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

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Why I write (and care) about New FamilySearch

My involvement with genealogy began many years ago with the 4 and 5 generation submissions to the Ancestral File. At the time, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had instituted a program for the members to verify and submit their ancestry for first four and then later, five generations. The submission was done on paper (there were no personal computers yet at that time) and it was quite a project. The paper submissions, on the old 11 by 16 family group records all were gathered into binders and stored on the patron shelves at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Like many people in the Church, I had been told by family members that all the "genealogy" had been "done." After spending only a short time researching, I discovered that the work was far from "done" and have now spent the last almost thirty years gathering records and information about my family and my wife's family. Now ultimately, what happened to all those paper records submitted to the Church so long ago? They all ended up in New FamilySearch along with my Pedigree Resource File submissions and any contributions I made to the International Genealogical Index. So, to the extent that I have spent my time during the past many years, I am vitally interested in the final product, that is, New FamilySearch.

So when I look at New FamilySearch, I do not see an anonymous collection of records, I see my own family with all of the information I spent years accumulating and correcting. But I also see additional information that is totally inaccurate and misleading which could have been verified or corrected with a minimum of effort on the part of the submitters. I care because of the time and effort I have expended personally over the years. I also care because I believe in accuracy. I believe in citing sources for your information and I believe in having a product that is not marred by misspellings (like New York) and other problems.

So, this is why I write. I am interested in the program and would like to see it improve. I think they have made a good start at a program, but they used data that was faulty. It would likely be easier to start over with a new database than try and correct all of the wrong information in the present one. But obviously, I am not in charge of anything and have little or no input. But even my small opinion can be expressed here on the Internet. That is why I care and write about New FamilySearch.

1 comment:

  1. Starting over with a new database would be a good idea, also, I think; however, until genealogists, who have the advanced knowledge and experience you have, are utilized to advise the various processes of genealogical research to the web and database programmers, IMO, a new database is problematic. I commend you for your patience, and for my part, I wish you did have input.