Monday, April 5, 2010

How I Influenced Ancesty - The Tale of Unenhanced Images Part 2

Over the weekend, I listened the the Genealogy Guy's 200th episode. While listening I heard my name mentioned (again) and wondered what they would say.

Here is a little background information:

As you know I spent the summer, fall, and winter resourcing my database. I also organized my digital files so that I could actually find them. During this time, Ancestry had been adding "enhanced images" to their website, meaning that they were attempting to improve on the old census images. Since they said they had better images, I decided to download the new images to replace my old images while organizing and resourcing my files.

Then in January, I discovered that I could no longer read the images of the 1860 census for some of my ancestors. The "enhanced images" were in fact "unenhanced". I wrote about it on my blog and asked if anyone else had see the same problem. No one left any comments that they had similar problems.

On February 2nd, I emailed the Genealogy Guys (George and Drew) about what I had discovered. I had two reasons for this. Ancestry is one of their sponsors and they kept running an ad about the "enhanced images." I was tired of hearing an ad that I had proven to be untrue and truthfully I was just tired of hearing the same ad every podcast.

In episode #196 on Feburary 7th, George read my letter. His advice was to use the "Report an Image Problem" link on Ancestry. This wasn't really the advice I was seeking. What I really wanted to do was stop the ad from playing over and over again and get Ancestry to understand that there was a larger problem than just one census image. I had found the problem in a few counties and throughout all the images for those counties.

Then this weekend I listened to episode #200. Finally I got what I wanted. (Well the same ad still played, but ...) Gary Gibb and Chad Milner from Ancestry contacted George about the issue. According to George, they looked at my blog post and then looked at the images on Ancestry. There was indeed a problem and they have reverted to the old images until new ones can be scanned and uploaded. I am glad that Ancestry saw this as a problem and that they have addressed the issue.

I am amazed that my email and blog posting had an effect over Ancestry. I am glad that George and Drew helped get this issue into the open and get resolved. (And I'll just get over the fact that the same ad keeps playing!)

When I first started this blog, this is what I wanted to see happen. I wanted to put problems that I had doing my genealogy into the open so that companies would fix them. I wanted to show the genealogy companies what I need to do better research so that they will know how to help me and everyone else. I just can't believe that it actually worked!


  1. Good for you! One of the great things about blogging is it allows us to have conversations in more productive ways than we could before. We can interact with people who might not have heard us without the megaphone.

  2. Way to go! This is a lesson for all of us as to how we can have an impact with our blogs. Thanks!

  3. Glad you did this! There are so many "new, improved" things that are worse than the things they have replaced.

  4. Congratulations on getting the problem solved. Your determination helps all of us!

  5. I had not enhanced, cause I thought after one try it was too slow in getting it and to slow for it to work. I kind of resent the reminder and then down at the bottom one must hit continue each time. It could be annoying on my bad days. But then I could go on till wednesday about the annoying ancestry stuff. I am glad they read your post and checked and a good result.

    NOW would you write about how one can state three four times your looking in one state of usa only for something and it gives you family in australia problem. I would thank you a whole bunch.

  6. Good for you! Sometimes we are content to sit back, but we must advocate for ourselves. i went through something similar with Dell over all my tech issues. If they had spent a few more minutes on one issue I would have been saved days and hours of heartache. Now they have gone back & retrained their technicians due to what happened to me.

    Keep up the good work!