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

Monday, August 2, 2010

Any updates for FamilySearch?

In the BYU Continuing Education announcement of the Conference on Family History and Genealogy recently concluded, the senior product manager for FamilySearch, Daniel C. Lawyer, was scheduled to present "The Future of FamilySearch (Something Big is Coming Soon)" Although there were a lot of comments about a presentation by Curt B. Witcher on the coming Dark Ages of Genealogy and a few news accounts of the presentation by Elder Dennis B. Neuenschwander, I found no comments at all about Lawyer's presentation.  Searching further, his talk was apparently about the update to the website.

A recent E-mail to the Beta testers for the new site indicates that they plan on concluding the testing on about the 5th of August. In the past, the conclusion of Beta testing has been the signal for an update to existing programs. I can only speculate, but it appears that the change over from the older website to the new format may occurs shortly, perhaps later this week?

At the same time, Beta testing has been going on with changes to the New FamilySearch website also. But none of the proposed changes have been implemented with a formal introduction, there have just been some incremental changes with no explanation other than in the Help menus. The last major upgrade to New FamilySearch took place in June and nothing seems to indicate how soon other changes might take place.

The FamilySearch Record Search site continues to add a few records after the big addition in June/July. A few of the collections have received new records within the past two weeks or so. But, the news banner that used to advise users of updates has been totally removed. There seems to be a trend lately to downplay any incremental changes to the all of the websites. For example, some time ago, I called attention to the fact that the "counter" showing how many items were in the Family History Archive had stopped working. There seems to be a definite shift away from emphasizing changes and additions to the websites.

We get little or no advance information about the direction being taken by FamilySearch until things actually happen. This does make it difficult for those of us who spend considerable time teaching others about the programs.

One new development that is also interesting is that instructions were sent out from the LDS Church, through Church channels, about removing unauthorized websites that could be mistaken for representing the Church. This is a constant concern to the Church (or to any organization that has a web presence) because of branding confusion. It is a similar problem to copyright violations and tradename and trademark violations. In the past, some non-official organization websites have been taken off the web, such as the site for the Mesa Regional Family History Center. This may happen again as the resources are centralized in website with its inclusion of the Record Search, Forums, Wiki and other resources. If you would like to view the new site go to

Whatever happens it will surely be interesting.

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