Recently, I have read on other blogs (particularly Randy Seaver’s Genea-musings blog), about the New Ancestry. Since I use Ancestry.com.au, I hadn’t been offered access to it yet. So, when I was given access a few days ago, I decided to try it out.
Overall, I prefer the Old Ancestry, at least when using either my own or other Public Member Trees. (For viewing historical records, there doesn’t seem to be much difference.) In experimenting, at first I would think that some of the features that were available in the Old Ancestry were missing from the New Ancestry. But after having a closer look, I found that the features are still there, they just seem to be harder to find. And then there are some features that are gone, such as Family Group View. Although I don’t tend to view my own tree at ancestry, since I have my desktop program, and my family tree here on my website, I did find this View handy when I was wanting to add information from a shared family tree to my personal notes. I find it easiest to cut and paste from the website to Notepad, and by using Family Group View, I could copy a family at once, and then go in and add any additional details for the individuals in that family. This saved on the amount of information I needed to copy. In the New Ancestry, there’s no simple way of getting an overview of the whole family, or even each individual.
An example of a feature that I wasn’t able to find easily was the Comments. I had been using the New Ancestry for a couple of days, and then, I received one of those emails from Ancestry to let me know that someone had left a Comment on my tree. When I clicked on the link, I was taken to the home page at Ancestry. I then had to go back to the email to see who the comment was for. After bringing up that person in my tree, at first there appeared to be no sign of a comment. I then selected the option to change back to the Old Ancestry, and had no trouble finding the comment at the bottom of the entry for this person. So, where have the comments gone in the New Ancestry? They must be somewhere, right?
So, in the New Ancestry, you have Lifestory, Facts, Gallery, and Hints. No sign of the comment anywhere on any of those tabs. You have the name of the family tree on the top left. Then there are 3 other links – Search, Tools and Edit.
As it suggests, Search does a search for the person in all of Ancestry’s collections.
Edit allows you to do a quick edit, edit relationships or delete person.
That leaves Tools.
Under Tools there are: View in tree, View notes, View comments, Merge with duplicate and Show Research Tools.
Next to the View Comments was a number (1). I then compared this comment to the one in the Old Ancestry and they were the same.
So, although the Comments are still there, they are harder to find in the New Ancestry than they were in the Old Ancestry.
There is one feature in the New Ancestry that I didn’t see at first. When I first looked at the Facts page, I thought that all the Sources were lumped together, and there was no link to each individual source. On a closer look, I found that the New Ancestry provides two ways of going to the Sources
Under each Fact there is the number of sources that are linked to that event. You can click on this to bring up all the sources associated to that fact, and then select the source you want to have a closer look at.
Then there is the purple lines to each of the sources in the Sources section of the Facts Page
This feature reminded me of the Webinar I had recently viewed “What’s In a Name? Trouble!” by Ron Arons, and the use of Mind Mapping for Genealogy. The New Ancestry does seem to be designed to use Mind Mapping, by providing a “visual means of conveying ideas and information”.
The only problem with this is that the Old Ancestry had the sources tucked away at the bottom of the page. This made it easier to follow a person’s timeline, without the distraction of the sources.
Another problem is in the Lifestory. I’ll show an example. My grandfather was born in 1892 in Myrtleford. By 1899, the family had moved to Melbourne, where his brother John James Marr was born. Australia became a Commonwealth in 1901. But here’s the problem:
The closest event in the timeline to Australia becoming a Commonwealth in 1901, was not his birth in 1892, it was his brother’s birth in 1899, and his brother was born in Melbourne. It’s not relevant to show Wilfred’s birth in 1892 as the event associated to Australia becoming a Commonwealth.
So, like many others, I’m not a fan of the New Ancestry.