Posted by Ancestry Team on June 11, 2018 in Products and Services

Customers have been able to conduct a search for a person within their own tree utilizing the information in their timeline. Now we have made it possible for customers to conduct a targeted search from a person in a Public Member Tree.


  1. Navigate in the person page of another customer’s tree.


  1. To search using the information in this tree, click either of the Search buttons.


  1. Ancestry will conduct a search with the information available in the timeline of the person. It will then return a list of search results.


  1. Click to review a search result. Save to the record to your tree.


  1. Aaron

    Grammar: “Customers have been able to conducted”
    Cut and paste error?: “3 com will conduct a search….”

    • Beverly Wade

      Trying to find my kid brother, he is 4yrs my junior, I’m 79 ! He was born July 9th in Massachutts! We lived in Natick Mass!

  2. Ernest

    Typo in first sentence: “Customers have been able to CONDUCTED….” Should be “conduct.”
    In #3 – “com will conduct a search….” What does that mean?

    • Ernest

      Because a manual refresh is necessary on these pages, I didn’t see Aaron’s comments until I made my own. Please fix the necessity to manually refresh pages, especially on the message boards. Thank you.

  3. Joann

    Husband and wives should have the option to use one email address verses trying to force them to two subscriptions because most couples will only have one administrator to do all the input…the new requirements are not fair; we should choose not Ancestry! Give us the right to say it’s ok to share personal info!!!?!!!!

    • sokolee

      you can share a subscription as long as you are willing to share the username and password. its the DNA where you need 2 separate emails…to get around that one of you should share the DNA results with the other and give them editor privileges. Now both can use subscription and work with DNA results.

  4. Judith Knight

    Is there a way to include a statement to people doing a search to remember the verify the information they receive prior to just attaching it to their files? There is so much mis-information in the trees because of people willy-nilly attaching information without verifying that the information is really valid for the individual[s] involved. Your efforts are appreciated and it will provide a lot of help BUT it will also ensure that more incorrect information is embedded in extant trees. YES, I can provide specifics in terms of users/trees. I always examine sources one by one when looking at the compilation of trees provided as hints when I am provided them by your service. It is amazing the number of records that simply do have any connection to the people to whom they are attached. I realize you cannot supervise your users but this service could just make a bad situation worse. I will say, personally, I would hope anyone looking at my trees would be aware there could be errors and caution should be exercised before taking my info as gospel. My trees are old in terms of having been compiled and some of the sources I added originally were added before I read database descriptions and realized the information was not primary source records but just information provided [unsourced] by individuals and the aggregate of the information was compiled into a database. As I have learned to examine each record I include [the source record if an image is available] and the actual source of the record I have made massive corrections to these old trees that I hope would correct any errors I may have made in the past but still cannot guarantee everything is valid

    • Barbara

      When I first started, my tree was a mess. I use FTM reports to find errors in my tree — duplicate people, addresses and missing details. I’ve spent the last several months researching missing marriage dates, people who were born after their parents died (amazing, eh?), people who married when they weren’t born, people who were born here but baptized elsewhere and a lot of other garbage. Slowly, but surely, correct parents have been attached, knots untangled, and cousin marriages discovered. I started with 277 pages of errors. Only 67 pages remain. I still have 2-3 major errors that I’ll untangle at the end. I’ve probably removed over 1,000 people. It’s hard work, but I’m learning as I go.

  5. caith

    One down, and 50 to go. When are you going to fix the Member Connect; it has not functioned in more than 3 months? What about the broken, very broken navigational system in our dna accounts? What about the page numbering feature in our dna accounts? I am being timed-out when working in my new matches. When are you going to fix all this. The promise was by May 31, 2018.

  6. Joyce

    To add to this list when is EXACT in search for surname going to work again…it has not been working correctly for a VERY long time. In order to find women under maiden name only or married name only, you need to delete all references to the name you are not searching for…even kids…so it is messing up searching a LOT and causing a lot of extra work because the exact feature when you edit searches does not work.

  7. caith

    My list of grievances is just the tip of the iceberg. I am 75, and do not have enough time in my life to enumerate ALL if them.

    This new feature you added is appreciated, but if one prioritized, fixing the Member Connect would have been more valuable.

    If you would fix the broken things before adding new features you would be more highly esteemed. Do you understand the time value of money? I, and others, would take out a 2-yr subscription if you would fix things properly. The difference in the interest on the money in a 1yr vs 2yr subscription would be astronomical times your millions of subscribers.

    We want to be LOYAL subscribers but we cannot reward Ancestry’s bad behavior as in thrusting onto us the mickey mouse navigational features et al. Ancestry is not earning our loyalty.

    So, you got a new IT team recently. If they cannot get the job done, clean house again. If at first you do not suceed………..

  8. Mary M Zashin

    Boy, do I agree with caith!! Fix the stuff that doesn’t work, and you and we all know what that stuff is. Make the site more reliable and less glitchy…fix things! Stop wasting time on features that, even though they may be nice (and I’m not sure how valuable a feature that directs the user to a possibly erroneous tree instead of to a genuine source can be), and use your IT department (do you even have an IT department any more? I have read that you have outsourced everything) to clean up the mess that you have made of the site. I remember before the big change a couple of years ago that things were much less problematic, and perhaps you had big reasons for the overhaul, but you never stabilized it and now you’ve done another major shift that has caused massive problems for many people for several months now. You said you would get things fixed by June 1, but that date came and went. You claim without evidence that things work find for “most” people, but the complaints on the Facebook page keep rolling in. Meanwhile, you introduce marginal stuff like this search option without fixing the major issues with search that you know about…or you roll out idiot bait like those “baseball cards” last month. . .instead of working on core issues of stability and reliability. I know you are mostly interested in selling DNA kits and have really little interest in the minority of your customers who actually want to buy subscriptions and do research…I’m sure there’s much more money in appealing to people who just want to learn about their ethnicity…I know that tree builders are a “niche” group and much more high maintenance than the ethnicity customers, but still…the trees do add value to your site even though you pay little attention to the needs of their creators…really, even the DNA results pages are lacking in functionality, and only serve the ethnicity folks…I was hoping to see “enhancements” like improved searching options there, but instead we get this very minor thing….

  9. B. Gibson

    Mary M Zashin, I completely agree with you. You have assessed and expressed my own frustrations with Ancestry so very well.

  10. Bruce Gomes

    I found it very odd here that my most common need for this feature wasn’t mentioned. I often volunteer to help others with their trees, and the inability to search was something that severely limited our ability to do that. So this is indeed a feature I was most certainly looking to have on Ancestry!! Searching on other trees to aid in your own research will come in handy when you discover related trees where the owner has done a poor job documenting sources – usually a relatively worthless tree, but there are certainly scenarios where people are simply entering their own immediate family and close relatives so they have relatively accurate information. Being able to find sources to back that information then leads to real information you can add to your own tree.

  11. Christine Gaunt

    I agree with Mary M Zashin.
    I work in IT and have experience validating database changes in a laboratory information system, including webpages. Do you have a development website, and do you have testers who run through all aspects of the system once you have made changes? Do you fix what the testers find wrong, and then revalidate the system? And then once things work well, only then do you move it to the production server? My guess is you skimp on these steps, but us users would be so much happier and recommend the site more if it worked well consistently.

    I don’t think I would ever try to search on someone else’s tree. I have turned off hints from member trees as I do NOT consider them to be sources. They may be helpful in providing clues, but I have seen numerous trees that have other trees as “sources” but the source tree is no longer there.
    In your procedure above, I recommend you
    Modify Step 4: Click to review a search result.
    Add Step 5: View image and review data (include screen shot)
    Add Step 6: Decide if data in image is indexed correctly and fits your tree
    Add Step 7: Save record to tree (point out save button)

    I have been noticing a new feature that gives me the willies: Potential Living Descendants. How is this supposed to work? How many banks and financial institutions are still using Mother’s Maiden Name as a check on a person’s identity? How long before someone gets their identity stolen because of it?

    • caith

      Christine, as a very senior citizen, I do not pretend to understand IT, other than what I absolutely need in order to navigate in my everyday life.

      I only know three other users of Ancestry. Two of these people apparently do have have navigational and other issues (at least they do not complain); the third person has the same basically navigational issues I have. That breaks down to a 50% success and 50% failure rate. Not a good survey but……

      My common sense tells me there is NOT a fix for those of us with problems without an Ancestry IT person going in to each broken account to do a fix. We know THAT is impossible.

      The bottom line seems to be we have to live with our individual Ancestry problems.

      It is appalling we have to PAY for something that is broken and totally frustrating. They promised everything would be fixed by May 31, 2018. Why do they roll out things before they are ready for prime time?

      I have tested at FTDNA (atDna and mtDna), 23@Me and uploaded to MyHeritage. No problems there.

    • BarbP

      I agree with Christine. As a retired IT person, if I had made changes to a system and not tested them before launching them to the users I would have been fired. Ancestry used to be a valuable tool for genealogists, now it is more of a site for pretty pictures and “bells and whistles. It certainly isn’t easy to find valid information on ancestors. AND I agree with Caith “It is appalling we have to PAY for something that is broken and totally frustrating.”

  12. Beverly Wade

    My brother’s name is Ronald Gary Parks! Last I knew he @ his family lived in North Carolina! Don’t know where! I would dearly love to hear about him!

  13. Gloria Baragona

    I keep wondering why a “data errors” report isn’t run for all new trees.

    I found a tree this morning where the wife was BORN 37 years AFTER her husband DIED, but she had several children with him–ALL of whom were born BEFORE SHE was born!

    If a data errors report is run and the owner is notified, MAYBE some tree owners would choose not to publish until errors are corrected.

    What is the benefit of providing “hints” from family trees, many of which are chock-full of illogical errors? I NEVER copy anything from trees–I use them only to find names for which I conduct my own research.

  14. Cara Brewin

    I see there is a new option “Potential Living Descendants.” I do not see an icon for it on a profile page. Is it suppose to be working now or something for the future? What exactly is it?

  15. John Cleveland

    I would like to see the Member Search fixed. I have a list of DNA matches I would like to research, but when I search on the member name, nearly half of the time they are not found. I can scroll through my matches, click on the match, and nearly always it will show.
    Another problem is that is not possible to search for a family tree by name.

  16. Erdolly

    I put a large amount of info in Family Tree software but haven’t done anything with it for about 10 years. Now I’m getting into genealogy again. Can I transfer info from Family Tree to Ancestry?

  17. Nancy Daugherty

    When is the sync going to work again? It was to be fixed May 31,2018. Try to run in June and it does not work. Just very frustarated with this site and the money I payed for this.

  18. Karen V Peterson

    I Agree with Christine Gaunt, and really all the others. I feel you do not have good programmers and your programmers to not run tests before they make changes that affect all of your users. You should definitely fix the old glitches before you add new features. I called about getting an invalid error message and several other glitches on Jun 21, and was promised “your account will be updated,” on several complaints. After a month, there is no difference. This is not a cheap site and people are not getting what they pay for. I hate when I follow up on a hint, check the sourcing to see if I think it is valid, and after trying to verify for 20 or 30 minutes, try to add the information only to be told that you are sorry, but that information can no longer be accessed. If it takes you a year to fix the site, you should extend everyone’s membership for a year!

  19. Karen V Peterson

    Second comment: when the site does get fixed, please add a search bar for another person’s tree. I want to go to trees of people I know or am related to, and I may not know their tree name, besides which if they have not done a DNA test or are not blood related to me, I can’t search for their tree by name. There should be a search box for it, just like retailers all have., and if it is private, just say so. Also, I have found great information in other member’s galleries. If I want to save it to my gallery, I should not HAVE to attach it to a person. I may not have put that cousin’s family into my tree yet, but I don’t want to lose out on the photo or document. I think I could do that at one time, but now it wants a person to attach it to. Also, when I am following a hint and looking at the boxes from other trees, and I want to attach a fact to my tree. sometimes you want to attach it to the wrong person. For example, if I get info about John, and I want to hit the save button I need to see a box with John’s name as the person to attach it to, not Mary or John Sr who was born 40 years earlier, just John. So then I have to cancel that Save, make a note , go to the correct person in my tree and dd it by hand.

  20. Karen V Peterson

    And please, by all that is Holy, allow us to put in a page number when we are in the All Hints or the Gallery. If I take a hint from page 14, and then I want to go back and start on page 15, I have to start from one and keep clicking. I have hundreds of pages of hints that I will never get to see.

    • Christine Gaunt

      Karen, my trick is to use the right click options on the link – then pick either open in a new tab or a new window. That way, the page you started from doesn’t go back to the beginning of the page.

      Another trick I use in the search results is select (highlight) the info of the link that I’m going to, so I don’t lose it.. helps with memory, too. I’m not getting any younger…


  21. Barbara

    I only recently discovered this new tool and am thrilled about it. I used to tediously enter the information into the general search tool. This truly saves time.

  22. Barbara

    I would like to ask Ancestry to restore a couple of things in the DNA results. #1: the exact count of “4th Cousin or closer” matches. I use these primarily and I’d like to know when these high matches are added. #2 – add back the feature “page 1 of ___ , etc. It makes it easier when I’m interested in a deeper dive. #3: the ability to search multiple fields at the same time such as Surame + Location. And last, but not least #4: A better “starring” system. Right now I mark the star when I’ve matched them back to the shared grandparent. I’d like more stars or colors or boxes to denote other things like reviewed, contacted, etc. etc.

  23. Greg Schwarz

    I have been researching my genealogy for 50 years and spent countless hours viewing microfilm, visiting courthouses, libraries and places my ancestors lived in Europe. I have all my sources documented and have a lot of additional information on various ancestors.

    I added some of my pedigree information on ancestry, but have not entered any sources, or in some instances, other information. There is enough information for someone to see that they are related and contact me. I am very happy to share information, source documents etc. I am interested in contacting others who connect to my lines. Unfortunately, many people seem to be only interested in collecting names and have no interest in the actual lives and history of their ancestors. I have seen information that came from my charts appear on other family’s charts, sometimes incorrectly.

    I do not think I’m the only one that does not put all their information on line. So, a lesson to budding genealogists to not dismiss other researchers as you may be missing out on a lot of valuable information.

  24. mcarus2

    Appreciate eveyone’s comment regarding the member connect feature. I do appreciate that someone on this Blog did take the time to explain the value of this new feature . I have viewed other Public trees who list shared ancestors as mine but who have not attached any sources or documents as proofs. I plan to use this new option the next time I want to verify if there are any records on Ancestry to support the info in another users tree. My peeve is that when you find a tree that contains a name of your shared ancestor that is being linked to incorrect parents or children or spouse and you notify that person in a respectful manner that you have sound research by a professional Genealogist to prove their tree is incorrect , the person gets all nasty . I was willing to share the research documents to show that the other user had inappropriately inserted my Grt GrandMother in her tree . My other peeve is that another user hijacked a private sensitive legal document that was not provided by from my Private tree media gallery and posted it onto a Public tree which prompted others to copy it all without my permission. All of 2 people removed it from their files as I asked them to please do so . The person who copied it to their computer as a file did send a message asking others to remove it. To this day the same 2 people still have it in their Public trees and one in their media files. The one person had some idea that it was a public document that was provided by ancestry just for her to save to her public tree. The lady was nasty about me asking and trying to explain it was a private sensitive document abt my GrandMother and Grt Grandparents . There should be a way that other users can’t hijack images from you media gallery.

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