Posted by Ancestry Team on October 31, 2015 in Australia, Canada, Germany, Mexico, Sweden, United Kingdom, Website

Welcome to our weekly update on the new Ancestry website. This week we completed some of the features we discussed in last week’s update.

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

Features we introduced:

Print Options – Print is now available under the tools menu and additional options are available to print via My Canvas.   Print image is formatted to fit the page while still reflecting the layout and benefits of the Facts View as well as removing the dark backgrounds to reduce unnecessary use of ink for printing.



Example of print-friendly printout CSU_print3


Thumbnail Images on time-line in the Facts View – Now you can easily access and see the images you have uploaded on facts on the Facts view. Images that you have previously added to facts will now show as a thumbnail on the fact.



Media viewer displays the life range with names – Now when you want to save a media item to another person in the Gallery, you are presented with not just the name of the individual, but also the life rage. This helps in select the correct person when adding media throughout your tree.



Profile ImageIt is easier to select/change the image you want for a Profile. Now you can simply click on the image and then select “Choose Profile Image”. You are then presented with the pictures that have been uploaded for that person and can select the one you would like for the profile.

Click on “Choose Profile Image”



Choose any photo that can best represent your ancestor




Features we are still working on

  • Member Connect – We will bring back Member Connect under the Facts View tools. You can contact other members who are also researching your ancestors to share your research questions, findings, and more.
  • Military Pages – Some of you have done great research around your ancestors’ military background and stories. We will bring back view only version of Military Pages so you can continue to access the content you have created.
  • Family Group Sheet – A family view of the of the person and their family
  • Continue Search – option to keep searching from within your tree versus right clicking to open new records.

Issues reported this week

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

  • Various reports of the relationship calculator randomly not appearing
  • Some users feels that the color scheme is unattractive and gloomy
  • Requests have been made for the List of All People and Tree Pages on the profiles page
  • Some users have expressed frustration at phantom hints


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. Dave

    New issues reported this week… this is the same list of issues that’s been on this blog for months. What about the other problems that keep coming up, too many to list on here, but they sure are on your FB pages.

  2. Patrick

    Please don’t forget the Quick Edits feature on family members. This is an essential tool which should be placed at the top of Ancestry’s priority list. I don’t see this on your ‘features we are still working on’ list.

  3. Pa

    Too bad all these features and buttons ideally do NOT work if you are using Google Chrome.

    Nearly six months to get around to changing the color scheme and ugly gray background. When?

  4. John Brown

    Still no mention of when you will get your computer to stop making incorrect GUESSES about Locations, or when we will be given the option to remove the historical drivel from our tree once and for all. Surely not even incompetent, heartless, Ancestry would have the cheek to switch our Canadian Cousins to NEW without first correcting these fundamental errors in the programme.

  5. Cheryl


  6. Cheryl

    Put ALL of the photos and stories back on the Facts Page so they can be seen at a glance without going to the attic. THIS HAS BEEN REQUESTED OVER AND OVER AGAIN!

  7. Cheryl


  8. Cheryl


  9. MKath

    The new Print feature is a waste of paper and ink. I tried to print my grandfather’s page using the new Print Feature. You left out the Preview setting. What I got was 7 pages if I printed out the Profile Page with Family Events, 3 pages if I printed facts only Profile page. At least with my regular computer printing options, I get a Print Preview. Looks like I won’t be using this new “feature.” As for the thumbnail pictures embedded in the Facts boxes, they’re so small I can’t tell one person from another. WHAT I NEED IS A LIST OF ALL PEOPLE LINK ON EACH PROFILE PAGE. WHY HAVEN’T YOU FIXED THIS? IT’S ESSENTIAL FOR LARGE TREES. And please fix the maps and locations on the LifeStory page. My New York City people never lived in Allegany County, NY. Get rid of the over-sized and inappropriate Historical Pictures that are on my tree. Without going into details, I’ll just say you’re presenting a one-sided view of the Civil War with the pictures you’re posting. Give subscribers a permanent turn-off fix. The captions for the pictures are poorly written. Pictures are often attached at incorrect dates on the Timeline.

  10. Elhura

    The purple lines should be removed completely – or an option provided to turn them off. This includes the pop-up purple highlight for facts blocks and the poor, poor color scheme for page background and font, which should also have an option. Each of these issues blind and distract and are a deterrant to current work or the building of future trees.

  11. Elhura

    Yes, MKath, I have used the FIND A PERSON IN THE TREE from Classic’s Profile page on a daily basis. It is this back-and-forth capability that has helped so much when comparing, connecting, or merging duplicates in a huge tree such as mine.

    The icon for FIND A PERSON IN THIS TREE should be larger, easily recognizable and in the same place on the Life Story page.

    And MERGE should not be forgotten either. I am not sure where that option can be found in the new.

  12. douggrf

    The New Print option is poorly named as it is not New at all. The Printer Friendly option is the very same as the print option by the chosen browser with one big exception. Choosing from the browser menu is going to give you a print preview option – while the direct “printer friendly” is going to skip preview and go directly to the printer. What is the point of that?
    Another huge mistake shown as incompetence on the part of this IT team!

    Even worse, is the connection to My Canvas. As a print option this again is poorly misnamed because – it is a total authoring package with very detailed manipulation steps. This has nothing to do with Ancestry. The history of My Canvas in the past has been plagued with lack of support. Ancestry wanted to dump it totally several times, finally did once, then bought it back as some protesting saved it at the time.
    Finally Ancestry has enough of it this last year, and divested the whole thing to an independent outfit, Alexanders.
    Now with the independent operations of two businesses there is a security breach when you log into one and try to transfer to the other. The link established in New Ancestry menu forces you into the breach and your account is immediately compromised. This is the worst issue for ever for members. Ancestry needs to get some competent programmers aboard or the ship will sink!

  13. Don

    Upload profile image should be re-added as one of the options. We should not have to go into the ugly media finding aid to upload pictures, we should be able to do it from the facts tab. I do not call thumbnails that only show about a third of the image a gallery, they are only finding aids. Museums would never cut off two thirds of the Mona Lisa, why do you?

  14. KarenM

    @Elhura The merge feature is on an individual’s pages. It is between the relationship & the LifeStory, Facts, Gallery,Hints tabs. If it is not there, go to the”Tools”drop-down menu on an individual’s’ page. Click on “Show Research Tools”. That gives the ability to “View in Tree”, “View Notes”, “View Comments”, “Merge with Duplicates” and “Save to Tree” (that is, save person to another tree).

  15. Mary M Zashin

    “SOME users” find the color scheme unattractive and gloomy? From the comments MOST users don’t just dislike it, they loathe it or they find it headache-inducing. GET RID OF THE GREY AND BLACK!! So far, the fact page isn’t up to any accepable aesthetic or design standard. The purple lines are also horrible. Remove the ugly source icons as well–they’re not at all needed and they’re distracting. At least make them smaller (you obviously know how to do this given the tiny family member icons) and move them from their dominant position in the center of the page. MAKE THE THUMBNAILS FOR FAMILY MEMBERS AND EVENTS ON THE TIMELINE BIGGER. This is a “display” program. The display needs to be visually appealing. Return “view all sources” so all sources with their details and their attached facts can be viewed with one click, not separate clicks for each source. Change the circle icons for trees which have added your media item to a clickable LIST, as on Old. Put “expander” buttons (like on this block) on the media description block and on the media description block in “edit.” Right now, in edit, you can see only about three lines, which makes editing difficult. Lock LifeStory for those who don’t want to see it or have it been seen. Get rid of the black ID bars covering up the images in the individual gallery (see Don above). It’s ugly! Use “hover” to reveal image details, as in the tree gallery. Put “list of all people” back on the fact page. All of these things should be relatively simple to accomplish as they have existed before. . . perhaps your “development team” is one or two people so you can’t do things in a timely manner? I’m not even speaking of the constant difficulties with site instability and browser incompatibilities, which are very significant issues. I’m speaking primarily of cosmetic failings, but HOW the fact page LOOKS is important to me because I want to share it with other relatives. Right now, it’s too depressing and unattractive to share.

  16. Cheryl


  17. JM / UK

    Many Thanks to ’50-something’ for posting the link to the Ancestry Insider’s blog for Monday, Oct 26th at:

    One blog comment in particular is very pertinent to the discomfort many users are experiencing with the colour scheme in New Ancestry.

    ‘Unknown’ submitted the following on October 28, 2015 at 3:33 AM:

    ” I know that people are resistant to change. However, in this case, I think the reduced functionality of New Ancestry is a genuine cause for complaint. I now hear that New Ancestry will be permanent in November, which in my opinion is very premature.

    Perhaps the top priority should be to change the colour scheme and format of New Ancestry. Although tweaks have been made, it is still hard to read. I have had some experience with visual accessibility standards for websites for people age 40+ and the visually impaired. I do not believe that New Ancestry meets them.

    In particular, I don’t believe the new color scheme takes into consideration the points below. According to the workgroup on website accessibility (, vision begins to change at age 40:

    • CONTRAST SENSITIVITY: from the age of 40, contrast sensitivity at higher spatial frequencies starts to decline until at the age of 80, it has been reduced by up to 83%. [New Ancestry’s background is a dark brown/gray. There is much less contrast between it and the text.]

    • COLOUR PERCEPTION AND SENSITIVITY: less violet light is registered, making it easier to see red and yellows than blues and greens and often making darker blues and black indistinguishable. [Colors used in New Ancestry are harder for many to see.]

    • PUPIL SHRINKAGE: resulting in the need for more light and a diminished capacity to adjust to changing light levels. For example, 60 year old retinas receive only 40% of the light that 20 year old retinas receive while 80 year old retinas only receive around 15%. [New Ancestry’s dark background reduces the amount of light.] ”

    I have cut and pasted this extract and sent it as feedback via the ‘this form’ link at the top of this page. Might I suggest that anyone similarly concerned does likewise – I’m sure quite a few of us are over 40!!

  18. sleuthjan

    Have already written to Ancestry – but here are my top issues. 1) pages load more slowly and viewing records seems more cumbersome, 2) cannot attach certain media items to a person, e.g., try adding a photo from the Library of Congress collection, 3) still missing the “continue search” option. On the plus side, I like being able to tweak the profile photo – but it doesn’t always seem to “take” right away and some photos cannot be cropped small enough, i.e., if the person is in a group photo. I am going to check out the new printing options because this is something I’ve been wanting – also the ability for the family group sheet to be printed – when that comes back. I also hope we will be able to edit military profile pages.

  19. Cheryl S.

    Since roll out of New Ancestry for public beta testing the beginning of June, customers have had to beg for functions/features available in Classic Ancestry to be added to New Ancestry. What does that say about the initial conceptual design of New Ancestry? Five months later – thanks for finally including dates with names in the drop down box for saving a media item to another person in a tree (a feature that has been a part of Classic). How about including the option of choosing from a list of people in your tree to save to, which is also available in Classic but not New? There are cases when this is a necessary function, too numerous to list. How about when you delete a media item from a person’s gallery you are given the option of deleting it from your entire tree as in Classic? As is, the media only detaches from that individual, remains in your tree media gallery, and you have to sift through your tree gallery to find it and delete it. How about restoring attachment of story media to facts? Lots of folks have been begging for this over these past months, but not seeing it on the issues list here. And how about fixing the bugs in LifeStory, the “centerpiece” of New Ancestry? The map feature as is , pretty much worthless unless your ancestor happened to live in a city that exists on a modern map. Ancestry insists the customer conform to city, county, state, country as standard place entry, never mind that US census records for rural populations (vast majority of population back in the day) are standardized to township, county, state, country. There is no ability to arrange the order of multiple media attached to events. After spending hours adding and fixing narrative for ancestors, that narrative is “temporarily unavailable” – temporary in this case = days, not hours, and at this rate maybe never. In summary, New Ancestry is still not ready for prime time – I strongly suggest you delay phase out of Classic Ancestry until all the functionality of Classic has been added to New, and LifeStory designed to appeal to customers other than whose who are complete beginners who won’t recognize it is full of errors.

  20. Anne Scott Frankland

    What I want –

    1. “List of all people” link on the Facts/Profile page.
    2. Link to the “Family Group Sheets” on the Facts/Profile page, right hand side, below the children – just like in classic.
    3. Link to an overview of “List of all Comments” – which you took away months ago!
    4. The “Not you?” in the Relationship Calculator.
    5. Put Media back on the Fact/Person page.
    6. Put back the hover function on the tree page. Your excuse for taking it away is bogus.
    7. Give us the ability to hide – or delete — LIFESTORY from everyone.
    8. Put the Media Gallery back on the FACTS/PERSON page.
    9. Put the Owner’s Name on the Facts page instead of GUEST when on another person’s tree.
    10. The ability to save a HINT record to My Shoebox.
    11. Move the Sources – put them back below the Family.
    12. Or, better yet, put the list of Sources back as a dropdown in the fact box – just like in Classic.
    13. Get rid of the stupid Purple lines.
    14. Put the “Facts and Sources” link that takes us to “Facts & Events and “Source Citations” from Classic into New. Maybe I can use them to GET AROUND THE PURPLE LINES.
    15. Get rid of the DARK areas in the Profile picture “square”. If you had left the profile picture alone – this probably wouldn’t have happened!

    Do each of these count as “feedback” – or do I have to post them individually to have them “collected, curated and prioritized” for consideration?

    NEW is so pitiful without all the functions, features, tools and links we now have in CLASSIC. You’re getting what you paid for!

  21. Crystal

    Do you really think that a “printer-friendly” profile page needs to have a person’s name almost as large as the entire width of the paper? It looks ridiculous unless you’re printing something for a 6-year-old. Or is this an over-reaction to all the complaints from your 50+ customers (including me)?

    Please look at the layout of the profile page in our Classic Ancestry. It has a professional look, is easy to read and has a logical layout of the information. Exactly the type of information I’m happy to give to family and friends. You don’t need three columns. You don’t need all the bold type. You certainly don’t need the sources to take a prominent place on the page.

    And even if they don’t show up on the print “friendly” page, none of us needs those disturbing purple lines. Thank you.

  22. Cheryl

    Put the “FIND A PERSON IN THIS TREE” with its dropdown menu back on every page. This has been requested over and over again!

  23. Trisha

    @ Crystal. Absolutely spot on Crystal, that’s exactly what I and most of people on here think. Just like you said Crystal “THE LAYOUT OF THE PROFILE PAGE IN OUR CLASSIC ANCESTRY HAS A PROFESSIONAL LOOK, EASY TO READ AND HAS A LOGICAL LAYOUT OF INFORMATION, EXACTLY THE TYPE TO SHOW FAMILY AND FRIENDS”
    This is what we need from you ancestry, WE NEED TO KEEP OUR BELOVED OLD CLASSIC PROFILE PAGE. No scrolling required, no in your face bright colours. Just a good looking neat tidy profile page, so we can just get on doing what we signed up to your site to do in the first place. PROPER RESEARCH, Not to forced to work on some Arty Farty tripe that some idiot has dreamed up!

  24. Cheryl

    On the facts page immediately above the timeline, there are two items, “name” and “gender”. REMOVE THESE TWO ITEMS (redundancy) AND MOVE THE TIMELINE UP. This will shorten the timeline. There is already enough %$#&(@* scrolling in Fricking New as it is.

  25. Anne Scott Frankland

    Cheryl — You’re right about the “name” and “gender” items. The profile name is already billboard size! Why repeat it?

  26. Elhura

    I have encountered today yet another undesirable feature that, I am told, is the result of changes brought by the new Ancestry. Under normal conditions, I write my narratives directly into Ancestry’s “Story” format. On occasion, I have done the text first in Microsoft Word and copied and pasted into Ancestry’s form. The result was a readily readable narrative to any one who opened the story.

    A text done today in Word and copied and pasted into the story format (Classic View) resulted in the file needing to be downloaded to the viewer’s computer before viewing. I am told this is to be the norm from now own.

  27. Susan Shirey

    Thank you for restoring so many features. I know that took a lot of work and is appreciated.

    Please keep in mind that there are features still missing:
    * Cannot add stories to facts,
    * Often cannot save a record in hints to someone else in tree (e.g., record may be more appropriate to another family member),
    * Cannot go to the list of people in the tree to select a person when saving a record, if the right names does not pop up
    * When viewing a record image from a hint, cannot save a record to someone else in the index

    I think listing these issues (and some of the others mentioned above) in the “Issues reported this week” section of the update would help people feel that their feedback is being heard.

    Thank you for the actions you have already taken and for giving feedback on remaining issues respectful consideration.

  28. Susan Shirey

    I just tried printing in New Ancestry. The main improvement I can see is that the dark background is gone, which saves on ink. Also, on the facts page, the headings are more visible and facts are more clearly delineated.

    However, the sources column in the middle of the facts page means that the timeline is squeezed onto the left side of the page. Therefore, in order to fit the entire timeline in, many more pages must be printed than was true in Old Ancestry (where most facts pages and timelines could be printed in 1-2 pages).

    It seems to me that perhaps the best way to fix this is to go back to the 2 column format in Old Ancestry, with the sources under the list of family members.

    Printing the lifestory still has many of the original drawbacks, too. The layout and large font make the printed document very large. The lifestory for one direct ancestor in my tree (fairly typical) takes 13 pages to print, even with Historical Insights hidden. Another direct ancestor (admittedly one with a lot of facts and media) takes 34 pages to print, again with Historical Insights hidden.

    Documents this large are not feasible when printing information for more than a few individuals. This is a problem for me. I find that my relatives are far more to look at printed material brought to a family gathering than they are at the online tree. The new print option is only a slight improvement – not yet truly printed friendly.

    NOTE: In Chrome, if you click the words “printer friendly) after clicking print in Tools, you do get a print preview.

  29. Susan Shirey

    I think Ancestry staff will better understand users’ dissatisfaction with printing in New Ancestry if they go to the facts profile page in Old Ancestry and click print, then printer friendly. The result has important information at the top, clear headings, logical layout, and, most importantly, is succinct!

  30. Robin

    Hey Ancestry … here is a suggestion for the voice over for your next commercial. It’s called truth in advertising.

    Come one come all to the New Ancestry.
    Just click on a few shaky leaves and Ancestry’s computer will generate your life story! The places won’t necessary be correct in the story but that doesn’t matter. We will, at no additional charge, add historical facts to your story, even though they may have nothing to do with your ancestor, but that doesn’t matter. Some of you will get severe eye strain/migraines due to our deplorable graphics, but this is also included at no extra charge and it doesn’t matter. Our new ancestry has several glitches, bugs and user unfriendly functions but it really really doesn’t matter. And as an added bonus, also at no extra charge you get so see purple squiggles to your hearts content.

  31. 50-something

    First let me say I hate the new Ancestry. It’s ugly, period. It’s inefficient, overblown and sometimes downright stupid. I probably won’t use it when it gets dumped on the USA. I had NO problems with the classic version. In fact, I have so many hints and suggested records that I could be busy for a year. I have several trees.

    From all the posts on the various blogs, I think that we are not all having the same problems. I have functions that other folks are reporting they do not have and vice-versa. My style of research is very through. I don’t copy trees or people from other’s trees. I look at them and then go do my own research. I look at every record and check all information on that record.

    Personally, I think Ancestry is wasting my time with this new version. They should totally dump life story. It makes us look like stupid fools. I don’t want anyone to see that!

    The fact column is a pain in the a–! I have families with ten or more children and all the births and deaths of these kids. That adds at least 20 blocks to one person’s list of events. Plus the parents and sibling! Good heavens, the endless lists! How about an option to not have so many people in that column. All I want is one person and the events of their life. You already have parents and siblings on the far right with the years of their births and deaths. All sources pertaining to that one person should go under the parents and sibling section. TEXT ONLY!!! In short, LOOK at the classic and make it the SAME!!!

    Life story is a piece of junk. I never used it, and when I looked at it in the new version, I thought, more crap! Get rid of anything purple! Lines, circles, and boxes: it all should go forever. Make all colors light with black text. Better yet, let US choose the color scheme. (Fat chance of that!)

    I won’t even write about printing. I will load my tree into another program for printing. I’m not a millionaire. I can’t afford to print all those pages. I want the pages I print to be informative without excess elaboration. The font sizes are all over the spectrum.

    I agree with all the others who have posted to this blog.

  32. dmarshall511

    Here is a suggestion…
    Make “New Ancestry” the site for tablet and phone users.
    Make “Old Ancestry” the site for computer users.
    Losing the mouse-over (some people call it “hover”) increases the number of mouse clicks required in some places.

  33. Pam

    Overall I like the new look and layout. I have also liked the ease of adding sources and seeing how they link to the facts – hadn’t really thought about the color used for the lines until I read the comments above but realize with color blindness the palette can sometimes be limited so am ok with whatever works. The main things I can suggest that would help for me is to:

    1. When I add a source from my own research (outside of one I find on Ancestry) allow me to add more than one person to that source all at once so I don’t have to add it again to multiple people.

    2. I loved the profile image drop down menu, but now it doesn’t seem to be working.

    3. Because I add the same image to multiple people, it would be helpful to have a tree gallery so I can just upload once to the tree and reuse it for multiple people instead of having to upload for each person. (Sometimes I don’t catch who else should have that photo until later.)

    4. Another issue related to the one above is that I notice myself and others using profile images to designate research status or info. For example, I upload an image for older ancestors to designate if they died before reaching adulthood or if they are in an affinal line. I’ve seen others use images to designate if they have found B/M/D or not. Maybe instead of all of us coming up with our own images, Ancestry could offer a palette of images to be used for the profile image as research clues/status. Obviously if I had an actual photo, I use that, but for many ancestors I do not so I like using the profile photo as a research tool.

    5. It would also be cool to have a favorite links for each tree because I tend to go to the same databases all the time to search so this would help me organize those sites and get there faster whether they are Ancestry links or links to other sites.

    Thanks again for working to make the site better.

  34. Jesse

    I read in your last update that you said it was not possible to run 2 websites. If that is the case, it should not be the classic that you drop. It should be this monstrosity you call new. It is not user friendly, nor very attractive. I don’t understand why your dickering around with OUR trees in the first place. The trees are just a sidebar to what this site is about anyway. People subscribe to this site to access your vast store of records to research their roots. The trees are a place to store what they find in an orderly manner. You coming in and adding things that are unnecessary and unwanted to them is an insult. You should be working on your records collection and nothing else. You cannot improve on someone’s tree when, frankly, you nothing about that family. Case in point, On one of my trees [I have 7 on here] the grandfather of the main person, and his 3 sisters, were put into an orphanage in 1015 after their mother died. They all went to different families. All foster situations, not adopted. After the grandfather grew up and went out on his own, he kept the name of his foster family, but never had it legally changed. His descendants still have that name, some not even knowing that it is not really their proper name. I put a lot of records on the profiles of the grandfather and his sisters that are not from Ancestry [court, birth and death info on their mother not in Ancestry’s databases]. Now, if you do not go to the tree and read these records there is no way you can actually tell this family’s life story by a computer generation. And actually it is not your place, job or right to do so. Please stick to maintaining your records databases and let us take care of our trees and family stories, because, quite frankly, you stink at it. Again, and I’m sorry, your new site is horrible and will be a big fail if you make it your only choice. So, if you only can have 1 site, you and everyone else will be better off making it the classic and drop this new bad idea.

  35. Sue

    I have used Ancestry for years and I also do not like some of the changes. I understand why a lot of users are very frustrated, but I’m honestly embarrassed at how rudely some of these comments are written. You can state what you do and don’t like constructively. Thank you to those that have done that (JM/UK, Pam and Anne Scott Frankland for example).

  36. Please – move the sources back where they were, and stop everything popping out when you use a scroll wheel on a mouse and change the colour scheme. As an over 60’s dyslexic I have HUGE problems with this new site design & layout and am seriously considering moving my trees and subscription elsewhere.

  37. Kristie Wells

    @Anne Scott Frankland + everyone: Every item in your comment(s) will be added to our review list. Thank you for taking the time to post such detailed feedback.

  38. Elhura

    @ Kristie Wells. Please add page color option to Anne Scott Frankland’s excellent list. The Facts page needs the same color combinations as Classic. This and getting rid of the purple lines and purple background pop-up is the first step to visibility and continued use.

  39. Sarah

    Kristie, add this to your review list:

    All my trees have been downloaded and finally deleted the last of them today from Acom. I will use Ancestry only for looking up a “few” of their databases for records and when my subscription is up, I am gone forever. I cannot understand why most of you complain and complain when you are paying plenty for a SERVICE. I do not get why you are still using a website that is flawed and never will be the same. I learned a valuable lesson from all this…never put your tree/s on any website, even if you can make it/them private. You site stinks right now with this new Ancestry and have made a joke out of genealogy.

  40. Martin

    As someone worked in IT for 35 years, it is my opinion that Ancestry never really defined exactly what subscribers or genealogists wanted from a new website, more interested in play with new software toys than developing a site that meets user & genealogists, both amateur & professional, requirements.

    I would have preferred them to have left the site as it was and made improvements to their citations, which for a number of datasets are woeful, plus improve documentation on exactly what records they have and what they added when a dataset is updated.

    What most people want is a site that is easy to search, defines what records are in a dataset those that are not, gives detailed descriptions of what has been added or update, provides adequate documentation on datasets, and ensures that all records meet industry standards in terms of citations.

    If Ancestry had spent it’s money in this way then I believe the majority of subscribers would have supported the change.

    What we get is a mess of a site, with missing features, poor design and offering features that a significant number don’t want and are are unable to opt out of.

    • Kristie Wells

      @MyGrandmaAnne: We are working on Member Connect now and expect to have it in working order in the next couple of weeks. Thank you for your patience.

  41. Mary R.

    I just had to look into “the psychology of the color purple” re: web design and marketing to try to understand why refuses to even address the idea of getting rid of it: “In using purple in business applications you need to understand the traits, qualities and mood of the color along with the
    psychological meaning. The messages the color sends to your customer base can have a major impact on your business success. Purple suggests wealth and extravagance, fantasy and the world of dreams. It enhances spiritual pursuits and enlightenment. Physiologically, it heightens people’s sense of beauty and their reaction to more creative ideas. It is often used to denote a high quality or superior product, such as Cadbury’s chocolate or some women’s cosmetics. If you are in a service business, use some purple in your marketing to denote your premium service. Purple is often connected with the 18 to 25 year old market as they see it as sexy and rebellious, while innovative designers connect it with sophistication and power…
    Negative Color Meanings in Business: immaturity. impractical. cynical and aloof, pompous and arrogant. fraudulent and corrupt. delusions of grandeur and the social climber…” Source: [and]
    “It’s found that purple is the most preferred color choice of all children.” Source:

  42. Elhura

    @ Kristie Wells. Something new just discovered that I hope you will add to your list concerns the downloading of narrative into the “story” format provided by

    Previously, a narrative develped in text in Microsoft WORD could be copied and pasted directly into the story format. When opened from the tree, the text was then visible to me or to anyone viewing my tree.

    We are no longer able to copy and paste such text into the format. Ancestry refuses to allow this. The other alternative is to download the story from my computer into the media gallery. When this happens and the story is opened from the tree, the text is no longer readily visible to me or anyone else. Instead, the message appears that the story will have to be “downloaded to your computer” in order to view.

    This means I cannot even see my own work, make quick reference later, or even readily show it to anyone viewing my tree. I have to go back to my own computer for this and others must download and do the same.

    I have never liked encountering PDF files that have been downloaded from others’ trees in this manner and seldom, if ever, bother to look at them. The ability to copy and paste into the format would solve this problem.

    So far as I know, there are no problems now or before with viewing narrative that has been typed directly into your format, which I frequently do. The new Ancestry, however, makes the location and saving of such narrative to multiple people much more difficult.

    • Kristie Wells

      @Elhura: Thank you for your additional comments and I will make sure the product team includes this in feedback report.

  43. Anne Scott Frankland

    Sarah – I am “still using a website that is flawed and never will be the same” because I do not have the faintest idea how to move or transfer my information somewhere else.

    Asking for Classic features to be put back into New Ancestry is not complaining.

  44. 50-something

    Mary R: Your post was very interesting. I like the color purple, just not in Ancestry. I don’t like the gloomy brown-dark gray-black in Ancestry. I’d love to have the option of choosing my own color scheme. Black text is essential, however

    The Ancestry Insider says New Ancestry is coming, and it will be the ONLY Ancestry. Quote from Ancestry Insider: “Now is the time to get New Ancestry working more closely to the way you want.” Great idea, but how can we do that as users? There are no tools for changing anything!

    I would add on/off toggles for Life story, purple lines, boxes and circles. I would have a one-person profile without all the events of all the children, siblings and parents. I would customize (move things around) each page to help my research run smoothly.

    New ancestry looks to be a combined effort by several people and they all think differently. It’s a patchwork of styles and functions. It seems unconnected and is not a smooth operation. I have spent many hours on it trying to see the logic by comparing the classic version to the new. Result: It’s a mess!!!

  45. Mary M Zashin

    The titles of custom events on New do not appear to be “sticky.” That is, instead of choosing from a drop down menu the custom event I want (as on Old), I have to re-enter the name of the custom event each time I add it to a profile. Also, thanks for the thumbnails back on the fact page! BUT, it seems that now the primary photo of the spouse is automatically added to the marriage event in the time line. This isn’t always apropo, as, for example, when the spouse’s primary photo is a tombstone and it’s no longer Halloween 🙂 But, when I choose “edit” for the event, then “media,” I am told I have media attached to the event. Yet, it is indeed there. So, is there a way to remove an automatically-added media item from the event? Also, I still need a “view all sources” opinion, AND “expander” buttons (like the one here in the bottom right corner) for media descriptions and media edits. At present, if the description is lengthy, you cannot see it all at once without scrolling, and in “edit” only about three lines are visible, making it hard to edit. Also, a list of the trees that have added my media, not the nameless round icons of them, would be much more useful. Finally, on “view note,” in Old you were given the date on which you added the note. This is no longer there on New. It’s useful to have the date, because then you know when you last worked on a profile, so please add this feature back. MY PRIMARY COMPLAINT REMAINS THE DREADFUL COLOR SCHEME–the grey and black, the purple lines, the intrusive source icons. . .if the design, particularly the colors, don’t change, I am leaning towards not renewing my subscription when it’s up.

  46. Mary M Zashin

    Correction to above. . .when I choose “edit”. . .I am told I have NO media attached to the event. Oops. ..

  47. Crystal

    Just a quick note about my comments regarding the purple lines connecting Facts and Sources. It really doesn’t make any difference what color the lines are. It’s the lines themselves that I object to. We get along just fine in our Classic Ancestry without having to connect the dots. No need to create a maze of lines in the “New.”

  48. Roger

    Kristie Wells and Ancestry personnel hear what they want to hear; they read what they want to read. They do not take cognizance of these multitude of complaints for months on end. They will not restore old Ancestry. It will be gone and that will be that. They will have won.

    • Kristie Wells

      @Roger: The team has been listening closely and iterating on the website based on feedback we have received from customers (reverted to circle photo frames, added thumbnail images on events, updates to the media viewer, etc). Most changes cannot happen overnight, and no change is a small change as it impacts several layers across the website. These things do take time, and while we have not responded to every single comment here, we are trying to provide updates as they are available. I understand you are frustrated with the new Ancestry. If you would like to share your specific feedback, I will make sure it is added to the feature review list as well.

  49. Mary M Zashin

    OK, so over on the FB page I asked how to remove the thumbnail of an inappropriate (tombstone) photo that ACOM automatically added to the marriage event. When I tried to edit it out on the event edit page, the message is that I have no media attached to that event. However, there the thumbnail is, automatically added by ACOM. On FB, the ACOM response was that there was no way to remove the thumbnail. This is a definite bug! There needs to be a way to remove that thumbnail because it is inappropriate in the context of a marriage fact.

  50. Jan Murphy

    In a world where open-source software such as Mozilla easily allows users to create and share themes for browsers, it’s ridiculous that Ancestry makes us pay for a site with ugly colors and no options to change them.

  51. RobinH

    @Roger I agree with your comments. And while Ancestry might “win”, I wonder what the costs of that “victory” might be. The biggest loser will surely be the world of genealogy work. Ancestry has turned many formerly happy genealogists, whose work contributed so much to the body of information available at, into disgruntled and disillusioned former and soon-to-be-former customers. When customers pull their trees from Ancestry or make them private instead of public, or when disgruntled Find A Grave volunteers no longer want to do that work for Ancestry, it is sad for those researchers who might have learned something from that information that will not be available. While I would guess that Ancestry would say that they have taken a giant step forward, I would guess they have set the entire industry back some number of steps that are as yet immeasurable.

  52. Mary M Zashin

    So, about the issue I raised above, I have learned new things. That tombstone thumbnail attached to the marriage fact because it’s the primary photo of the spouse was there BEFORE ACOM restored the event thumbnails. I just didn’t notice it. It’s small like the thumbnails for family members, not as big as the event photos you can add yourself. So it doesn’t show up under “edit” as a media item attached to the event, and therefore it can’t be removed, except by removing the photo as the spouse’s primary photo. . .

  53. Elhura

    Please stress the importance of returning the photo gallery in its previous size across the top of the FACTS page. A trip to the Gallery to check out what is there is not acceptable to the serious researcher. The tiny specs on the Facts block are somewhat helpful – but they are only there if put there in the first place.

    Also return the COMMENTS to ready prominence. It was bad enough when that view was lost in the Old Ancestry without having to click on Comments – but at least we knew they were there. In new Ancestry, you must first visit the tool bar and then open comments to even determine their presence. Again, another redundant move that slows research progress.

  54. Beth Walsh

    I absolutely hate the ‘new’ Ancestry as far as my Family Tree. I have spent an inordinate amount of time adding photos, census images, etc and citing every single one of my sources and getting my tree so it can be used by me. The new ones look like half the data is missing. It may not be, but will take so many more clicks to try and unearth them it won’t be worth the trouble. I like the current way where it is listed neatly and each person has a profile with the data and on the side are the names of the spouse and children and the parents. Much much easier to navigate. We really do not need a site that is dumbed down. Please do not make this mandatory. If it is I may just go back to Family Tree Maker.

  55. Barbara

    There are three quirks I’ve noticed recently that make me a bit crazy. Perhaps you could look at them and consider some changes? I think at least 2 of them would be easy fixes. (#1 & #3). I’ve been working a lot with records lately and these slow me down.

    (1) When using “add to my tree” from the “tools” drop down menu, the Person In Tree drop-down menu is really squeezed. Maybe a full drop down would be easier to work with? Sometimes when I scroll, the name I want to choose is barely visible — and very difficult to click on without a few tries.

    (2) Adding photos … after I add a photo (esp. from a tree hint), I cannot go directly back to the tree from which it originated (because the link is now to my tree instead of the original tree). And, if there is an easy way to do it, it sure is hard to figure out. It could be a drop down “go to original photo” or directly to the person in the tree where it is originally linked.

    (3) There is a super annoying pop-up after I’ve changed/added something to my tree. After 300 or 400 times getting rid of the darn thing, it’s pretty annoying. How about an option for “OK, I get it, don’t show me this again” so it’ll go away.

    I thought that the comment from the person who spoke about the colors and changes in vision for the over 40 crowd–which I believe probably is a major part of your customer base — was right on target. Consider doing focus groups with older users before making major changes. I am very computer/tech savvy (early adopter) but most of my contemporaries are not. Your developers are probably whiz-bang 30-something geniuses. Please remind them your customers are old and cranky so they need to create stuff their grandmas can work with. 😀

    Thank you for all that you do to help us find our roots. I have discovered a fantastic family heritage that spans the USA from early VA/MA & Mexico/TX and am so proud–it’s East Meets West (USA).

  56. Vince

    To Ancestry: In nearly every New Ancestry weekly feature update since the first one on June 5, you have listed “Family Group Sheet – A family view of the of the person and their family” in the “Features we are still working on” list. But that feature has actually been available on a limited basis in the New Ancestry for weeks — hidden via the “All Hints” list for people with new hints:

    Bring up the Pedigree or FamilyView of the tree.
    Click on Tree Pages (which does not appear on individual Profile pages).
    Click on All Hints or People with Hints.
    Choose a name from the list and load the Profile page.
    Back out of the Profile page.
    Click on Tree Pages in the re-loaded All Hints page.
    Click on Family Group Sheet.
    Then the Family Group Sheet loads for the Profile that was selected.

    The available procedure is not only tortuous but also fails entirely for individuals in the the tree who have no NEW hints — those individuals don’t show up in the “All Hints” or “People with Hints” lists even after an explicit search and even if they do have accepted, ignored or undecided hints. What the presence of the Family Group Sheet via the All Hints list does show is that the New Ancestry programmers have already built the basic code needed to provide that feature or have copied it from Classic Ancestry. Why not just make the Tree Pages drop-down menu with its Family Group Sheet item available directly on each Individual Profile page right away?

  57. Vince

    To Ancestry: Another item that has appeared intermittently in your “Features we are still working on” list and that has been requested over and over in these blogs is the following: Make the “Not you?” option available from the “Relationship to me” pop-up view in New Ancestry.

    The “Not you?” option, available from the Profile pages of Classic Ancestry, has survived at least through the All Hints list of New Ancestry. But the option’s presence via the All Hints list is of little solace in practice. The “Not you?” option, appearing right on the Profile page in Classic Ancestry, takes just seven (7) clicks and two data entries from the Profile page to see the relationship to someone other than “Who you are in this tree” and to return to the original “Who you are in this tree” setting. New Ancestry requires seventeen (17) clicks and two data entries to do the same thing by going into Tree Settings and changing “Who you are in this tree” back and forth. To do the same thing via the All Hints list in New Ancestry from a given Profile page, you still have to bring up the Tree View separately and select All Hints from Tree Pages, which gets you to People With Hints instead of to All Hints. Then you can click on the actual All Hints link to show the beginning of the entire list. Then you type the name of the person whose Profile page you had been looking at and search the list for it. But this procedure fails entirely for individuals in the the tree who have no NEW hints — those individuals don’t show up in the “All Hints” or “People with Hints” lists even after an explicit search and even if they do have accepted, ignored or undecided hints. If the person is on the All Hints list, you can click the “View relationship to me” link below the person’s name, which changes to a link stating the relationship. Finally, when you click on that link you get the full “Relationship to me” view, familiar from Classic Ancestry, complete with the “(not you?)” link at the bottom.

    What the presence of the “Not you?” option via the All Hints list does show is that the New Ancestry programmers have already built the basic code needed to provide that feature or have copied it from Classic Ancestry. Why not now just make a direct link to the applicable code segment from the “Relationship to me” pop-up view of the individual Profile page of New Ancestry?

  58. Vince

    The relationship names for siblings of grandparents and great-grandparents in New Ancestry are uniformly incorrect, while Classic Ancestry displays the correct names. For instance, the sister of a person’s grandmother is correctly called a grand aunt in Classic but is incorrectly called “great-aunt” in New. And the sister of a person’s great-grandfather is correctly called a great grand aunt in Classic but is incorrectly called “2nd great-aunt” in New.

  59. emam

    Why do you have a site called and another called if you are not going to differentiate between the two. Here in England our date format is day, month then year not month, day then year. From starting you have always had the right day layout for UK, why change it now.
    Also where have all the new records gone in Classic. The last new record is now showing as 4/15/2014. What has happened to all of the records over the last year.
    Please correct the date format for the UK, you are not catering to the different sites.

  60. Elhura

    Under Issues Reported this Week: “Some users feel that the color scheme is unattractive and gloomy”. This is a whopping understatement if addressed to the issue I think it is. It should read: Color palette, pop-up fact highlight and lines leading to sources are blinding and distracting”.

    Please place at the top of the list to add a color option for those of Classic. That color combination is proven and doesn’t have to be rethought. There should also be an option to remove the purple lines to sources (color there doesn’t matter) and the dark purple pop-up background when your cursor hovers over a fact.

    Only after these are corrected can a significant number of those over age 55 – Howard Hochhauser says we number 60% of your subscribers – can even consider trying to use your site. Somehow, I think that 60% are the ones who are building the majority of your trees and are helping make look good. This should be the very next issue you work on. Classic Ancestry should be kept until this and the other issues are fixed.

    A better alternative that I hope you will add to your list is: Create a fourth “tree builder” work page in conjunction with the new – a page fully retaining the colors, appearance, layout, features and functionality of Classic. This would do much to resolve Ancestry’s situation for all without having to “maintain two websites” as has been said. In the meantime, Classic should continue as a working option.

  61. Don

    Please do not remove the lines connecting the facts from the sources. After doing a merge, it makes it easy to see which sources are attached the the alternate facts that need to be deleted. Makes it easy to attach those sources to the facts to be kept, and remove them from the ones to be deleted. It is too easy to make mistakes without those lines. Are they needed at all times, of course not, but it is nice to have them when they are needed.

  62. Vince

    To emphasize the folly of New Ancestry’s use of the somewhat popular “great-aunt” and “great-uncle” terms for the sister or brother of someone’s grandmother or grandfather, consider the nonsense it requires in the 2nd great-grandparent generations and all older generations: The siblings’ relationship titles are all off by one. For instance, the brother of a person’s 2nd great-grandfather becomes a “3rd-great uncle”, and the sister of a person’s 2nd great-grandmother becomes a “3rd-great aunt”. Classic Ancestry correctly calls those people 2nd great uncle and 2nd great aunt.

  63. douggrf

    Re the comment abover : “those over age 55 – Howard Hochhauser says we number 60% of your subscribers – can even consider trying to use your site. Somehow, I think that 60% are the ones who are building the majority of your trees and are helping make look good. ”

    If you take a look at the on-line petition started months ago – you will note about 3600 signers – representing at least a combined membership of concerned persons – maybe as many as 100,000 .
    Then note how many places you can go for critical comment of Ancestry changes – almost universal everywhere worldwide.
    Then think about who really built this website? It wasn’t membership of millenials, and I digress further.

    Most of ALL the active membership ( which is actually a very small population) compared to the overall member numbers that Ancestry promotes (inflates) in advertising – are over 55!

  64. Vince

    Oops, I meant Classic Ancestry correctly calls those people 2nd great grand uncle and 2nd great grand aunt.

  65. Elhura

    @ Don. If the lines stay, there should at least be an option to turn them off for those who do not need them and find them visually debilitating and distracting. Wish I didn’t find them that way, but cannot help how they affect vision.

  66. JM / UK

    Sorry to appear controversial Vince – I’ve only come across the term ‘grand-aunt or uncle’ in American parlance! All my [long] life in the UK I have only ever used or heard ‘great-aunt’ for a grandparent’s sister and ‘great-great-aunt’ for a great-grandparent’s sister – I am one and that’s how I am known!

    This may seem a trivial point but it demonstrates how necessary it is to have the choice of how WE record facts in OUR trees – like with dates, place names and so many other personalized or localized items of information – the choice of how we present our trees should be OURS.

  67. B

    My suggestion for the Facts View page in New is to move the “Sources” to the left side of the page, place the “Facts timeline” in the middle of the page and retain “Family” on the right side of the page. This might make the “Sources” and squiggly lines a little less annoying, plus keep the “Facts” and “Family” closer together for easier quick viewing.
    I do not like New Ancestry and echo many of the concerns that others have stated so well from the awful color scheme, to the billboard size profile name that requires an excessive amount of black ink to print out, to the many losses of functionality that may or may not ever get fixed.
    High on my priority list is for a way to hide “Life Story” from anyone viewing my tree except me from seeing. Why? I have an ancestor born in 1899 and who died in 2000. One of the “Historical Insights” for this ancestor is that they may have read the Sears-Roebuck catalog. Yes, I have hidden “Historical Insights,” but it isn’t enough to soften my anger at how Ancestry has trivialized my ancestor’s life, a long and fruitful life that spanned the entire 20th century.
    I renewed my subscription yesterday, however, I downgraded it from an annual subcription to a semi-annual and saved a dollar in the process. My reason for renewing is I’m not done researching, especially the collection of Wills and Probate records. However, my main tree is private and unsearchable. I keep a smaller direct ancestor tree public for dna matching purposes and that’s a heck of a lot more than most of my over 10,000 DNA matches here at Ancestry do for me. I was one of the original invitation only Beta testers for Ancestry’s first absolutely awful DNA test when so many people were getting exorbitant amounts of Scandinavian. Mercifully, Ancestry fulfilled it’s promise to roll out a much improved ethnicity estimator.
    Can or will Ancestry deliver on it’s promises to “fix” all the bugs, glitches and loss of functionality in New Ancestry? Time will tell. I have given Ancestry 6 more months with my subscription renewal.

  68. Vince

    JM / UK: I do recognize the popular use, even in the USA, of the “great-aunt” and “great-uncle” terms. But what would you call the sister of your 2nd great-grandmother — “3rd-great aunt” as in New Ancestry or “2nd great grand aunt” as in Classic Ancestry?

  69. Barbara

    Great job on keeping us all up to date. I went back to the “old” Ancestry after using the new for awhile (just for kicks) and after a few hours, switched right back to the “new”. So much smoother to use. I really miss the Member Connect and the notifications that come with it. Please bring it back soon. Keep up the good work!

  70. Karen

    Here’s one reason why my tree is now private since I can’t hide Life Story. Several years ago, I found a relative in an Illinois city directory for 1876. It was unclear which city she lived in since several were in the directory, so I entered what I had “1618 E. Washington”. I understand I now am breaking New Ancestry rules by doing that but I had to laugh at Ancesty’s confusion. I now have a map placing her at 1618 “E” Street in Washington DC and a Historical Insight for salmon fishing in the Pacific Northwest since “Elizabeth was likely living in Washington in 1876”. I won’t even get into discussing the real historical fact that Washington did not become a state until 1889.

  71. Trisha

    @ Robin H. Excellent comment from Robin (Nov 2nd @ 1.25pm) It’s worth repeating ROBIN’S COMMENT here again underneath Karen’s comment just to emphasize to ancestry how most of us are feeling.
    Ancestry, take note. These are excellent words of wisdom from Robin H.
    We all really wanted to continue working with you Ancestry, we were very happy to work with Classic Old Ancestry, it really was quite a unique format, you just cannot seem to understand how brilliant it was to for us to work with. IT WAS PROFESSIONAL, IT WAS NEAT, NO SCROLLING DOWN NEEDED. COLOURS PERFECT. IT WAS JUST SO GOOD! what you have now come up with is so
    awful to work on, it’s distracting, and all that scrolling down, that by the time you have got to the bottom you have completely lost all interest, honestly ancestry, it is so very very messy to work with.

  72. Wow…. I was suddenly staring at the new today and what a short and painful experience it was. It only took me a few minutes to switch back… I know it’s coming no matter what I do but the experience was so slow and dreadful it wasn’t worth staying.

    And on top of that, the new layout of a profile page is beyond confusing. My grandfather was married twice. The first wife is listed along with her children. And then the second wife is listed with both her children and the children from his first marriage??! While they were one household it’s dreadfully confusing to see the children mixed in like that. I thought at first there had been a mistake made in the changeover, but when I go to those children’s profiles, they only list their biological parents, not the second wife. So why mix them in one place like that? I can only imagine whatever awful easter eggs are waiting when I have to switch to the new view…

  73. Cheryl

    GET RID OF THOSE @#$%&%$#@ PURPLE LINES! THEY ARE NOT NECESSARY AND TOTALLY DISTRACTING! ONCE THEY APPEAR THE ONLY WAY TO GET THEM OFF THE PAGE IS TO REFRESH! And we already have to refresh, refresh, refresh, refresh, refresh, refresh, refresh…all the time just to get the items we’ve added to facts page to appear! And then must redo a refresh to get them to appear again. This is totally frustrating, but it’s not really anything to due with octopus arms that sprawl across the page like a spilled bucket of purple paint! But let me tell you…I’ve had enough of refresh w/o having to refresh to clean up purple paint!

  74. Karen

    Speaking of purple lines … on the top of the Life Story page there is a horizontal mini family tree. Why do the males have straight lines connecting the generations but the females have curved lines for their connections. The whole tree looks jammed in there to begin with but why the inconsistency between M and F lines? Is a plain old bracket too old-fashioned?

  75. Virginia

    I am constantly getting error messages or ‘try later’ messages on the new Ancestry. It is so exasperating that it forces me to go back to classic Ancestry constantly. I have a year-old fast computer, Windows 7, IE11. Not having this problem on any other site.

  76. JM / UK

    To reply to your question, Vince. . . . In my family she would be called my Nan’s Nan’s sister! In formal use: my great great grandmother’s sister would be my great great great-aunt, so in my shorthand [not standard I’m sure] this would read: my g g grandmother’s sister would be my g g great-aunt. If I really had to be numerical I would have to stick with cardinal numbers and would probably write: my 2g grandmother’s sister would be my 2g great-aunt. I find the ordinal notation confusing. I use 1st, 2nd, 3rd etc. in the accepted way with cousins – but with them there are no ‘greats’ or ‘grands’ to confuse matters ! ! !

    It’s so bewildering because English language usage is more localized than we are taught and the English words come from another language anyway!

    What I hope is that Ancestry explains fully whatever terms it decides to use in Relationship descriptions and doesn’t just invent its own ‘standard’.
    PLEASE Ancestry – Try to leave no doubts – this is what WE are all trying to do in our own research.

    Finally, as a light diversion – I found this at:

    ——— “Both grand- and great- seem to be translating the French grand-, as in grand-oncle and so on. French uses grand- consistently for the upward direction, and petit- for the reverse, as in petit-fils (grandson). In Latin your great-uncle is patruus magnus if he is on your father’s side, and avunculus magnus on your mother’s side; magnus, like French grand, can mean both “big” and “important”. The root of our problem is that there are two ways to receive that into English: grand via Anglo-Norman graunt, Old French grant; and the Germanic great.

    It seems that grandsire and grandam were the earliest English uses (appearing in the 13th century) which are pretty obviously based on the French. On the other hand, great-uncle and grand-uncle are both attested from the 15th century:

    his grete Uncle H. Cardinal of England (Rolls of Parliament V.438, 1438)
    his graunt oncle Henry cardinalle of Englande (Book of Noblesse, 1475)
    These are both referring to the same person – Cardinal Henry Beaufort, the great-uncle of Henry VI.

    In modern times I think most people are familiar with the “rule” that grand- means a difference of two generations, and repetitions of great- can be used for longer distances. This would suggest grand-uncle as the preferred form but in fact, great-uncle is more common. Perhaps what is going on is that both words are possible English forms of grand-oncle, but for some reason grand-uncle does not feel appropriate, leaving the way clear for great-uncle to become standard. They are both used, and have a long history – but one is more popular.

    Pure speculation:
    If my grandfather is my father’s father, then my grand-uncle should be my uncle’s father. But that is my grandfather. So grand-uncle is confusing. Grand- is reserved for the direct line of descent, so it feels wrong to use it for people who are off to the side !!!” ————

    [Oh dear – time for a lie-down in a darkened room!]

    Seriously though, PLEASE Ancestry — save my sanity, my eyesight and my blood-pressure — allow me clear choices, off-buttons, clean script, concise pages, index correction and ‘all of the above’ from this and previous blogs submitted by earnest, genuine genealogists. Through our research we are all educators – please don’t trivialize, devalue or ignore our time, effort and experience.

  77. Katherine

    Get rid of the story line.It’s stupid and most of the time it’s wrong.You’ll have taken 1 person and have him or her married 2 or 3 times when they were only married 1 time.Get rid of it.

  78. Roger

    Repeat Post for which I am looking for a response from Kristie:-

    @emam – so many times have we mentioned this, it is heads against brick walls! Why do we have to keep repeating things, Kristie, over and over again??

    Here is the accepted convention for date format in genealogical use. Please accept it, acknowledge it and please standardise it!!

  79. MKath

    Defective product. Needs to be recalled. Major functional issues are not being addressed. The New format is cumbersome and ugly–does not suit user needs. LifeStory is an inaccurate mess and users have no control over what Ancestry puts on it. “Reinvention” is the word these days. Does anyone recall giving Ancestry the permission to “reinvent” his/her family story?

  80. Elhura

    There are serious problems with the marriage data element. When a marriage record is downloaded, Ancestry automatically records it twice. It is up to the astute tree-builder to go back and delete one of them. This may be part of the problem causing the gross multiple marriage errors appearing across Life Story. It is also horrible to find, as a previous post has pointed out – when children and step-children are picked up under multiple spouses – completly RUINING the accuracy of someone’s tree, let alone the hard work that it took to build it.

    Also, has anyone noticed in their trees that Ancesty can no longer identify the spouse when creating a marriage fact block? Previously the title would be something like “Marriage to Jane Doe”. Now it just says “Marriage”. A once quick glance at the FACTS page could glean so much ilnformation in the blink of an eye. Now you have to “blink and blink and blink” just to focus on the miscolored page – only to see that they married, and not to whom.

    Please, Ancestry, fix these and so many other problems before you claim such wonders with your new product. And yes, it is NEW. The features of the old are so well hidden deep inside the product that it and its results are no longer recognizable.

    So many problems – so long to fix – such an “amateurish” mess in the meantime!

  81. emam

    Roger, the dates did revert back to the proper format for a short while (at least on my tree) but it must have been a glitch on their part as it went back the next time I went on. I get so mad when I check for new records and have to work the date out. Why did they even need to change it on Classic A. I have seen the previous posts but thought I would bring it up again. I also sent a message but haven’t had a reply.
    I am still using Classic and will continue to do so for as long as I can.

  82. Carmen

    Something else I wish people would submit complaints about is the inability in New Ancestry to right click and open a Suggested Record (which is in the right panel when in the document viewer) in a new tab so that you don’t have to leave the document you are currently viewing. This is so frustrating to me! The ability to do this is there if you want to open the trees of other people who saved the record your viewing. Why not add the same function to the Related Records?! It’s in the same panel!

    Also, if you do open the tree of someone who saved a record, it no longer takes you to the person they saved it to!!! This is so stupid! I have to go searching there list of people, hoping they don’t have 12 of them with the same name, to find where they attached the record! AAAAAAAARGH!!!!

    I agree with all the other gripes everyone stated above but to me the problem with the colors (with the exception of the tree overview) is far less a problem than the facts page layout. I can’t stand using the New site because of this. Everything is too spread out! I can’t get an overview with a quick glance like before in the more condensed layout on Old. I HATE, HATE, HATE this! It’s difficult to explain just how unpleasant this is to view for any length of time! It’s terrible! I only go to the New site when I want to look at the new wills records because you can’t view them on the Old site. I immediately go back to Old.

    I am absolutely DREADING the switch! I can’t for the life of me understand WHY a company would do this to its loyal, paying customers! How could it possibly be good for business to upset a huge percentage of your clients and cause so much anxiety, frustration, and downright anger?! Who is running this company?!!

    I just don’t understand how a company this big could make SUCH A HUGE BLUNDER. This mess is beyond belief. And to allow it to go on and on for so long. In most businesses if something got this much negative feedback from customers the owners would go into crisis mode and hire more people, etc. to get the problem fixed as quickly as possible. It doesn’t make sense that this is taking SO LONG to fix!

  83. Crystal

    @ Vince: I’m also wondering about the “grand” vs. “great” usage. I wrote to ‘Ask Ancestry Anne’ a few months ago when I noticed the great/grand difference between designations in vs. Family Tree Maker, and was told that, at least in the case of aunts and uncles, “grand” and “great” are interchangeable. Who decided that? How can you determine generational relationships? I replied, asking those questions and never did hear back from them.

  84. Carmen

    One more thing, please give us the option to use the basic document viewer as our default and make that selection “stick” so I don’t have to keep changing the setting every time. I cannot use the new viewer because it is TOO SLOW and jumpy. I used to be able to but something has changed.

    I am no longer having the problem with the document not loading correctly and looking like pieced-together squares. Nothing on my computer has changed. So, it wasn’t on my end as some people kept saying.

    If this whole redesign is, as I suspect, solely to make the site more usable for smart phone “researchers” why can’t there be a desktop version like Old Ancestry and let the mobile version remain separate? Why do they have to be combined? Serious researchers are not going to do their research on a mobile device. They probably won’t be long-time subscribers either so I don’t think there will be a huge need to have the ability to switch back and forth between mobile and desktop sites.

    I think Ancestry jumped the gun on trying to make this site more like an app. Maybe in about 20-30 years when the millennials get older would be a more appropriate time to try this. Then again, the millennials probably won’t be able to see very well anymore from all the years of staring at their tiny screens, lol! 😉

  85. Carmen

    @ Crystal, I never understood why they used grand & great the way they do either. To me it makes more sense to call the sister of your grandmother a grand aunt and the sister of your great grandmother a great aunt, etc. But, I guess it’s too late for logic now.

  86. Mary M Zashin

    “The website will undergo scheduled maintenance on Thursday, 5 November 2015, from approximately 2:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. (EDT). During that time, some portions of the site may be unavailable. Thank you for your patience.” I hope, hope, hope, that the “scheduled maintenance” includes some or even ALL of the fixes that have been suggested over and over again, ESPECIALLY the need to change the color scheme.

  87. RobinH

    I share your hopes, @Mary M Zashin, but I wonder if the scheduled maintenance might have something to do with the announced Great Migration of all Canadian customers to New Ancestry on November 5. Best wishes to our fellow genealogists.

  88. steve

    You wouldn’t say your great-father or great-mother. Grand before great.
    Still don’t like new format.

  89. RobinH

    A couple of months ago, I downloaded my tree to FTM. It had 7,164 people and 541 media items. After reading that the updates to FTM 2014 might result in its dropping what it considers to be duplicate information, I decided to download my tree as a backup to an earlier version of FTM. Since I can’t bear to work on my tree anymore, I haven’t added anything to my tree since I last downloaded it. My newly-downloaded tree has 7,164 people and 4,998 media items. If, for example, I saved a census report to multiple people, it appears to have downloaded a separate media item for each one of those saves. It took much longer to download and now I am storing, as is Ancestry, many more media items that I think we need to. I am glad to have the data, but I am sorry to see the (what seems to me) newly-introduced inefficiency.

  90. Vince

    Sigh — has been switched to New Ancestry as advertised, with no option for return to Classic Ancestry that I can see. . .

  91. carol

    RE: Vince;

    So, do you have (Canada)? If so, have there been any improvements or color changes?

    I’m very interested in knowing if it is any better. Anyone else?

  92. Vince

    To carol: No, I am not subscribed to (Canada). I just connected via its interface over the last few days to see if it really got switched today, as was advertised a while back. I have been routinely keeping New Ancestry open at (US version), with Classic Ancestry open to the same tree in another window through (UK version, which still offers Classic as of today) so I can more easily compare New to Old. I haven’t really looked for differences in the New interface across country interfaces.

  93. carol

    To Vince:

    Thanks for your response. I’m in the USA so I’m primarily interested in what they do the the But when I switch back and forth between the new and the classic, I see the notice that the new will be the ONLY Ancestry soon.

    I had to call customer support because of a birth/death date matter for a baby who was born and died between 1900 and 1910, so while I had an ear, I asked about the Canadian Ancestry and also about when the USA was going to get the new only. I didn’t get an answer on that.

    I voiced my complaints and was advised there is a way to shut off the full family events in the Facts. There is a little box with a gear and an arrow that one can click to turn off the extra event boxes for children, siblings and parents. Something that really bugged me and I hadn’t noticed it before.

    I’m still going to use the classic. It is so much better than the new.

  94. Martin

    How many people do you have fixing these issues, 1? To go live without remedying major faults and missing features is madness. I certainly would not have got away with it when I was working as a Project Manager, if I had allowed a website project to go live in the state the one that New Ancestry is in I would have been very quickly looking for a new job.

    Where is the Quality Control, the signed off Test Results, the signed off design etc, are you actually following any Project Process,seems to me this site has been developed ” on the fly”.

  95. gp_4hbc

    RobinH: On your comment: “for example, I saved a census report to multiple people, it appears to have downloaded a separate media item for each one of those saves. It took much longer to download and now I am storing, as is Ancestry, many more media items that I think we need to. I am glad to have the data, but I am sorry to see the (what seems to me) newly-introduced inefficiency.”

    Were you backing up to FTM in the classic view of Ancestry? If so, if you have yourself saved out some census images than you can always skip the download of Ancestry citation media to eliminate all that extraneous junk that you do not need. Just be sure to uncheck the box that says “Download citation media from Ancestry.” The images are too small to do much with other than editing, cropping them, etc. Also, the take up a lot of space on your computer and are really unnecesary. The download also copies them and gives the a number after the name on all the duplicates. You can go to your family tree maker folder on your computer and just delete all the extraneous census records and any other media items you do not need. As long as you have a detailed citation, why clutter up your tree with more media than you need?

  96. RobinH

    gp_4hbc Thanks so much for the helpful information. Maybe I’ll just go back and download the tree again without checking the “Download citation media from Ancestry” box and see what happens.

  97. Dot Bourque

    Change for the sake of change is not progress! I agree with the complaints about color, screen and print layout, lack of functionality, lack of quality control. Please listen to your users and fix these issues immediately or return to the older version!

  98. Jade

    I will not be using LifeStory at all. Too many time-and-place bugs, and my trees are too large to do person-by-person corrections. No research help at all on that page. I’d so much rather that the Facts page gets made as easy to use as the ClassicAncestry tree person-pages. Too much is now hidden under links and buttons.

  99. gp_4hbc

    You are more than welcome. Better do it fast before you get stuck with the New Ancestry. As I said, you can always go to the FTM folder on your computer and then go to the media file associated with that tree. Then you can pick and choose what you want. Doesn’t do any harm to download another one but rename it before you do. Good luck,

  100. Dave

    This is a big problem, and a major attack on personal security. When I go to “New Ancestry” I get a bunch of error messages relating to third party cookies. Any intelligent computer user understands the security problems that allowing third party cookies opens. When is Ancestry going to stop requiring the acceptance of third party cookies? My membership expires 20 November 2015. I will not renew if 3rd party cookies are still required at that time.

  101. Dave

    I just called the 801-705-7000 “Management” number and spoke with Derrick. He explained that some of the “technology” that they use is not owned by Ancestry. I asked if they could give me a list of all of the third-party sites that they require cookies for. That is not going to happen, but he did say he would enter the feedback for me. I have two weeks to decide whether or not I want to renew. I am going to use some of that time to try to figure out who all of these third-party sites are. Anyone using Firefox web browser can set it to ask each time a cookie needs to be accepted.

  102. emam

    gp_4hbc thanks for the tip on removing some of the media in FTM. I will give it a go on some of the bmd records. I would like to keep things like census and military records but don’t need those bmd ones.
    Can you help with another query. I had to unlink my tree and then download it again. Is it safe to delete all the files from the first tree from my computer and how do I know which ones to delete. Thanks

  103. Mary M Zashin

    In addition to the sheer ugliness of the new site, what is unacceptable to me is the loss of functions that are individually minor but that cumulatively add up to a less efficient and less effective interface. For example, the loss of “view all sources” means that it is not now possible to see in one place all of the sources for an individual with their of their detail and all of their the associated facts. In “view note,” there is no longer a date attached to show when the note was written, nor are there options for typeface, color, or bullets. There is no “expander” button as on this form on the media description or on “edit” for media description. There is no longer a list of people/trees that have used one of your media items–only circular icons which recently didn’t even have active links. When those links were active, moreover, they took you, not to the individual to whom your media was attached, but to the tree as a whole. Were all of these “unimportant” things deliberately removed, were they mistakenly removed, or is their absence merely a series of bugs/glitches? Adding functionality is great. For example, I like the ease with which a previously-attached source can be connected to another event from the “source” button in the event. But taking away functions is the opposite of great!

  104. Mary R.

    I went into the Security tab on both my new Dell desktop computer and my Acer Chromebook and I blocked third-party cookies. There’s been no change whatsoever in what I see on the Old Classic pages.

  105. Dave

    @MaryR The third-party cookies I am talking about only are a problem when using New Ancestry.

    FOR EVERYONE: One of the third-party cookies go to the website pixel (dot) mathtag (dot) com. Based on comments on the Norton Security Community message board, it appears to be related to java scripting. There are many legitimate uses for java scripting, and there are also many less than legitimate uses for it. This is a good place to remind everyone that you need to have a good quality security program installed.

  106. Sarah Thompson

    I just want to add to the voices of complaint about’s faults. Particularly bothersome to me is the difficulty in getting outright MISTAKES in information corrected. My grandmother’s name is still listed as Mildred on the main entry of the 1940 census, despite my repeatedly pointing out the this was a transcription error and that her name, as correctly written on the census form, is Hildred. Very disrespectful.

    Also, my great uncle was mistakenly listed as a son of his grandparents, yet I cannot get this corrected, and now his ancestry “story” includes an entry about his mother’s death, which is in fact his grandmother’s death, despite attempted corrections and his actual mother’s death being already correctly noted.

    Also, I would like to say how frustrating the city directory transcriptions are. Clearly most are automatic OCR transcriptions and they are just awful!

    I could go on, but generally I believe ancestry needs to stop being so greedy and put some of the fees so many of us pay them into improving the ACCURACY of the info on the site. Without that, it’s all just a work of fiction.

  107. Thameslass

    Ancestry obviously isn’t reading this page otherwise the spam message from Shruthi Kumari would have been removed by now.

  108. Pa

    I certainly hope Ancestry is listening, and will compact printing options so they don’t take more than necessary sheets of paper to print out pages.

    *No trees were killed in the posting of this message.

  109. nadinemi

    So, if anybody at Ancestry is still looking here for feedback, I’d like to put in a plug for spreadsheets. I often find spreadsheets to be an incredibly useful, elegant, and accessible way to display information. Just think about this: would you rather view old census records the way they are now, or presented in a narrative format?

  110. Scott Eyestone

    I’m desperately trying to be nice here, so I’ll start with appreciation for the new geospatial functionality. I was a functional analyst/tester for geospatial functionality in Emergency Management software for DHS and understand the technical challenges. But as a near-daily user of, all you had to do – assuming your old code was clean enough – was integrate that function into the old workflow with command items grouped and located as they were. You made a nice functional leap forward but took 3 end-user workflow steps backward. Here is my list of defects noted in this, the 5th time, I’ve tried to use New Ancestry:
    – Phantom hints have been a reported issue for months and continue to be so.
    – The “no relationship” line on the Profile commonly occurs in records created in New Ancestry. (I need to do more testing to see if that is always the case).
    – There is duplication of Facts in Lifestory. Whenever the Edit function is used to delete a duplicate, the Edit command item disappears from all the other facts in the Lifestory view. The user has to exit Lifestory and return for the Edit command item to reappear on all the fact items. See my 2X GGF John Wesley Eyestone record as a case in point.
    – The All Hints command item needs to be grouped with Research Tools and available all the time (when the option is toggled on) on Profile pages. It was present on Profile pages in Old Ancestry and facilitated workflow nicely. I think that one change would help calm the storm you’re getting from your power-users.
    And THAT is the essence of the matter. You have allowed let the code-cutting cowboys take charge of the asylum. You need stronger functional analysts, an effective component/system/end-user testing team, and a decision maker that refuses to release a version into the production environment until the the test team is happy. You routinely release sloppy functionality and now you’re cramming New Ancestry down the throats of your loyal power users…the surest sign that code-cutters are in charge…and the surest way to lose market share.

  111. Carolyn DeClerck

    The above user complaints are mine. Scott is right. This format is not ready for release. It needs at least 6 more months to be even marginally ready. Your FAQ is useless and you could at least release a tutorial on how to operate/navigate the new system that is easily accessible from the users tree. I’m sorry to say you’ve effectively taken all the joy out using Ancestry.

  112. Vonnie

    Re: Scott Eyestone’s comment above about the “cowboys.” I think it is safe to say Ancestry has allowed students in either high school or college (probably BYU) to take “charge” of the project. It is obvious that this site is a “academic learning project for non-professional programmers. Think of the money they saved by allowing students to play with the system for class projects. I bet no one has worked more than 1-2 quarters or semesters and then new students take over. The old site is a wonderful tool for ancestry research—not so anymore! Yes, it would have been easy for the new programs to be available without destroying the integrity of the old site.

  113. Ann

    I dislike the new grey and black colors because they are are not fun and happy looking. So I contacted customer service and asked if there could be option to change the colors added to the new format. Here was there response ‘… based on customer feedback and business metrics that our website was out of date….. We must stay relevant to remain competitive in a ever-growing business of online genealogy. An outdated web page is counter productive to what we are trying to accomplish as a business.’

    Well… there you go. Apparently the things I like are outdated. I don’t like dreary colors.. They are sad and make my page look like it is in permanent ‘Edit’ mode. 🙁 Like many others… canceling my subscription seems like it might be the only solution. I don’t want to … but I also don’t want to look at something that is so ugly.

  114. krismania

    The genealogy work that I carry out is intended as a record for posterity. I am not perfect, but I have tried very hard over the past 20 years to make it as accurate and as readable as possible. Does Ancestry imagine for one moment that I want to leave the cheap and nasty, flashy piece of junk that is ‘New Ancestry’ for those who come after? Classic Ancestry was just that – classic. Without it, I’m probably leaving at the end of my sub – I can’t put up with this.

  115. alan ribbans

    I have to support those above regarding the “New Ancestry” page look. If I could change back to the “classic” look I would do so immediately. The Black banner I get across the top of the page looks so ugly that I will not be copying any more images from Ancestry that contain this appearance. Certainly will not print them out – think of all the ink that will be used!!
    To propose this appearance is retrograde step and I will probably cancel my subscription when due for renewal.
    I have come across this dilemma before with Ancestry and whilst they say they listen to the comments, there is seldom any positive reaction. Their view is take it or leave and if outdated so beit – after all genealogy is looking backwards, is it not. I think its the few doing the dictating at the
    expense of the majority.
    Please bring back the old Ancestry.

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  117. judy

    I hate the new. Found a lot of pictures missing, stories, and information. It like you went to someone who had a lot of information in and took the information and run with it. For some one who is not computer smart you are barking up the wrong tree. The old ancestry was much better very easy to use. Now we got this carp to put up with. Some of the features do not work and when they do they have it all wrong. I am not going to spend time re working my tree when I had it all on old ancestry and with the right information which you now have it all wrong. No one wants wrong information and stop jamming down our throats . I paid for the old ancestry not for the new. If I was a new person to look at you site I would not even pay for this bull crap. All we want when doing our tree is just plain and simple and that what doing family history is all about. We don’t need all that stuff you are trying to force us to use. To hard to use just want plain and simple. I have always told everyone what a great site it was. Right now I tell everyone not to waste their money on the site that cannot be trusted and you cannot understand it. If you do not bring old ancestry back then you will have another one leavening cause I hate it .

  118. Kat

    Where is the relationship calculator? God I wish you had never changed! I hate the new format! Especially the colors!

    • Member Services Social Support Team

      @Kat We appreciate your feedback regarding the site and we’re sorry to hear that you feel this way. In regards to the relationship calculator this should be available below the profile picture of the person you’re reviewing. If it’s still not showing up please try following the steps included in this article and it should resolve the issue.

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