Monday, May 30, 2011 is NOT New FamilySearch!!!

Let's get some definitions down. OK here we go.

FamilySearch is a trademark of Intellectual Reserve, Inc. Intellectual Reserve, Inc (abbreviated IRI) is a non-profit corporation based in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. It is separate from, but wholly owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It holds the church's intellectual property, including copyrights, and trademarks. See Wikipedia and the sources listed there.

FamilySearch International Inc. is a non-profit Utah corporation, wholly owned and run by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FamilySearch was historically known as the Genealogical Society of Utah. FamilySearch is also the present tradename of the Genealogical Society of Utah, Inc. an Utah corporation. See also Genealogical Society of Utah.

 FamilySearch (the entity) is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch consists of a collection of records, resources, and services designed to help people learn more about their family history. FamilySearch gathers, preserves, and shares genealogical records worldwide. FamilySearch offers free access to its resources and service online at, one of the most heavily used genealogy sites on the Internet. In addition, FamilySearch offers personal assistance at more than 4,500 Family History Centers in 70 countries, including the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. Wikipedia.

I fully understand anyone's confusion at this point. I guess the best way to put it is that FamilySearch is the organization and the name "FamilySearch" is both a trademark and a tradename.

Now, FamilySearch (any time I mention FamilySearch without further qualification, I mean the organization, corporation) has a chief executive officer, officers, directors (I assume) and employees.

FamilySearch does lots of things. Here is a list of some of them:
  • The Granite Vault genealogical storage in Little Cottonwood Canyon outside of Salt Lake City, Utah.
  • The Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.
  • The microfilm/digitizing of records projects going on all over the world.
  • Several large websites on the Internet.
The main website is This site is entirely free and open to the public. It contains millions of digitized records, the FamilySearch Research Wiki, the FamilySearch Indexing program, the FamilySearch Forums, FamilySearch TechTips, the Family History Library catalog, scanned books and lots, lots more.

Most of the FamilySearch websites are presently integrated into or shortly will be.

There is also a website called "New FamilySearch" See This site is a huge family tree program. It is also completely free, but is still under development and access to the program has been limited all during its development. At first, the program was limited to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in certain geographic areas. It was very slowly released to additional areas until recently it was available to all of the members of the Church throughout the world. Now the same thing is happening with the release to those who are not members of the Church. It is being released in stages. During this protracted release, there have been several delays as the program had to be altered for different reasons. It presently has a substantial challenge because of the data that was included originally in the program.  Just take my word for it, New FamilySearch still has need of substantial changes (or not, depending on your viewpoint).

Please feel free to go to and explore to your heart's content. It is a fabulous resource and getting better everyday. Meanwhile do not feel left out of New FamilySearch, even members of the Church, who have complete access to the program, don't know what it is or what it will become.


  1. It might help people to step back and think about why the Church puts so much effort into family history and genealogy work. Some of the basic doctrines and beliefs of the church involve doing proxy ordinances for departed ancestors. The New Testament says, for example, "Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?"

    Members of the Church have a responsibility to do proxy baptisms and other ordinances in their many beautiful temples. Genealogists, particularly those who have spent time in Salt Lake City, may have seen the Salt Lake Temple and may have taken a tour of the adjacent Visitors Centers and had the purposes of temples explained to them.

    The Church has used various systems to organize the proxy work of the temples. Previously, there was a computerized system called Temple Ready. It was complicated and hard to use. Now, the church has (NFS) which allows members of the church to enter the names of their ancestors, check if the temple work has already been done for them, and submit names to the temples to have the work done.

    Besides facilitating the temple work, NFS is also a major source of genealogical information. I use NFS regularly in a project involving the immigration of German members of the Church into Brooklyn, New York, and Utah during the period between World War I and World War II. I can use immigration records elsewhere (usually on Ancestry) to track down the dates of immigration, and I can use NFS to track down the dates when the immigrants joined the Church in Germany.

    As has been mentioned in the original post and other posts here and elsewhere, NFS is currently in a developmental stage. There are numerous glitches to be worked out. For instance, all data is currently treated equally and any user can choose which names, dates, and places show up in the main page for any given person, regardless of the user's familiarity with the family lines and actual data on the ancestor.

    So, it may sound condescending (although I hope it doesn't!), but if you remember the purpose of NFS, and realize that many technical glitches and conceptual details have been worked out over the past few years and many more are currently being worked out, it may not be quite so frustrating to not yet have access to the program, particularly since you can usually find the very same genealogical information in FamilySearch, Ancestry, and RootsWeb.