We appreciate your feedback as we add what we believe to be great and important enhancements to the site. Below please find answers to some questions you have raised relating to family trees on Ancestry:

Comments? Suggestions? Please let us know.

Question: Where is my tree I started in OneWorldTree?

Your tree is still available in OneWorldTree on this page: http://www.ancestry.com/search/rectype/trees/owt/

You can access this page and other information on the "Family Trees" navigation tab in the top right hand corner.

We have made this information less prominent to encourage use of the Member Trees tools, which provide a much better experience, allowing users to get smarter hints about matching historical records and trees, and providing a tighter integration with our 4 billion plus collection of records.

Question: Can I create a new Member Tree using my OneWorldTree information?

We are convinced that the Member Tree is a much better tool for building family trees than is OneWorldTree, and so we are working on a migration tool to allow members to transfer the information they have added in OneWorldTree to their Member Tree. Member Trees offer hints on possible record matches, printing, photos, and more. To learn more about the new online trees at Ancestry, read "Member Trees on Ancestry."

Question: Why "Member Trees"?

We recognize that members desire more control over their family tree information than OneWorldTree can provide.

Member Trees are a separate entity from OneWorldTree. You can choose whether your family tree information is added to OneWorldTree or not. You can choose whether the information in your family tree is publicly searchable or not.

Many members have family trees that are not yet finished. The "Member Tree" system allows you stay connected with people who have matching information, but maintain control over who can see what information in your tree. (learn more)

To learn more about the new online trees at Ancestry, read "Member Trees on Ancestry."

Question: Who can see my Member Tree information?

That depends on your choice of privacy. There are separate rules for Public Member Trees and Private Member Trees.

Our recommendation is that you choose the setting that you feel most comfortable with. Note that you can change it at any time. It may take a week or so for our index to catch up to your new file or you file that has changed settings.

Important Note: Information about individuals we believe to be living is NOT included in our search index, and cannot be seen by others viewing your family tree (unless you have given that individual permission to see living individuals).

Question: Is information about living individuals in my Member Tree protected?

Yes, information about individuals we believe to be living is NOT included in our search index, and cannot be seen by others viewing your family tree (unless you have given that individual permission to see living individuals).

Question: What will Ancestry do with my Public Member Tree information?

Marking your Tree as "public" will allow others to see your tree as a Public Member Tree.

What does this mean?

  • By allowing others to see your tree in the Public Member Trees section of Ancestry.com sites, you help them discover missing links in their own family trees.
  • By default, other members can contact you anonymously about your tree (without seeing your email address). You can later change this setting in the My Account area of the site.
  • OneWorldTree essentially merges information from various family trees into one big family tree that can save you a lot of time with your research. By comparing all of the information from many family trees at once, rather than reviewing them one-by-one, you can determine which information is most reliable.
  • When you allow others to view your family tree information, you open the door to finding other members of Ancestry.com sites who have dates, names and other information missing from your tree. We'll also let you know when we find members conducting similar research, so you can compare notes, ask questions and get answers.
  • Information about living individuals will never be shown to others without your explicit permission. Additionally, you can choose to remove your tree information from the Public Member Trees section at any time. And remember, just because other members can see your tree information, they still can't make any edits to it. Only you can do that.

Question: What will Ancestry do with my Private Member Tree information?

Marking your Tree as "private" will make your tree "Private" so that it can't be viewed as a Public Member Tree, and withholds your tree information from being compiled in OneWorldTree.

What does this mean?

  • Even if you don't share your tree, other members can still learn if a specific deceased individual is in your tree, in addition to the birth year and birthplace of the person and your username (but no personal information about you).
  • They can then contact you anonymously through the Connection Service on Ancestry.com sites to request more information. Keep in mind that members who want to learn from your tree may also have helpful information about your tree to offer you in exchange.

Question: Why the changes to searching family trees?

We've segmented search into different categories:

  • Historical Records
  • Family Trees
  • Stories and Publications
  • Photos and Maps

Why did we make the changes? In general, the main reason we made changes to our search interface was to help our users find different types of content more readily. The information in our databases is not homogenous—while most of our databases contain information that has been tagged as a name, date, or place, many of our databases do not have this information tagged or even contain names, dates or places at all (a map, for example, typically doesn't contain an ancestor's name). It's hard to find information that doesn't contain well-tagged information (like newspapers, family & local histories, photos, maps, etc.) when the search form asks you to type in tagged information. It's also very difficult to rank these different types of matches against each other properly. That's why we made a search interface tailored to find each type of content most effectively.

Question: Where can I find the old (and new) Family Tree search templates?

Question: Why can't I save records to OneWorldTree any longer?

Actually, you still can save records to OneWorldTree, but only if you search for those records from within OneWorldTree.

When searching from outside OneWorldTree, the available options are to save to the shoebox or to your Member Tree.

Question: Why can't I save records to "People I'm Looking For" any longer?

At this time we do not have a way for you to combine multiple trees into one Member Tree.We realize this can be a difficult change for many people. The "People I'm Looking For" had considerable overlap with the new Member Trees, and to minimize confusion about where to save a record, we've removed the option to save a record to that list.

We've built a page to explain how to move the list of "People I'm Looking For" into a Member Tree, and what those benefits are: http://trees.ancestry.com/pt/learnpilf.aspx

We've created privacy options for Member Trees that should help you be comfortable storing a family tree online in situations where you are not yet finished, or have other privacy concerns.

Question: How do I move the "People I'm Looking For" into my tree?

Moving the individuals in your list of "People I'm Looking For" allows you to get the best possible hints, and even better organization tools for the records you find. The hints for historical records are better because we can use relationships to find exactly the right person.

How to start

  1. Start a Family Tree
    Upload a family tree (GEDCOM format) or start one from scratch—once you've added at least the name of each person on your list, you can move them (along with the records you've saved and the information you've gathered) to your family tree.
  2. Move each person to the family tree you started
    Start by clicking the "move to tree" icon next to your "Person I'm Looking For". Then find the person in your tree that matches the person in your list. Review the details of the move, and you've done it.
  3. That's it!
    The Family Tree is a much more powerful tool for researching and organizing, but it is also much smarter when creating and alerting you to possible matching records on Ancestry.

Question: How do I Save Records to My Member Tree?

We have created a process that allows you to save a record you find on Ancestry to your member tree. If you are searching for records from within your member tree, click the "continue" button or the "attach" link. This takes you to a page that shows you how the information from the record will be combined with the information in your member tree.

Note: You can also save records to you tree that you find from a general search, and not from within your tree.

If you want to edit the way the information above is copied into your member tree click the "View advanced options" link.

You can choose how to add each new item found on this record into your family tree as a "preferred" fact, as an "alternate" fact, as just a source, or you can choose not to do anything with the information from the record.

  • Preferred Fact—this information will be displayed on your family tree and in charts you print
  • Alternate Fact—usually a conflicting or slightly different version of the information that you wish to maintain for reference
  • Add Source Only—the information is the same as what you already have in your tree and you wish to just add the source as supporting evidence
  • Don't Merge—ignore the new information and keep what you already have in your tree

A source citation for the record will automatically be added to any information you choose to merge into your tree.

Question: I've got People in My Member Tree I can't See—Where are they?

It is possible to have individuals in your member tree that do not show up in the tree (pedigree) view. (For example, this might happen if you move an individual from your list of "People I'm Looking For" into your tree, but don't merge that individual with someone in your tree).

To view all the people in your member tree, click the "index" tab in your member tree.

Member Trees have 4 ways to view information in a family tree:

If you find yourself lost in your member tree, the "Home Person" link will take you back to familiar territory.

Question: Can I fix a relationship in my Member Tree?

It is possible to have individuals in your member tree that do not have a relationship indicated to the other people in the tree. (For example, this might happen if you move an individual from your list of "People I'm Looking For" into your tree, but don't merge that individual with someone in your tree).

You can add this person into the proper relationship by finding a person in the tree that is a son, daughter, spouse, or parent, then click the link that says "add father" or "add child." Near the top of the "add person" page is a link that says "Or select someone already in your tree". This link will let you select the person in your tree that fits in that relationship.

Question: Where is Ancestry World Tree?

All trees submitted to Ancestry World Tree (AWT) are still available in AWT. This is the link to search only AWT trees: http://www.ancestry.com/trees/awt/main.aspx. AWT submissions are also searched as part of the general tree search, but only when searching for "EXACT matches only".

Question: Can I change the Home Person in my Member Tree?

You can change the Home Person in the "manage tree" section for each of your member trees. Go to the "My Trees" section under the My Ancestry tab, and instead of clicking a tree, click the "manage tree" link next to the tree name. This section allows you to select a new Home Person, select private or public status, rename your tree, delete your tree, view the total number of people in the tree, and more.

Question: Can I combine multiple Member Trees?

At this time we do not have a way for you to combine multiple trees into one Member Tree.