What’s Old & What’s New At Ancestry?

When I started writing this blog, I realized that “NEW” is relative. Meaning new could be as of today, or if you haven’t been to the Ancestry site for a while, then “new” could be a year ago.

So I’m going to assume that you’ve been on Ancestry since May of 2022, and therefore, you’re aware of the Sideview Technology launched in April 2022. If you didn’t, you can read my blog HERE.

Sideview Matches

In September, Sideview was expanded to our DNA match lists. Because Ancestry has so many users worldwide, this feature was rolled out over time. In fact, I didn’t get it until November, and I was over the moon when I received this new tool to organize matches. Saved me a couple of colored dots (you are using those dots, aren’t you?)

It will look like this when you go to your DNA match page. Let’s look at some of the features we can see.

Let’s look from right to left. First, we see the ethnicity broken out by Parent 1 and Parent 2. (Mine shows Maternal and Paternal because I updated the view, and you’ll see a prompt so that you can as well if you can tell one side from the other.)

Next, we see a teaser for the communities broken out for each of the parents with a hyperlink to see all the communities we have for that parent.

Next, we see the surnames that are most common from the matches for each of your parents. The overview shows four surnames, but there are more if you click the “view more” hyperlink. The list below shows my entire list for my maternal side of my family. If you have these names … please message me.

Finally, on the overview screen, we see the buttons to view all the Paternal matches and all the Maternal Matches, and then below this screen, you’ll also see the Both sides view and Unassigned view. You see, I have 6 matches on the both sides view, representing my children, my brothers, and their children.

Unassigned is a list of matches that, at this point, can’t be determined. But there is a pending update in the future.

This is a beta program, but I’ve heard that so far, it’s 95% accurate. What do you think?

Stoymaker Studio

I speak to this topic a lot on this blog, and this new part of the Ancestry app helps to capture the stories that we find, and you could use them to tell your own story. Who can tell your story better? 

Storymaker Studio was launched in February of this year during RootsTech. I was lucky enough to be on the test team for the Story part of this product launch. Crista Cowan did a great Genealogy in a Minute about it.

This new tool is only available on the Ancestry app.  I encourage you to use the Ancestry app, and if you don’t have it, you’ll want to download it from your app store. It’s a great way to have your family tree with you any time, and now with the Storymaker Studio, there are more things you can do.

Here are the features that you will find.

This time starting from the left. Did you know that you can scan photos with the Ancestry app? Perfect when you are at a family member’s home and need a quick scan. But now you can also enhance and colorize those photos.

In the middle tile, you’ll see Capture Audio. This is handy when you want to record a story or interview. I wish that it would have been that easy when I had my dad record his stories. But I can even upload my recorded stories to my tree.

Next up on the right is Craft and share stories. My part of testing this new feature was to create a story. You are given a number of subjects to choose from. Then you just use photos and write your story. You can tag a person in your tree or post to community stories.

I created two stories; one for one of my military ancestors and one for some family recipes. You might see them on the community pages. I often get likes on my stories, and I even had a friend ask me about my recipe story.

These tools are super cool for storytelling. My dad was a storyteller, and I know that I am. But even if you’re not, these tools will begin to help you tell a story about your family. I should also mention that your stories can also be posted to social media. What a great way to get those other family members interested in family history.

What Else Is New?

If that’s not enough, there are a couple more features you may or may not have noticed… Or perhaps it hasn’t rolled out to you just yet.

When you go to your tree view, do you see a clock in the upper right-hand corner of your screen? Click the clock, and you’ll see changes and viewers.

One of the things you can do with your tree is invite others to help you. Changes help the tree owner know what changes were made by the collaborators. I don’t have any collaborators for my tree, but when I tested this feature, I also found it handy for those times when you work late at night and don’t recall what exactly you were doing. Does that ever happen to you?

Viewers is a new feature (I got it about a week ago). If you click this button, you get a list of the people who have looked at your tree and have opted into the program. Here you see that 6 people had viewed my public tree, but only three opted into the program. Of course you will only see this if you have a public tree.

When I first heard about this feature, it was because I’d heard some complaints about it in the genealogy community. Some people were saying they were going to opt-out. But I decided I will stay opted in and hope that my cousins do the same so I can see who’s looking and they can see me. You never know what information you might learn when you connect.

I did just that. I contacted two of the three. One message has gone unanswered so far, but for one, I received an answer, and the person was a distant DNA match, but when we chatted further, I learned they had another match in common with my dad, which might help with my Dad’s DNA mystery. (specifically about his grandpa).

Other Cool Features

Finally, let me tell you about a couple of other things; one is currently offered, and two coming soon.

Did you know that you can send group messages? So you can add several people to the same note, and perhaps once someone sees someone responding, others might chime in. Give this a try, and tell me if it works any better with getting responses.

The last two things are coming soon…

  • Info requests – Sometimes, you might have a part of your tree needing more information. Soon you’ll be able to request the information from a cousin, and then when they respond, you can accepted the information and add it to your tree.
  • Sideview grandparents? I’ve heard that it might be possible in the future to see your sideview grandparents. I don’t know when or if this will happen, but if I hear about it, I’ll be sure to let you know and I hope you will do the same.

That it.. that’s what’s new, and I’m sure I missed some things. I hope you’ll check your Ancestry account to see if you have these features and then let me know which you liked the best.

If you don’t have an Ancestry account, you can always try it for 14 days to see what you think. Learn more HERE.

If you haven’t purchased an Ancestry DNA kit, you can do that HERE.


  • Mrs. Valerie Davies says:

    Good read, thank you. However, that Storymaker Studio seems to be on Ancestry on my computer when I log in and it is NOT a downloaded APP. I have the App on my cell phone but find it basically useless to navigate. I am not one to take other’s stories or photos etc unless I contact the public tree holder, but that is very rare. I feel like it is an invasion in their privacy even though the tree is public. p.s. one typo – your title for Storymaker Studio appears as “Stoymaker”…

    • Valerie, You might be right about Storymaker Studio… I had thought I’d seen it on my computer as well as my phone, but when I looked again, I couldn’t find it. I agree that the app on your photo takes a bit of getting use to and I prefer to research on my computer than on the small screen. Thanks for the typo check.. I missed that one.

  • Lucy Simpson says:

    Thank you so very much for this update. Please write articles like this often.

    • Thank you, Lucy. I try and write about genealogy, DNA, and preserving your legacy. Writing about all these things in balance but sometimes depending on what I’m working on in my own family. Thanks for reading.