Ancestral Quest has the ability to pass information to and from the FamilySearch Family Tree. To do this, two things are necessary.

  1. The user must have established a usercode and password authorizing access to the Family Tree.
  2. The program used (in this case Ancestral Quest) must access the FamilySearch Family Tree through the Application Program Interface (API) established by FamilySearch.

If you have attended my Ancestral Quest class, you may remember that I recommend that users change the value in the Tools -> Preferences -> Miscellaneous page, which controls how often the program checks with Incline Software to determine whether the current version of AQ is being used. The default value is 30 days.


I recommend the value 1. This causes Ancestral Quest, when the program opens, to first check to see if this is the first time the program has been started this day. If it is the first time, AQ will poll the server at Incline Software, and determine whether this is the most recent version. If it is the most recent, the Newsline screen will show that the current version is running.


If there is a new version available, the word CURRENT shown on a green background above, will be on a red background, and will say UPDATE. When this happens, choose one of the options available to the right on this line, download and install the new version.

There are two reasons for new versions of AQ.

  1. Improvements to the Ancestral Quest program.
  2. Changes in the Family Tree, which require changes to Ancestral Quest.

One of the changes to the Family Tree which would require a change to AQ is a change in the Application Program Interface. If the API changes, the old versions of “third party” software, will not know how to take advantage of all the information being made available by FamilySearch. Such a change could also cause old versions to run improperly. When the API changes, you need to know NOW.

On Monday, 27 June, 2016, at approximately 12:01 A.M., Mountain Daylight Time, the FamilySearch Family Tree is scheduled to go offline. FamilySearch is making some changes to the underlying structure of the Family Tree. These changes will necessitate a change to the API.

I have heard two versions of when the Family Tree will be available after the changes.

  1. As soon as the changes have been made.
  2. On Tuesday, 28 June, 2016, at approximately 12:01 A.M., Mountain Daylight Time.

When you download changes from the Family Tree to your local file, you download at least one piece of information which you don’t see on the Ancestral Quest screens. Each Family Tree record has a version number associated with it. This information is changed whenever there is a change to the Family Tree record. When you download information from the Family Tree, Ancestral Quest saves the version information so that on any future access of that record on the Family Tree, they have a quick and accurate way of knowing whether there have been any changes to the Family Tree record since you last downloaded information from it. Something about that version information is being changed in this upgrade to the Family Tree.

Because of this change, AQ users who access the FamilySearch Family Tree, will see a change on the first time that they click the Check for Changes… menu item on the FamilySearch tab menu.


All records in your local file which are linked to the Family Tree will show a changed version number on the Family Tree, so that routine will report that the record has been changed.


Run this routine against your entire file, and Mark All records as reviewed. Thereafter this process will run as it has in the past.

Suggestions/Questions about AQ Will Do or Subjects discussed here? Click the Comment tab. I would like to hear from you!



  1. Judy Kirkpatrick

    When I tried to “Check for changes” I got the following error message:
    Error Code: 403
    URI: https://familysearch.org/platform/tree/persons/LZ8W-NWN
    Error Response: HTTP/1.1 403 Forbidden
    Cache-Control: no-cache, no-store, no-transform, must-revalidate, max-age=0
    Content-Length: 0
    Content-Location: /tree/persons/LZ8W-NWN
    Content-Type: application/x-fs-v1+xml
    Date: Sun, 10 Jul 2016 19:47:27 GMT
    Server: Apache-Coyote/1.1
    Vary: Accept, Accept-Language, Accept-Encoding, Expect
    Vary: Accept-Encoding
    Warning: 400 FamilySearch “Unable to read tf person.”
    Connection: Close

    I am assuming this is because this is a living individual. You said to check all local records so there will be many living individuals. What would you suggest?

    • Judy, for complete details you need to call 866-406-1830.

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