Public Member Profiles
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Yesterday we made some improvements to public member profiles on the site. Some of you may not know that there were member profiles on the site, so let me tell you a little about them. Your profile is a place that you can let others on Ancestry know about you. It's designed to showcase your family history interests and experience so that you can connect with others who may be doing similar research as you, or who may even be related to you. The information you add about yourself, especially the research interests you enter, also helps you connect with other members you might not have discovered otherwise. First, others on the site can search for you and other similar members through our Member Directory. Second, when you tell us more about yourself we can automatically suggest other members you might be interested in contacting. You'll find some of these suggested connections when you visit the main Community page on the site.

With these changes we have updated the design of the profiles so that they hopefully showcase interesting information better.  We've also tried to make it quicker and easier to edit your profile.  Finally, we've added a few new features:

  • You can choose to show your real name instead of your username

  • You can let others know about what kind of family history activities you can help with

  • You can show off photos you've added to deceased ancestors in your public family trees

  • You can include links to your public family trees (the living individuals obviously won't be visible to others)

  • You can show links to your favorite message boards or boards that you are the administrator for

In addition to the changes to the profiles themselves, in some areas of the site you'll see members listed differently.  We're now starting to show a thumbnail photo next to members' usernames (or their real name if they've chosen to display it).  When you click the username you will get a preview of their profile without leaving the page.  If it's interesting to you, you can click to view the full profile or to contact the member.  This is what it looks like:

 mini-profile.png You'll initially only find this on the Message Boards, Member Directory, and Member Connections sections of the sites, but we hope to eventually add it everywhere. To see an example of the updated profile, check out my profile. We also suggest that you update your own profile.  You can also customize your preferences for how others can connect with you and what sections display on your profile. We really hope that you take advantage of these updates to public member profiles and find the opportunity to connect with other family historians.  If you have any feedback after trying out the profiles, please feel free to leave a comment here or email me directly (dgraham at