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

Friday, February 26, 2010

New FamilySearch Questions finally get public airing

An article in Mormon Times, opens the door for almost the first time, to a main stream airing of some of the most glaring problems with New FamilySearch. Although the article is low key, it points out some of more difficult issues with the program. If you have been following the development of the program at all, you will immediately recognize the fact that this is one of the first times this many issues have been acknowledged in a very public manner, even if the Mormon Times is somewhat removed from the normal channels of communication about the program.

In Mesa, Arizona we have been using New FamilySearch since October of 2007. During the past two plus years it became apparent that there was a disconnect between the reality of NFS and official introductory materials. Many sophisticated users with extensive genealogical experience were dismayed at the tremendous limitations of the program in such areas as the inability to correct obviously incorrect or inaccurate information. The overwhelming amount of inaccurate information was daunting to even the most dedicated users. Even simple issues, such as wrong gender identification of an ancestor are very difficult to correct and dates and places that have no real relationship to an individual are impossible to correct. Disputing information just caused a domino effect of even more problems.

Over time, the problems seemed to get worse rather than better. New users, as they came online, merely added more inaccurate information. In presentations about New FamilySearch, many of the presenters taught that NFS would replace individual computer based programs (it might someday) and that the program was a way to "research" your ancestors and find people ready for LDS Temple ordinances. Large groups of people were told repeatedly to "go to the program, click on the green arrows and instantly have people ready for Temple work."

It is apparent that people can enter information directly into the program by uploading a GEDCOM file, and then, without doing anything more, qualify all or most of the names for Temple work, even if all the names entered are duplicates of those already in the program. Over time, warnings and additional steps in the qualification process have made this more difficult but it is still possible is someone is determined to have a set number of names for a Ward or Stake Temple day.

The Mormon Times article points out that there are a number of problems. All of these problems have been extensively discussed by many of us for the past two years or so and by the way, there are a number of other problems not mentioned in the article. It is a very positive move to see this article in print. Please take time to read the article. Here is another link to the same article.

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