How to Create a New Tree on Ancestry

It seems like it should be obvious how to create a new tree on Ancestry.

So you may be scratching your head and looking in vain for a big shiny “create tree” button. But it’s oddly hidden away from the main menus. This article will show you exactly how you create an Ancestry tree.

How To Start A Family Tree On Ancestry

This is how to start a new tree on Ancestry:

  1. Click the Trees menu in the top bar.
  2. Choose “Create and Manage Trees”.
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the page.
  4. Click the link to “create a new tree”.
  5. Follow the wizard to add at least two people to your tree.

The Ancestry New Tree Wizard

The “create a new tree” link launches a wizard that guides you through starting an Ancestry tree with at least two persons.

Once you’ve entered the first person, you may wonder how you should save this new tree. Well, you can’t save it until you’ve added a second person e.g. a parent or spouse. Then, the Ancestry wizard opens a dialog box that allows to name and save the new tree.

There is another important option to consider here, the privacy settings. But let’s address the name first.

(If you’d like to see all this in action, the video at the end of this post walks through the process and the options available. If you prefer a textual approach, read on).

A Video Walkthrough of Creating An Ancestry Tree

YouTube player

Create Your Ancestry Tree With A Descriptive Name

By default, Ancestry will name your tree using the surname of the first person you entered, the “home person”. So, it will be “[surname] family tree”. That’s not a bad choice although you may want to change it at this point. You can simply overwrite the box with your preferred name.

I advise not to use generic names such as “my tree”, as you will often end up creating more than one tree. If you’re just starting your genealogy journey with Ancestry, this may seem unusual. But an Ancestry tree is a powerful research tool, and you may want a temporary private tree as you chase down a speculative branch.

Tree names

Take a look at this excerpt from my tree management page. See how several start with “RESEARCH – “, followed by a family name?

These are trees for which I haven’t verified all the evidence I need to be on sure ground. I don’t want to lead others astray if later decide the relationships are incorrect. So I set the tree to be private when I saved it.

Think About Privacy Settings When Creating Ancestry Trees

Remember that your new tree will be public unless you actively choose to set it to private here. The public option is set to true by default in the save dialog box. The setting is directly below the name of the tree.

Often you will want your tree to be public so you don’t need to take any further action before clicking the save button. However, be sure to uncheck the ticked box if you want a private tree.

A New Private Ancestry Tree is Searchable

Even if you set the tree to private, your tree will eventually enter the Ancestry search index unless you take further steps to stop this. What this means is that the basic details of deceased individuals may come up in the searches of other Ancestry members. Your tree will be shown to them as private, so they won’t be able to explore inside. However, they will be able to send you a message through the Ancestry system with their inquiries.

I usually set my research or experimental trees to be unsearchable. This can’t be done within the save dialog box. Instead, once you’ve saved your tree you must find the option to make the tree unsearchable. This is available on the privacy settings of the tree.

To learn more about indexed and unindexed trees, read our article on the essential Ancestry tree. You may also want to take a look at our book on building your Ancestry tree.

How to Save Your Family tree on Ancestry

When you’re out of the new tree wizard, each action you take is usually saved instantly. There’s no “save” button, your actions have immediate affect. Bear in mind that there’s also no “undo” button!

You may experience occasional glitches where the screen hangs, or it seems that your change hasn’t taken effect. This is usually down to internet connection issues.

How to Find Your New tree on Ancestry

If you’re sitting down to renew your Ancestry research, it’s very easy to find a tree that you’ve been recently working.

The “Trees” menu lists the most trees with most recent activity. And if you only have one tree, it’ll be there in the drop down items.

Can You Create More Than One Tree

You are not limited to one family tree on One account can create and manage hundreds of family trees.

How Many Trees Can You Create On

There is no limit to the number of trees that you can create on Ancestry. There support documentation has no upper threshold for Ancestry members. You can create as many as you need for your genealogy research.

At the time of writing this, there were 12 million family trees on Ancestry. So, you’re probably not going to stretch them in a big way.

What’s the Biggest Tree You Could Build on

According to Ancestry itself, the biggest tree on has 260,000 entries.

There’s a challenge for you!

Looking For An E-Book on Building Your Ancestry tree?

Our e-book on building your family tree with is available on Amazon with a budget price!

Check Out Our Video Walkthroughs

If you would like to watch video tutorials that walk through using Ancestry features step-by-step, browse through the DataMiningDNA YouTube channel.

Interested In New Articles and Tutorials On Ancestry?


Margaret created a family tree on a genealogy website in 2012. She purchased her first DNA kit in 2017. She created this website to share insights and how-to guides on DNA, genealogy, and family research.

5 thoughts on “How to Create a New Tree on Ancestry”

  1. How do I change the default tree? I started one but didn’t really know what I was doing and there are a lot of errors. I started over but the old one is the one that always opens. I do not want to delete the old tree because it contains valuable information but I do not want to see it unless I need it.


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