Friday, July 3, 2009

New Look for Family Trees - Post 1

I noticed yesterday that had made their "new look" permanent in their Member Family Trees. See A New Look for Ancestry Member Trees on the blog for details of what they did - and read the comments from users too. Not everyone is happy about this - the "I hate every change" factor is alive and well!

I like the look and feel of this family tree better than I liked the previous version. says that it is faster - and I think it probably is (although I have no metrics for it), and am glad for that. Is it "fast enough?" Nothing is ever "fast enough," I fear!

Coincidentally, I uploaded a new "Ancestry of Randy Seaver" family tree yesterday with all of my updated information - names, facts, sources, etc. I then deleted my earlier family tree of the same name on which I had attached some images and records. So, my updated tree has no images or records attached to it at present.

I'm going to go exploring in my "new look" Family Tree and see if I can find things I like and want improved. When I click the "Family Trees" tab on the home page, and then click on the "Ancestors of Randy Seaver" family tree link, I get this summary page:

It tells me my "Recent Activity" - photos, stories, videos, audio, and comments. I haven't added any yet. On the right side is a small table with the number of People, People with Hints, Photos, Stories, Video, Audio and Records in my tree. That is interesting, but I really want to see my Family Tree.

I clicked the "Family Tree" tab to the left of the "Recent Activity" tab, and saw a Pedigree Chart in the "Pedigree View":

This chart lists the spouse and children of the #1 person on the chart, and the names, birth year and death year of the other persons on the chart. The little green "leafs" on the right side of each person's box are the "Hints" that has found for your person.

The user can move to the next generation by clicking on one of the children of the #1 person, and can move to an earlier generation by clicking on one of the arrows on the rightmost generation.

There are two other Tabs in the main "Family Tree" tab - one for "Family" and one for "Family Group Sheet." I clicked on the "Family" tab and saw an all-in-one chart for two generations of ancestors and descendants:

This chart has buttons to move up, down, right or left in the chart, and to zoom in or out, similar to Google Maps.

I clicked on the "Family Group Sheet" tab and saw this view (two screens):

If I had thumbnail photos of each person in my online family tree, they would show up on this family group sheet. The chart itself is pretty standard - names, dates and places, but not names of the spouses of the children or their marriage date.

There are links to "Add Another Spouse," "Add a Child" and "Add a New Life Event" to the "Family Group Sheet" page. Sheet.

I wanted to navigate to the "Person Page" for Frederick Walton Seaver, and was confused - there was no link for the person's name - I wonder why? Then I noticed the four small icons to the right of the parent's names - for Ancestry Hints, for the Person Profile, for a Quick Edit, and for Search Historical Documents. There is a fifth one for the spouse - for Make Focus Person. Using the Person Profile icon appears to be the only way to navigate to a Person Page for the parents, other than to go back to the "Pedigree View" tab and click on the Person and the "View Profile" link. Clicking on any person on the Family Group Sheet takes you to their own Family Group Sheet, not to a Person Page. I also found that the "Add a New Life Event" link takes you to the "Person Page" for the selected person in the Family Group.

Navigation on the "Family Tree" tab could be better - I would prefer a "View Profile" link for each person on the Family Group Sheet view.

I wanted to make a printout of the Pedigree Chart and the Family Group Sheet. I didn't see any links, so I went to File > Print Preview > Print to get printouts. The Pedigree Chart looks best in a landscape format, but the print is very small and includes only the name, birth year and death year. The Family Group Sheet should be done in Portrait mode. In both charts, the font size is very small - almost unreadable for my old eyes. This feature needs to be greatly improved in order to make it useful to genealogists.

Aha! There is a blocky person icon on the right of the Pedigree View (but not the Family Group Sheet view) menu bar (white on green background) to create a "Printer Friendly" pedigree chart. It looks better, and includes the birth, marriage and death dates, but includes only the state, not the town and county, for the birth, marriage and death events.

In the next post, we'll look at the features on the "Person Page" and how to navigate around in it.


Phone number said...

This is the way it always works, I get used to working with a software and they go and change it on me! Looks like it does have some improvements though.

Geolover said...

This scheme is not fully rolled out yet. They are not going to fix the added clickiness and scrolling issues. They will wait for the frustrated hollering to wane before adding the final touch.

Brian D. said...

Hi, Randy. Do you have a public tree? I would like to see examples of pros' trees. Thanks. You Rock !

Erin said...

Hi Randy! I found a way to view a person's individual page from the family group sheet. On the list of children (also for the parents of the main person and spouse), next to the name there is a small icon, looks like a generic ID card. If you click on that icon, a small screen pops up with the persons name. On that small screen on the right hand side are the icons for profile, hints, quick edit, search historical documents, main focus person, and add relative. Click on the icon for profile and voila!