Ancestry.com staffers have been working the PR circuit lately to promote the new "search experience" opened to the public this spring. Makes you wonder whether the old search will be shut down soon—after all, the company wouldn’t run the two searches side-by-side forever.
In an interview last week, product development manager Kendall Hulet told me about 90 percent of people still were using the old search. And on blogs including our own
and the Ancestry Insider
, most seem to prefer the old search.
Part of the issue may just be getting used to a new way of doing things, but Hulet knows there still room for improvement.
"There are bugs," he admitted, but emphasized you can use the Tell
Us What You Think button to send feedback (comments specifically
describing a problem are most helpful). The Ancestry Insider quizzed him about two bugs
including one that causes more false matches with the new search than
I asked Hulet about that bar in the new search results that basically says you’ll be wasting your time if you continue looking at results. Why even include those far-fetched matches?
The warning is an attempt to help people who otherwise would spend hours clicking every single result, Hulet says, while also giving more-experienced users access to any record that has the remotest chance of being an ancestor. “What I suggest to people who don’t want to see all those results is to use more Exact terms in their search,” he added.
Something else to watch out for: In the advanced search, if you click the Exact box for one of your terms, the search won’t find records that don’t include that information. (Sorry for the double negative—say you choose Exact for a birth date. Your search won't pull up a newspaper engagement announcement that lacks birth information.)
Hulet couldn't say when the old search might go away. He did say something you'll be happy to hear—an improved search engine is in the works (though he cautioned the upgrade would take some time).
Hear more from Hulet about Ancestry.com's new search experience on DearMyrtle’s July 1 podcast