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

Friday, September 20, 2013

More new features to FamilySearch Family Tree

Last night I listened in to a Webinar presentation by Ron Tanner, the Product Manager for's Family Tree program. I thought it was one of the best presentations on the program I have ever seen. It really looks like the issues with the program as being seriously addressed. During the course of the hour plus presentation, Ron mentioned several new features to Family Tree including several to come in the future. Many of the features discussed are adequately covered in a post by Steve Anderson on the FamilySearch Blog entitled, "Recent Updates to Family Tree—September, 2013." Some of them, however, I had not heard or seen mentioned previously. So here is a list, with discussion where appropriate, of the new and to come features:

Create an unconnected person
Here is a screen shot showing the link to create a person who is not presently connected to your own family tree:

The link is on a pull-down menu of the Person link on the main view page. But the way, one feature that wasn't mentioned shows up when you add a new person. There is another pull-down menu allowing you to choose a format for the name depending on the language (country of origin);

These are both significant additions to the program.

Printing Fan Chart
Ron talked about another addition which was the ability to print a fan chart. But that option must be in the future, although he had a demo of printing a fan chart. The commands don't show on my access to Family Tree.

Sorting sources
When you add sources to Family Tree, you can now sort them by moving them up and down in the list. This can be done by clicking and dragging a source to the right place or by using some up-and-down arrows that now appear when you mouse over the source entries.

Sources out of images
This is an often mentioned upgrade to FamilySearch Family Tree; the ability to add images of sources and have them attached to a source citation. This is still a long anticipated addition to the program. My concern is that people will add images of sources that are easily obtainable online with a copy that is not of high enough quality to read.

Adding sources and notes from New Family Search
There were some valid sources added to These will be moved over to Family Tree. Likewise, there are notes in that need to be moved over to Family Tree. Both of these will happen at some unspecified time in the future. The notes on Family Tree will hold from 6 to 15 pages of text.

Ending connection with
Ron indicated that all (NFS) users would be redirected to Family Tree by the end of the year. After which, NFS would become read only.

Adding stories to multiple people
Stories added to the Photos and Stories sections of the program will soon be able to be attached to multiple people in the database.

Edit and remove images
Users will be given the ability to edit and remove all images, even those they did not upload themselves. This will make the images consistent with the rest of the Family Tree interface and editable by all users.

There may have been some more that I missed since I can only write so fast. I will keep watching for any further changes not already noted.


  1. Printing fan charts went live this week, although we've seen some issues with people not seeing it yet due to how we manage releasing new features. I believe if you log out and back in you should see a Fan Chart option in the Print box to the right of any person page.

  2. If there is a link to this webinar would you please post it so any interested can view it?

    1. The webinar recording is only available to members of the Utah Genealogical Association. Sorry.

  3. I have printing fan charts available now, and have tried out the sorting sources feature (great!) and have added stories to multiple people.

    That new stories feature is great, because it has the potential to be an amazing collaborative tool. I'm working on a short biography of Ella Bywater Valentine, the first woman dentist in Utah, and got off on a tangent about a man she mentioned in her history, Adolph Madsen of Brigham City, Utah. I added a couple of short stories about him to the "Stories" feature, and it turned out that as I was adding the stories, one of his great-nieces was working on his entry. She had no idea that her family had been so prominent in early Brigham City and Utah history. That's the serendipity of collaborative resources like this.

    I also spent about ten minutes and looked up and tagged everyone mentioned in the stories: Hyrum Gibbs Smith, Rudger Clawson, Mary Wright McClellan, etc. Now these fascinating stories will show up on all their entries as well.

  4. About creating an unconnected person, I wonder if will be able attach source for a one-name study ?

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  6. James,

    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

    Have a great weekend!