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

Monday, June 27, 2016

A New Beginning? The FamilySearch Family Tree Saga -- Part Two: The Wait Goes On

Hands, Walking Stick, Elderly, Old Person, Cane

I am not particularly good at waiting. After waiting for a short time, I usually start doing something else, like reading or thinking about something that needs to be done. I many cases, I simply go to sleep. Blogs aren't particularly good at reporting "breaking news." People don't read them to find out what is happening that day, they are usually viewed as commentary to be read whenever there is time to do so.

It is now after 6:00 am on Monday, June 27, 2016. The website is still down for maintenance. The little bit of information that leaked out about this "scheduled maintenance" was hopeful that the end product would be the separation of the program from the Family Tree. The most "reliable" of the rumors indicated that the target was to have the program separated and up and running by 5:00 am. Well, here we are, waiting to see what happens.

It could well be that the attempt to upgrade the program will not work. In that case, the change-over, will happen when it does, sometime in the future.

If you have no idea what I am writing about, I suggest you read a post from my other blog entitled, "What will the FamilySearch Family Tree look like when it is fixed?" While I am waiting to see what happens with the maintenance, I will write about the history of the problems again. I will quote from a handout I wrote in 2012.
Development of a database for storing personal genealogical information by FamilySearch began in 2001. The first Beta test of the new program took place in 2007. The New FamilySearch program was released in stages, first, only to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and later to selected individuals outside of the Church. Introduction of the New FamilySearch program was done in stages by LDS Temple District. By the end of 2009, most of the Church members had access to the program. 
New FamilySearch was primarily designed as a method by which members of the Church could submit names of their deceased ancestors to the Temples of the Church so that proxy ordinance work could be performed. In this regard, the program worked very well, but due to number of duplicates in the file, there was a danger that the ordinance work would also be duplicated. was originally seeded with data from five different sources; the Ancestral File, the International Genealogical Index, the Pedigree Resource File, Church membership records and Church Temple records. Unfortunately, combining all of these sources of information resulted in a monumental problem of duplicate information. Additionally, the program did not allow the users to change any of the information in the file and errors and duplicate information proliferated. Whenever a change was made to the file, the older, sometimes incorrect, information was preserved along with the correction. Some of the individuals in the file ended up with hundreds of duplicates. 
Sometime after the initial introduction of, there was a discussion about the impact and problems with the New. website and development of a replacement program, to be called Family Tree, was started. Family Tree went to Beta test in 2011 and was introduced in substantial form at RootsTech 2012 in February of 2012. 
At the time of its introduction, Family Tree was and has been a “live” program and not another Beta test. During 2012, the program evolved with the gradual addition of new features. It is very likely that the program will continue to evolve in the future. At some point, will be discontinued. Certain key features of the Family Tree program were not immediately released with the introduction of the program and it is anticipated that Family Tree will continue to evolve over time with additional features being added over the next year. But as of the date of this Syllabus, the program is essentially complete. 
Remember, this was written in 2012, about four years ago.  I observed that "at some point, will be discontinued." Now, four years later, we are getting closer to that event happening. Maybe.


  1. James. I guess I missed your first post about this event. Of course I knew the site was down today. I am not LDS, nor do I have a tree on the site. I keep a tree on Ancestry and in my Legacy 8 database. I use FS all the time for their excellent records. I assume that the records portion of the site will not be affected by these changes. Am I correct? Thank you for your always insiteful posts.

    1. Thanks for the question. The records sections will probably be improved because of freeing up the resources of FamilySearch for other projects. Everything on the site will improve.