Public Service Announcement – Ancestry has been a bit glitchy for a few days/weeks and remains so. All vendors have issues from time to time, and it seems to be Ancestry’s turn right now. I wasn’t affected at first, but these tree-based problems seem to randomly come and go. So even if you’re not affected right now, you may be soon.
Here are tips on dealing with the reported issues, and perhaps more important, what NOT to do. Trying to fix things may just cause more problems.
What’s going on?
What’s Up With Ancestry?
A few days ago I signed on to Ancestry to discover that all of my tree branches beyond the first page displayed were “gone.” At that point in time, if I clicked on the right arrow, either no ancestors appeared, just those blank boxes to add parents, or in one case, one ancestor appeared with no parents.
This was uniform for all of my tree branches.
Needless to say, it struck panic into my genealogist’s heart. The saving grace is that indeed, no one but me has edit access to my tree – so I know positively that no one but me could delete anything.
Furthermore, I know beyond any shadow of a doubt that I had not deleted or broken the links of all of those ancestral lines. I don’t do “sleepwalk-genealogy” and if I did, I’d be much more likely to add someone😊
To try to quell the panic a bit, I used the Tree Search feature in the upper right-hand corner of the Tree page and yes, those “missing” ancestors were still in my tree file. They just weren’t showing correctly.
I spent years in technology and I learned two things:
- Don’t panic and jump to conclusions
- Sometimes things fix themselves, at least from the user’s perspective
After a couple of easy noninvasive steps, I decided to LEAVE THINGS ALONE and see what happened.
1-2-3 Things to Do
Here’s the 1-2-3 of things to do, in order.
- Sign out and back in.
- Try a different browser. If you are using a mobile app, use the computer and vice versa.
- Go away and check again later or tomorrow.
In this case, number three worked. The next day, everything was back to normal again with no residual damage.
Had that not been the case, I would have started searching on social media for common issues and I would have called Ancestry’s support – no matter how much I don’t like doing that.
But there’s one thing I would NOT have done.
DO NOT start to repair things. If you start trying to reconnect people, when the underlying problem is actually resolved by Ancestry, Heaven only knows what a mess you’ll have with people double connected.
Twins and Duplicates
Another issue reported is that people are being duplicated in trees, including the tree owner/home person who finds that they have a twin with the same information.
Again, DO NOT start deleting and correcting.
What You CAN Do
Verify that indeed, only people you trust have edit access to your tree.
Under the name of the appropriate tree at upper left, select Tree Settings.
For another person to be able to either contribute to or edit your tree, you must specifically invite them to do so. Guests can only view your tree.
While Ancestry says that all invitees are editors, that’s not the case, as shown below when I clicked to invite someone.
As you can see, the default is “Guest,” but always verify after someone accepts your invitation.
Patience is difficult, but if you’re experiencing tree problems at Ancestry, just do something else for a few hours or a couple days.
Here are four great genetic genealogy activities you can do elsewhere that are productive.
- Download a copy of your DNA file from Ancestry and upload to MyHeritage, FamilyTreeDNA, or GedMatch to find additional matches. Instructions can be found here.
- At FamilyTreeDNA, upload your file and get matches for free. Check Family Finder, Y or mitochondrial DNA matches, or order a Big Y test or upgrade. The Father’s Day sale just started and you can sign on or order, here.
- At MyHeritage, if you don’t have a DNA test, upload free and get matches here. Check your DNA matches using their new Genetic Groups filter. I provided instructions, here. While you’re viewing your DNA matches, be sure to check for SmartMatches, record matches and other hints. If you’re not a records subscriber, you can subscribe with a 14-day free trial here.
- At 23andMe, testers are limited to 2000 matches unless you purchase an annual subscription – then you’re limited to about 5000 matches. However, 23and Me does not roll matches off your list that you’ve connected to, invited to connect, made a note about or messaged. (At least they never have and mine remain.) Go to the last page of your DNA Relatives list, which are your smallest segment matches, and start working backward to be sure you’ve initiated some type of communication that will prevent them from rolling off your match list.
These tasks aren’t just busywork. You have no idea what kind of a gold nugget you may discover.
You’ll have accomplished several things, enlarged your horizons and maybe, just maybe, by the time you’re done your tree at Ancestry will have righted itself again.
What fun things did you discover?
I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.
Thank you so much.
DNA Purchases and Free Transfers
- FamilyTreeDNA – Y, mitochondrial and autosomal DNA testing
- MyHeritage DNA – Autosomal DNA test
- MyHeritage FREE DNA file upload – Transfer your results from other vendors free
- AncestryDNA – Autosomal DNA test
- 23andMe Ancestry – Autosomal DNA only, no Health
- 23andMe Ancestry Plus Health
Genealogy Products and Services
- MyHeritage FREE Tree Builder – Genealogy software for your computer
- MyHeritage Subscription with Free Trial
- Legacy Family Tree Webinars – Genealogy and DNA classes, subscription-based, some free
- Legacy Family Tree Software – Genealogy software for your computer
- Charting Companion – Charts and Reports to use with your genealogy software or FamilySearch
- RootsMagic Software – Genealogy software for your computer
- Genealogical.com – Lots of wonderful genealogy research books
- Legacy Tree Genealogists – Professional genealogy research