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Monday, December 12, 2011

What's going on with FamilySearch? Try the 1930 U.S. Census with images among other things

I guess the question of what's going on with FamilySearch could be answered either nothing or a lot depending on your perspective on RootsTech 2012 and how often you return to all the FamilySearch websites. It is time to go back through all of the various websites and update what has happened in the last month or so.

FamilySearch.org
The flag ship of the fleet so to speak has continued to evolve. The biggest change in the website itself was the mysterious appearance of a completely different startup page that appeared on some user's computers and not on others. I was at the Mesa Regional Family History Center when one of the missionaries called my attention to the new screen. I went to another computer to look at it in more detail and it did not appear. Within in few minutes, it had vanished from all of the computers and I have not seen it again. This is probably a good thing because I was all ready to make some comments and FamilySearch is probably not too anxious to have my comments.

The big news with FamilySearch.org is the huge, monstrous, gigantic, (you get the point) number of new Historical Record Collections going online everyday. If you have checked today, you have missed another million or ten million new records. Several bloggers report the new collections in long lists, but even when they do that, it is old news because there are already more changes. To remind you how find the new records, go to All the Collections on the startup page and then click on the Last Updated column. The records will then be sorted chronologically. Today's big news: The entire 1930 U.S. Census complete indexed WITH IMAGES. OK, so everyone has already seen the Census but this is just one significant place to see the Census with images for free. You do have to sign in to see the images, but you can use either an LDS Account or a FamilySearch Account, both of which are free.

Consider all the other fabulous (I tend to superlatives) records; 47 huge collections since the first of December, 2012, bringing the total number to 913 collections, most of which have images.

There have also been a few changes to the startup page making a search a little more detailed. FamilySearch.org continues to work on its search engines and they do work quite well. There is a link to a page telling about the search changes.

I still have to comment again about the disappearance of the Feedback tab and the fact that many resources are buried on the Learn page, but progress is being made.

FamilySearch Research Wiki
With over 65,000 articles on genealogical resources, the Research Wiki is way ahead of whatever is in second place for finding resources and learning about genealogy. This is the most valuable resource on the Internet for genealogical resources and probably one of the lesser known and lesser used. Presently, there are Projects for adding resources for Utah, New York, Illinois, and many other locations and subjects.

FamilySearch Indexing
With over 100,000 volunteers, this valuable activity, indexing the images in the Historical Record Collections, goes rolling along adding names by the millions. As usual, they are still looking for more volunteers and especially for those with language skills.

FamilySearch TechTips
Another hidden gem of a website from FamilySearch. What can I say since I write most of the articles? I think you will find this a very useful site, especially if you haven't visited it before.

Some of the projects at FamilySearch seem to languish in the background. Take Family History Books for example. There is a link to this project on the FamilySearch.org startup page, but it is also mentioned in the Labs.familysearch.org website. Other new Labs projects include Submit Your Tree an add on to New.FamilySearch.org. This newer program allows you upload a GEDCOM file to New FamilySearch and it will automatically compare your file with what is already on New FamilySearch. Presently, the file is not saved, but it is still useful. If you have a huge file it could take hours of searching.

New.FamilySearch.org
There hasn't been much news about the Beta version released to about 1000 users. I have seen almost no blog posts about the Beta Test version. There haven't been any changes good or bad, in the program for a while. I am hoping that there will be more information available at RootsTech in February. 

Community Trees
Another of the FamilySearch hidden gems, this site is constantly being updated with huge databases of specific geographic areas. Described as lineage-linked genealogies from specific time periods and geographic localities around the world, it is very, very interesting and can be useful if you happen to need information in the areas covered.

Forums.FamilySearch.org

FamilySearch seems to have a significant number of programs that are hidden deep in the recesses of the FamilySearch.org website and Forums is no exception to the rule of hidden programs. You can find this program only if you look really hard and click on a lot a menus in the Research Wiki. But here you have research assistance from a huge number of researchers, including the staff at the Family History Library.

As you can see, the whole family continues to mature and is beginning to move from infancy and the terrible two's into young childhood. You really need to have a look at each of the valuable resources on a regular basis to keep up with all the changes.






1 comment:

  1. I've been viewing the fancy new start up page consistently since about a week ago. (Perhaps there are different versions on different servers?) If I click on "More Search Options" just under the Search button, it takes me to last weeks start up page now addressed as: https://familysearch.org/search/

    The Feedback button has appeared and disappeared several times since you first mentioned its disappearance but it was only on some internal pages and not on the home page. There is, however, a feedback link down in the footer...lower right corner under resources.

    I finally bookmarked the Wiki because it took so long to find it any time I need it...much like you describe the hunt for the forums. Sad that so much good information is so difficult to dig out.

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