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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Major changes to New FamilySearch

After two consecutive Beta test runs, FamilySearch has introduced some more major changes to the New FamilySearch program. Anyone, even if you cannot register yet for New FamilySearch, can see the changes. Just click on the News and Updates link from the home screen.

Chief among the many changes is the introduction of the Family Tree interface, long available on the Labs.FamilySearch.org Website. By clicking a Change View button from the familiar Family Pedigree (3 generation) view of the user's family. The main advantage of the the new Family Tree view is the graphic representation of any number of generations in a pedigree-like interface. This view enables the user to navigate quickly through many generations rather than clicking up through the generations three at a time.

Also added to the selection is a List View, which will show a list of all of the individuals showing in the Family Tree view. The Family Tree view also enables you to graphically view all of the descendants of a particular ancestor. Some of the older views available have been eliminated including the Family Pedigree and Family Group Record views. The Family Group view is now limited to viewing and printing, no information can be added to a Family Group view record.

I heartily applaud FamilySearch for implementing many new changes to the Temple Qualifications Rules. As stated by the new rules:
In addition to the other information that is required for temple ordinances to be performed, an individual’s record must now have at least the country for birth, christening, marriage, death, or burial. The place-name must be standardized.

Names with slashes (/), parentheses, or double quote marks (") in the Name field no longer qualify. These characters are commonly used to enter an individual’s nickname, alternate spellings, and similar issues.
One additional change now displays a lock on the Temple Ordinance status instead of the familiar green arrow when all of the ordinances for all family members are reserved or in progress.

Sort-of hidden down in the explanation for a new icon in the Temple Ordinance List is a really innovative solution to a common problem. One reason that an individual will no longer qualify for Temple work is that someone selected a different name, gender, or event on the summary. That version of the name, gender, or event does not allow ordinances to be done. Also, there is a provision that if someone combines a record where the ordinances have already been done, the name will disappear from your Temple Ordinance List.

I am not yet sure what some of these changes actually mean in the real world of day to day usage, but the changes certainly make life in the New FamilySearch world interesting.

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