Monday, May 7, 2018

More Ancestry.com Search Problems

I have received several more emails, blog comments, and Facebook comments about problems with Ancestry.com search processes and results.  Here are some of them:

1)  On Facebook, Pat noted this problem:

a)  On the Ancestry mobile app, the profile for this person indicated there were 15 Hints available:


b)  When she tapped the Hints button, she saw this:


c)  In a comment, I asked if this Ancestry profile on the browser on her laptop showed the same information, and she noted that it did.

2)  Reader Amelia offered several examples - here's "The Joys of Searching Ancestry:"

a)  The Initial search criteria were:  Lydia White (both names exact) birth 1844 (+/- 5 yrs), death 1921 (+/- 10 yrs).

The search results default to Records rather than Collections (this is new over past couple of weeks):


b)  Clicking on "Categories," all seems OK (the number of matches are the same):


c)  Click on the top result, and expected 8 records – but only 2 records were received.  Note also that the search filters dropped to broad (using FindMyPast, there should be 8 results):


d)  Clicking on ‘Death, Burial, Cemetery & …’ and the system goes back to "Records" but now  the new search criteria needs resetting before changing to "Collections."  However if you use the back button, then go back correctly to the previous screen (just have to get into the habit of doing this). Assume we have used back button, then click on second collection group.

 There should have been 3 results (according to previous page) (note that there should be 3 using FMP). Used the back button again, then clicked on third collection ("London Deaths and Burials") – which again gives zero good matches response. Used the Back button, and clicked on fourth collection ("Gravestone Photographic"). Gives the expected one result and hence works.

e)  Going back to "London Deaths and Burials," I used Card Catalog to search for the collection and put in the same search (as shown below).

f)  This produced the following expected result:

Hopefully this demonstrates a good example of the problems we are facing.
3)  One more from Amelia - she called it "Record Count and Disappearing Records:"
a)  In a search for the surname "Bilk" (exact) in Somerset, England (exact), the results show a number in "Categories" on left (sums to 50) and the number in collections on right (sums to 48) are different.

b)  The same search, but looking at all categories, shows ‘Birth, Marriage & Death’ as 52 – two/four more than count on previous page. Census shows as 24 in "Categorie"s and collections but adding up each collection on right gives 28.

c)  But clicking on "Census" gives only 24 and the 4 results in "UK, Electoral Registers" results have disappeared.

d)  If you start at the All Results page, and change to records, the 4 "UK, Electoral Registers" results do appear:

4)  Thank you to Pat and Amelia for the examples.  I have several more from Amelia, and will find some of my own.
Earlier posts about this topic include:
*  Are There Search Problems on Ancestry.com?  (posted 25 April 2018)
5)  My observation:  I think one lesson here is to search only with a specific database like the two above.  
In a perfect Ancestry search world (which we used to have several months ago):
*  the numbers in the "Records" list and the "Categories" list and the "All Categories" list would be identical. 
*  clicking on a specific database from the collections list would provide the same number of matches as on the "Categories" list.  
This happens to me ALL the time, which makes me wonder what matches I am missing.
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Copyright (c) 2018, Randall J. Seaver

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5 comments:

Mary Foxworthy said...

It would be nice if Ancestry would pay attention to this. Too bad they're obsessed with selling DNA kits.

Marian Koalski said...

This week I seem to have intensifying problems when I try to update member trees. For example, when I tell it to attach a census entry to someone (or a family) and get to the "save" step, it often shows this message:
"We’re sorry. The page you tried to access is no longer available."

After that, I return to the person's Facts page, and sometimes see that the update "took" but sometimes it didn't.

It also takes many tries to get it to open up the window for me to upload images.

I just realized tonight that my mind is turning this into a gritted-teeth-game of forcing the updates down Ancestry's throat by persisting. This would not be a game at all if I were using the computer that I had six months ago-- I think I'd be asking for my money back. (Thomas MacEntee says that's the way to get discounts, and Ancestry isn't delivering full-retail service, is it?)

Peggy Jude said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peggy Jude said...


In my view Ancestry is getting too big. They are prepping to go public and the focus has shifted from customers and genealogy to enhancing the bottom line. They were the only on-line records company not offering discounts on their search packages at the recent NGS conference. And their DNA show special was worse than their online Mother’s Day deal running at the same time. Clearly not focused on the genealogical community.

Kay Haden said...

Right now the biggest issue for me is that the "Notes" put on the DNA matches DO NOT SAVE, but disappear when you leave after saving. This is one of the ways I track my matches - particularly those that have shared matches but no trees. Just one more gripe among many. They have never restored the promised RootsWeb pages - many, many family trees, societies pages, etc. are simply gone. Too big. Concentrating on making money. Ancestry could get crowded out of the market by MyHeritage that is going out of the way to produce what we want.