Monday, September 02, 2013 Search Updates

The following is from

Good morning,

We have a few updates to search we would like to share with you, that we will begin to release and message to customers later this week. 

First, 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 that users can opt-into through site preferences. This mode switches the primary simple search form to show the "Match all terms exactly" check box and default the results into the category view. We received thousands of survey responses (thanks to the many of you who helped spread the survey) and 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. 


Old search users will see a banner announcing this feature in the old search experience after September 4th, but the feature is available now on the site. More information on the feature, and how to enable it is in this article. Once users switch into this mode, a feedback link will be available below the form. We are eager to get feedback and make this work well for our old search users.

Secondly, we are very excited to be releasing this week first of the overall search improvements we shared with you earlier this summer. For the large group of users who search for an ancestor using the information in their tree, we have summarized their research to date by consolidating the records already attached to the ancestor at the top of the results. Previously, already-attached records were interspersed amongst results, making it challenging to see what was already attached and what was a potentially new result. The new consolidated list is also sorted alpha-numerically to help see easily which records have been found and where there might be gaps. The list can be collapsed as well to give more room to the search results list.

Along with the research summary update is the new smart filtering feature, which removes results from collections that are likely to have only one record per person (like a census or a death record), when a user has already attached a record to an ancestor from the collection. This feature can be turned on or off on the results page, allowing users to see the filtered list or the full list easily. More information about the feature is in this knowledge base article


We have begun rolling this feature out to users gradually starting from 1% of our users and progressing to 100% over the next two to three weeks. If you would like to test the feature yourself before you get included in the gradual roll, please email and we can send you instructions.

As always, we greatly value your feedback, so please send any thoughts you have about these new features. 

The Ancestry Product Team

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