At RootsTech 2012, presenter Ron Tanner, Product Manager for New FamilySearch introduced an almost completely fully functional Family Tree program. Ron indicated that the program would go out to a "live" data Beta test sometime before its actual release. The program, as outlined, fulfills all of the requirements for a useful program, unlike the presently online New.FamilySearch.org. Another highly significant piece of information was the fact that the program will be open to the whole world with no limitations just to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Church). The comments from the audience showed the vast range of opinions about the current program and the need for the introduction of a more functional version of a family tree program.
There are several online programs that could and may have been used as basic models for the Family Tree program, such as WeRelate.org, WikiTree.com
and a few others. But the main interface for the Family Tree program
appears to be pedigree chart based after the Family Tree view in New
FamilySearch. It is apparent to me that the Family Tree program is more
than a simple update or revision of the existing New.FamilySearch.org
program, but is an almost completely new program. One of the many
significant things said by Ron Tanner in the introduction, which may
have passed by most or the attendees, was his statement that the input
for Family Tree will initially be the information that is now found in
the Summary View of the New FamilySearch. There is therefore a degree of
incentive to clean up the Summaries in New FamilySearch.
need to clean up the data came home, once again, to me as I saw that
Ron Tanner used much of the information I had contributed to
New.FamilySearch.org as a basis for his examples in using the new Family
Tree program. (I think we will have to stop using the term "new" or we
will become hopelessly confused).
At the same time, I attended a large conference of
members of the Church today and there was a request made that the
members direct their attention at "doing their genealogy work." It was
apparent that the message concerning the coming introduction of an
entirely new program is not at all well known to Church members. I see
the introduction of Family Tree to be a wake-up call to genealogists in
and out of the Church to clean up their own databases and get ready to
add sources and qualifications to the Family Tree program when they are
able to do so.
There was some initial criticism of the form of the fields used
for sources in the Family Tree program. I think that dwelling on the
formalities of citation forms may severely discourage new genealogists
from contributing their own valuable information. If anyone thinks they
have a better citation form, it appears that the Family Tree program
will allow the "authority" to modify the entries to conform with some
outside citation standard.
Ron Tanner spent some considerable time in his presentation
talking about the issue of "ownership" of genealogical information. The
comments from the audience showed that there was a significant sense of
ownership by the attendees. Ron called this phenomena "My-Tree-itis."
From my own personal experience, I believe this may be one of the most
serious obstacles to ever achieving a universally acceptable method of recording genealogical data.
If the Family Tree program works as demonstrated, it will
eliminate a very large number of the problems with the existing
New.FamilySearch.org program. In my opinion, what I saw is very close to
getting it right.