RootsTech 2014

Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Opening New FamilySearch to the Public?

New.FamilySearch.org was introduced in a Beta version in about February of 2007. Later that same year, about June or July of 2007, the program was introduced to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in small geographically related areas of the U.S. Over the next two years, the program was slowly made available to additional geographic areas of the U.S. , with members of the Church in Utah being the last to gain access. Last year, some individuals outside the membership of the Church were given access to the program.

I was first introduced to the program in about October of 2007 and my first blog post on the program was in about December, 2008. Its pretty hard to believe I have only been writing this genealogy blog for about four years. This present post is not meant to be a review of New.FamilySearch.org, rather I am focusing on the issue of the availability of the program. 

Just so we are all on the same page, the New.FamilySearch.org program is primarily a huge lineage-linked database of individuals and families. It is not the same as FamilySearch.org which is mainly a website with original source materials and instruction on genealogy. New.FamilySearch.org has been the object of considerable criticism from the users because of the duplicate and inaccurate data. The program itself is very good, by the way.

I am asked regularly about when New.FamilySearch.org will be made available generally to the public. Well, earlier this year, there was a limited re-write of the program introduced to selected Beta-testers around the U.S. (and possibly elsewhere). See FamilySearch Family Tree Beta Review from Michael W. McCormick at Enduring Legacy Genealogy. There has been no official word on the status of the newest Beta version, but from the descriptions of the program, it is possible to guess that the newest Beta is aimed at address the more serious concerns of the users. This can be confusing because technically, the program never got out of Beta testing in the first place. The latest new release update from FamilySearch is dated back in October, 2011 and it appears from the Help Center publications that the current version of the program is .994 or something close to that.

Now, there are some very crucial unresolved questions about the program:
  • When will the general public be given access? I assume that this eventuality has been pushed back considerably due to the introduction of the current upgraded Beta test.
  • When will the newest version of the program become generally available? Your guess is as good as mine. 
  • Will the current (new) Beta test program resolve the known issues with the database of the now older program? 
If you are a blogger and have participated in the current re-written program Beta test, let me know. If you write something I will be glad to link to it. If you don't want to write, just send me a comment and I will publish the comment.

2 comments:

  1. I obtained access to the beta by going to an invitation page listed in Renee Zamora's blog
    Go to http:familysearch.org/invite/familytree_tab to request your invitation now.

    Although I understand that it is a beta and subject to change, so far, I am bothered that I find no listing of marriage dates and places anywhere on the site.

    My other main disappointment is that although I carefully added sources to all of my many names in new.familysearch.org, these are not showing up on the beta. There is place where a rudimentary source can be added, but this is generic in nature and does not refer to a specific event in the ancestor's life. There is a box where "Evidence and analysis" (explain why you feel your conclusion is correct) can be added, which is different from nFS.

    Now that the fields can be edited, I wonder how safe it will be to allow the general public access to this data. After seeing the garbage that is in Ancestry.com, I fear the new tree will become worse than it is now. I would prefer a read-only option be made available to the general public, so the data can be seen but not changed.

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  2. See Knowledge Document # 112926 in FamilySearch Help. My neighbor who had a FamilySearch Account was able to access new.familysearch.org last week but had to re-register and get a new FamilySearch Account.

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