I meant to write about this yesterday, but ran out of time with other projects. On about December 10, 2010, FamilySearch.org implemented a new website design. The older website, which became known as the "Classic FamilySearch.org" was still online with a link to the new site. Slowly, as the months passed, the older site became less and less visible. Despite the obvious advantages and the new source material of the "new" FamilySearch.org website, the older site was still accessible through a direct link on the startup page of the newer site. There was some confusion because an entirely unrelated website called New.FamilySearch.org had been in the process of being added during this entire time.
The Ancestry Insider has a post about the demise, showing the older site.
New.FamilySearch.org still is in daily use, but there is now a "newer" new site called Family Tree, that is scheduled to replace the "New.FamilySearch.org" website sometime this year or whenever.
Now, the "old" FamilySearch.org website or Classic site has been taken down off of the Internet. As an interesting side note, the Internet Archive (Archive.org) has a Web archive called the WayBackMachine that archives websites. Unfortunately, the FamilySearch.org website was not able to be adequately archived on that site. Attempts to view the Classic Site show text only menus with no real links.
Here is a list so you can work your way through the confusion:
The old or original FamilySearch.org website went online in 1999 and went off line in 2012.
The newer FamilySearch.org website went online in December of 2010 and is still online.
The New.FamilySearch.org website went online to a limited number of people in 2007.
New.FamilySearch.org is scheduled to end sometime in December, 2012 (or as I say whenever).
Family Tree as a link from FamilySearch.org goes online in February, 2012.
This overlapping of newer and older websites may not be unique in the online world, but it is certainly rare. For example, when Ancestry.com purchased Footnote.com, the site was changed to Fold3.com without so much as a passing notice to the old Footnote.com site. I think there are two camps the way changes are handled, those who favor a clean break and those who prolong the agony. I guess there are adherents to both camps. I favor the clean break myself.
There are still people moaning and groaning about the "loss" of the old or Classic FamilySearch website. What I have found is that most of these people haven't spent the time to figure out that all of the resources of the old site are in the newer FamilySearch.org website and whole lot more. Some of the pining for the Classic involves issues like access to batch numbers. Now, if you know what a batch number is, you are probably one of those people worried about the problem. If you don't have any idea about batch numbers, then you will probably never know about the controversy. Suffice it to say that the present FamilySearch.org website has a way to search by batch numbers and if you know what they are, you can probably find it.
The real issue here is the fact that many of the genealogists just do not like change in any form or fashion. I just spoke with a friend who wanted to know if I could help him get his genealogy off of his 10 year old crashed computer with over 500 names in PAF. Of course, he had no backup but he did have a printed copy of his research. I suggested a new computer, a new program and start typing. I still see people every day who have no or very limited computer skills and who refuse to take the time or make the effort to learn anything new. I am not talking about people with disabilities, I am talking about people a lot younger than I am who simply say, "I don't do computers."
Oh, by the way, PAF is still available on the newer FamilySearch.org website, if you know where to look, but I am not going to tell you where it is. You will have to find it yourself. Oh, OK, I will give you a hint. There is a link directly to the program on the main startup page of FamilySearch.org.