New Features that You Asked For!

New Nick Youngson CC BY SA

The feedback we get from Ancestorian users is very important to us. Important for you, is that your feedback isn't just filed away for later perusal. Instead, we use your feedback and suggestions to continue making Ancestorian the easiest way to connect with family historians researching the same people and places as you.

Therefore, this week we have made quite a few adjustments to the way the site works... and also introduced some new features you suggested:

  • Intuitive management of your place when on the place detail page
  • GEDCOM import reports - a handy reference for working in your tree software
  • A newsletter - to get notifications of new Blog posts and other helpful information

NEW: Place Management

Place Researchers List

When you view a place detail page - like the page for Boxford, Suffolk, England - if there are researchers in that place, you see their names along with some icons which identify where their knowledge comes from, if they have records, and whether they can visit or take photos.

Manage Your Place

If you are a researcher in that place - and you have made this public - you will see your own name and these icons on a row too. We've made your row light blue, so that it stands out. Until now, for you to change the icons in your place, you used the 'Place Management' pane in the sidebar on the right (pictured left).

One user, Sharon, kindly pointed out that it would be more intuitive if she could just click the icons in her row to to turn them on and off.

She was right, of course. So we have now added this feature to Ancestorian. Try it out on one of your public places today.

NEW: GEDCOM Import Reports

GEDCOM import reports are now saved and you can go back to review them any time with the GEDCOM Import Reports feature.

When you complete a GEDCOM import, a report is shown on the screen. This report tells you some basic statistics like how many people and places were found and then follows with a list of the places and a few extra details about them.

Ancestorian is trying to clean up the way place names are recorded in the industry. We strive to bring something of a standard and have based this around the place naming conventions that we have designed Ancestorian around.

GEDCOM Import Report

Therefore, the list of places found in your report includes notes (in red) about possible structural errors or telling you what the assumed place name was.

Many users have told us these reports are very helpful for illuminating place name fixes they need to make in their tree software. They asked for access to these reports even after the import process has finished. This is what you can now find in the GEDCOM Import Reports section of Ancestorian.


Previously, the easiest way to get notified of new information at Ancestorian (these Blog posts etc) was to like our Facebook page or join the Facebook Users Group.

Not everyone uses or wants to use Facebook. So we have created a newsletter that we will send out with alerts to new information of special savings opportunities and developments in the family history industry.

Newsletter Subscription Box

You can subscribe to the newsletter here or fill in the little box on the right sidebar (just under your user stats). You don't have to be an Ancestorian member to subscribe but you also won't be able to enjoy many of the great features that we announce if you aren't active on the site.

Shrinking Features for More Space

You may notice that the newsletter box, your statistics box and the Facebook Page box (all in the sidebar on many of the site pages) have a new title area with an arrow in them. These are our new shrinking/hiding tools. Basically, you can hide any of these blocks by clicking the title area. At the moment, they are only hidden until you move to another page. But we may work on a way for Ancestorian to remember what you want to see for future visits too.

More of these titles with shrinking powers will appear on the site over the next days.

Our Work Goes On

Like gardening, building Ancestorian is a task that will likely never be complete. Every time another flower bed is cleared of weeds, we discover an area where we could maybe build a pond or plant a new shrub. Please continue to give us feedback and make suggestions about how we can - together with you - make Ancestorian even better.

Find My Past Releases Over 378,000 New Records

Records - Wikimedia
Find My Past

Like every Friday, Find My Past has released a new batch of records today. This collection includes records from Australia, USA and England.

New South Wales, Deceased Estate Files 1880-1923

Discover your ancestor in this index of over 137,000 deceased estate files from New South Wales. The records span the years between 1880 and 1923. Each result includes a transcript that may reveal a combination of your ancestor's date of death, duty date, locality and any additional remarks. There are over 378,000 new records available to search this Findmypast Friday, including;

The state of New South Wales required a duty to be paid before probates and letters of administration could be executed. Deceased estate files were created for estates upon which a duty was imposed, including documentation and correspondence regarding the assessment of the estate.

Waterford Registers & Records

Search for your Irish ancestors in a collection of registers and records from the oldest city in the Republic of Ireland. The collection contains over 211,000 records taken from seventeen different databases spanning the years 1662 to 2006.

Various events are recorded in this collection including burgess lists, burials, deaths, directories, emigration records, freedom petitions, freemen records, langable rentals (rent rolls), rate books, registers, and war deaths. Each result will provide you with a transcript. The amount and type of information recorded will vary depending on the nature of the event.

New Jersey Death Index 1901-1903 Image Browse

Explore over 1000 digital images of the New Jersey death index covering the years 1901 to 1903. This collection has been obtained through Reclaim the Records. The index will allow you to discover your ancestor's death year and entry number. Additional information about these records can be found on the source's website.

New Jersey Marriage Index 1901-1914 Image Browse

Explore over 7,000 digital images of the New Jersey marriage index covering the years 1901 to 1914. This collection has been obtained through Reclaim the Records. The 15 volumes included in this index will allow you to discover your ancestor's marriage year and entry number. This collection has been obtained through Reclaim the Records.

Surrey Feet of Fines 1558-1760

Explore over 20,000 feet of fines records for Surrey created between 1558 and 1760. Feet of fines were documents of a fictitious suit of law created to obtain a secure transfer of land. The document recorded the final agreement (or concord), written in triplicate, between buyer and seller: two copies side by side and one copy across the bottom of the sheet (the foot of the fine). An indented or wavy line separated the three sections; one section was given to the seller, one to the buyer, and one (the foot) to the court. The idea behind this system was that forgeries could be identified by showing they didn't fit the three-piece jigsaw of the authentic, original foot of fine.

The amount of detail provided varies from period to period. For example, some will provide the full names of all the buyers and sellers while others only provide the last name of the first buyer in a transaction.

Cornwall Burials

Hundreds of new records have been added to our collection of Cornish burials. The collection now contains over 280,000 records covering more than two hundred parishes across the Cornish peninsula.

The new additions cover Dissenter burials in Falmouth and Penryn between 1808 and 1926. Each result includes and transcript of an original parish register that may reveal a combination of your ancestor's birth year, death year, burial place and residence.

We Moved, Did You Notice?

London_Underground_Escalator - Wikipedia

What a crazy 10 days we have had since launch!

Ancestorian proved more popular than we expected. The resulting influx of people joining and uploading GEDCOMS quickly illuminated a few teething problems with the site. We had some issued with GEDCOM imports not working for selected files, Irish names like O'Connor throwing a spanner in the works and too much traffic for our server to handle. So we moved.

Our New Home

We won't bore you with technical details. Suffice to say, we have moved to a new home that is bigger, brighter and faster.

If you were going to compare our site hosting move to a real life house move... what we have just done is move from a 3rd world, run down, 1 room apartment to a 3 bedroom cottage (with garden) on the British seaside. We no longer share stairs, walls and cielings with noisy neighbours and there is no body corporate ruling what we can and can't do.

In short, it's lovely. But much more expensive. Yet, Ancestorian remains free.


We have fixed our GEDCOM import problems and have moved on to making small improvements to all parts of the site. These include:

  • We now award 150 points when you import a GEDCOM
    Don't worry, if you already imported one before we implemented this, we are going to backdate your points to you in the coming weeks.
  • Searches are getting faster and offering better results
  • Some of our buttons and wording are changing to provide a more streamlined and cohesive process

Coming Soon!

We are working on:

  • Creating an easier way to merge places - by selecting two from search results
  • A fix for some statistical problems we have found regarding counts of surnames and individuals
  • Some special new features that we don't want to tell too much about just yet..."

In the meantime, don't forget to tell your friends and family about our free service. The more people that join Ancestorian and register their names and places of interest, the more chance we all have of finding new information from fellow researchers.

What Happens When I Import a GEDCOM?

Pillars_of_Creation - Paul Scowen

Well, we just launched 48 hours ago and have been overwhelmed with registrations, questions, feedback and requests.

Our first Blog post is going to ignore our GEDCOM import problem for a few hours and instead answer a question on many people lips: What happens when I Import a GEDCOM?

This content is also now in our FAQ - but it's important enough to repeat it here.

GEDCOM Import Briefly Explained

A GEDCOM import initially looks at all individuals. These are saved to our database temporarily. Then we look through these and extract all unique surnames and places. We show a count of how many unique surnames and places were found.

At this point, all living individuals are deleted from the temporary database store. If you have allowed us to keep non-living individuals (for potential future features) these are saved but are not accessible to anyone.

A count of how many individuals were found is also shown on the results screen but you will likely see a lower number in your statistics area on the right side. This is because the statistics area only counts those we have kept.

If there was a surname that was extracted and all the individuals carrying that surname were living (and therefore delete) the surname still shows and is linked to your account. This is because it is non-identifying information and you are likely to be able to help people researching this name.
If you still want to delete the surname from your lists, you can.

At this moment, importing a GEDCOM to Ancestorian is much more powerful than manually adding names and places because we are able to automatically link surnames to places when we analyse your GEDCOM. We are working on making a manual way to link these in the near future.