Tuesday, October 20, 2009

New FamilySearch roll-out -- nearing the end

According to the New.FamilySearch.org Utah and Idaho Release, News and Information site, by October 26, 2009 the Bountiful, Utah Temple District with have complete access to New FamilySearch. In addition, all but five of the Stakes in the Draper Temple District will also have access to the program. This leaves only three Salt Lake Valley Temple Districts; the Jordan River, Oquirrh Mountain and Salt Lake Temples.

This has been a very long process starting more than two years ago and still in its last stages. By the way, as users, we are already seeing a marked effect on the responsiveness of the system during key working hours; it is slowing down substantially. Meanwhile, there have been no announced changes to the Website since the August, 2009 update. Can we assume that once all of the Stakes in all the Temple Districts have access, that they might turn their attention to updating the program some more? I would hope that some of the problems of the data files would be addressed.

After working with the program for a while, especially if your family has been members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) since pioneer times, it is hard to keep from being frustrated and almost exasperated over the data in the vast file. For example, my 3rd Great-grandfather is depicted as being born in Cottonwood, Utah in 1795. If you aren't familiar with Utah or the Salt Lake Valley, it might help to know that Utah was first settled by the pioneers in 1847. Since there is no way to correct this information to show his correct birthplace, the incorrect information will remain as a monument to poor research for a long time.

Looking past the deficiencies in the data and the problem of duplication of ordinance work, the program itself is fundamentally sound and fairly simple to use. With rumors of the program being made available to those who are not members of the LDS Church in the first part of 2010, it will probably be around as long as I live. I just hope that people will finally come to view it as what it is, a huge collection of unverified records, and not the ultimate authority on family relationships. However, as we are still teaching classes and talking to people who have never seen or heard of the program, even with the roll-out there is a long way to go.

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