It may have been there for a while, but I just found an interesting link between FamilySearch.org and New.FamilySearch.org. I found that you have to be signed into New.FamilySearch.org to see the link. But I seriously question the utility of the link. In some cases it highlights the problems with New.FamilySearch in a dramatic way.
I was looking at New.FamilySearch.org and left without signing out. If I had signed out, I would not have found the link. I then did a search in FamilySearch.org's Historical Record Collections. I still might never have noticed the link had I not seen a new collection of Rhode Island Births and Christenings, 1600-1914. This is an index only collection with 870,030 records. I was interested because my Tanner family line comes from Rhode Island and I would expect to be related to practically all of the Tanners in that state. So I began a review of the older records. I did a straight-forward search for the surname "Tanner." There were 1,438 results. A lot of relatives! I figured I would need to go back, at least until my present family lived in Rhode Island, around the end of the 18th Century.
Here is a screen shot of the first search of the Rhode Island Births and Christenings, 1600-1914:
Of course, this is not all of the over 1,400 records. I decided to filter down the list a little to those with birth years in the 1700s. I read down the list and found one of my direct line ancestors, Joshua Tanner and his wife, Thankful Tefft.
I decided to take a look at the individual record. Here is what I saw since I just happened to be also signed into New.FamilySearch.org. I tried it later and found out that the link disappears if you are not signed in, in another window in your browser. Very interesting. OK, so here is the elusive link that appeared:
Here comes the real interesting part. Clicking on the link.
Here is the link for Joshua Tanner:
Out of interest, I decided to click on Francis Tanner, Joshua's father. Here it really gets even more interesting:
Now, there are ten different pedigree lines to choose from. The dates and names are all over the place. Do I diligently copy all this information into my personal database? Not on your life. Actually, I simply ignore it all as an unsolvable mess better left to those with more time than I have to correct others' errors.
By this time you have probably forgotten that all this got started with an index of birth records for Rhode Island. Too bad someone didn't look at the index before they put all this junk in their databases and had it loaded into New.FamilySearch.org. But wait, the database for Rhode Island just went online. Interesting. Then why did I have the information pretty well sorted out in my own personal database? There were and are other records available. I got my information from Hopkinton, Rhode Island Town Records, Deeds, Tax Records and a whole lot more by looking at microfilms in the Family History Library.
What does finding this link to New.FamilySearch.org add to my knowledge about my ancestors? It really sucks the information out of my head like watching TV. I don't know what to do at this point. What am I supposed to do with the link to New.FamilySearch.org? How is the link supposed to help me understand more about my family history? If there were some way to edit the information in New.FamilySearch.org or add in a source, I could do some editing from the source record information. But absent these tools, there is nothing I can do but feel frustrated.
Can I imagine a use for having a link like the one I found? Oh yes, in a world where my ancestors' files in New.FamilySearch.org weren't a total disaster, I might be able to use the information. If New.FamilySearch.org were like a wiki and could be corrected and the additional information added to the lineage, it would be fabulously useful. As it is, I really can't do anything with the link although I can use the information from the Rhode Island records and the source in my personal database on my computer.