Posted by Ancestry Team on March 1, 2016 in Website

Over the past couple of months we have been listening to member feedback and running usability testing around the color options available on our site. Some members have shared it was difficult to read light text on a darker background. Others actually preferred it.

We have come up with several color options so you can choose what works best for you. We will keep the current color scheme (Pebble, which is light text on a darker background) as the default, and adding the inverse (Sand, which is dark text on a lighter background). Going through this process, we decided to offer a couple more options as you will see below, Wave, Jade and Plum.

Before – Pebble (default)
After- Sand

To change your tree color preferences, go to the Site Preferences page from the option under your username menu. Scroll down to see Site Preferences, and select the color scheme that you like best.



Once you’ve chosen and saved your color preference, your changes will be applied to all family trees and person profiles on our site.

Before – Pebble (default)
After- Wave

Windows users: if the text on Ancestry looks blurry to you compared to the text in our example images, and you’re on a Windows computer, you may need to check your ClearType settings by following the steps laid out in this help article:

We appreciate your feedback and encourage you to keep submitting it. What do you love about the new website? Does something not work like you think it should? Please submit it via this form. Thank you.

We will continue to provide more product updates as they come available.



  1. Nan Duke

    Hi. I really like the options to change colors of the tree on Ancestry…..but, actually, I don’t like any of the color schemes except Pebble. I think the colors are okay…but they are too bright and harsh on the computer screen. Thank you.

  2. Rachelle

    If I want a nice chart made up, does ancestry keep my info for their own purposes ? Pictures ? Vital recs ? Etc ? Thank you.

  3. Patrick

    Thank you to the coders behind Ancestry for implementing this. I would recommend there be a permanent dark outline around people, specifically in portrait view. There’s just not enough contrast in my opinion.

  4. Janet

    Thank you for the color options! For some reason, the sand color looks white on my computer, but yet it looks darker in the picture above.

  5. Christal

    Thank you for listening to your users and now giving us an option to change our color schemes. This truly shows you care!

  6. Debbie

    I actually find the colors of the male and female icons to be the part that ruins the whole thing for me. They don’t really fit in with any background color. So, maybe you should add canary yellow and neon orange for background color choices.

  7. Andrea

    Oh look, Ancestry made another cosmetic change to the site, rather than adding substance like a chromosome browser.
    If you were listening to customer feedback a chromosome browser and a triangulation tool would have been coded already.

  8. Jim

    Oh joy, more cosmetic changes.. nothing worth bragging about.
    Still not renewing, this doesn’t make the hideous complete overhaul look any better.. so not worth paying for.

  9. dmarshall511

    Job Well Done on the color options! Hopefully one of them works nicely for the folks that prefer the old style soft colors on the pastel background.

    Hopefully Ancestry is working on balancing the width of the 3 columns on the Facts/Profile page so that the names of people do not need to hyphenate.


    I do not like the new sight! The old style was much more enjoyable- everything was right where I could see it- Please go back to the old viewing format.

  11. Susan

    Why so many colours? Garish in the extreme. Changed to sand, which will have to do if that’s the best you can come up with. Classic colour was best. Books and newspapers use black on white (or near white), some magazines may have pages of other colours, but they are for show, not easy reading.

  12. Ron

    Too little, too late. The entire site is a disaster. Is implementing this new feature the reason why? The old dazzle them with footwork approach? This is just a distraction. Maybe you should spend the time and money invested in the new features just FIXING the one that don’t work.

  13. Tracy

    I have to say I am happy with the color options, however the blue and pink profile pics do indeed ruin the effect 🙁 You really need to offer the “old” look as it was such a clean look. At least that is my opinion. I am grateful that you are implementing some changes. Now if only I could access the World info without having to pay such a high membership price!

  14. Martin

    At this rate of resolution of fixing issues & errors reported months ago, at 1 fix every six months will another 12 years before all the errors I raised back in September are fixed!

  15. Donna

    Can’t help wonder about the background of the people in your design department. So you give us color options, but they are so garish and overwhelming. I have chosen Sand, but the contrast is not optimal. I think doesn’t have a complete understanding of it’s customer base.

  16. Butch

    Awesome! Love the new colors. Thanks for listening and giving us options.
    Appreciate all Ancestry does to make working on family history easier.

  17. Regina

    I want the old format back!! The colors are great and thanks for sending us the notice but…I want the Old Format!! This new format is a disaster and colors will not make it not be a disaster.

  18. Joyce

    I am STILL waiting fro a print preview on the facts page so that we can copy and paste into a WORD doc that INCLUDES links to the various Census…and it SHOULD be a way to HIDE all the extraneous info about births and deaths of family members…I just did a print on someone I BARELY have nay info on …and it was 3 pages long just because all the siblings birth and death info was included. PLEASE give us a way to be able to cope and paste entries the way it used to be!!! 1st I want to be able to copy of paste into WORD and also into stories with LINKS that work and I DON’T need all that extra info printed!!! WHAT A HUGE WASTE OF PAPER…I changed to SAND but it is still NOT AS GOOD as the old way used to be…EVERYTHING was so much easier to see and read…

    This is NOT rocket science…the way things used to be in OLD ancestry for displays and profile page was BETTER—I don’t need to be wasting all this paper—I want to be able to have a print preview I can copy and paste and have a way to EXCLUDE all that extraneous info when I do!

    I am starting to get used to the other changes you have made which are STILL not as good as OLD ancestry—everything takes longer, more clicks, more wasted time, wasted paper etc…

    JUST becauseI am getting used to the slow response and all the other problems with the NEW site does NOT mean I like it…

    I am not sure WHAT you folks are not getting…the OLD site functioned better, was faster, displays were better—

    I have ONLY found ONE “improvement” that I like and that is the ability to be able to save a page out of the card catalog directly to a person without me having to save to my computer and add to people’s pages BUT you STILL only have ONE selection for data—so when you find a genealogy text in card catalog you have to go back 3 times in order to be able to add BMD info.

    Genealogies in card catalog often contain FULL BMD info and it is a waste of time for me to have to go back to the same document 3 times to add it all separately.

    Although I switched to sand, it is STILL not as good as the old colors, and hyou definitely need a border for the family view!!!

  19. Despite some negative feedback, I have to pass on my congratulations to the devs behind the “new” ancestry tree format. Yes the colour option is a nice to have but was probably done in someone’s spare time (or at least I hope so). Your tree was definitely wilting but has changed significantly for the better, taking advantage of desktop and mobile users to great effect. For me your downfall is GEDCOM media import. Two major websites provide accessible links to the media in a person’s tree so they can import and export. You don’t? Why do you keep these behind a private link? You’re tree would top the lot if you embraced open access to media. Congratulations to the devs/designers on a job well done regardless. PM (former tech lead on Findmypast Tree Team)

  20. Elizabeth H

    Out of curiosity, do let us know in a future post what the most popular color scheme is. I’ll bet it’s sand 😉

    • Kristie Wells

      @Elizabeth: I have made the ask to pull a report in 30 days and see what people have chosen. From comments found online (blog, community, Facebook, etc), most are sticking with Pebble (default) and/or choosing Wave.

  21. This is truly great. I hate the colors we have now. I was fine with the readability but hated it when I sat in a low light room. Thanks for implementing the change.

  22. Lou

    After reading all the comments left by the naysayers, I thought I would not like the new color schemes. But I really like the new Jade color a lot – it’s my favorite!! Tried the plum but it is a little bright. Maybe a soft green would be a nice addition.
    Thanks Ancestry for giving us options!
    I’ve been a member forever and feel is the best money I spend on genealogy.

  23. dianeturnbull1

    @ Joyce You can turn off all that sibling info on your Facts pages. Go to “Show” (right under “Lifestory” and “Facts” at the top of the page) and you can click on “Family Events” and “Historical Insights” to turn them off.

  24. Tom

    OK, you gave us a couple more dark backgrounds, but take it further. Give us a way to adjust the SHADE!

    That was always my problem. The “Sand” is the best because all the text is black except where it is blue. But it is so bright.

    I use a very soft dove gray. Bright enough, but doesn’t light up the room!

    Don’t you guys remember when Windows first gave us choices for text, backgrounds and etc. And they also gave us a palette to choose from to adjust the SHADES. Or are all you guys too young to remember that?

  25. Gerri

    Colour enhancements may appeal to some users but it does not improve the quality of research! A much more appreciated enhancement would be a way to attach DNA matches to Ancestry tree or better printing options from Ancestry trees.
    Keep up the improvements. Thanks

  26. B.

    I give up. I’ve reverted to pebble after trying the color schemes on two laptops and one mobile device, and in 4 different browsers: Firefox, Microsoft, Chrome and Safari.
    I would have preferred Sand, but my preferred browser is Firefox. When I use Firefox Sand is light gray. When I open a profile page, the profile name is in that hideous leaf hint avocado green, and when I turn on “Show Research Tools” they appear in blue. Add these to the garish blue for a male profile and the garish salmon color for a female profile, and the purple lines, and Sand becomes unusable because of all the clashing colors. Why black print was not chosen for the profile page and “Research Tools” in the Sand option is beyond my ability to comprehend. Wave, Plum and Jade are just too in-your-face brassy bold to use.
    Now that I’ve gotten that critique out of the way, there’s still the problem of:
    -no way to turn off Life Story so that no one else can see it
    -no Family Group Sheet
    -printing out profiles still requires excessive ink and paper
    -ongoing click, click, click fatigue.

  27. The colors are better, the previous one was so hard on the eyes. I still do prefer the old Ancestry to this new one – it’s just so busy and takes three times (and clicks) longer to get anything done. I liked having my pictures right next to my events and not have to go to the gallery every time you want to check things out. You should keep the gallery, too, in case you do want to see everything you have at one glance and in one place. But if it were a choice of only one, I’d like it to be the way it was previously. Everything was much cleaner and not so busy….

  28. calyx

    Stop telling me that I’ve already said something.

    Sometimes, a BANDAID is not the answer. Some sores have to be exposed to fresh air.Otherwise there will be PUS, like New Ancestry.

  29. MDubuc

    In the ‘March Update’ email from Ancestry just received, they are trying to ‘sell’ how LifeStory HELPS me with my tree! I don’t need such pitiful help such as LifeStory. The ‘help’ LifeStory can provide me is a way to turn off the darn thing from being visible in my tree. I HATE LIFESTORY!

  30. Ani

    Yea! Massive improvement, thank you. Now can you please convert merge duplicates back to choice that are identified by their DOB’s rather than by their saved records collections. It tales a second to merge a duplicate based on a DOB, and 8+ minutes to do it via census records. Would also like to see the index sheet first when viewing census records, as I prefer to add family members that was as I tend to make mistakes and double save records the other way. So I would rather go old school when evaluating info from hints and other’s trees. Additionally, one can not look at other family members index sheets in an instant because one is virtually closed out of jumping to another family members record index summary.

  31. Martin

    Kristie Wells Now you have given an option to alter the colours on OUR trees, now give us the option to turn off the awful Life Story on OUR trees.

  32. IMPegasys420

    The addition of more dull colors to an already hideous general color scheme on the new ancestry is just lipstick on a pig … BRING BACK THE OLD CLASSIC ANCESTRY …

  33. Ani

    Is anyone else experiencing bugs after choosing their color preference? I chose the background closest to Old Ancestry’s. I felt that things had been improving slightly on the site the last few weeks once they reduced the obstructive letter boxing framing around records and one could click on the x off and turn some of the over lays off and pop up’s off and they reduced the size of the tool bar and the page references and film strip icon bar at the bottom of the page’s size was reduced and the move screen right or left arrow size was reduced, but now when I view census records they are back again to the horror of the New Ancestry launch. I went into the tool bar and turned off all the popups, but they refuse to turn off even though I have slid them to the off setting. I can view the actual census in roughly an area of about two inch by two inch without obstruction form Ancestry’s overlays laying on top of the census record. The massive National Archives source reference is there in a permanent pop up, on the left bottom corner, as are the top of the page and left side of the page name index and category indexes and other further clutter on the bottom of the screen and the tool bar is massive again and obstructing viewing. Images are fuzzy and they take forever to become un fuzzy. At least one could still view other records like ship passage records without the obstruction of the overlays but now they are present there as well. I could not be more dissatisfied with the site or company’s response to the thousands of complaints. I have gone from 100% complete satisfaction prior to the launch of New Ancestry to 0% satisfaction since the lauch of New Ancestry. I am just trying to finish up my research so I can cancel my subscription and will rely on Family Search, State sources and Newspaper archives, because this is the pits!

  34. MKath

    I don’t care that much about changing the tree colors. I just wish you would fix the website so that it’s fully functional. Can’t open records; can’t attach anything; can’t access DNA matches. Family Search and Find A Grave are working poorly. I open Find A Grave pages and hear voices coming through my computer speakers. Not voices from the graves but possibly voices from advertisers on Find a Grave pages. How secure are all these sites?

  35. Mlonika

    @MKath – Thanks for sharing this. I thought I ws loosing it when I clicked on FindaGrave and voices started to come out at me from the speakers. Glad it was not just me!

  36. AC Johnson

    Too all the complainers: viewing is a 2-way street: the age and quality of your monitor and other equipment will affect how you like this feature (in addition to your personal health and preferences). And, Ancestry, now that I’m used to the updated version I LOVE IT! I keep noticing little useful tweaks, or features I’ve not seen before. It’s got more versatility for a wide variety of uses.

  37. Crystal

    This is really a good example of; “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. I much prefer the old site. It was so much easier for me to navigate and I’m not a total ninny when it comes to research and navigating sites. The new site is slow to respond, I have trouble attaching some records, and what’s with the voices coming from Find A Grave? Thought perhaps it was a glitch in my new system until I talked with a friend who has had hers for 5 years, she hears voices as well. Ha. Would be funny if it weren’t so annoying. I worry about security now. The new site is slow to respond, takes forever to respond, uses way too much paper to print details I don’t need, nor want. As to AC Johnson’s comment about age of monitor and equipment, as of this date, 9 Mar 2016, I have a brand new system, a new Android phone and a new tablet. None help with the new color schemes. I much prefer the old color scheme as well. Can this be an option? Thanks so much for all that you do, I know you can’t please everyone, but based upon the comments I’ve read, most of the respondents like the old color scheme best.

  38. Sue

    I too, much prefer to OLD ancestry over these cumbersome, often problematic new looks. You can’t just put lipstick on this PIG and hope people think it’s pretty! Ease of function is so much more important to me than looks! Go back to the old – it worked fine.

  39. Marilyn Prault

    What happened to DNA circles? I previously had several for both my husband’s and my DNA tests. Today there are NO circles for either test.

  40. Vonnie Bennett

    Why can’t you just make a white background with black type. It requires less strain to see what is written.

  41. Judith Martin

    The three columns are paper wasters. In printing out an overview, the third column kept printing down-down-down, leaving a good 2/3 of the paper completely empty. — Yes, I like the option of “pebble”, but still I would just like the nice color scheme of the “old” Ancestry. And those teal and hot pink backgrounds for individuals are hideous! Why not just a black figure on a white background?

  42. Monika

    PANIC TIME! I signed into Instead of seeing MY trees as I always do, trees show that are not mine. I have three computers at home. One lap top and two desk tops. Same on all three computers. First time I sign in I get the WILLIS TREE. Have no idea who that is. Second time I sign in I get the KFAMILY TREE. Again, I have no idea who that is! Next time I sign in I get the WAGNER/hartsough waites/RODGERS FAMILY TREE, and now the ALLEN TREE. None of these trees are mine, but show as if they were. And none of my trees are abvailable to me. Does anyone else have this problem right now…Tuesday night? And, no, it has nothing to do with cookies or browsers. All three computers have different browsers. And, of course, it is night time, so I cannot contact ACOM.

  43. Deb

    I appreciate you giving us options and like the basic colors you’re choosing however, I agree with many of the others that they are much too bright. Please tone them down.

  44. rhonda

    The window that pops up saying I’ve added a person to my tree or made a change is really annoying. I know what I did, having the window pop up just slows down my work by blocking out children or siblings of the person I’m working on. Get rid of it!!!

  45. Roger

    I’m getting used to the new format and have resumed my research and don’t find too many problems. But Kristie – please, please campaign for the return of “All People with Hints”. This was so useful and I am sure you miss it in your own personal research.

  46. dmarshall511

    It looks like Ancestry has made changes to the print format. I now have a 2-column format that puts the names of the family at the bottom of the right-side column below Sources and Web Links. Come on, Ancestry, you have been doing good for the past few weeks, but please, the people’s names are the most important part of a family tree! The names of family should be the first thing we see on the facts page!

  47. Trisha

    You may change the colour ancestry, but the new site is still awful to use, hate it , hate it! will not renew. You don’t seem to understand how brilliant the old ancestry format was, you were the best, but not now!

  48. Trisha

    Your choice of colours are still too harsh, all of them are too bright. Old ancestry colours were so much easier on the eyes. There is no pleasure whatsoever on working on this site of yours anymore!

  49. Tom

    I don’t think we are using the right adjectives or Ancestry isn’t paying attention. The colors are too intense, or dark, or strong. White text on colors is unacceptable, anywhere. I’m using sand but it is a bit glaring at times. At least I get mostly black text. Blue is a bad color for text.

  50. Trisha

    Does not matter anyway, the new site is still awful no matter how much you tinker with it, it will never come close to how great the old ancestry was. Will not renew, what’s the point because there is just no enjoyment anymore working on here. It’s so b….. awful!

  51. dmarshall511

    Ancestry might be tinkering with the Gallery…at 1:50 AM CDT 25 March 2016, the Gallery was not available for anyone in my tree.

  52. Essie

    Quote from Kristie Wells “@Elizabeth: I have made the ask to pull a report in 30 days and see what people have chosen. From comments found online (blog, community, Facebook, etc), most are sticking with Pebble (default) and/or choosing Wave.” Really? No-one taken any notice of comments from myself and other who have plumped for sand? Not that is was a real choice, just the lesser of many evils.
    By the way, what does this mean exactly? “I have made the ask to pull a report “. I have take the liberty of trying to translate into English, and come up with – “I have asked for a report to be compiled” – could this be correct?

  53. Lorna

    I have to agree with Julia, I prefer the old site much better, it was so much easier to see where all the relatives fut in to my tree, the new site just doesn’t do it for me.

  54. Lorna

    Also must say I haven’t bothered to use your site as much now that the site has changed, just not the same experience anymore.

  55. I totally agree that the new makeover is awful and the old Ancestry was so much better and nicer to use. The map is a major problem where the villages I have are marked in the wrong place and the pointers can’t be moved. Is Ancestry doing my tree or am I? I find all their additions most offensive, map and life story. It would be nice to have a space to put such information, but I want to do it so the correct places are marked on the map and I can choose which facts I feel are relevant for the person. To me it is offensive to have my name next to my parents with a +1 child an arrow and then clicking it reveals my brother, and why do some people die when others pass away? I want to use my words and my format for such information, and
    I would like to be able to print it as a nicely formatted A4 page with a font and size of my choosing. I am using the beige background, but would very much prefer to have the look of the old Ancestry back, it had class.

  56. Neil

    The new Ancestry does not work properly when using Mozilla Firefox. I did report this many months ago but heard nothing. Have had to resort to Internet Explorer something I would prefer not to use. Actually do prefer the old Ancestry and wish there was an option to choose whether your family tree info is displayed in the old or new version.

  57. No, not pleased at all. There are at least two villages in different counties in the country, both having the same name, Ancestry has chosen to mark the maps with the WRONG one and I do not have the option to correct it.

  58. No, not pleased at all. There are two different villages in two different counties both having the same name and Ancestry has chosen to mark the wrong one without giving me the option to correct the mistake or delete the map.

  59. lesley

    i don’t know who posted it, but I completely agree why can’t we download our work with Media attached. I have loads of Media on my trees & want my downloads & backups to include them. If Family Tree Maker can have them downloaded from Ancestry why can’t I back download/back them up where I want.

  60. Annette Doyle

    Please bring back the old ancestry, I am not enjoying the new one at all, It was so easy before, I would be on the site every day, now hardly ever as I get frustrated trying to work, before it was a pleasure, at least give us a choice, thank you

  61. Hi I would like to see the old Ancestry back I have a big Family tree and I find I waste a lot more time with this new one also I am an older person and could follow the old one a lot easier than the new which to me just waste a lot of time as I am on my Tree every day Regards you are not keeping your customers Happy

  62. Allison

    I am also finding that on the home page I am not getting my trees but other peoples trees – this has been happening for 3 days now. I also noticed at the same time this occurred that I was unable to used the site for nearly 1 hour (just timed out when I tried to do anything) and that find a spouse on marriages has disapeared

  63. Hi when this all boils down we are doing Ancestry all about our Ancestors why does it always look so simple when you see all the actors on TV doing Ancestry and get all the help when we mere mortals have to do ours the hard way.

  64. Margaret

    Every so often I think maybe I will come back to Ancestry.Then I read these comments and realise why I won’t. How often do you people need to be told that we want old Ancestry, at least as an option…?

  65. Dianne Woodstock

    I have also been an ancestry member for many years and I now teach others to use it in their research – I don’t like the new format at all and still prefer to use FTM anyway – thank goodness that will still be available. Ancestry really need to listen to alot of their clients and give an option to being able to use the older colours and format. As someone said earlier – why change something that was working so well…..

  66. I would like the old format back. I could understand it much better. I would like to know how to download and backup my tree with the media attached. Also I would like to know how to print from ancestry. I really don’t like those pop ups that say I have just saved something. They get in the way. There are times when it is impossible to save items from another tree to mine even though I am a contributor on that tree. Thank you. Margaret

  67. Jack Clark

    The new colour choices do nothing for me so I will stay with the default colour ie Pebble. Why you persist with tinkering with something that is not broken. I do not like the new format and would like the old format reintroduced, or at least have the choice to pick either the old or new format as an option. I will not be renewing my subscription if the new format is the only option available.

  68. Lesley

    I’m not joining back up to Ancestry for now as I find the new site time wasting, frustrating and quite in your face it’s a shame because I was getting quite good at finding out information now it is to overwhelming for me and time consuming for little rewards if any.

  69. Lesley

    Me again, Ancestry gave me the choice of an extra 3 months before I had to change over to this new site. Why can’t we have both people who like the original and the New site for all the people who prefer that. Cheers Lesley.

  70. Mike

    Hello. I’m back. I see that management is listening and redoing the site big time. I am pleased to see much of the former site returning. I have been a member since 2000. I would like to see an option in preferences of a color light green for the background. This would give a tiny bit of contrast but be easy on the eyes. Many of us have trouble in low light but too much contrast is hard on the eyes when researching. Light green, or variations on the shade, would help in bringing back many of those who left several months ago.

  71. Wendy

    I hate the new format – just so glad I am not the only one. I have reported problems with no response.. changing colours has not fixed any of them… I am considering cancellation.

  72. Brian John Bunker

    Awash with system problems and you come up with new colours. The real problems end users have should be prioritised – not how pretty a tree looked. Thought the forced change in December was low point, but you have yet again proved me wrong yet again

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