Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Ancestry.com Implements New Old Search

If you are an Ancestry.com “Old Search” user, you definitely remember the 27 June 2013 announcement that it would soon retire its Old Search engine. Immediately users began expressing concerns. Ancestry.com was quick to respond. (See “Ancestry.com Responds to Old Search Controversy.”) They clarified that they don’t want to get rid of Old Search, the functionality. They are retiring Old Search, the underlying servers.

That means they must adapt the code on their current search servers to provide Old Search functionality. To make certain they get it right, they offered a survey to users, allowing them to specify what functionality they needed and expected.

“We received thousands of survey responses,” said Matt Deighton, Ancestry.com spokesperson. “By far, the most popular features in the old search experience among old search users were the ability to view search results grouped by category and the availability of a simple search form with an exact option.”

“In our work to bring the best of both our old and new search features into the primary experience, we have released a new search mode,” said Deighton. Ancestry.com is calling it “Category Exact Mode.”

The simple search form of Category Exact Mode

The new mode includes the two experiences requested, a simple search form with an exact option and results grouped by category.

“Old search users will see a banner announcing this feature in the old search experience after September 4th,” said Deighton, “but the feature is available now.” Information on how to enable it can be found in this article.

Users of Old Search should try it out and see that it does what they need. You can then provide feedback to help Ancestry.com tailor the mode to your desired experience.


  1. Wow they somewhat listened - I always found it strange that a long hit list of differing records was thought useful.

    BUT I never wanted a simple search screen - I always wanted Advanced. And yes Exact. I prefer my own ideas on name variations. And the wildcard options are so powerful.

    HOWEVER It is really annoying that we still have to click Edit on the search box to tune parameters. How do they think you do research. I am continually trying various searches.

    I shall relook at the new Search boxes to see if so called new items work. AT moment there is still a problem with Sibling search. This is indeed new in New. But it really doesn't work. Try Frank Lanksh* my uncle with sibling Gerald his brother. The results include other Frank's in families without a Gerald. In fact the same results as searching without a sibling

  2. Further to my Siblings comment I also checked Child and it is also not exclusive. Gerald father was Thomas Lankshear and I searched for Thomas with child Gerald. Yes I got all the Thomas records without a son Gerald.
    I wondered if perhaps it was meant for family tree searches but the numbers looked exactly the same with or without

    Thankfully the Old search parameters of Mother Father Spouse do work in New search.
    So what is the point of New Search?

  3. Sadly, I cannot get my selection of this preference to stick.


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