Friday, July 8, 2016

Ancestry Updates LifeStory Capabilities...But It Needs to be Improved published a blog post today titled Ancestry Product Update: LifeStory Changes.  The main improvement is:

"Some of our members have shared that they would prefer to jump straight in to writing their own stories without the help of an auto-generated LifeStory. To enable this, we’ve recently added a new option to each tree’s settings page that allows you to enable or disable stories being generated for that tree."

They provide directions - the key one is to unclick the box in Tree Settings that says "Automatically build stories for this tree."

I did that in the screen above, and then went back to my profile for Thomas Richmond (1848-1917) in my Ancestry Member Tree, and clicked on LifeStory:

And scrolled down to the Birth Fact:

The automatic birth description is not there.  I clicked on the "Edit" button for the Birth Fact, and was able to click within the text field and type (or copy/paste) text into the field.

I clicked the green "Save" button and saw the birth fact text in the LifeStory field:

The text I put into that Birth field is there.

I wanted to add a biographical sketch to the "Add a Biography to Personalize the LifeStory" at the top of the LifeStory page.  I copied my text from my RootsMagic Notes, and pasted them into the "Add a Biography..." field.  It was formatted in paragraphs and line breaks for bullet items in my Notes and when I pasted it into the field.

Here is what it looks like after I saved it:

When I saved the text, all of the text is run together.  The text has no line breaks or paragraph breaks. 

Frankly, this is unusable at this point in time.  When users find this out, they will be really frustrated because Ancestry listened to them and then provided a feature that doesn't look good and is essentially unreadable if it has paragraphs in it.

This improved feature has real possibilties to replace the "Stories" attachment, but it needs to be fixed.

Please, , fix this ASAP!!!  Thank you!


Copyright (c) 2016, Randall J. Seaver

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Geolover said...

Ancestry has installed the barest text-receiving software (not deserving a "word processor" title), the same as in the Comments boxes. Customers have begged for years for primitive word-processor software in the Comments, to allow line breaks and paragraphs, to no avail. It is doubtful that this request will be met in the Biography provision either.

Ned said...

Ancestry remains a terrific resource for research, but is still a work-in-progress when it comes to storytelling. May I suggest the project I'm currently working on, It's a platform for personal storytelling, sort of like a Wikipedia for regular people. For each person, you can create a biography (complete with a rich text editor that can handle images and embeds), a timeline and more. For more recent relatives, there's also a tool called LifeQs, which you can use to send questions to those who knew the relative and get more details about their life. You can add unlimited photos, pdfs, videos and other media, too.

It's entirely free.

I hope this helps!

Check it out at