We've updated our search forms so you can spend less time entering information in fields and spend more time discovering records and stories. Here are some of the changes you'll find:

  • Exact search options automatically appear as you begin typing a name, date, or location in a field.
  • Tabbing between search fields has been improved.
  • Family members and locations can be added with a click instead of choosing them from drop-down lists.
  • The Advanced search is no longer available; every field is shown by default.
  • Forms have a new layout, which make them easier to fill out, and they can be scanned quickly.

Global Search Form

When you click the Search tab on the main toolbar (or select "Search All Records" from the Search drop-down-menu), you'll go to what we call the "global" search. The global search looks through every Ancestry collection and is useful for beginners who want to see what types of records are available.

As you type in a name, date, or location, the Exact search option appears.

Click the Exact checkbox to decide how exact the search is.

By default the new search forms shows only basic facts: name, date, and place. If you want to add family members, additional locations, or choose a specific collection to search, click the "Show more options" link. (When you come back to do another search, Ancestry will remember your previous settings.)

If you want to search by collection, simply select the collection you want from the drop-down list. (Previously you had to select a collection and click the "show only records from these collections" checkbox too.)

Category and Collection Search Forms

You'll see the category or collection search forms when you search a specific category like Census and Voter Lists or Military records or when you search a specific collection like the 1940 U.S. Federal Census. These searches are useful when you want to focus in on a certain location, time period, or type of record.

By default, the new search forms display every option available for the category or collection. (Previously you had to switch to the Advanced search options to see every field or use the Exact search options.)

And just like the global form, the Exact options for names, dates, and places appear as you start to enter information.