Frequently Asked Questions for Family Tree Searcher

Here are frequently asked questions. Click on the links for the answers.

  1. I entered an ancestor, pressed Save, but nothing happened
  2. I entered an ancestor, but now the screen is stuck on "Preparing Searches."
  3. The Active Searches page worked for me at one time, but now it does not work
  4. I am using AOL and the Active Searches page does not work
  5. How do I turn on cookies?
  6. How do I turn on JavaScript?
  7. How do I delete the FamilyTreeSearcher cookie?
  8. How do I choose the best ancestors to search?
  9. Why doesn't a new window open on the Active Searches page?
  10. What browsers work best with this site?
  11. What should I do if I am getting JavaScript errors?
  12. I used a different computer and could not find the ancestors I saved. Why is this?
  13. A search that once worked does not work now
  14. I have two windows open, each with the Active Searches page. The information is not the same in the two windows.
  15. I am using a popup blocker or firewall and the Active Searches page does not load properly

I entered an ancestor pressed Save, but nothing happened

There can be multiple reasons this could happen on the Active Searches page. Things to check:

  1. Did you receive any warnings about using AOL? The standard browser that comes with AOL sometimes does not work properly with the Active Searches page. There is an easy work-around for this situation. Go to AOL.
  2. Did you receive any warnings about cookies not being saved? The information on the Active Searches page requires that you allow cookies to be saved. You need allow the cookie to be saved when prompted. If you were not prompted about saving a cookie and received a warning, you may have the saving of cookies turned off. Go to the instructions on turning on cookie saving.
  3. Did you receive any warnings about your browser version? The Active Searches page requires more recent versions of either Microsoft Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, or Apple Safari. Click here for the versions of browser that work best with this site and how to obtain newer versions.
  4. Did you see any warnings about JavaScript errors? If so, click here for more instructions.
  5. Do you have JavaScript turned off? If you do not see "JavaScript Enabled" at the end of this paragraph after "Status," then click here for instructions on how to turn on JavaScript. Status: 
  6. Are you using a firewall? A firewall can sometimes block JavaScript code which causes the Active Searches page to "hang" or do nothing. Refer to the instructions for your firewall to allow JavaScript.
  7. Did you have a system crash or did you update your browser after trying the Active Searches page? You might have a corrupted cookie. Click here for instructions on deleting a cookie.

I entered an ancestor, but screen is stuck on "Preparing Searches."

If you are using a firewall, that might be the problem. Refer to the instructions for your firewall.

The other reason, might be because the JavaScript file did not download completely. Try refreshing your browser.

If either of these suggestions does not solve your problem, please send us a description of the problem, any error messages you received, and the information from https://www.familytreesearcher.com/mysearch/problem-reporting.html. Send the information to .

The Active Searches page worked for me at one time, but now it does not work

Sometimes the cookie that stores your information has become corrupted. This can happen for various reasons. As a result, the Active Searches page may stop working.

Tthe solution — if this is the problem — is to delete the cookie and start over. To do this, go to the Delete Cookie page. Click on "Yes" that you want to delete the cookie shown. After you get the confirmation, go back to the Active Searches page to see if things work.

I am using AOL and the Active Searches page does not work

Sometimes AOL users will encounter JavaScript errors on the Active Searches page or the Active Searches page simply won't work. If this is happening to you, follow these instructions:

  1. If you wish, print this page for reference.
  2. We suggest you use a different browser. Suggested browsers for Family Tree Searcher.
  3. After installing one of these browsers, enter an ancestor and try searching for that ancestor. If you have questions on how to do this, go to Family Tree Searcher Active Searches Tour.

If you are still experiencing problems, you might have a corrupted cookie. Click here for instructions on deleting a cookie. Then repeat the instructions above.

If, after following these instructions, the site is not working for you, please send us a description of the problem, any error messages you received, and the information from https://www.familytreesearcher.com/mysearch/problem-reporting.html. Send the information to .

How do I turn on cookies?

This site requires that cookies be turned on in order to search for family trees related to the ancestor data you enter. Here is how to turn on cookies:

How do I turn on JavaScript?

This site requires that JavaScript be turned on in order to search for family trees related to the ancestor data you enter:

How do I delete the FamilyTreeSearcher cookie?

The reason you would want to delete the FamilyTreeSearcher cookie is because it has become corrupted. When a cookie is corrupted, all sorts of strange things can occur. Unfortunately, the solution — if this is the problem — is to delete the cookie and start over. To do this, go to the Delete Cookie page. Click on "Yes" that you want to delete the cookie shown. After you get the confirmation, go back to the Active Searches page to see if things work.

How do I choose the best ancestors to search?

Choose an ancestor that is further back than a grandparent. The further back you go, the more likely you are to be searching for a person that someone else has searched before you. The best ancestor to choose is one where you know his or her father's name and spouse's name.

Why doesn't a new window open on the Active Searches page?

The repeated opening and closing of windows on the Active Searches page can cause problems with some browsers. If you have having problems with this, please send us email following the instructions at Reporting a Problem.

In the meantime, refreshing the Active Searches window might help the problem.  Also, if you had been closing the new windows yourself, try not closing them. The Active Searches page will reuse the same window for searching multiple sites.

Finally, if you are using the AOL, sometimes it does not open new windows. Go to AOL instructions.

What browsers work best with this site?

This site works best with more recent versions of Microsoft Edge, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari. The reason for incompatibility with earlier versions of some browsers has to do with the JavaScript programming that is used to make the Active Searches page work.

You can get browser upgrades at the following sites:

What should I do if I am getting JavaScript errors?

There are four possible reasons that this might occur:

  1. The browser you are using is older version. See what browsers work best with this site.
  2. You are using AOL. See special instructions for AOL users.
  3. If the Active Searches page once worked, but now is showing JavaScript errors, then you might try refreshing the screen.
  4. You may have a corrupted cookie. See the instructions for deleting a cookie.

I used a different computer and could not find the ancestors I saved. Why is this?

The ancestor information you save is actually kept on your local computer and not on our servers. It is stored in a cookie. When you use a different computer, that cookie is not available.

A search that once worked does not work now. What should I do?

There are two possible reasons. First, the website being searched might not be available. You can check that by going to the site directly. Each of choices under Search Hints in the above menu will take you to a page that includes a link for manually searching. Click on the manual search link to see if the site is up.

If you find the site is up, the second reason the search does not work is that the site may have changed how searches are conducted. We will change the Active Searches page when this occurs, but your browser may have cached an earlier version of the Active Searches page. To refresh your cache, go to the Active Family Tree Searches Searches page and then refresh or reload the page.

I have two windows open, each with the Active Searches page. The information is not the same in the two windows?

The way the Active Searches page stores information does not allow for two windows to be open to the same information. If you do this, it is highly likely you will lose information that you entered on some of your ancestors. You should have only one window open to the Active Searches page.

I am using a popup blocker or firewall and the Active Searches page does not load properly

Some popup blockers and firewalls can cause the Active Searches page to load improperly. As a result, the Active Searches page will appear incomplete. This explains how you can work around the problem.

The problem

The Active Searches page needs to open new windows in order to conduct the searches for family trees. This is done using JavaScript coding. Some popup blockers and privacy monitors read this code and incorrectly assume it is a popup or a privacy concern.

One popular product that can cause this problem is Norton Internet Security. Other security products might also be causing the problem.

Norton Internet Security

The standard settings for Norton products should allow the Active Searches page to work. Check for any custom settings.

If the Active Searches page still does not work

This might occur if you tried to use the Active Searches page before performing changing your firewall configuration. Temporary and History files need to be cleared out. This describes how to clear out these temporary files.

If you are using AOL

Open the Microsoft Internet Explorer while you are logged on to AOL. You will most likely find the Internet Explorer icon on your desktop. Then follow the instructions for the Microsoft Internet Explorer shown below.

If you are using Microsoft Internet Explorer

  1. Close all browser windows except for one.
  2. Make sure the remaining browser window does not display the Active Searches page.
  3. On the browser toolbar menu, select Tools and then Internet Options.
  4. In the window that appears, under Browsing history, click on the Delete... button. Then click on the button to delete Temporary Internet Files. This might take a long time to delete these files. 
  5. When the temporary Internet files have been deleted, stay in the same window. This time click on the button to delete History. Again, this might take a while to clear history.
  6. After clearing history, delete any cookie that might have been set by the Active Searches page. Click here for instructions on deleting a cookie. A new window will open for deleting the cookie.
  7. Click here to return to the Active Searches page. A new window will open.

If you are using Firefox

  1. Close all browser windows except for one.
  2. Make sure the remaining browser window does not display the Active Searches page.
  3. Choose Tools from the menu bar, and then click Options.
  4. Click the Privacy category.
  5. Click on the link to clear your recent history. Choose a time period that includes the last time you used the Active Searches page for deleting history.
  6. Delete any cookie that might have been set by the Active Searches page. Click here for instructions on deleting a cookie. A new window will open for deleting the cookie.
  7. Click here to return to the Active Searches page. A new window will open.

If you are using Google Chrome

  1. Close all browser windows except for one.
  2. Make sure the remaining browser window does not display the Active Searches page.
  3. Choose Tools in the right hand corner, and then click Options .
  4. Under Personal Stuff, click on the button the Clear browsing data...
  5. Delete any cookie that might have been set by the Active Searches page. Click here for instructions on deleting a cookie. A new window will open for deleting the cookie.
  6. Click here to return to the Active Searches page. A new window will open.