Family Tree Shortcuts

I started a family tree, but when I logged in later it was completely missing.



While I have an email inquiry pending at, thought I’d ask if you’d ever encountered this problem.

A week ago, I spent a few hours starting my family tree on, which now does not show up on my home page. I have a long established username and identity with ancestry, originally set up years ago. I never had a paying subscription, do get their email offers, and decided to take them up on their offer of a free family tree.

So, when I started my family tree, I was logged on with my username, opened “start a family tree”, named and saved that identity, designated public access and proceeded to fill in information for 60 or more people in one sitting before logging out.

However, today when I signed on to, and I scroll over family trees, the one I started last week is not listed, but the drop down choice includes “start a family tree”. So, the question is what happened to the tree I started last week? I know I had to save it in the beginning when I gave it a name. I don’t remember if there were save prompts along the way. But even if I was supposed to have saved along the way, I would think that at the very least, the original of me and my parents should be there. I am familiar with MacFamilyTree, and I know I have to save the changes on that program since those are in a file on my computer.

I spent several hours on that, including adding data I was getting directly from the internet about living relatives that I do not know personally. It would take too much effort to retrace and redo, which I’m not going to do on ancestry, at the risk of wasting my time again.

I appreciate your help.


Thanks for the question. I’m glad that you recognize that it’s best to contact’s customer service since they’ll be able to give you a more definitive answer, but I’m happy to take a stab at the problem.

You’re correct in that there were no save prompts. Everything is saved automatically when you’re using the server. So the fact that your tree is completely missing is definitely a mystery. It’s hard to say exactly what happened to it, but here’s my guess:

As great as the online software is, a surprising amount of people accidentally create multiple accounts. It’s unfortunately easy to do since there are very few steps to creating an entirely new registered guest account (which is basically any account without a paid subscription attached). It’s possible that instead of using your former account, you created a new account and used that account to make the family tree. When you came back later, you may have logged in to your original account (which never had the tree on it). Of course, this isn’t necessarily the case, but based on the information you’ve provided it’s my best guess. In my experience, when family trees go missing it’s usually (but not always) an issue with multiple accounts (and yes, I have encountered similar problems before).

Figuring out what the second account would be is the tricky part, particularly since you wouldn’t have intended to create it in the first place. Hopefully, the customer support team can figure that out for you. In a best case scenario, you’ll get an email back from them with information about both accounts. But they sometimes overlook things like this. If they do, you might want to respond with the scenario I’ve suggested as a possibility and see if they can located multiple accounts attached to your name, address, email address, phone number or whatever else might be available (typically, they can locate multiple accounts with just one of these items if both accounts are attached to them). It’s possible you may have to call 1-800-Ancestry to have a phone conversation. If you’re like me, you avoid the phone and stick to email whenever possible, but sometimes it’s easier to do that kind of thing over the phone.

The fact that you made the tree public is to your advantage as well. You might be able to find the tree by searching for it using the names you entered. If you can find it in the database, you can find the username which is attached to it. And with the username, you can log back in.

I know this isn’t a definitive answer, but I hope it helps. If this does end up being the case and you find another account with your tree, you can either start using that account to continue to build your tree, or you can export the tree as a gedcom and then upload it to your original account.


I followed your recommendation of doing a search with names that I had in my family tree, which did indeed come up in the results. I sent a second inquiry to with that information. The representative identified that I had set up a second guest username linked to my email address, and reset a log-on password for me. So, problem solved, in that I can now access my family tree!