Improvement to Category + Exact Mode

October 16, 2013

Based on your feedback, we’ve updated the category + exact option to be more like the old search experience and added the Soundex option to the last name.

Improvement to Category + Exact Mode

Changes to Search and follow up to old search features survey

September 4, 2013

Ancestry is continuing to improve the search experience and today we are happy to announce some of the first changes to our search functionality. We received more than 10,000 survey responses (thanks to the many of you who took the recent survey) and by far, the most popular features in the old search experience among old search users were the ability to view search results grouped by category and the availability of a simple search form with an exact option.

In response to this feedback, we’re adding a new "Category exact" mode to the current search experience. This new feature:

  • offers a simple search form with a “match all terms exactly” option
  • allows you to specify a range of years for your search
  • displays results in a categorized view
Category Exact Search Form

To use this new feature, update your Site Preferences to select “Category exact mode” in the Search Preferences at the bottom of the page. You can view or change your current Site Preferences by clicking on your user name at the top right of any Ancestry page, or view this support knowledge base article for more information.

Site Preferences - Category Exact mode

Please try this new feature and let us know how well it helps you use the current search experience more effectively. A link for feedback will be available in simple form on the search home page, once you select the category exact mode.

We’re continuing to review the survey responses to identify the best features of old search to consider for the current search experience. We’ll communicate those changes with you through email or the Ancestry message boards and blogs. Thank you for your continued willingness to help us improve Ancestry.

Updated Category View

August 23, 2013

We’ve reduced the amount of space between search results in the category view so you won’t have to scroll as much (similar to the old search experience).

Previous Spacing

Search results with expanded spacing

New Spacing

Search results with collapsed spacing

Research Summary in Results

August 23, 2013

If you search from your Ancestry tree, you can see the records you’ve already saved for a person at the top of your search results. You can also collapse this summary if you want more room see new search results

Research summary in results

This update also includes a feature we call “smart filtering” that helps you surface the best results. When smart filtering is turned on, irrelevant results will be hidden automatically. For example, if you already have a 1940 U.S. census record saved to a person, the search won’t show any results from the 1940 census. But if you want to view all search results, you can easily turn off this filtering.

Smart filtering

Improvements to Search Guidance

August 23, 2013

We're making improvements to the "A little more information" message to provide more concise, actionable feedback. This is the banner that shows when none of the results surpass a minimum level of confidence. We've started by using the same logic and messages that appear in old search, which we plan to refine over time.

Search Guidance