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

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Who can register for FamilySearch Family Tree? A definitive answer?

 Both of the questions in the title to this post have been answered many times in this blog, but there still seems to be a controversy arising as a result of some technical difficulties with the process. To start, I will refer you again to the introduction of Family Tree by Ron Tanner at RootsTech 2012. Here is a link to the video It is about an hour long, but worth the time to watch. At RootsTech 2012, Ron invited all of the participants, which I estimate at over 2000, to send him an email to receive an invitation to gain access to Family Tree. The return email from Ron Tanner linked recipients to this PDF file Gaining Access to FamilySearch Family Tree. The document is at the bottom of the page.

You will note two qualifications for using Family Tree from the document:
To use the FamilySearch Family Tree, your FamilySearch Account or LDS FamilySearch Account must be authorized. Even if you already use, your account must be authorized to use the FamilySearch Family Tree.

The FamilySearch Family Tree is currently being tested and is not yet available to everyone who currently uses If you do not see the FamilySearch Family Tree link, it means either that you are not authorized to use the FamilySearch Family Tree or that you have not signed in.
There is nothing in this document that even alludes to a need to have access to as a prerequisite to using or viewing Family Tree. Subsequently, invitations to register have been sent out Family History Consultants and the unqualified document, cited above, is available to anyone registered or unresgistered, signed on or not signed on to

I have heard several statements, both official and unofficial, sent out by FamilySearch that Family Tree will entirely replace by the "end of the year" 2012. If this is true, then there are many good reasons for getting as many people transitioned to Family Tree before that time as possible.

Using that invitation, I have added a number of people to Family Tree. To this point in time, I have seen nothing in print or otherwise indicating that FamilySearch does not want people to use Family Tree. EXCEPT comments from users with problems gaining access to the program. Some potential users have evidently been told by FamilySearch support personnel that "You can't get onto Family Tree unless you have been authorized for" This is either totally untrue, given my personal experience and that of hundreds of other users, or it is something that has been recently implemented. Why would FamilySearch do this? It makes no sense. If as Ron Tanner announced, Family Tree is open to anyone who registers, either for a FamilySearch Account or LDS Account, then why, all of a sudden tie the registration into access to

In addition, I doubt that that is possible to do, after the fact, from a programming standpoint. If you have a FamilySearch account and are already on Family Tree, AND never have used, did you suddenly lose access?

Why would FamilySearch support staff say such a thing? Lack of training and lack of use and understanding of both programs. Simple. By the way, I have reviewed every single support note in the Help Center for FamilySearch dealing with Family Tree and find nothing even vaguely related to the issue of access.

What is wrong with Family Tree? Why are some potential users experiencing ongoing access problems? I have yet to find anyone personally that has the problem. If you are having the problem. Contact me personally in Facebook and give me an email address. I will then contact you and make arrangements to get on the phone with you and see if I can get to the bottom of the problem with access to the program.

If on the other hand, there is a real issue and you must have previously been on in order to gain access to Family Tree. Why not put that in the official documentation? But that would essentially limit access to Family Tree to members of the Church.


  1. Methods for accessing FamilyTree are a moving target. I signed up via the invite link on June 23. This gave me access to New FamilySearch and Family Tree. I discovered that, to access Family Tree, I needed to first log in to New FamilySearch, then open Family Tree in another browser tab. Last week I discovered I no longer needed to log in to New FamilySearch if I first logged into the FamilySearch home page, and clicked the Family Tree link. As of today, I can finally log in to Family Tree directly by going to the page.

  2. My experience is similar to some of what you have described.I have not used New FamilySearch before. I registered for a FamilySearch Account and was authorized. I attempted on several occassions to register for FamilySearch Family Tree, however it said I was already ready registered. I attempted to log in and it advised me I had no access to any pages.

    I had not seen the FamilySearch Family Tree link at all.

    Today, I tried again and again it said I was already registered. I logged in this time and saw the FamilySearch Family Tree link, however the page went in to a continuos loop, recerting to the FamilySearch normal logged in page and then to the tree page.


  3. As I reported to you earlier, I was told that my FamilySearch Identity was "unauthorized" until today. Like "Anonymous" above, today I connected but went into an endless loop. Since you have been reporting various FamilySearch problems of this type, the endless loop may be part of that problem.
    Is this an "increased use" problem? Long-awaited access to Family Tree may be stressing the servers.


  4. Anonymous and Sue M., there are some fairly deep server/programming issues, in addition to the Family Tree Opening Page Loop problem. One can stop the loop by clicking to search, then (once the page loads) clicking your browser's symbol for stopping page loading.

  5. The loop you describe was the original behavior I experienced. Try logging in at, then open a new browser tab and go to Login again. That is what worked for me initially. A fellow patron at my local FHC told me the "authorization" process at Family Tree was buggy, and to login to to get a "valid authorization token" associated with my browser session.

  6. I also had/have the same loop as above. When on this cycle, I paste in the URL line and bypass the problem.