" No big deal, but does anyone know if this is a built-in default that can be changed?"
Ancestry said on it's Facebook page that the default is the last view used, which is never true in my case, because I have never found a use for the Family View and always switch to the Pedigree View.
I have found the only way to find the connections to my matches is to go through the trees. I have found the Shared Surnames list to be of little use. Even the vertical surname list doesn't include all the surnames.
I got my results back about a month ago. I've had about 2200 matches (including the low & very low confidence range). I've deleted about 250 of them due to no tree or a private tree. I have already given up messaging private trees. Even 2 matches at 2nd & 3rd cousin range with hints have not answered. I still have about 1500 left to go through. Sigh.
I've found connections in over 70 trees. Some have 3 & 4 different matches in one tree on different lines. Most are at the low & very low confidence range. (I have 3 great grandparents whose ancestors all go back to the colonies.)
I have found the size of the tree doesn't matter. I looked at one tree this morning that had 30,000 people listed. Not sure where they were, but it didn't take me any longer than usual to get through that tree. (I only go through the Pedigree View.) I have found connections in the 1600s in trees of less than 200 people. Those trees only had one or two lines that were well developed but they were the right ones.
I have yet to have a major break through on my 2 most frustrating brick walls. But I have been able to take some lines further back. I've confirmed quite a bit of my tree. Found a Mayflower ancestor. I descend from both of his sons & my matches seem to descend from all different grandchildren.
I look forward to Ancestry releasing the raw data. I just hope it is in a usable form, like Family Tree DNA's chromosome browser, their in-common-with feature & the ability to take the data to Gedmatch.
That said, for me Ancestry has proved to be a good value. Most of my FTDNA matches don't list their surnames, upload a tree, or answer emails. It has been useful but I have made greater strides with Ancestry. But with A LOT of work! The thing that keeps pushing me is that the matches keep coming & I want to have a look at all of them & not get further behind! Who knows where the info that causes those brick walls to crumble may be!