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Welcome to the Content Publishers' Feedback forum

Welcome to the Content Publishers' Feedback forum

Posted: 1287442099000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1288132868000
Welcome Content Publishers and Website Owners!

We want to get your feedback and be able to answer your questions about the web search functionality that is currently being tested in Ancestry Labs.

Let me first explain that the current version found at is a test to explore two different ideas.

(1) Can we help pull together records and family trees so that users can find aggregated information on people, instead of just finding one record at a time?
(2) Can we crawl the web for genealogically important information and help Ancestry users locate new websites and sources of information they may not otherwise find?

This message board is set up to discuss the second idea - finding genealogy information from the web.


Correctly indexing genealogically relevant information found on the web is a difficult task. If we can get it right, we think it has great potential to be a win for Ancestry users and for website owners and publishers of this content.
• Users on Ancestry will be able to find new information about their ancestors and discover great websites in the process.
• The people who create these websites and publish content should get more traffic and users to their sites.


We want to be transparent in how we do this:

• We will build an index of essential information in the record (e.g. name, date, and place) and a link to the website, and make this information available through our search tools.
• We will always strive to follow web industry standards for website crawling permissions. For example, some websites have a robots.txt file that instructs search engines (like Google) to not crawl the site, or to only crawl certain areas. We are currently using a third-party crawling tool called Mozenda.
• We will put in place processes to remove the content if the website/content owner requests it, and will clearly publish how to contact our team to do this. (Listed below and also here:
• We may allow our users to save a reference to the record to their family trees, but whenever this information is later presented, we intend to give proper attribution, with a clear reference or link to the site from which the index data came.


Right now, we are in an early test phase of this concept and want to get your thoughts and feedback on the idea and implementation.

If we haven’t indexed your site yet and you would like to make sure we do, please send us an email at If we have indexed your site and you want to remove your content from the search, please email us at the same email address.

For general questions or discussion, please feel free to reply to this post. We are happy to answer questions and learn from your feedback.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Brian Edwards Product Management

Re: Welcome to the Content Publishers' Feedback forum

Posted: 1287505455000
Classification: Query
From my blog entry:

Ol' Myrt here heartily supports the new thinking at regarding the links to Web Records defined as links to tens of millions of new records from hundreds of websites deliver a one-stop search experience.

When I suggested this to an official in a telephone conference after the FGS 2010 Conference in Knoxville, he immediately shied away, recalling the problems with caching content from other websites sites in Ancestry's now defunct Internet Biographical Collection. This new Web Records option lists a link, that one must click to go to another website for the content.

The new Web Records option effectively removes the problem where Ancestry was keeping all the traffic, robbing the other website of click-throughs. Giving credit where credit is due is sometimes challenging with emerging technology. I think's got it right this time.

Web content providers can opt out of's Web Record feature, but I think they'd be nuts to do so.

Why close any door that can drive visitors to your family history site?

The potential for sharing your message with other genealogists is greatly enhanced when a bigger genealogy website like can guide them to your site.

After all, sponsored Who Do You Think You Are? on NBC here in the US, not us smaller genealogy website owners.

Re: Welcome to the Content Publishers' Feedback forum

Posted: 1287536869000
Classification: Query
Dear Myrt,

You need to send that ACOM official an Oscar!

I'm quite sure that this new Person View feature wasn't pulled together since the Knoxville FGS Convention.


Re: Welcome to the Content Publishers' Feedback forum

Posted: 1287686687000
Classification: Query
I think you may need to give a clearer idea of the type of content and the type of websites you want to index information from to include in the Ancestry Person Searches, for example, are you hoping/intending to index at Library and Archives Canada and TribalPages, and will you be including much smaller, or more specialized sites?

Re: Welcome to the Content Publishers' Feedback forum

Posted: 1287687638000
Classification: Query
Ideally, I would love to eventually index everything out there that is relevant to helping people learn more about their ancestors. We are going to take it a step at a time and learn as we go.

We aren't indexing any websites outside of the US right now but are planning to look at those in the near future.

If you have suggestions on sites you would like us to include, or if you own a website or publish family history content and would like us to index it, please send me an email - either or bedwards At

Brian Edwards,

Re: Welcome to the Content Publishers' Feedback forum

Posted: 1287714294000
Classification: Query
The eMail address given in this post seems to be incorrect - has bounced the messages I sent a short while ago. A post higher up the list has as the address - I'll try that.


Re: Welcome to the Content Publishers' Feedback forum

Posted: 1287714450000
Classification: Query
That bounced too....??

Re: Welcome to the Content Publishers' Feedback forum

Posted: 1287714571000
Classification: Query seems to have accepted eMail.

Re: Welcome to the Content Publishers' Feedback forum

Posted: 1287754118000
Classification: Query
Always disappointing to see/hear 'US only' - does the advance info for Person Search mention that? (But it's hard to avoid Canada, I imagine, at least in most eastern, western or northern US families, so perhaps we would be included soon.)

So not LAC, but Tribal Pages is, I believe, a US company, so although it has worldwide family trees, perhaps that would fit your criteria. I was hoping for a bit less general idea of what types of sites you are looking at indexing. Google already does 'everything', that it can, anyway, but I can see that the presentation of your web indexing results would be attractive to many. (I did comment on my first test searches though - one didn't even find what the first search found, and I think it's a pretty 'busy' page. I'd lose the map, for one thing - or add an option or a link to it for people who want that.)

Re: Welcome to the Content Publishers' Feedback forum

Posted: 1287760597000
Classification: Query
Thanks for the notes and suggestions.

We do intend/hope to do Canadian websites as well as websites from many countries around the world. We are taking it slow at the start because have a few things we are trying to get right:

(1) We want to get the technology right to make sure that we can crawl things accurately. If we were doing a Google type search, it would be easier but when we are also trying to identify names, dates, events, and places, it is fairly complicated.

(2) We want to get the experience right so it is easy to use and helpful to both users and publishers.

(3) We need to understand the laws in different countries as it applies to crawling and displaying data. This is the primary reason we are not doing websites outside the US, yet. Our legal team wants to do an analysis of local laws to make sure we do things right.

I hope that helps.
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