Monday, September 5, 2016

Monday Mailbox: Public/Private Tree Indexes

The Ancestry Insider's Monday MailboxThis news is a bit old (17 August 2016), but things have been hectic the past four weeks, so I’ve only now been able to publish it.

Dear Ancestry Insider,

After watching closely for months and noticing that the individuals in my public tree on with attached records and sources were still not showing up in the public tree search results, I called the customer-service line.  I was very disappointed to learn that has not updated the index to the public trees since February 2nd.  This is completely unacceptable.  Many subscribers have over six months of research that is not accessible to others. emphasizes the importance of collaborating and sharing with others.  Thus, I do not understand why the public tree index has not been updated.

Jim Mosher, who is with Ancestry Product Management, posted about this on May 5th.  Still nothing has been done to update the public trees index.

I am hoping you can help with this significant problem.

Thank you,
Debbie Duay

Dear Debbie,

This is Ancestry’s response:

We've been working hard to make Ancestry Member Trees better for everyone by updating its underlying systems. Because of this, the privacy status of trees that have changed from public to private (or vice versa) may not be shown correctly in the index at this time. 

We expect to have this issue fixed by early September. Be aware that regardless of how a tree appears in the index, private trees are available only to owners and those they invite to view their trees.

Read more about how we protect family tree privacy.

“Updating its underlying systems” seems to be the key phrase here. Ancestry doesn’t publish the size of their public tree database, but I assume it is two to four billion records. We shouldn’t be surprised that it is bursting at the seams and needs to be replaced.

The Ancestry Insider


  1. The trees have been reindexed and those which were MIA have returned to view.

    Updated as of 26 Aug 2016 - see

  2. Where do I find the Public Tree Index?


  3. I'd be happy if the site worked correctly every day and every night. Too many days/nights when the gallery is "Temporarily" unavailable I've gone to a different member of my tree, uploaded the item, linked it to the right person and then disconnected it from the wrong person. A LOT OF EXTRA WORK.

  4. I agree--ever since NEW came around they cannot seem to keep the entire site fucntioningfor morethan a few days--something is always breaking and it takes them forever to fix.

    I suspect they hired the cheapest programmers they could find--OLD used to have occasional NEW Glitches seem to be the rule.

    They have some problems that have not been fixed in a year---and I have reported the problem no less than 3 times!

  5. Your mileage sure differs from mine. I use Ancestry, for hours, almost every day and I can't remember the last glitch or 'thing' that wasn't working.


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