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Technical Update - 24th June 2011

Published on 24 Jun 2011 18:30 : technical : 9 comments : 2099 views

It's Friday night, and I am just trying to wrap up a number of things on my To Do list. I must apologise that this is not family tree/history related like Estelle and Rhoda's. Mine will come! Especially since the Passenger Lists and other Travel and Overseas records are now available. For those that have received a promotional email for the Passenger Lists, the photos and pictures surrounding the promotional text are courtesy of my great-grandfather's brother, Henry Turnbull (that is him top left), who emigrated to South Africa in 1904, and sent my grandmother a series of photos taken during the voyage. More of that to come.

In the meantime, I wanted to give all members a bit of an update on the issues that have plagued us for the last few weeks and some of fixes that have been rolled out to try and restore and improve the service.

Site Performance and Sorry, Site Down for Maintenance page

At the end of May we moved our data centre and rolled our a new release. As a result, a number of issues manifested themselves and the website suffered from a number of performance problems. This resulted in many of you seeing a "sorry" page indicating the site was down for maintenance. Since then, we have deployed a number of changes to improve the performance of the site, and are still investigating possible hardware issues. At the end of this week, we are not experiencing members witnessing the "Sorry" page. I spoke personally to one member today who was still seeing this page (thank you for your assistance by the way), and in fact, we narrowed the problem down to a caching error on their browser.
So, if you are trying to go to or any of our other sites (.com,,,, and see a page which starts "Sorry, the site is down for maintenance...", then can I suggest you hit CTRL+F5 to force a full page refresh. If you are still seeing the "Sorry" page it has now been altered to show the current date and time. If you cannot see this then your browser has a cached the page, and you should at this point clear your cache. I will try to write up a help page with guidelines on how to do this at some point soon, but for those that need guidance now, try these links wikiHow - Clear Your Browser's Cache or TypePad Knowledge Base - How to clear browser cookies and cache.

Login - Not Staying Logged In

UPDATE 28 June 2011: We have rolled out a patch today that hopefully will resolve this issue for the majority of users. See this thread Keep getting logged out - UPDATE.

This is an ongoing problem, which we believe is related to the cookies that are created by the site to store information between page transitions. We understand that this is VERY annoying, and yes, I am now experiencing the same problem myself (I wasn't until this week), and this is our top priority bug. To repeat comments that I posted on the boards: "As a small suggestion (NOT a solution), if you are logged in and click on something and it asks you to login again (as opposed to entering your password - those pages are intended), then hit the back button and then press CTRL+F5 to refresh your page. I tried this today and my login details remained at the top of the page, I then tried the action again, and it did not ask me to log in the second time. I don't know if this will work for the moment but you can only try." The other thing we have implemented is a page that you can use to clear your cookies should you be experiencing this issue. It is worth going to this page if you have the login problem, Reset Cookies. This WILL make sure you are logged out, and you can follow the link on this page back to the main login. This is also not a permanent fix, but it could relieve some of the symptoms for a while.

Fixes and Improvements

Hot Matches: As part of the efforts to improve performance, we slipped up on one hot matches change. As a result, all hot matches, discarded and new, were displayed together and you could not click through to the details. The was fixed yesterday and normal service should now be resumed.

Hyperlinks on Posts: We slipped this one in, as we know you've been asking for this for ages!

Boards: We are reviewing all the comments that have been made since we revamped the boards. Some are positive, some want old features back. Everything is being considered. If you want to add anything, please post into this thread. The title needs to be changed to Review of Board Features, I think.

Redirects from old links to new pages: Not one you may have been too aware of, but a number of people who have old links in their favourites or on old emails (or some new ones for that matter), were not being directed to the correct page. A number of fixes have been implemented to help you go to the right location.

New Data Records

And of course we released, Indexed Death records (no more trawling through the images), as well as Travel and Overseas records, which include Passenger Lists for people departing the UK by boat from 1890 to 1960.

Keeping up to date

For those not familiar yet, the suggestions board is a good place to keep watching if you're having any technical troubles or if you'd like to make a suggestion. The development team tend to keep an eye on this one. I would recommend as always, try searching the board before posting, in case someone has already started a thread on your subject.

Wishing you all a good weekend researching your family.

And for those planning on visiting the Yorkshire Family History Fair, why not come along and say hello to some of our team that will be there.

Phil Moir, Lead Developer, Genes Reunited


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by SylviaInCanada on 24 Jun 2011 19:02 :

Thank you for updating us, Phil!

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by TootyFruity on 24 Jun 2011 23:19 :
Phil it is very much appreciated you keeping us up to date with site developments.

Thank you
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by JoyDean on 25 Jun 2011 13:22 :
Just realised one can comment if one reads further :)

Site unavailable - experienced three times yesterday.

Error message - This happened when I clicked on a name to send a message; perhaps the person may no longer be a member.

"Login - Not Staying Logged In
This is an ongoing problem" - yes, and not experienced in any other site. It is good in one way that you have experienced it, too :)

"Hyperlinks on Posts: We slipped this one in, as we know you've been asking for this for ages!" - very true :-)

Thank you, Phil.
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by JoyDean on 25 Jun 2011 13:26 :
Another question - re " If you want to add anything, please post into this thread." - did you mean "Suggestions : Vindictive Post reporting YOU RISK BEING BANNED"?
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by philmoir on 26 Jun 2011 11:30 :
Joy - yes. I should have made that the title for the link. Would have made more sense.

I also should have mentioned we deployed "Add comments" to blogs as well.

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by JoyDean on 26 Jun 2011 20:20 :
I forgot again about the blogs; I have proposed in the suggestions board that blogs be included under the boards summary on the left of the screen.

NB I cannot see any emoticons here :-(

Thank you, Phil. :-)
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by philmoir on 27 Jun 2011 00:18 :
Emoticons - I realised that yesterday too. And hyperlinks. And in the preview panel too. Work never stops. lol :-)
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by BrisbaneThorne on 30 Jun 2011 06:08 :

Ken pointed me to this blog (thank you Ken). I was very pleased to see such a great write up covering many of the problems experienced and that a good understandable English text was used.

Well done - from an old IT hand of 50 plus years experience.

My only problem at the moment (apart from a fading memory) is the path to this blog.

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by BrisbaneThorne on 30 Jun 2011 09:22 :
I was updating my record "Annie Widow of unknown Cornford' when I received an error message. I was updating the note section.

I have saved the screen dump if you wish to see it.