RootsTech 2015

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

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Technical Difficulties with FamilySearch Family Tree?

In comments to my last few posts, I have had people express frustration with technical difficulties in either registering for or getting into Family Tree. Hmm. It would help if I could see some of these problems. I have been on Family Tree since February, 2012 and have helped maybe 50 or so people to get onto the program without one instance of the types of difficulties being described by the commentators. That being said, I have had numerous problems with during that same time period. The Research Wiki has been up and down, working and not working, the whole program has stopped working at times and we have seen some really strange error messages.

How would you like to manage a website with billions of names and complex search engines and try to keep the whole thing going? I am not acting as an apologist for FamilySearch, but I am familiar enough with programming and maintaining websites online to realize that the problems they are experiencing are far from unique to FamilySearch. During the same time period, for example, has been down several times also. Sometimes it is impossible to tell whether the problem is with your computer, your operating system, your browser, your Internet connection, the online program or just random molecules in the Universe.

Given enough time and the opportunity to see the problem, I can usually tell where in the chain the problem originates. My frustration with the comments I am getting is that I don't have the opportunity to see the problem in action. Like I said, I have been in and out of Family Tree dozens of times in the last week or so on many different computers and have yet to see the types of problems reported. 

One of the most common problem areas is browser issues. We have Firefox, Internet Explorer and Chrome. Right at the moment, I am using Firefox 13.0.1. I also have Chrome 20.0.1132.57 which shows as up to date. I do not use Internet Explorer on my Mac unless I am running Windows 7. There is a whole lot of confusion out there in the world about browsers, search engines and online programs. People have a difficult time distinguishing between all three and sometimes can't tell what they are using. Mostly, I see confusion between Google (as a search engine) and Google Chrome (as a browser running on your computer). Some of the issues is hear in the comments sound to me like browser issues.

If you experience any difficulties with a FamilySearch product, by all means report the problem in the Feedback area of the program, or click on the Help link and use any one of the several ways to get help. I can't possibly provide support of help all over the world but please let others know by posting comments if you are able to solve any of the problems.

One good place to go is relatively new. It is the Technology in Genealogy group on Facebook. This new group has some really knowledgeable people and already has 271 members. You are likely to get a whole lot of response either there or on Google+ if you have a Genealogy circle.


  1. After I click on the "FamilyTree" link, the tree starts to load, and then it reloads by itself over and over again until I cancel it. This happens in both Safari and Chrome using Mac OS X Lion. By the way, there's nothing in my tree because I've never been able to add anything. I will submit a help ticket and let you know what response I get.

    1. We were having all sorts of strange errors with today. Please let me know if you get a solution.

    2. I do understand how difficult it is to manage huge databases and complex systems so I'm not complaining. Just reporting that the problem continues. (I also submitted a Feedback ticket).

      It would seem that a fair number of FamilySearch users would be using Windows and IE 9 - and Keith is having trouble with Safari and Chrome on a Mac. I doubt it's a browser issue.

  2. Servers so overloaded that Family Tree hardly functional at all. Tried to use "feedback", entered problems and contact information, then on the last "continue" button got this pink banner: "0472: We could not connect to the Case System at this time."

    Am not interested in facebook for privacy reasons.

  3. I've had Keith's problem and submitted feedback about it last night. No comment back from them yet.

    1. I've just got off the phone with FamilySearch Support and for the Family Tree links to work you have to have an account with , which of course you do.