Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Endless Loop

All I want to do is check the Collin County, Texas, Marriage Index, 1800-2010 results for the surname Brinlee.  So, while working in one of my Member Trees on Ancestry (more about Ancestry Member Trees and New Search later), I obtain results for Martha Jane Brinlee that include this database.  I then click on that database to do a search therein.  I enter the surname Brinlee and click the box for “Exact Search.”  This brings up a nice, juicy list of 102 results.  I click on one of the names in the list.  That brings me to the following page:

Not only is this not the page I want, I have to log back in!!!!

And this is the 17th time this has happened to me today (yes, I have been counting).  

So I log back in.  And get this page:

Um, now to get out of this promotional page I have to go up to “My Account” and then hit the Home page, because there is no other way to get out of this promotional.  Sorry, Ancestry, I’m just not that interested in “Jumping the Pond.”  This is the third time I have been put into this loop (the other 14 logins I have had to do happened right in the middle of searches - and this has not been an uncommon occurrence, especially since the transition to New Search).  I have even tried pulling up the Collin County, Texas, Marriage Index through the Card Catalog - same results.  So obviously I can forget doing “card catalog” type searches.  

Not that I’m paranoid or anything (well, actually, I am), but Ancestry takes every opportunity to log me out and offer me a World Membership, but what I’d really like is Ancestry Pro:

For Pros and Serious Amateurs:  Ancestry Pro

Tailor your own searches!

Get a Chromosome Browser with your AncestryDNA!

But Ancestry is not geared toward pros anymore.  It is geared toward the Tree People. the people who never get out of the public member trees, whose research consists of creating a tree, using the matches with other trees to attach to their trees (and sometimes the records suggestions).  I have to admit, it is easier to pull up good, relevant results that way than it is through New Search.  

And yes, I know how to tailor New Search in Advanced Search - but that is far more time-consuming than Old Search and does not visually present the results in the manner that works best for me.  The old, crisp, space-saving arrangement of search results by category let me know at a glance what the records situation for a particular ancestor might be.  Need to tweak? I’d add a couple more searches, this time with wildcards or common misspellings or (when possible) the Soundex option selected - that might add a few records. This would take a few minutes and let me know what things might be missing and need some special tweaking to find.

I could put up with New Search if it weren’t for these Endless Loops.  I just want the option of a decent records search, whether while I am inside an Ancestry Tree or working through the card catalog.

By the way, just now, as I was writing this post, I hit the “Home” button and got this screen:

Logout Number 18.

Instead of logging back in, I hit the back arrow to get back to some search results, and got the first screen above.

Perhaps this is a bug that has just hit the system this weekend.  But that paranoid voice in my head keeps telling me:  “This is Ancestry.  Do not leave the Tree.  Do NOT leave the Tree!!!”


  1. Another resource that has just "opened up" in a big way is genealogy books in ebook format.

    Amazon recently introduced its Kindle Unlimited program, which allows you to borrow and read as many Kindle ebooks as you like, for $9.95 a month. I wonder if genealogists have grasped what a godsend KU may be. Here's why:

    In the genealogy section of the Kindle ebook store on Amazon, along with the how-to-climb-your-family-tree books, there's a huge number of reference and raw-data collections, from histories of specific families to ships' records, newspaper abstracts, etc. The problem with such books in the past has been that you didn't know until after you purchased one (whether a print or a digital copy) if it contained information relevant to your own research.

    With Kindle Unlimited, this pig-in-a-poke problem vanishes.

    Here's what you could do to further your research without gambling on books that may or may not have anything of use in them (to you). With a Kindle Unlimited subscription, you could borrow ten genealogy ebooks (the maximum allowed at one time). Then you could flip through them, or use your Kindle device's search feature, to find any information of use to you. If you don't find anything, then you can simply return them and borrow ten more.

    I know that these days, there are tons of information for ancestor hunters available for free or for a subscription fee at the dedicated genealogy websites such as

    But there's still a lot of data locked up in various small-press books and books by individuals writing their own family's story. Kindle Unlimited gives us genealogists a virtually cost-free way to unlock those books -- at least the ones that have been committed to ebook format (and you might be surprised how many there are).

    By the way, you don't even need a Kindle device to read Kindle books. You can download a free Kindle reading app for your smartphone or laptop that will do the trick. (Also BTW, I do NOT work for Amazon.)

  2. Not that this is timely, but I just saw this post and was reminded that I had similar problems with Ancestry a couple years ago. I ended up having to switch browsers. I think I'd been using Safari when I kept getting logged out, but switched to Firefox and stopped having the issue.

    1. Kathleen - I no longer have this problem, but you may be right - it may have been that I was using Safari. A good reminder that I should occasionally try using Ancestry on Firefox or Chrome.