Wednesday, November 18, 2015

"Old Ancestry" Goes Away on 15 December

We knew this was coming, we just didn't know when. will switch everybody to the "New Ancestry" on 15 December 2015.  Here are two screens with information for "old" users:

The date is on the second screen, after I clicked on the "OK" button:

The screen says:

"On December 15, the new Ancestry 

will be the only Ancestry.

"Millions of people are now using the new Ancestry site. 
Make the switch today to see your family story in imaginative new ways."

There's nothing anyone can do about it.  They own the website, have invested resources in creating the new website and mobile apps, and have made the decision to do this.

Why are they doing this?  I think it's because of the desire to present a uniform user experience in a computer web browser and on mobile devices.  I've heard that about 50% of all entries to is from a mobile device.  With the "new Ancestry" the background colors, the screen content, etc., are very similar in a computer browser as in a mobile device.  Maintaining two different web experiences ("old Ancestry" and "new Ancestry") is not a wise situation.

What should you do?  I recommend that you switch to the "new Ancestry" view - you can use the link in the dropdown menu for your user name - just click on "New Ancestry:"

What is most important for each of us is that we continue to use's features to enhance our genealogy and family history research.  So switch over to it, and learn how to use it effectively.  For instance, I don't particularly like the Life Story view, so I only use the Facts view.  I like how they have tailored that view showing source links to Facts and use the "View" link to see source information and a record.

I also don't like the dark gray background - I would much prefer the dark green background seen in the first two screens above.  Just my preference.  I doubt that they will change back.  It's not a "biggie" to me - I can live with it.

However, the "look and feel" of the "New Ancestry" doesn't change the value of for my research - the search results haven't changed, I can still download record images to my computer, I can find cousins and they can find me, etc.  If these changes provide faster service, or better image quality, or more content, then I'm all for it.

The blog highlights the changes and additions each week in New Ancestry.  The last three blog posts are:

*  The New Ancestry: October 31st Feature Update

*  The New Ancestry: November 7th Feature Update

*  The New Ancestry: November 13th Feature Update

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


T said...

OR work like crazy now and abandon the site in Dec.

Geolover said...


JackiMex said...

I like the new Ancestry. It is great with sources. It is easy to add a source to a fact--just click on the source and then Associated Facts and choose which facts to add (or delete). To do that in the old Ancestry was a convoluted challenge. Maybe now that sources are so easy to use, more people will add them and not just copy other people's trees, thereby multiplying any errors in those trees. I hate to look at other people's trees under Hints and see nothing but Ancestry Tree as the source.

Ancestry said they had to make the changes because the old system was getting slow with so many users. They could not take advantage of new technology. Now it is on the edge of new technology.

NMSue said...

It took me a while to learn how to use the NEW Ancestry but its OK. I will continue to use it. Just wish I knew how to use the DNA better to connect with others who I share DNA with. Sue

Unknown said...

How about doing a review of all the features that are not working and they can't seem to fix. Weeks lost thanks to the ineptitude of whoever those people are hiding behind customer service. Check the ancestry facebook page - plenty of feedback there.

Jan Murphy said...

I understand that Ancestry has to make some changes to keep the site responsive. They might have used a particular back-end solution in the past that won't scale and now need to change to something else.

What I don't care for is how they make the changeover. It seemed pretty clear this time around that they were planning to jettison several different features and only kept certain features after users complained that they were missing from the beta.

I am particularly angry about the shoddy way they have treated users who created military memorial pages for people in their trees. This is like the shutdown, only on a smaller scale. It is shameful to encourage users to invest in creating a memorial and then rip it away from them several years later without giving people any clean way to take out their data. Now they have promised to restore the pages in read-only fashion (and if it's anything like what they did to, it won't be in a good way). I didn't make use of the military pages so I didn't get burned on this one, but it's an ugly way to treat your customers.

Unknown said...

Anyone found that some of their tree is missing or duplicated, after the changeover? I have a huge tree, and I found it was even bigger as there were lots of duplications. Then last week, I found that a whole section of my tree was missing. Could be my fault if I've 'merged' someone but it is frustrating to have to start again.