Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The "New Ancestry Experience" is Active for USA Users

The Ancestry.com blog posted "Announcing the New Ancestry Website" yesterday (see the introductory video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o64ANeaQ8mA) and then "Ancestry LifeStory: The Life Lived in the Dash" today.  These two posts introduce the new Ancestry.com website, and the main new feature, to all US-based users.  They note that the rest of the world will be able to experience it in the coming months.

I wrote about the Beta site in Ancestry Introduces Beta "Improved Website" - And A First Look (4 February 2015) and have been working with it occasionally. 

1)  The way to experience the new Ancestry.com website on your home page is to click on your subscriber name and then select "New Ancestry:"

That opens the advertising for the new website, claiming it is "reinvented:"

If you click on the blue "Try It Now" button you can see a quick tour with a number of slides describing the new features:

2)  If you X out of the above, you get right into your Ancestry Member Tree in the "Family View:"

3)  I clicked on my father, and saw his profile in my Ancestry Member Tree:

There are four main tabs in the person's name area -" LifeStory," "Facts," "Gallery," and "Hints," plus links for "Search records, "View in tree," and "Notes."

In the "Facts" tab in a profile, there are three columns - the left-hand one for "Facts," the middle one for "Sources," and the right-hand for "Family."  I clicked on my father's name on the screen above, and the lines to sources for the name were shown in purple.  The same thing happens for each Fact - the Fact is highlighted in purple, and the lines go to sources for the specific Fact.

If you run your mouse over a Fact, an "Edit" button appears and you can add or edit information for that Fact.

There is also an "Edit" button at the top right of the person's name area, and the user can "Save to Tree," "Edit Relationships," and "Delete Person."

There are some hidden "Research Tools" in the "Tools" button at the top right of the screen.  Clicking on "Tools" shows you links to "Show in tree," "View Notes," "View Comments," "Merge with Duplicate," and "Hide Research Tools." 

4)  On the "LifeStory" tab, a short summary of vital records is printed (which can be edited), followed by a map showing where the life events occurred, and followed by life events, interspersed with historical events (only two screens shown below):

The user can ignore a specific "Historical Event" by clicking on the "Ignore" button below the photograph, or can ignore all of the "Historical Events" by clicking on the gear to the right of the profile's vital record summary.

5)  I clicked on the "Gallery" tab and saw all of the Media items attached to the person profile.

6)  Users can go back to the "Old Ancestry" by clicking on the user ID and selecting "Classic site" from the dropdown list:

This will take you to a "We're sorry to see you go" page and the opportunity to tell Ancestry.com why you want to switch back to the "Classic site," with an opportunity to tell Ancestry why you are switching.  

7)  Don't worry, everyone will be on the "new Ancestry experience" soon, according to the page that comes up when you give a reason:

Note the headline:  "Soon the new Ancestry will be the only Ancestry."

I can hardly wait to hear all of the complaints about the new site color scheme, the typefaces, the additional white space, the features that aren't in the same place, etc.

The screen above notes "All the research and information you have now will be on the new Ancestry."  I am relieved to hear that.

As long as all of the information I want is available in the "new Ancestry experience," I can deal with it.  Change is not difficult for me.  I think that the LifeStory is a big improvement over the earlier "Story View" but wish there were more "Historical Events" throughout the life of the person.  I like the ability to Edit specific Facts, and to see which Sources support a Fact.  

I haven't discussed in this post the rest of the Ancestry.com pages, but there seem to be no big changes other than the major tabs and the site colors (now black and blue" instead of "white and green").  I much prefer the "white and green" but it's not that important to me, 

What do you think of the new Ancestry experience?  Tell me in Comments.  Ready, set, go!!!

The URL for this post is:  http://www.geneamusings.com/2015/06/the-new-ancestry-experience-is-active.html

Copyright (c) 2015, Randall J. Seaver

Please comment on this post on the website by clicking the URL above and then the "Comments" link at the bottom of each post.  Or contact me by email at randy.seaver@gmail.com.


Geolover said...

In the "Lifestory" section they still omit parts of place-names from the narrative at top and the summaries next to events. For Canada they omit Province name. For burials they omit cemetery names and (if a city or township is given), burial County. For timeline events they omit County names.

In the Facts listing, if a city or Township is given, the narrative omits the County name.

This really is not acceptable.

Unknown said...

I don't mind this kind of change but I will admit that it took me longer than I wanted to find where I could edit a name but I think that is on me and not on the new layout.

I love that I can hover over "Trees" and see all of my trees. My only complaint is that I can't do the same with my DNA tests.

Diane Gould Hall said...

Well, Randy, you probably already know how I feel from several FB comments. I am disgusted with the new design and color. I think the page is poorly setup. I think that little round thing they allow for our ancetor's photo is a dishonor.
The current family view is eye pleasing, easy to follow and the portrait photo shows very well. Not so with this new setup.
I don't think any thought or consideration has been given to the complaints that are rampant from the beta users I've exchanged comments with.
The whole story line, in my opinion, is catering to the newest researchers coming along now because of the advertising and shows like Who Do You Think You Are. Do we want new genealogists, of course we do. But, don't dumb down the website to cater to a less savvy user.
They will have to drag me kicking and screaming to this new setup. I won't go voluntarily. And, I will continue to loudly let Ancestry know how I feel as a decade long user.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with your statement:

As long as all of the information I want is available in the "new Ancestry experience," I can deal with it.

The only thing I've found a bit cumbersome is when I want to look at the database entry for a source, rather than the image of the source. In order to view the database entry, I end up having to conduct a new search for the person, and locate the database entry from the results list (fortunately, attached sources are at the top of the search results). Perhaps I'm overlooking an easier way to do this. Other than that minor annoyance, while the new look may not be my personal favorite, it seems to work just fine. A person will get very frustrated if they expect the look of any website, not just Ancestry.com, to remain the same for very long.

Enno Borgsteede said...

Randy, I'm in the Netherlands, and use the beta too, so it's not really restricted to US based users. I assume that you mean that it's on Ancestry.com, and not the sister sites for Canada, United Kingdom, etc.

T said...

Is this sneak preview only available to paid subscribers? I have tried a couple of different approaches for 2 days to get in to see it with NO success. If the changes I am reading about on various blogs is how it's going to be I will not be resubscribing and not buying any more DNA kits. I am playing with Legacy software and familyheritage software now in anticipation of leaving ancestry. Originally I had budgeted for the premium world, 2 more DNA kits and a software update this year. Since that is a significant amount of money out of my budget, changing to free software and free sites is certainly becoming more attractive. I can buy DNA kits elsewhere. Everything will end up on a second DNA site anyway since selling the kits but not having any technology to use the results is ancestry's goal.

Once again, a site is changing everything just because they can, not because it improves the usefulness of the site.

Enno Borgsteede said...

No, I have a free account, and use it since a couple of weeks, maybe even more.

Nancy said...

Thanks for the preview information on the NEW ANCESTRY. Very nicely done. I just don't know where you get the energy to bring us all of these new things. Thank you, Randy. See you at Jamboree.

Diane O. said...

It's too bright on many of the views, it will lead to eye strain. I wish there was a way to have a darker background. It's OK in the tree view but other views are tougher to read.

anitab said...

I've been exploring the new a bit - and switching back to the old when I'm impatient to find something.

The one question I have is: Is there a simple way to print a record for a person??

I'm not seeing a way to do that. I did do a 'right click' and save the page as a pdf, but it was several pages long - would like something more concise.

Thank you if you can help me!

Susan Petersen said...

I love it! Especially the addition of other family events to the timeline. The new look is also easier to navigate.

Some folks don't like change and want to complain. The New Ancestry is great!

Cousin Russ said...


Thank you for a great review. Like Susan, I think it is a great improvement.

Having read the very long Facebook rant, I went back an re-looked at the work that I have done. I still like it

BUT - What I hadn't picked up earlier, is what "Genlover" pointed out, dropping of portions of the Place Name. I have given feedback.


In my database and in the Profile I have

Camden, Camden County, New Jersey

What is presented in the Story View is

Camden, New Jersey

Is that the City of Camden or the County of Camden.

I also know, that it hasn't been that long that the word County could be included in the Place Name Authority (in FTM2014) and that the information from Ancestry.com still does not include County Names.

But IF the complete name is in the Ancestry Member Tree it SHOULD be included in the Story View.

Thank you genlover for pointing that out.

Please report this "stuff" to Ancestry in the Feedback tab on the Left.


Jan Murphy said...

With every redesign, where Ancestry claims they have a new, better look, and better organization, they have made the site uglier and harder to use. They have hidden the links to our comments and notes, and apparently have gotten rid of all the Web links to resources on other websites. I had linked to some pages on GENUKI for some of the people on the English side of my tree to remind myself that the parishes showing in the census records are close to each other, so even though someone's birthplace seems to differ from one census record to the next, they're actually all referring to the same area. Now those of us who bothered to add web links for sites outside of Ancestry are screwed. Ditto for the people who were forced to use Web links to historical records on Ancestry itself because the wretched indexing in the city directory collection doesn't have a line in the index for that person. Where are the sources which were saved from Newspapers.com and Fold3? If you bother to use sources then the new site is a hopeless mess.

Jan Murphy said...

Functions that apparently have been removed from the profile: the Member Connect Tab, a lot of the functionality of the Facts and Sources page, the option to create a military page, and to save a person to another tree (which was useful if you have one tree for yourself, and one for your husband, and accidentally create a new person that belongs to the tree you aren't working in at the moment).