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Saturday, March 16, 2013

FamilySearch Enhancements coming April 15th

In a video sent out to Family History Consultants, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced several new enhancements to the FamilySearch.org website. For members of the Church, the website will soon be available directly through signing into the Church's main website, LDS.org. Some of these enhancements are directed at the LDS Temple Ordinance work, but some have a much wider impact. The video seems to imply a formal introduction of the FamilySearch.org/Photos website and adds a functional, interactive fan chart showing both the ancestors and those ancestors' descendants. People who do not have ancestors in the program will be guided to how to add ancestors to the program.

Of course, this new announcement opens up a lot of questions about the reliability of the data in the file. There does not seem to be anything explaining who is doing the research to produce the names that people are supposed to discover by going to Family Tree? What provisions are there to avoid duplication in the program? Do the names magically appear without duplication? What if the information in Family Tree is incorrect and shows an ancestral line to whom the user is not related? How will the neophyte user be guided to discover this incorrect lineage? The video references a "short biography" of the users' ancestors. Where does this biography come from?

I have a lot more questions but I guess I will wait and see what comes out in a couple of weeks and how it works before asking more. The Video is online at New Enhancements to FamilySearch.org

5 comments:

  1. I am trying not to get too anxious about this exciting video they sent out. I didnt see any date for release. Care to reveal where your April 15th date came from? Our ward has been delaying a class and I wonder if this will really be out soon. Im kind of leary to train on the current system if it is being changed soon.

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    1. The Video was sent out by an email notice to Family History Consultants. Even though I am a registered Consultant, I did not get the email. But the Video is now online at
      http://broadcast2.lds.org/elearning/fhd/Local_Support/DTM/0307/landingpage.html

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    2. Thanks, though I should have been more clear about my primary question. What is your source for saying "coming April 15th." I did not notice that on that page, in the email I got, or in the video.

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  2. This is exciting and should be of a great service to everyone. I am always in wonder of how 30 years ago we had to do our research in the stacks and now archives are becoming more and more digital.

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  3. James, you note "There does not seem to be anything explaining who is doing the research to produce the names that people are supposed to discover by going to Family Tree?"

    FamilySearch has been persistently coy to obfuscatory regarding where the data came from. Those actually doing evidentiary research currently can only affect a tiny portion of the pre-existing database, particularly since one part of the organization is actively working to re-establish large numbers of multiply-duplicated individuals in the database.

    So how is anyone to select which version of an ancestor might have some basis in actual fact, and how is the system to show a fan chart with a large variety of options as to an ancestor's actual pedigree?

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