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

Sunday, June 6, 2010

What is going on with FamilySearch?

In the not too distant past, I had a lot of news to share about FamilySearch. There were upgrades to New FamilySearch, new additions to Record Search and whole lot of other things going on. Recently, things have apparently, at least from the perspective of an outsider, slowed down considerably. I thought it might be a good idea to take stock and evaluate each of the more accessible websites from FamilySearch.

First, let's take a look at the parent organization, FamilySearch. FamilySearch is the tradename used by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for its genealogical organization. Both FamilySearch and FamilySearch International are registered tradenames in the State of Utah registered to an individual at the address of the Church office building in Salt Lake City, Utah. Just as a note, the Wikipedia article on FamilySearch is far from complete. In looking at the Genealogical Society of Utah/FamilySearch homepage, it comes up with the message "Web Site Maintenance In Progress." This is probably appropriate since the copyright on the site says 1999-2007 and a lot has happened since 2007. Pure speculation, but it is likely the website is moving even farther away from the old Genealogical Society of Utah tradename.  We will have to wait and see what changes are made to this site.

On to  Guess what? The same thing. This hugely popular website is also down for "Maintenance." But the Beta site for is not down. Interesting?

Next, we go to FamilySearch's Record Search. The same information is available either through the main Record Search website or through the new Beta site for FamilySearch. Recently, they have stopped listing the new record collections on the start-up page. You have to look to infrequent news releases or just browse the collections to get an idea of what's new. They show a counter that claims 426 collections from all regions. This is very interesting because back in April, 2010 they had announced more than 180 new collections.

New FamilySearch is still plugging along. The last major upgrade was in March of 2010.  I haven't heard anything specifically recently about addressing the considerable ongoing problems with the program.

One of the most active FamilySearch websites is FamilySearch Indexing. This website is also being integrated into the make-over of the main site now in the beta test.

FamilySearch Labs website is still operating. The first program offered is the Beta of the website. I just received a notice that they will be conducting another beta test of the site in the near futures. More speculation, could they be almost ready to change over from the older FamilySearch website?

The FamilySearch Wiki has recently undergone a substantial remodling job. This site becomes more valuable every day as new information is added by users. As the moderator for Arizona, I see consistent additions to the information available.

Technically, FamilySearch Forums is still in the beta test stage also. However, this underused program is very useful for obtaining assistance with issues concerning all of the FamilySearch products.

Another more limited interest website is the FamilySearch Developer NetworkThe FamilySearch Developer Network provides information and resources for software programmers who support the FamilySearch Platform.

This is by no means the entire list of genealogy related websites sponsored in whole or in part by the LDS Church but it does seem to show that there is a consolidation going on to put all or most of the websites directly under the umbrella.


  1. April 27, 2011. I've been getting either the "down for maintenance" message or a blank screen for since yesterday about noon (EST). Was wondering if you can tell me about this current status message. True or not?
    Thanks, Elaine

  2. I just can't get to the website at all - wondering if it's 'down'

  3. I started indexing for them as I was misled to believe I was making geneology free for all, only to realise that when I tried to trace a family member I would have to pay.
    I wonder why the many volunteers haven't also realised they are helping a few to make a lot of money.