remain as a feature and also that the ‘not you?’ function will be reinstated asap.

  55. KathM

    Until fictitious LifeStory is removed from Ancestry, the website is worthless. Why would anyone want to research and post accurate information to their tree when they know Ancestry will auto-generate it into a fairy tale complete with pictures that have nothing to do with their family’s story? I’m tired of being told by Ancestry to “ignore” the pictures if I don’t want to see them. And when is Louisiana going to have parishes instead of “counties”? We’re all being made to look stupid.

  56. Monika

    @Karen in England – Regarding your questions referring to the ancestry Questionnaire. I know exactly what you are referring to. I too was wondering how to answer that questionnaire since my answers would be completely different if I answered these questions referring to Classic Ancestry or New Ancestry. So, I wrote “Do Not Know” at every answer until I came to the first opportunity to type in my comments. There I explained why I had checked off “I do not know” and then I gave them my feedback on all these questions with reference to Classic Ancestry and then my feedback with reference to New Ancestry. I took advantage of every comments section they offered. I used to work for a researcher and had to learn to create questionnaires. There is a reason why there is a saying that “There are lies, then there are damned lies, and then there are statistics!” The majority of the people may not put as much thought into answering these questions as you did. So, some of them may have answered them thinking of Classic Ancestry only. Others may have answered them thinking of New Ancestry only, thereby making the questionnaire worthless unless the person answering elaborates what (s)he is referring to. Questionnaires can also be written in a certain way so as to receive the response you want to receive, so that you get to hear what you want to hear and not necessarily what you should be hearing. E.g., if the majority of the people answering the questionnaire are still referring to Classic Ancestry, but ACOM wants to use it to prove how satisfied their customers are with New Ancestry, they can–based in the responses–say “See, everybody loves New Ancestry”! I am not saying that this is what they are doing, but this could be the result of ambiguous questionnaires that do not tell you exactly what specifically they are referring to.

  57. Carol

    Monica on Oct 11: You cited a very real problem. I had been thinking about the very same thing and wasn’t sure what to do. Of course when I try new Ancestry and then go back to the Classic, I am always given 4 boxes to check or not check and I always put in my comments that reflect new Ancestry and what I don’t like about it.

    But when it comes to other surveys, I always answer referring to the new Ancestry. We should be careful about these questionnaires and surveys to be sure our answers are directed at the right version. Somehow, spell it out with words. I keep getting a third party questionnaire that is confusing as to which version they are referring to. They come in as popups and interrupt my work.

    Even in the Classic, Life story is a joke but we could ignore it. The new Fact Column is worthless. I don’t want to wade through all the births and deaths of the persons’ siblings and children and spouses. Those purple lines are terrible. There is too much redundancy in that whole page with the Fact, Life Story. I’d like to toggle OFF those columns forever!

    For years I would have recommended Ancestry without hesitation. Now I will explain what someone is getting into for their money.

  58. Carolyn Kahles

    The new version has me so aggravated that I’d like to cancel my ancestry membership. Nothing is easy, I don’t care for the “story view” and I’d just like to have my info I’ve worked on for years available to me again! I spend so much time trying to navigate that I don’t get anything meaningful done. If it isn’t going to change (and I’m told it isn’t) then we are done!

  59. gp_4hbc

    Carolyn summed it all very well. As a collective group of protesters, “we are all done” with unless there is a choice made to retain the “classic” version. That’s all we have to say about it. Case closed!

  60. Mary R.

    From “The Ancestry Insider,” Thurs., Oct. 8, 2015. “FamilySearch has added logo buttons on the person pages of Family Tree that launch record searches on partner websites:,, and For more information, see “New Feature: Search Genealogy Records on the Web’s Largest Sites” on the blog.”
    From: Family Search Blog, by Matt Wright. Sept. 28, 2015.
    “We have taken a step closer to the elusive genealogy ‘easy button’. On the Person Page of each of your ancestors in FamilySearch Family Tree there are now three additional genealogy sites you can access for a genealogy records search. In addition to FamilySearch (naturally) you will find logos for three of the largest family history websites [Ancestry, findmypast, and MyHeritage]. A simple click on any of the logos takes you to that site and initiates a global search of that site’s records. When you arrive at the site, you are already looking at the results of your search. Search results are based on whatever information you have for that person in FamilySearch Family Tree, so names, birth date, spouse name, etc. It is a simple and efficient way to search vast databases of genealogically relevant information with a single click. Go to FamilySearch Family Tree and try it out on our own person page. From there you can jump around to ancestors and try searching genealogy records on the other sites to see what you can find. This is bound to speed up your research, and you just might discover records you have never seen before.”
    o One comment pertained to payment. The reply:
    o “Diane, I’m sorry that some of them had bad experiences. Just so you are aware, you can sign up for and MyHeritage for free if you are a member of the LDS church for free here:”

  61. Mike

    This is no longer a genealogy site….its aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa…alot of nothing….absolutely nothing….they have completely ruined a perfectly good genealogy site and turned it into a waste of my time

  62. mickie

    you say that you appreciate our feedback……but is anybody at Ancestry even listening to our feedback’s? It sure doesn’t look that way. If we the subscribers had a vote in this I would say to get rid of all the people who came up with this New Ancestry concept!

  63. Monika

    I just received an answer from regarding my e-mail to them asking them to help me to get out of New Ancestry on It came from Trevor, with whom I have had correspondence in the past. He is a nice guy whom expects to use the “canned” responses. So, he asks me if I have gotten the help I needed when I called yesterday. Then he continues on and says “We do wish to inform you that as we continue to move forward with New Ancestry and optimize it for continued use, members will find themselves switched over from the Old Ancestry to the new experience. However, we know that as you use the New Ancestry, you will discover many new and exciting features that will enhance your family history endeavor.” You talk about being tone deaf!!! I have lived every where in the world except Africa and Asia, but I have never been treated with so much insensitivity anywhere in the world. Clearly, this sort of arrogance comes from feeling secure that you can get away with what you are doing.

  64. emam

    I have been using the old Ancestry only occasionally having a peek into the new. I would like to have a look at the changes in the new, like the square photo, but after reading some of the comments about things changing I am not going to take the RISK.

    I have also had the questionnaire (in England) and answered favourably for the old Ancestry making sure I repeatedly said that I was referring to the classic.
    At the end I was taken to a review site because I had given a good report. I wrote out a review saying I would not recommend the new Ancestry but I had to create an account and I don’t want to do this.

  65. JM / UK

    Re Mary R’s comment about Family Search and the 4 ‘one click’ access buttons – I tried these, 3 out of the 4 worked but not the ‘Ancestry’ button! [I am not an LDS member]

  66. emam

    A question for those who like the new Ancestry.

    I am curious and wondering if those of you who like the new Ancestry would answer the following for me please.

    1, What age range are you. 20-30, 30-50, 50-60, or 60+?

    2. What sort of tree do you have on Ancestry? Do you have a tree that has lots of information added to it.
    For instance when you have added a census record do you add information from the census like street address and who the people are living with, or do you just save the census with the information that Ancestry have generated.
    Do you add photos to a fact so that they show as a thumbnail on each fact.
    Do you add additional facts with information that you have found from other sources than ancestry.
    Do you add stories or information about a person’s life to your tree.
    How many people do you have in your tree.
    Do you spend time every day on your tree or only dabble on it now and again.
    Do you use a desk top computer or do you use a mobile type device like a tablet or phone.

  67. Joni Anderson

    I like the new Ancestry, and really like the cropped photo option. But I’m hoping you will soon bring back the military pages, or something comparable. Also, I’m having a lot of trouble syncing with this new Ancestry, and I’ve found several others are, too. I’ve tried unlinking and relinking the tree, but that didn’t work. I’ve tried uploading a gedcom without media, and it happened there too. I have another tree that is much smaller, with no media, also not syncing well. I tried this on a different computer, too.

  68. gp_4hbc

    To emam, you pose some very good questions to people who claim they “like” the new Ancestry. It will be interesting to see if you get any responses. I bet it will be in the age group 20-30 who just save from other AMT’s or do not even look at a record and just click and click. They want instant gratification of the so-called stories that Ancestry created for them.

    To Joni, if you are working with FTM2014 of course it will not sync properly with Ancestry as the program is not designed for the “new” Ancestry.

  69. I am finally adjusted to the New Ancestry and am actually not as unhappy with it as I once was. BUT until you add back the Continue Searching function, I will NEVER be happy with it. Having to click backwards every time I modify a search is annoying and wasteful. Often I forget and lose my search parameters. I am happy to see this issue FINALLY made the update, but when will it actually be fixed? It took months to change from round to square picture frames. I can only imagine how long this might take….

  70. Mike

    What a complete disaster. This may end up as one of those business school cases of how NOT to design a website. How many heads are going to roll over this one?

  71. Mary R. This blog is a must-read. Posted on ancestry’s mobile site ten months ago, introducing “Historical Insights” first to Apple/Mac/Iproducts. The first comments seem to be from people who liked the concept; these comments are followed by people who actually experienced the intrusions on their trees, disliked “Historical Insights,” and were asking for a way to turn it off. So, ten months ago, Ancestry knew there’d be opposition.

  72. Laurie Keller

    I don’t know if this is the new Ancestry, but the problem has cropped up at the same time the “new” appeared. When I click on search on an individual’s profile page, I get the usual results, but as soon as I start moving the cursor down, disappears and I get a Yahoo “can’t find it” page. At first I was able to sneak the cursor around and avoid this, but now it happens consistently, every single time. HELP! (It’s not my browser, which works as it always did before, nor is it my OS, which hasn’t changed.)

  73. Laurie Keller

    The message I get on Yahoo (which I never use) is: “The requested URL “″ cannot be found or is not available. Please check the spelling or try again later.”

  74. Vince

    To Mary R: Thanks for providing that link to comments about Ancestry’s December 2014 roll-out of Historical Insights for Apple/Mac products. The later comments from people who actually viewed the feature and wanted an on/off switch, as well as the myriad of similar comments in these blogs regarding the feature as provided in New Ancestry, may be why Ancestry implemented the Historical Insights of New Ancestry as just hints. Happily, they never appear to anyone other than the tree owner or an invited editor unless the tree owner or editor chooses to “accept” each one by clicking “Review” and then “Keep”. And the tree owner or editor can hide all of the hints from his or her own view by choosing “Hide Historical Insights” from the “gear” icon on the LifeStory page of any individual. Then the hints no longer appear for any individual in the tree.

    Now Ancestry needs to provide an On/Off switch (with Off as the default) for the entire LifeStory feature of New Ancestry, so that no one can see it unless the tree owner or an invited editor for the tree chooses to display it. This choice could be provided as an extension of the way the system currently refrains from showing the Historical Insights generated for the LifeStory view to anyone other than the tree owner and members invited as editors for a tree, unless a given Historical Insight is “accepted” for display to other members by the tree owner or an editor.

  75. Janice

    I am at my witts end here! Not being able to attach stories to a fact is ridiculous! And no icon to let me or viewers know that there are items attached is even worse!

    WHEN are you going to re-establish that function. I have been working on adding text obituaries to several profiles and having to hunt through the gallery is simply beyond the biggest waste of time for me the researcher and my family the viewers.

    You want a citation? How crazy is that? You don’t require a citation if I scan the obituary or story as an image!

    I have tried repeatedly to be nice about this, have sent many, many feedback notes and answered your surveys, yet you have ruined MY timelines and don’t seem to even care about it. And with 46,088 profiles and about 50 relatives helping me build our extended family tree, plus paying more than $600.00 a year to ancestry, I EXPECT THIS TO BE CORRECTED IMMEDIATELY!

    This time, I expect a definitive response from someone at ancestry that actually knows what in the world is going on around there!

  76. I had not been on ancestry for several months. I do not like the changes. I have been a customer for manybe years, if I have lost info I will quite unhappy. Thomiana Davis

  77. BEE

    Kristie, I do appreciate your reply to my comment, but I would like to see direct replies to the many questions and complaints by others on this {and previous} blogs rather than lumping them all together as “feedback you are reviewing”. I do remember other blogs where individual questions were addressed as people posted their questions and comments, so it’s been done. I’m a self-taught “senior” computer user, but I’ve learned a lot since my first computer almost 15 years ago even if I don’t understand all the “computer talk/jargon”. I think it was about 2008 when my husband asked me what I wanted for an anniversary gift, and I replied “a subscription to”. I have had World Explorer Membership for years, and use it extensively, and recommended it to many. When anyone asked me what I was doing, I said “I live on”. While all my trees have been private from day one, I have met people related to my husband and me, as well as those of brothers-in-law, nieces, nephews, cousins and grandchildren. I’ve corresponded with people from Maine to California, and Canada to “the homeland”. Because of my tenacity, stubbornness? and obsession with genealogy, I have helped many people find documents no one else could find, meet relatives they didn’t know they had, and even connected them with long-lost friends. My husband has many health issues, and there have been family trials and tribulations, so besides my prayer life, has been my oasis. I find time for it almost every day of the week, and can easily get lost for hours. House work gets zipped through, and supper has often been late as I spend “just a few more minutes” hunting for that illusive bit of information. My trees have no photos, so while I opposed the circles, it didn’t affect me personally, but many of the complaints others have written about do. I have no use for LifeStory with ridiculous things that my ancestors would never know or care about. I have written my own stories to share with family. I do add comments such as the name of ships, sponsors and street addresses, obituaries, etc.
    I have gone to “new” ancestry a number of times, but never stay long enough to do any research. It is SO dark and depressing to look at – UGLY colors {as I have commented on previous blogs and “feedback”} – I get out of there as soon as possible, so I can only go by what others say about the difficulty in navigating with the extra clicking, missing features, etc. I do miss “search the web”. I DREAD the day I have to use it. I think people have forgotten that was just a couple of years ago when what people are calling “classic” was introduced {forced on us}. I complained then about those horrible {imho} sliders that were added. I search for many ethnic names, and the sliders are useless. I have my own process, and have been very successful. I also complained about the placement of “Story View” because mistakenly clicking on it meant you had to wait for it to “disappear” before proceeding with an edit, and of course, “PHANTOM HINTS” still a problem since 2012, and still there in “new ancestry”! I do apologize for the length of this post. I’m sure you have more important things to do than read my ramblings, but I hope you found time to read most of it.

  78. Mary

    This is all so depressing. We have been subscribers for more than ten years & I cannot get the new Ancestry to work on my iPad. The help person at customer service told me to enable cookies & when I told her I am using up to date Safari with cookies enabled, she told me to use a regular computer! Well, my husband uses that for work all day; I can’t yank it away from him.

    So when they do take away “Classic Ancestry,” I don’t know what to do because it is very intuitive, easy to read, & everything is on one profile page for each person. And the media items I had added were easy for invited “guests” to spot. From what you folks are saying, they are now invisible.

    I will no longer be able to use Ancestry when they take away the “old” version, and I have 38 trees with thousands of people. What site should I turn to that is as good as “Old Ancestry”?

  79. Judith

    I am a Mac user and public library genealogy librarian.

    Out of curiosity, to find out what all the uproar was among my clients/patrons about Ancestry’s latest “transformation”, I went over to visit “new”. Disgusted by the tangles it produced in my own research, I quickly returned to Classic. I now add my own voice to the uproar, an uproar that is perfectly justified!

    Librarians will tell you that if you have a good program through which to input your data, don’t mss with it. In other words, leave Classic as the main program, and make “new” an option only. Thank you.

  80. Trisha

    @Barbara, in response to your posting on 10th Oct.
    In your comment you thank ancestry for the great service it provides, saying you enjoy the blogs, but find the comments distracting. You then say that if ancestry ran demographics on membership, there would be a good percentage in the 50+ and 65+ categories, and that more than likely the programmers and planners working on new ancestry are young so what they believe is easy is very difficult for seniors. You go on to say that older people were not raised with computers so perhaps testing with a sample group would help with acceptance.
    Barbara, you say you like new ancestry. So it seems you can manage perfectly well with that awful background colour can you, doesn’t it hurt your eyes at all? How do you feel about all the mistakes in the comic strip? Personally, I think ancestry had a nerve to rewrite our stories, and make them into a joke. And don’t you get fed up with all that scrolling down, Quite honestly, by the time I have scrolled down to the bottom I couldn’t care less how many children they had, it all becomes a blur!
    Let me just say this to you Barbara. It is not the fact that seniors find new ancestry difficult like you said. It’s nothing to do with that Barbara, it’s the fact that it is the complete wrong format for any really serious family researching.
    I came to ancestry just over four years ago, from the Genes site when they started messing about, I took one look at ancestry and thought wow, what a fantastic format this is for building a family tree, yes, they even had the green lines and leaves on the page when I joined back then, and I thought that was a really nice touch, gave it an antique feel, and that’s really what ancestry is all about, it’s about the old! How do you think our ancestors would have felt to be remembered in the way ancestry now intends them to be? They had high standards in those days!
    Working on classic ancestry these last four years has been wonderful, an oasis for me personally after some tough times, spent hours and hours working on my trees, lost track of time in fact some nights.
    Now I know there is no way I will enjoy working on that new awful format, it just does not look right at all, we have got to enjoy the format we work on Barbara, they must give us the choice of formats. one for the younger group and KEEP CLASSIC FOR ALL THE SENIORS ON THE SITE WHO SO ENJOY BUILDING THEIR TREES ON THAT UNIQUE OLD PROFILE PAGE, NO SCROLLING REQUIRED, EVERYTHING SEEN AT A GLANCE, BRILLIANT FORMAT. ANCESTRY, THINK ABOUT ALL YOUR SENIOR CUSTOMERS, YOUR BREAD AND BUTTER CUSTOMERS THAT ROGER REFERRED TO EARLIER!

  81. Cheryl R

    Thank you, Ancestry, for returning to the square picture profiles. I would really like to see the “search the web” feature brought back. I have found a lot of information using that feature.

  82. Susan Shirey

    Kristie Wells. Thank you for letting us know our comments are heard! Sometimes hasn’t seemed that way.

    I stongly agree with Jan Murphy that Ancestry should hire someone well-versed in vision science. I have a little experience with the visual accessibility standards for websites. I don’t think the New Ancestry format and color scheme would meet them. Makes New Ancestry harder for everyone, but particularly those age 40+ and the visually challenged, to use.

  83. gp_4hbc

    The “new” Ancestry is not for anyone, REGARDLESS of their age. The “bread and butter” are all the loyal customers that Ancestry has or had with the “classic” interface.” One’s age has nothing to do with it! People of ALL ages have complained about it.

  84. Monika

    I just tried to leave New Ancestry four times while on Each time that I typed in (which is what ancestry support told me to do) the screen came up telling me “Es tut mir leid dass Sie uns verlassen” (in English: Sorry to see you leave) and then it asks me why. So I check off why I want out of new ancestry, add some comment in the comment box and press on “Neue Erfahrungen verlassen” meaning “Leaving the new experience”, and when I press on that….I am still in New Ancestry. But, at least, today, my pictures are in the tree. So, I called my computer guru and he will be here on Wednesday to talk to from my home and get me out of new ancestry. They will have a hard time putting wool over his eyes. He used to be a big computer guru at the U.S. Defense Department before he retired and became a friend of ours when we once sat next to him in an airplane. My husband used to work on the B-1 project, so they had a lot to chat about. He has serviced my computers ever since.

  85. Monika

    @Laurie Keller – A few weeks ago–I do not remember exactly when–I was in working away and it bounced me out several times saying onto a ‘page’ saying “Server not Found” (whether that was in Yahoo or what…that I do not know), but I kept pressing the “return” arrow and it bounced me right back into I did not think anything of it, except that the heading on was saying something about them working on their site from…to…. So I considered the possibility that that had something to do with it. Did not think much of it and it has not happened since.

  86. Jolene

    I agree with Monika and Elhura. What has done with our trees is, they have taken away our autonomy over several crucial features of these, our own personal trees. Last week I tried to post about missing documents from their own collections that have disappeared due to renaming or otherwise having been electronically moved and are unrecoverable. I too am seeking where I can put my 12+ year’s work – my trees (one being 7300+) so that it will remain static and will remain in MY editorship/authorship and not fall prey to an online program or programs attempting to please several generations and actually pleasing none. I have put RootsMagic 7 on my Christmas wishlist and will be moving my tree to RootsMagic 7 from FamilyTreemaker 2011 (which has been unstable from time to time). I have been doing extensive research, of which still is a valuable tool [research only] and plan to upload my trees, once completed, to, which has, over the years, been a far more stable and user friendly site online. I am so utterly disappointed in the New Ancestry profile page format and the disappearing citations [now rendered “unavailable in all languages”] from their own collections. As stated previously, I am still in the process of “cleaning up” such anomalies from the last major shift in Ancestry programming about 3-4 years ago.

  87. gp_4hbc

    To Laurie and Monika, when you see that the message that Ancestry is working on the site between certain hours, do not attempt to work on your tree as you’ll definitely have interruptions/issues with their server. It is nothing you did or not the fault of your browser or your computer. Just wait it out and try before/after the hours they specify..

  88. Jolene

    I agree with Monika and Elhura. What has done with our trees is, they have taken away our autonomy over several crucial features of these, our own personal trees. Last week I tried to post about missing documents from their own collections that have disappeared due to renaming or otherwise having been electronically moved and thus unrecoverable. I happened to save the details for this item under the “edit” feature in “source” mode – (a habit I adopted after the LAST Ancestry major change about 3-4 years ago). The lost item was specifically: “Virginia, Wills and Probate Records, 1652-1983”, specifically: “Will Books, 1743-1898; General Index to Wills, 1743-1917; Author: Virginia. County Court (Frederick County); Probate Place: Frederick, Virginia”… I had saved this to my tree about two months ago – now it has obviously been renamed or removed and is no longer usable. Tried to “redo” the “search” and find this lost collection anew in, but to no avail. Disappointed.
    I too am seeking where I can put my 12+ year’s work – my trees (one being 7300+) so that it will remain static and will remain in MY editorship/authorship and not fall prey to an online program or programs attempting to please several generations and actually pleasing none. I have put RootsMagic 7 on my Christmas wishlist and will be moving my tree to RootsMagic 7 from FamilyTreemaker 2012 (which has been unstable from time to time).
    I have been doing extensive research, of which still is a valuable tool [research only now] and plan to upload my trees, once completed, to, which has, over the years, been a far more stable and user friendly site online. I am so utterly disappointed in the New Ancestry profile page format and the disappearing citations [now rendered “unavailable in all languages”] from their own collections. As stated previously, I am still in the process of “cleaning up” such anomalies from the last major shift in Ancestry programming about 3-4 years ago.

  89. Jolene

    Why am I still unable to post? I have been auto-blocked since Sep 20th. The programmers need to clear the timer on blocked IP addresses. Or are they purposely trying to silence constructive feedback? Frustrated that I can no longer participate…I thought that was reaching out to modern means of communicating?

  90. Jolene

    I do not believe that there are actually moderators (other than computer programs) on any of these blogs. I have not been able to post to ANY Ancestry blogs since Sep 20 when I tried to post twice in a row. C’mon Ancestry Blog Dept., this smacks of OLD technology/outdated programming skillset…

  91. Joyce

    emam –you make a great point–I document my folks to death and find the NEW just horrible to work with–but folks who add one or 2 Census docs may be quite content with NEW….From what I am seeing it is experienced genealogists who are complaining the most, while those who view this as a “hobby” to look at now and then and not get “totally invested” in it may be happy with the NEW—I don’t like NEW at all and there are so many things that make it more difficult—we have lost several key print functions (profile page), everything takes longer to do, those stupid purple lines CONFUSE things rather than make them clear—I am not happy and suspect U never will be unless they maintain the Classic view as the basic premise of how the site is laid out is the problem. When refreshing my memory on someone it used to take me about 1 minute–NOW I have to go to a few different places to see the info I used to see at a glance—and telling me what age an ancestor was when their sibling was born is just useless info —while knowing what ages people were when their parents died IS useful…either way to format of NEW is awful and the suite is sluggish and difficult to use making me click on a lot of different things I used to be able to see quickly. On a scale of 1-10 I give NEW Ancestry a big fat ZERO

  92. Joyce

    A quote from the petition site @

    If you have not signed it DO SO and pass it on to other folks you know

    Here is the quote

    These changes are a sophomoric nightmare. The old one had many glitches, which you never bothered to fix, but this is impossible. You obviously have too many salaried people around with nothing to do. I have over 10,000 entries, and many friend users. If you don’t go back, I am bailing out, and recommending same to others.. It is too difficult, frustrating, unaesthetic, and and simply not user friendly. You should check on the average usage level of the people who dislike it! Let me know if you want to know how I REALLY feel!

    There are MANY comments there which I anticipate will be sent to Tim Sulllivan soon…I don’t think these folks realize HOW many people are not happy…and these miniscule #’s on the petition are a small representation considering MOST people don’t even know the petition site exists.

    Many people have canceled memberships or intend to if they take Classic access away.

    The NEW site is just too horrific

  93. Robin

    I am in the process of transferring every person one by one…have gotten 501 done!!!. About every 15th person I have done, I see the following in the source section (CLASSIC ANCESTRY) ” unknown in any language”, like there was a source there that is now missing. If I click on it I get a message saying Ancestry can’t find this record. Ancestry…is this because of what Joyce mentioned earlier, that databases have been removed?

  94. Monika

    Today I received another e-mail from Trevor of Customer Support who had done some research for me to find out how I can get out of New Ancestry on He writes: “Sadly, there is not a way to go back to the Classic Experience in I do understand your frustration with the New Ancestry experience and hope that you do take the time to explore some of the features (especially the new LifeStory feature).” !!!! If there is not a way to go back to the Classic Experience in, why is it that–when you type the address the same page comes up (written in German) that comes up written in English when you want to exist New Ancestry out of The text in German is an exact translation of the text in English, saying “we re sorry to see you leave” “tell us what you do not like about it” and then a button to press that says “leaving New Ancestry” (Neue Erfahrung verlassen). If getting out of new ancestry is not an option why set up an http address that leads you to a form pretending that you can get out using that form??? Unbelievable folks! Unbelievable! What has happened to what was once a reputable and wonderful site! I would love to find the sight were the German members complain because does not have a blog section that is equivalent to ours. They do have a blog section but they deal with it completely differently than we do. So, maybe the German members are going on Facebook with their complaints, because believe me, they will not like it. I for one have to now uninvite all my German cousins from that tree, because I will not impose New Ancestry on them

    @gp_4hbc. No worries! I have worked away at times when that message was on and have never had any problems except that one time. No way of knowing what caused it. Sometimes you have to “steal” the time to work on your trees whenever you can!

  95. Elhura

    Thanks, Monika, for your information and Joyce, for promoting the petition and link in your above post. Each time I check, the numbers are growing steadily, but I would suppose need to move quickly to the desired number of signees for the originator to share it in time. I, too, wonder if Tim Sullivan and some of the others at Ancestry are fully aware of the petition or the serious content of the comments made:

  96. Monika

    @Mary R. Thanks for sharing these two websites with us. Very interesting reading! I guess I have to investigate MyHeritage a little more. Found the comments on pictures really interesting. It reminded me of the day when I tracked down one of my German cousins (whom I had located through the book “700 years in Dittersbach”). When I finally established contact with him, he sent me a picture of himself and his four siblings, taken when they were in their 20s. I went into shock when I saw that I was in that picture! Here I was in that light blue suit that I owned in my 20s! How did I get into that picture?? But, of course, it was not me! It was one of my cousins, born about the same time I was, who looked so much like me that she had me confused enough to wonder how I had gotten into that picture. Not to mention that her taste in clothing was so similar to mine that we both owned the same light blue suit! It is things like that that have me hooked on genealogy.

  97. mike

    Monika: What a horrible experience for you and what BS you got from Ancestry. I wouldn’t put up with it for another minute! I hope you download your trees while in the classic view and I’d say bye-bye to Ancestry and their nonsense. And Robin why are you transferring the individuals in your tree “one by one” and to where? Why not just download a copy of the whole file as a GEDCOM to your computer so you can use it in genealogical software or whatever you wish to do with it. Correct me if I maybe read your statement wrong. Right, Mary R., as I don’t think people know anymore what a phone was designed for. This cell phone crap has gotten out of hand, in my opinion. Personally, I would never put any of my family information on any site such as MyHeritage as I want complete control of it at all times and want my information kept private. Some people want to share with others and do go on sites like Ancestry and others; it depends on your goals. I would have to think this experience with the new Ancestry would make you think twice about it.

  98. Monika

    @Mike – Thank you for your feedback. I guess I’ll stay away from MyHeritage. Particularly since my main beef with is that it is taking my control over my trees away from me by adding the rubbish called LifeStory and “historical facts”. But, yes, of course, I downloaded all my trees onto FTM weeks ago, unsinc’d and unlinked my FTM from weeks ago. Also bought the Rootsmagic software and placed my French tree onto Geneanet. So, I am good! In the meantime I am working on my German tree in where it still shows in Classic Ancestry. But the letter I received from support this morning tells me to be prepared that New Ancestry will be the only way to view our trees “shortly”. We shall find out what “shortly” means. I receive more and more e-mails from people (who have as much as 40,000 people in their tree) who tell me that they have never been a paying member of and have only used for free to sync data into their FTM. I can’t believe how many people are doing that, and here I was dumb enough to pay ancestry for so many years to put data into the trees that I had obtained without their help, by my going to churches, archives and city halls. I guess I am not as smart as I think I am! 🙂

  99. Carmen

    @Monika, I’m confused about exactly how FTM works. I’ve never used tree maker software. Can you explain why/how someone would use Ancestry to sync their data? In other words, if they don’t pay to use Ancestry and are not using them for research, why wouldn’t they put the information they gather from their research directly into FTM? I don’t understand the need for Ancestry as a middleman. I’m trying to figure out the best way for me to preserve my research before it’s all destroyed but just need a better understanding of what’s available and how it works. Thanks!

  100. Monika

    @Carmen – Quite frankly, I have not figured out how that works either. The trees they have created on FTM are also on E.g., the tree of one of them is on and has 40,000 names in it. When I asked him how he felt about new ancestry he said he did not care because he was not a paying member of, did his work on FTM and then sync’d that data onto ancestry, thereby showing his tree on I have been an editor on his tree for two years now and did not know that this is how he is doing it. Another one is from ancestry.australia and we have some common ancestors. Again, I contacted him to see how he felt about new ancestry and he told me the exact same thing, namely that he was not a paying member and did all his work on FTM which then Syncs his tree onto ancestry.australia. And there are many others. They have all the census records and other records from in their trees. I guess I can try and find out more about how that works from them and then I let you know.

    gp_4hbc. Thanks for your comments re MyHeritage. I will skip them! Question for you, please! I looked into Booksmart today. Are you using BLURB or? Would you mind sharing with me what text layout you used and what font did you choose? Would appreciate your help on that and any tips you have. Seems to be a very user friendly program. Thanks!

  101. Martin

    Answer from support when I asked for a progress update on the faults I had reported as nothing seemed to be happening.

    “I am sorry that the developers of the site do not give out information to the public. We give out information when the problem is resolved so we can tell the customer it is resolved. ”

    In others words we like to keep customers in the dark regarding any progress in the hope they will get fed up and stop asking awkward questions.

  102. gp_4hbc

    To Carmen: If you use FTM software and do not sync it to Ancestry, then it is a stand-alone program you can use off-line once you download your tree from Ancestry. However, I do not know if Ancestry will upgrade their program to reflect the new Ancestry, so that could be a problem in the future for you or anyone using FTM. In other words the program could then become unusable unless you do the update, which might reflect the new Ancestry and then you are back to square one unless you like the upgraded Ancestry online. If you do not pay Ancestry, it will not affect the use of FTM as long as you do not sync your tree. I do not recommend anyone use the sync function anyway. Just download your tree from Ancestry and use FTM as a stand-alone program.

    Better yet, get yourself a free copy of Legacy and work with that and then you’ll have no worries. Just download a GEDCOM file from Ancestry and upload Legacy. That way you’ll have complete control of your family tree. There is a free edition available on their website and a video that is free to familiarize yourself with the use of this great program. It takes a bit of a learning curve to use and there is a group on Facebook that is created to help people with questions they might have. When you become more advanced in the use of it, I’d upgrade to the paying version which affords many more features. I agree that you want to preserve all your research and regular backups to genealogy software is recommended anyway. Hope that answers your question. Remember that a GED file will NOT contain any media so I hope you have saved all the pictures and other graphic material on your computer so you can access it. You could always download your tree into FTM and then export it from there and there is a work-around in Legacy to get past the inconsistencies of Ancestry files. There is more I could say on the subject but I’ll leave it at that for now.

    To Monika: Thanks for answering my post. I can see why you’d skip MyHeritage. Some people may like it but it just will not afford all the databases that people can use that Ancestry offers. It is just too bad they will not retain the classic version that it’s customers want and liked in the past.

    As to your question regarding Booksmart that is Blurb but the software associated with it is called, “Booksmart.” I hope that didn’t confuse you. As to text layout and font used, it is all a matter of choice. Please write to me through @gp_4hbc and we can discuss it’s use further as this forum is really not for discussing other matters . I’ll give you my direct email address at that time and maybe I can share more information.

    To Martin: You got that right!

  103. Elhura

    A quick question here to gp_4hbc. Knowing that photos will not transfer and that a GEDCOM file contains text only, do source citations I have created and stories I have written transfer into the GEDCOM? I hate to lose these and cannot possibly recreate these in a tree my size. My tree contains 33,000+ individuals, numerous stories and 7,000 photos with captions. A study in pioneer families of a geographic region (as they connect however remotely back to my own), I have written numerous narratives analyzing data and sorting through names of similar people found mixed in other trees. It has been a “labor of love” for my native region and people and one that I will sadly lose with the new Ancestry.

  104. gp_4hbc

    To Elhura: Simple answer is yes, the sources should all be there. However, if you have synched your tree with Ancestry from FTM it might be hairy as far as sources go. You might want to spot check to be sure. The stories will download as a links, so you’ll have to retrieve those by going to each link that you’ll see on an individual. Click on that link and it will bring up your browser from where you can copy and paste the text into the note field for each individual. An easier way to do it all is to go directly to the media file you have downloaded to your computer and you’ll see a symbol for your browser that you are using. (The media file is stored in the FTM folder on your computer). For every symbol or icon you see just click on that and it will bring up your story. You might have difficulty with it if you haven’t named your story reflecting the name of the person, read the text you see, when your browser displays the story, and that will be a clue to who you want to connect it to. Make note of where you left off, if you do not do all of them at once. I guess it depends upon how many people you have with stories attached.

    As to your photos, the only thing that you will see is the Title and you can click on date when you do a report of your media in maybe a photo album. Sorry but any descriptions in that field will be lost unless you are lucky enough to have FTM2011. Also, your stories will not be formatted right so you’ll have to correct them.

    If you are just downloading a straight GED file from Ancestry it will not contain any photos and as Ancestry has not followed genealogical industry standards some of your data might be lost. In Legacy software they have a work-around for the location field.

    I wish in this forum there was a way to show screen shots of what you need to do to retrieve your stories if you have FTM but there is not, so I hoped I explained it well enough. I cannot tell you about other genealogy software but the simple answer is no to your stories and media being downloaded into a GEDCOM file for used with other genealogy software. It is a shame you have so many individuals in your tree. I wonder if even FTM will be able to handle a file of that size. Have you used it before without issues? A straight GEDCOM file for other software should be able to handle it as you will not have your media included. Sorry for anyone who has that amount of individuals in their tree/s facing the dilemma you do. Do you have your stories stored on you computer or maybe an external HD or USB thumbdrive?

  105. I think it is a good idea to post the update in the community announcements, too. Easier to check there rather than checking and rechecking the blog. I went from public “didn’t know better” to private. I am trying to determine if the people who have accessed me when I was public can piggyback and view all my private info or is everyone denied access now that I have gone private?

  106. gp_4hbc

    Elhura, the first paragraph I wrote after the first sentence applies only to FTM. However, if you have also put your stories in the notes field on, those should be available to you on downloading a GEDCOM file which should work in any genealogy software program. I am only familiar with FTM2014 and earlier versions but my favorite is by far, Legacy. If you have further questions, you can always address them to me through @gp_4hbc. Good luck as it seems like you have a lot of work ahead of you. Also, you might consider splitting up your tree into smaller, more manageable trees as the bigger they get the more difficult to export and download and take forever, if at all. You can easily do the splitting in genealogical software..

  107. Elhura

    @gp_4hbc. Thanks for the reply. I will copy and keep it for reference as I go forward. I have FTM 2012. Several days ago, I was able to download my tree to my computer via FTM. It took 3 1/2 hours on our fastest local internet speed to download, and another 15 hours for the media, during which time I could not use my computer at all and had to disable the screen saver to prevent shut off. The tree is linked, but not synced to

    We also made a copy from FTM to an external hard drive just for permanent safekeeping. Unfortunately, I have added much data since then in a frenzy to get as much done before likely ending my work. The additions, of course, are not saved to the FTM tree on my computer.

    My unsynced FTM tree remains linked to Ancestry as I understood from information Ancestry provided that if unlinked, the tree would have to be down loaded again in order to be linked or synced.

    I would like to update the FTM tree on my computer to capture all I have added since the intial download, but am fearful too much will be lost or changed in the process. Am hopeful, however, this would not be so if I manually sync while still in the Classic Ancestry mode.

    I don’t mind also saving to a GEDCOM file if able to keep my citations and stories and will work toward doing that in the way you instructed. Many of my “stories” were composed and written directly into the Ancestry media field and are not stored on my computer, but it sounds as if, person-by-person, when I encouter them again, I can click on the link and copy and paste back into my tree. A lot of work but I may have plenty of time if not doing regular research and tree-building! Thanks again!

  108. I must agree with ALL of the other complaints about the “new and improved” site! I absolutely detest it, know may others who agree, and see how many on here who agree, as well – Elhura said it first, and very well. *thumbs up*
    I will certainly add my name to the petition, and will actually share that petition online, as well. There needs to be a way to have a choice to KEEP the Classic style rather than the clunky, awkward, hard-to-navigate “new and improved” style!

  109. I must agree with ALL of the other complaints about the “new and improved” Ancestry site! I absolutely detest it, know may others who agree, and see how many on here who agree, as well – Elhura said it first, and very well. *thumbs up*
    I will certainly add my name to the petition, and will actually share that petition online, as well. There needs to be a way to have a choice to KEEP the Classic style rather than the clunky, awkward, hard-to-navigate “new and improved” style!

  110. gp_4hbc

    Elhura: Thanks for you reply. Ah, if you are talking about upgrading FTM to the 2014 version, I’d think twice about it. Who knows, down the road, that Ancestry will update it to reflect the new Ancestry and if you do not update the program when they decide to offer the new, you will not have access to the program at all. You’ll get a message saying it’s a mandatory update and you are stuck again. I’d stick with your 2012. Of course they could just issue a new program and call it FTM2015 but who knows. You certainly do not get any info as to what their plans are at all. Personally, I prefer a stand-alone program that does not rely upon an online tree service as you store everything on your own computer.

    As to your unlinking that is fine and I admit it’s a pain to have to download you program every time you add new info but it’s the best way to do it in the long run. Just go into the FTM file after you download your updated tree and then delete the old one. Of course the time you spend on downloads is tremendous so I can understand why you do not want to do it often.

    Your stories will not be on a GEDCOM file download but you will have them on your FTM app. If I were you I’d copy all the information you get from the links when you do the cut and paste to the note field and while you are at it, just put the same thing into a document and save them to your computer and external HD. Don’t forget they are just links so if you quit Ancestry or the classic become the new then who knows what you’ll end up with as your work will probably be lost.

    Another thing…Ancestry will be updating overnight and it might be the end of the classic but who knows. They will not give us an answer to the question of “when?” I was trying to save out all my email today I have on Ancestry to a document for safe keeping but I kept getting hung up so they must have started already. There’s no excuse for that, as they give a time when updates are planned and yet start before the time specified.

    Well, you sure have your work cut out for you and everyone else that is doing the same thing. Wishing you luck and feel free to contact me through Ancestry @gp_4hbc if you have more questions. I’m not sure how long the Ancestry monitor will put up with our postings on subjects that do not relate to the new Ancestry.

  111. Joyce

    Many folks seem to be unaware that GEDCOM is an old program and only downloads the most basic stuff and source citations.

    A few years ago I downloaded my GEDCOM and reloaded to ancestry thinking it would maintain the links–guess again–I have to go through every single person and hunt for my links all over again—

    Don’t expect much at all from downloading a GEDCOM….I had to laugh when someone at ancestry recently gave me 6 months free subscription because I complained so much about new saying that 6 months should give me time to download a GEDCOM and take my tree somewhere else.

    WHAT A JOKE–10,000 people ( and that is only on ONE of my trees–I have several) and about 12,000 photo’s stories etc that took me 15 years to create and ancestry was going to GIFT me 6 months to move it all ROFLMAO

    These people have NO concept of the amount of info we would have to move if you have a large tree (and I struggle to keep it to 10,000 as more than that and many site cannot take the size of the upload)—-

    They have NO clue how much work this would be–it would take me another 10+ years to move everything–BUT maybe that is their goal–Maybe they WANT those of us with large trees using their site to host a gazillion documents ti leave as it would be less for THEIR servers to have to carry…

  112. Joyce

    Many folks seem to be unaware that GEDCOM is an old program and only downloads the most basic stuff and source citations.

    A few years ago I downloaded my GEDCOM from ancestry and reloaded it back TO ancestry thinking it would maintain the links–guess again–I had to go through every single person and hunt for my links all over again—

    Don’t expect much at all from downloading a GEDCOM….I had to laugh when someone at ancestry recently gave me 6 months free subscription because I complained so much about NEW saying that 6 months should give me time to download a GEDCOM and take my tree somewhere else.

    WHAT A JOKE–10,000 people ( and that is only on ONE of my trees–I have several) and about 12,000 photo’s stories etc that took me 15 years to create and ancestry was going to GIFT me 6 months to move it all ROFLMAO

    These people have NO concept of the amount of info we would have to move if you have a large tree (and I struggle to keep it to 10,000 as more than that and many sites cannot take the size of the upload)—-

    They have NO clue how much work this would be–it would take me another 10+ years to move everything–BUT maybe that is their goal–Maybe they WANT those of us with large trees using their site to host a gazillion documents to leave as it would be less for THEIR servers to have to carry…

    I have been a member since 2003 and for MOST of those years carried international with ALL the bells and whistles until I realized their international data was so lacking…I have spent over $5000 in outside research also, loading the info and documents from Italy and other sources outside of…Overall I have probably spent about $20,000 because I am SERIOUS about genealogy and will pay for any cert, any info I can find no matter the cost…

    and they offered to let me “pack up and go” and gave me 6 months to do it.

    WHAT A JOKE…they KNOW I have NO choice but to stay and frankly ancestry DOES have the best databases…but every time I find myself forced to go to NEW for some reason I cringe and cannot wait to switch back over to OLD…The NEW site is SO bad on SO many levels it is unbeleivable that anyone gave this any thought–UNLESS they did not have a clue about genealogy –and I suspect “The Brass” doesn’t.

  113. Joyce

    woops sorry for the repost—computer locked up and it looked like it did not take BUT 2nd post I added more info

  114. Joyce

    and BTW many folks don’t realize that if you are doing a tree to hand down to ancestors which is MY intention you MUST make provisions in your WILL to enable them to take over your account. No matter WHAT ancestry does, I am stuck with it–I have WAY too much info, documents and stories to move–but I will be VERY unhappy if they continue to ignore that fact that their NEW version is very user unfriendly, more difficult to use, has erased a lot of GOOD and important functions in a printer friendly manner –I am here for the duration–BUT I fear the ancestry’s poor decisions are eventually going to drive them to bankruptcy and I will lose not only 20K + investment but all the history I intended to leave behind for my family who had NO history before I started on this quest

  115. Robin

    I can’t create a gedcom, because somehow the going back from and or to the new ancestry created many thousands (I’m not kidding) of errors in my tree. Creating a gedcom would only export the errors, not fix them. Since I have to fix them anyway, I’m getting out of Ancestry in the process. Two birds, one stone, no gedcom!!

  116. Cyrone

    I am glad some things are being changed on the new site, but I still have yet to see any advantage to the new site as compared to the old! The worst thing to me is that awful dark block at the top of the page. How hard is it to change a color? I am considering exploring other options for my family tree. I have been a member for around 8 years and was previously extremely happy with my experience.

  117. CAH

    To Martin: I have heard from customer support people that they are not kept informed about when things will get changed or when new Ancestry will become the only Ancestry. They never answer those questions. It may be they are told not to or they really don’t know. And you know all calls are recorded. So they know which employees are following the “rules” and which customers are giving employees a hard time.

    Historically Ancestry never gives a warning on things either. One day you wake up and your favorite version is gone.

    The customers are not “the public.” We are treated like mushrooms. They keep us in the dark and dump —- on us.

  118. Carrie

    Can anyone tell me how to get to the “Shoebox” in the new ancestry? It is on the home page of the classic Ancestry, but I don’t find it on the new at all.

  119. Vince

    Carrie, I don’t see a button for the Shoebox in either version, but this link brings it up in either version:

  120. Sarah

    Warning to all Ancestry members: The latest is that if you try to download your tree to FTM2011 it will not work! You keep getting a script error and cannot get the warning box to disappear unless you bring up task manager in Windows to delete the task. If you click on “yes” or “no” many times, it does NOT work and neither does just trying to close out that script error box to end it.

    Also, if you have FTM2014 and try to download your tree, UNLINKED, you get the same script error and once again you have to bring up Task Manager in Windows to kill the job. The only way a download will work is by linking your tree to Ancestry but the worst part is after it the download is completed you cannot UNLINK your tree again as you will not be able to LINK again just to download your tree at all because of this script error message. The worst part is not being able to download your tree AT ALL in the older version of FTM2011 at all unless Ancestry fixes this script error, as that version does not have a linking feature at all. This was an issue both several times yesterday and again today! Moderator, would you please address this issue and find out what is going on.

  121. Sarah

    BTW, a script error message is the fault of the program itself and has nothing to do with your operating system or your browser connection. Also, both FTM2011 and FTM2014 are up-to-date.

  122. caith

    Also, I am not able to download my tree to FTM2014. Could the problem be because I have windows 10? Also, tried to download a GEDCOM, and it came in 4 files, none of which I can open. Windows 10 again?

  123. Sarah

    I have Windows 7 and I had no issues yesterday with downloading just a GEDCOM file that I will use in Legacy software. Someone told me yesterday that she was able to download her tree into FTM2012 and she has Windows 10. That was yesterday, so I don’t know. I’ve been getting that script error right along but was able to click on “yes” several times and it would finally work. Something is just not right. Maybe others in the forum work with Win 10 and can tell you if they have be experience. Regardless, it’s bad enough to deal with this new Ancestry baloney and it seems we are being blocked somehow by downloads in the classic interface. Caith, were you in the classic mode? I’m totally fed up with Ancestry, period! I just want to be able to download my trees!

  124. Sarah

    Caith, also are you unlinked to Ancestry? What happened when you went to download in FTM2014? Did you get the script error box or were you just unable to do anything at all?

  125. emam

    When I went to the WDYTYA roadshow earlier this year (in England), one of the stalls who had book, charts, etc and prints books told me to buy Family Historian 6 as they could print better from there. I did buy the family tree program, but so far haven’t gotten very far with it. I think mainly because when I tried to use it and uploaded a GEDCOM

  126. emam

    (sorry pressed wrong button), there was no photos. I now know from posts on here that the GEDCOM’s don’t carry media across. Has anyone else used this program as I’m now thinking of giving it a better go. How does it compare to the Legacy one that you are talking about.

  127. Sarah

    emam, There is NO comparison between them at all. Go to the Legacy software site and download a copy of the free version and watch the beginner’s video for free also. There is also a Facebook Legacy group that will answer questions for you. They are very helpful. There is a learning curve to using it and with the issues I am having now with trying to download my trees into FTM, I cannot recommend that software. Also, to help you make up your mind, go do a search on the web of ratings for genealogy software. Family Historian is horrible, in my opinion but it’s for you to decide what is right for you.

  128. emam

    Sarah, thanks I will have a look. I must admit on the few times that I have used FH, I wasn’t that impressed with it. I just thought as I had bought it that I might give it another go. As we both like the layout of the old Ancestry, I imagine we would have similar tastes in other programs. Thanks.

  129. Vince

    To Sarah and caith: Regarding use of FTM 2014 to download and sync an on-line tree at Ancestry to an FTM version, I must say that I’m having no trouble at all doing that with my main Ancestry tree of more than 8,200 individuals. From my Windows 7 Pro 64-bit PC, I made changes to the Ancestry tree both yesterday and today via the Classic interface (I don’t use the New interface to change anything) and ran a manual synchronization after both changes. The manual syncs worked normally both yesterday and today. And, contrary to the warning expressed again yesterday by commenter gp_4hbc at 10:11 am, “… As to your photos, the only thing that you will see is the Title and you can click on date when you do a report of your media in maybe a photo album. Sorry but any descriptions in that field will be lost unless you are lucky enough to have FTM2011. …”, the Description field of all photo items in my Ancestry tree does come through perfectly intact into the FTM tree. That field is called Description in the Classic interface, is identified only by a balloon icon in the New interface, and is called Description in the FTM 2014 tree. The “Picture name” field of the Classic interface is called Title in the New interface and Caption in the FTM 2014 tree. The Date field of the Classic interface, identified by a calendar icon in the New interface, is also called Date in the FTM 2014 tree.

    I also ran a download and sync of a test tree with 903 individuals and many photos at Ancestry from FTM 2014 on my Windows 10 32-bit laptop computer today and found the process to work normally. I’m sorry I can’t offer you any hints about why you are having trouble with downloads to FTM. I can just say that the TreeSync feature of FTM 2014 has worked for me without any significant problem since I began using it two years ago, and it still works normally for me on both Windows 7 and Windows 10 computers. I also don’t think that the FTM program cares at all about whether you are using the Classic interface or the New interface to access the on-line tree. My sense is that FTM just connects to the underlying data of the on-line tree. Of course, to the extent that Ancestry has added any data fields to the on-line trees for support of the New Interface, I would not expect the current FTM 2014 version ( for 64-bit computers, for 32-bit) to collect those data.

  130. Sarah

    Vince, thanks for you response. Maybe I didn’t explain it well enough to you. My trees were never synced at all in FTM2014. The only way I can download one of my smaller trees from Ancestry is to link it. I do NOT want to do that but I had to. Now that particular tree is synced until I delete it altogether. As FTM2011 does not have the sync feature at all, I cannot download that or any other tree. I just tried it again it’s the same script error box I get and I have to call up task manager to get rid of it which closes up the program. I just tried another small tree with FTM2014 and get the same error. If you link once you cannot unlink it and then relink it again so that means I would have an unlinked tree that I would not be able to download in the future until FTM corrects this script error issue. Basically, I can download a tree fine from Ancestry into FTM2014 as long as I sync it but cannot otherwise. I do NOT want to use the sync feature. Downloading unsynced trees worked fine for me the day before and many times before that. Does that explain the situation better for you? I also have 64-bit Win 7 version on both my laptop and desktop computers. BTW, I wouldn’t be caught dead using the new interface at all. These downloads attempts are all from the classic. I have already downloaded them other times so it’s not really an issue for me. I am not adding new information and most information I get elsewhere anyway.

    Also, notice the absence of moderator’s comments since a few days ago.

  131. caith

    @Sarah, yes, I was in the Classic mode; and when Classic is gone, so am I. Please tell me what “unlinked to Ancestry” means exactly. I received no script error, nothing, just noise from my computer/disk trying to do something. More than anything, I will take the blame because my computer skills are minimal. I am hesitant to go further because I have a new computer, and fear putting it in jeopardy. Many thanks to you and Vince for sharing your knowledge and experience.

  132. Sarah

    Caith, Thanks, but I only know so much. I do not claim to be an expert on anything; nobody is. Yes, I would be concerned if I were you. Unlinked means that you are not linked to Ancestry for syncing your FTM tree to Ancestry so both update auto or manually when you are linked. You see that in the little box at the top of your screen and if the is a checkmark in there, it means you are linked, so are you linked or not to the Classic?

    I’d tell you to go into your event logs but you wouldn’t know what those are if you are not too familiar with Windows and your new computer. What eventually happened or did you just terminate the program itself? Also, did this happen right away when you launched FTM or was this when you tried to download? Do you have this happen on any other app or program you try to use? I’d certainly like to know if you are linked to Ancestry as that would not be the same issue I am having in trying to download a tree using FTM as I am not linked at all for the sync function. I know once I linked and used the sync function, I was able to download my tree fine but I do NOT want that sync function at all. I’ll be leaving Ancestry anyway so I do not want that and never did.

  133. Vince

    Sarah, I do now see the script error that you mentioned and that appears in the Plan > Download a Tree from Ancestry window of FTM 2014 when I uncheck the “Link to Ancestry” box in the middle of that window. I hadn’t seen the error before, because I always leave that box checked so that the TreeSync feature works. The script error window refers to the following cryptic URL: “”, presumably identifying the source of the error. But only an Ancestry technician would be able to learn what it means and how to fix it. So I think you are correct that downloading an Ancestry tree to FTM without linking the FTM tree to the on-line Ancestry tree is not going to work until someone at Ancestry fixes the problem. I hate to ask whether you have called the Ancestry support line (choosing FTM support) to report the problem, but that might be the only way to get them to focus on it. On the other hand, you mentioned that you “… have already downloaded them other times so it’s not really an issue …” for you.

  134. Sarah

    I’m ahead of you Vince, but thanks as I found the same deal. Checked my Java update and that is fine. I did what the link told me in Ancestry on FTM2011; didn’t do 2014 yet. Unfortunately, no dice as I unchecked all the boxes in the options drop down box and closed out the program. Re-opened again and went to “options” and rechecked all the boxes as specified and closed the program. Reopened it and clicked on “download from Ancestry” and same old script box appeared. Back to task manager. What I did before terminating is I copied the link on the on the script message that gives you details on what the issue is with the program. I’ll send it to my daughter who can read stuff like that as she is an IT specialist and very versed in all that crap. I’ll let you know what she says. Meanwhile, I’ll BBL to try the same thing with FTM2014 to see if I get the same results. Yes I’ve had no issue at all with downloads from either program, I think it might have something to do with the update Ancestry did the other day. Of course, they won’t admit it. I have called Ancestry yet and don’t know if I will. I’ll see if I can find some other issue. I check my even logs and nothing unusual there. The only other thing I can think of besides an Ancestry issue is a virus but I really don’t think that is the issue as it’s only on FTM I get that script error message. Thanks again. I’ll let you know how I make out.

  135. Sarah

    Vince, some corrections in what I just posted. I meant to say “I haven’t called Ancestry” and the other was a left a “t” off event. Sorry, I’m just in a hurry right now. Forgive the errors.

  136. Carmen

    @ Monika & gp_4hbc, Thanks for your responses. Looks like I’ve got some research to do on genealogy software. I just still can’t believe this is all happening. This has got to be the worst website overhaul in history.

  137. lyn

    don’t know how “the new team” managed to do so many errors in changing over the not well loved “new” ancestry. today in only 10mins. i hit so many things i know are errors and i hit the map thing which was so sad also. it wastes so much time and if i didn’t know many of these things i find are wrong, i would be putting down so much misinformation. it is very sad and other sites seem to update with much less trouble–see facebook, google, etc.

  138. Alan Davis

    I am not too good with anything to do with computers. However, after several years on Ancestry I was good with searching for details about my 2 trees. Since the changes, Ancestry has become a frustrating nightmare. I have listed some of the reasons and I hope they are considered.
    1) The new dark colours are so depressing. I cannot even see the info in some of the boxes. What was wrong with the previous colours. In fact, what was wrong with the previous ancestry? Why did it need changing?
    2) I hate the stories as they are not always relevant. I recently got information about coal mining in S. Wales. My ancestor was NEVER involved in coal mining. What a waste of time! I just want relevant facts.
    3) Don’t like pictures relating to area in which ancestor lived, or maps showing where they lived as these are not usually correct. lots of my ancestors are from Manchester, England, but the useless info that keeps appearing insists on saying it is Manchester, Jamaica, despite the fact I have input it correctly. Even the maps show Jamaica!.. What a load of rubbish!
    4) Just give information that we all require in a simple way.
    5) After speaking to several friends who use Ancestry, the majority of us are considering not renewing our membership if some of the things are not changed…especially the colours, as people without excellent eyesight cannot cope.
    6) I wonder how many thousands (or even millions) of people will leave Ancestry for an alternative site.

  139. Lindsay

    I prefer the thinner smaller font, I would prefer the search record button on the left, and the color scheme doesn’t look good, maybe to merge and stuff be in a button on the left hand side

  140. Steve

    I just want to add my 2 cents here….I’m having the same script error issue as well. Since the last entry for this was at the end of October…Has there been any resolution to it?

  141. Vince

    To Steve: I still see the script error that Sarah and I discussed on October 16 and that appears in the Plan > Download a Tree from Ancestry window of FTM 2014 when I uncheck the “Link to Ancestry” box in the middle of that window.

  142. Warren McLaughlin

    I’m trying to navigate that which was forced upon me, where are the stories located at? I go to the gallery and find the pictures, but I cannot find the stories! Whew, this going to be a mess!!! Can anyone tell me where to locate this? Sounds like we need an owners manual!

  143. Warren McLaughlin

    I guess I’m going to have to keep bombing this site with questions: How do you save a picture (i.e. Coat of Arms) to the profile of another? It used to be so simple. Now I know how to use this abomination of an update to save the picture to another person, but once there I cannot find how to save to be the “main” picture on the profile.

  144. Warren McLaughlin

    Where is the ‘merge’ option, two merge two duplicates in your tree??? — Never mind, I found that one!

  145. Warren McLaughlin

    Printing a profile of a person with this font is horrible as compared to the old. The font size of the letter characters and number are HUGE. Is there a way to print a profile that looks attractive?

  146. Anthony R

    I am really annoyed about the way the Lifeline has added pictures of apartheid discrimination to my South African relations. It is disgraceful to taint them by association with a policy which they neither voted for nor supported. Unfortunately although the Review facility allows you to see all other profiles the “historical association” appears on, you can only dismiss them on one profile at a time – a mammoth task if the same obnoxious “historical association” appears on a 100 pages.

  147. Anthony R

    On the Ancestry Android App you should be able to select the FACT option as an alternative to the LIFELINE as you can on your Internet Browser. It is very frustrating to have to scroll through pages of computer generated garbage to get to the facts you are interested in.

  148. Anthony R

    There should be an option to remove all “historical associations” from your site with one selection. It is annoying having your carefully researched family tree degraded by a multitude of irrelevant and often inaccurate additions. For example a profile claims that a family member “was living in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal in 1913, when gold was discovered, igniting a gold rush.” This is nonsense. There is no significant gold in, KwaZulu-Natal and there were no new gold fields discovered in South Africa in 1913. The gold fields are in the Transvaal and were discovered there in 1886 when the Transvaal was an independent country. At the moment I can only remove these silly additions on a profile by profile basis – difficult when I have over 10,000 people on my family tree.

  149. Anthony R

    I have come across one more deeply offensive “historical association” which Ancestry have places on my profiles without my consent. Against my great-grandfather there is a caption of men enlisting to fight in WWI and the caption to say he “was probably exposed to World War I propaganda while living in Exeter, Devon.” This is not propaganda, it is an poster encouraging men to enlist in the armed forces to fight for their country in a war, which if lost, would have resulted in enemy occupation. One of his sons enlisted and died fighting for his country. Some of these ridiculous ” historical associations” have been compiled by youngsters with little grasp of historical fact and who seem oblivious of how much offence they cause by placing these unwelcome distortions of history on Ancestry profiles.

  150. Anthony R

    One of the really irritating features of the new LIFESTORY is that I have painstakingly deleted cleared all “historical associations” from a profile (and from all the other 150 profiles to which they were attached) and then come back to the cleared page a few minutes later and found that Ancestry have automatically added new junk “historical associations” to replace the ones I have deleted. The ones which are not trivial, inaccurate or offensive refer to historical events so basic that your education would have to have been sadly deficient not to have heard about them.

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