Site Update

I and my co-workers at Ancestry would like to thank everyone who wrote in this week with their concerns regarding the new site. In response to your messages, is making changes, some of which are in place already. I spoke to the product managers and this is what I found out today.

As requested by many of you, the Ancestry World Tree is now included in the search results through the Family Trees tab for exact searches, and no longer requires a separate search.

The new advanced search template is coming along and they expect to have a beta version ready for testing within the next couple weeks, likely sooner. We’ll post the announcement here once it rolls and the product managers have expressed the hope that you will be able to provide them with constructive feedback once it rolls live.

A number of users wrote in that search forms were unavailable for a time, and this problem has also been corrected.

There were problems reported with several individual database searches as well, and although I don’t have the entire list of what problems were reported and the status yet, I have been told that the Texas Birth Index, 1903-97, which many of you reported to have problems with has been fixed.

To report problems, you are of course welcome to post them here, but there is also a more direct line through the feedback form found on the bottom of the Ancestry Community page. Please include details about the search you are conducting. What search did you perform? What page (please include a link) were you searching from? What results were you expecting vs. what results you received? If you are experiencing other types of problems, such as pages not loading correctly, please include what kind of operating system you use, and what browser. This kind of information helps us to identify the source of the problem more quickly, so that it can be corrected.

On a personal note, I would like to apologize to the readers of my column who were offended with my analogy. I did not mean to offend anyone with my comments, and was just trying to make the point that this is a work in progress. I am truly sorry if the light tone implied that I didn’t care. I have always thought of you all as friends and have benefitted greatly from interaction with you through tips, emails, and more recently, blog posts.

I’m also sorry for the brief silence here on the blog as I was sidelined with some unexpected health problems this week and had to take a few days off. I am fine now and back in the office and will be in constant contact with the product managers to continue to get you updates on the site.

Please know that we do take your comments very seriously and will continue to work to improve your user experience with

With best wishes,


21 thoughts on “ Site Update

  1. 1920 Texas census
    Go to Hutchinson county. This brings up four choices.
    justice pct. 1
    justice pct. 2
    justice pct. 3
    justice pct. 4
    All four options go to the same thing; district 147.
    All four options bring up the same census page which is
    Sulpher Springs, Hopkins county, Texas.

    I reported this via feedback form several months ago and I did
    get a response, but nothing has changed.

  2. Thanks for the response and additional comments, Juliana. Although a seriously mutinous mood was evinced by a great many of us, I don’t think anyone really wanted to dump from their list of bookmarked sites. We just want it to be at least as useful and fun as it had been up until recently. I look forward to checking out the revisions you mentioned in your column.
    Thanks again,
    Michael Eltrich

  3. Juliana, I enjoy this new newsletter format so much better than the daily newsletter which I felt obliged to peruse quickly so as to have time to do research. Possibly, the biggest positive is the interactive messages — blogs, I guess they are called. Each person adds more experience to the articles and the sharing is exciting. I just copied Kim’s 20 Questions — I was already planning a similar idea for our reunion next month and this is like having someone help me.
    Thanks again and hope you are all better.

  4. Pingback: 24-7 Family History Circle » Recent Changes at

  5. I dislike the new newsletter which brings ideas once a week in lieu of everyday and the blogs are a disappointment – they are very fews comments – I wonder why?

  6. Well, gee, now I know where the 1920 Sulphur Springs Census went! When you search for Sulphur Springs, in Hopkins County, in the 1920 Census, the image you get is for Jackson County, Texas. I, too reported this several months ago, and nothing has been done. I got a form letter saying that this was a maintenance issue, and would be addressed when maintenance was done. Can anybody guess when that will be? Thanks for letting me know where to look for my info!

  7. I hate the new My Ancestry page! Under the “People I’m Looking For”, which I used constantly and have almost 300 people, now I HAVE TO move people into a family tree. It says you “can” but when you find a record match you only have to option to save it to the “Shoebox” and not to the “People I’m Looking For” anymore. I don’t like that at all, haven’t moved all my “People I’m Looking For” so for now I have to save everything to my “Shoebox” and go through it later. I wish, and have previously suggested, that the sections be searchable or when you opt to list them in alphabetical order have an alphabet across the top to jump to the starting letter. I hope the “My Ancestry” section gets revised!!

  8. To Ancestry Fix it Department.I know it is not polite for a lady to swear, but! AAARGH!!! Can’t you fix the mistake soon? I’m reasonalby young, but this is making me old fast! And while I don’t adapt well to change, I thought I was at least smart enough to figure out HOW I’m to use this bizarre search engine. I must be dumber than I thought after several days of trying,crying and cursing. I must admit defeat! What was once fun is now not. AAARGH!

  9. Comment about comments. My first computer genealogy experience was in 1964 when I was a mainframe programmer and night supervisor in a 1600 square foot computer room filled with equipment. I was allowed to write a punchcard program to maintain a list of family members on my lunch time. (On a machine that was leased for $36,000 a month)
    I can now search your site for my Grandfather, who was born in 1865, and receive results in a matter of seconds from documents I couldn’t even get back then, let alone afford.
    Patience is a virture folks. Please count your blessings.

  10. I still hate the new format. When the results come up the number is to the left, and I have my eyes trained to go the right. I only have so much time for research, and NONE for relearning all the time.

    I also miss the family trees, not the world trees. There was extra information, sometimes stories about the individuals. Too much change!!!!!

  11. Pleas bring back the Family Trees. They were so much better than the One World Trees. For me they are one of the main reasons I have stayed with

  12. What is not made clear on the query page is that if you check the “Exact matches only” box, choose “Family Trees”, Ancestry World Trees links is NOW one of the response choices. If this is unchecked the only return is OWT, which is, in my humble opinion, useless as now presented. Now when using “Historical Records” search (again with the “Exact matches only” checked) the response looks more like a global search return again, where I can pick and choose which group of records I want to peruse. Included at the bottom of this resonse page is AWT’s.

  13. Has anyone else noticed a problem with Shoebox? When I click on page 2 it is the same as page 1. Then after I go to page 3 and back to page 2 – I get the correct page 2. This isn’t a one time glitch, it happens every time. I also have to agree with everyone who dilikes this new search format. It takes 3 searches to get to a census year and location. The new format should not have been implimented without the advanced search feature available. Maybe when everything is finished it will all be OK, but right now it is simply annoying – and I’m paying a premium for that annoyance.

  14. When I use the search option on the family view, some of the One World entries will have multiple wives with children by each wife. When you “merge” why does the system ALWAYS mess up the wife/children combinations? Usually end up with a “spouseless relationship” which I then have to fix. If the families are listed with the husband and then a wife/children combination, it looks like the software could “merge” it CORRECTLY!

  15. I do not like the new newsletter. I really looked forward to the daily newsletter which always had so much information and websites to search. In fact things have changed so much I’m considering dropping my Ancestry subscription. It is not user friendly like it was.

  16. I reported the following in March 2006; however, there have been no changes.

    RE: US Census records on

    I was searching the TEXAS 1920 US CENSUS RECORDS for a relative in Hutchinson, County. I found the name in search by years; however, when I followed the leads to the census records I could not find the person listed. After trying pages before and after, I still had no success. I then noticed that the census sheet was not for Hutchinson County but for Hopkins County. Out of curiosity, I continued looking at the HOPKINS COUNTY records and found the following:
    Precincts 2 and 3 appear to be all Hopkins records
    Precinct 4 District 72 pgs 1 – 3 are Hutchinson Co and pgs 4-19 are Hudspeth Co
    Precinct 4 District 73 pgs 1 – 15 are Hudspeth Co. and pgs 16 – 28 are Howard Co.
    Precinct 4 District 74 and 175 are all Howard Co.
    Precinct 5 District 75 and 76 are all Howard Co
    Precinct 6 District 77 are all Howard Co
    Precinct 6 District 78 pgs 1 – 4 are Howard Co. and pgs 5 – 31 are Hemphill Co
    Precinct 6 District 79 are all Hemphill Co
    Precinct 7 Districts 80 and 81 are all Hopkins Co
    Precinct 8 Districts 79 and 82 are all Hemphill Co
    Precinct 8 District 83 pgs 1 – 19 are Hemphill Co and pgs 22 – 37 are Hopkins Co.
    Precinct Saltillo is all Hopkins Co.
    Precinct Sulphur Springs Districts are all Jackson Co
    Precinct Sulphur Springs Wards 1, 2 and 3 are all Jackson Co and Ward 4, District 67 pgs 1-18 are Jackson Co. and pgs 19 – 34 are Hutchinson Co.

    After finding the records under Hopkins County were primarily Hutchinson, Hudspeth, Howard, Hemphill and Jackson Counties, I looked under each of these Counties and found that they appear to all contain only the Hopkins County census sheets. Maybe some of our ancestors are not lost—-just their records are just misfiled!! I found the Hutchinson County census records of the relative I was looking for filed under Ward 4 of Hopkins County!!

    Leska Hendricks

  17. Having been a subscriber for years, I am so sad about the new format. I have tried to be patient and use it several hours a day, thinking that I might find it at least equal if not better. I haven’t. I miss the immediate offering of database categories on one page that were quick to view and search, the loss of searching family trees for further information, and the use of relevant time periods/specific locations,etc. This is not the I signed up for. It’s cumbersome and not worth my next $200. On a positive note, I do like the weekly newsletter. Make me a believer in again!

  18. I do not like the recent changes at all!!!

    I used the “also lived at” when doing most of my searches. Now I have to redo a search if they lived in different states other than the ones in which they were born and died. It also erases the info I put in when I go back to re-search, so I have to add all the information again on each search for the same person. And for some reason, each new census page downloads slower than it used to. Time is of the essence when one is working all day doing research.

    I used to enjoy sitting for hours doing my research, and now I dread getting into!

    You did these changes without any input from your subscribers, and the majority are not happy with the new set-up. What sense does that make?

    For what reason did someone think this new format would be better??!! Is anyone there listening to us out here?


  19. I hate these new changes! Now nothing gets updated on Rootsweb. The only thing that happens after I try updating from is that the date changes on Rootsweb, but none of my new addition ever appear on my family tree.

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