Feb 4, 2022

Ancestry’s New Look

February 4, 2022

I’ll admit it. I’m a creature of habit. I could say it’s because I’m getting old and set in my ways, but I’ve always been this way. Once I find something I like, I tend to stick with it. My husband and I take the same walk every morning, and I eat the same breakfast every day. If they ever discontinue shredded wheat biscuits, I’ll be in big trouble. I’ve even bought the same kind of underwear since I was in my twenties, which was a very long time ago!


So, when I clicked onto Ancestry the other morning, I was appalled. In their infinite wisdom, the folks at Ancestry had decided that their website needed a new look. I’m not sure why they felt the need to change the website, as far as I can tell, there’s nothing new.


The changes seem to be cosmetic rather than useful. For example, the search section of the homepage has been on the left side of the page for the last umpteen years. Now, all of a sudden, it’s on the far right. Eventually, I’ll get used to the new placement, but, in the meantime, I have to stop and think every time I want to search.


Ancestry also decided that their avatars (those little silhouettes that identify folks in trees as either male or female) needed to be changed. They used to just be traditional outlines of a man or a woman in pink or blue. Now the figures are brightly colored with the woman a sort of brownish red and the man a blue shade. The silhouettes make the dumpy-appearing man and woman look like they’re leaning forward – just about to topple over. I don’t know whether Ancestry thought these figures were generic, but the woman has a large, low bun. I don’t imagine that many women ever wore that hairstyle.


To add injury to insult, Ancestry recently announced an upcoming price increase. I don’t know if the new look is related to that, but I’d be more excited if Ancestry had used the extra money they want to generate to add new features to their platform. A new look hardly justifies a rate increase.


Don’t get me wrong. In spite of my curmudgeonly attitude to Ancestry’s changes, I’ll keep using Ancestry. They’re one of my go-to sites when it comes to genealogy. They have a lot to offer the genealogical community. They have a huge library of original records and more folks have their DNA at Ancestry than anywhere else. I just wish they didn’t think we’d care about updated avatars more than substantive additions to their records or more helpful tools to help fully utilize those DNA matches.


I guess I’ll just grumble a bit more and then get on with my genealogy at Ancestry – ugly avatars and all.


Carol Stetser