Genealogy from the perspective of a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon, LDS)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Recent Changes to FamilySearch Family Tree

It seems like a challenge to keep up with all the changes to the Family Tree program. If you want a regular notification of the changes, I will be posting about then regularly here in this blog and on Genealogy's Star. Sometimes, there might be some overlap in posts but aimed at different audiences. Some people view the constant changes to websites as an obstacle to their use. However, all maintained websites will change frequently to adjust to the overall technological changes on the Internet and to add more useful features. Rather than viewing changes as a reason for alarm or having a negative reaction, changes should be viewed as an opportunity to increase the utility of the programs.

In the case of's Family Tree program, the program is evolving to become a much more reliable and useful place for storing, sharing, maintaining, and expanding genealogical research. Many of the current changes pertain to the Photos and Stories program as it becomes fully implemented. Here are some of the recent changes as outlined in the FamilySearch blog:

Deleting relationships
Both the deleting relationships functions and deleting individuals functions have been the subject of some concern by FamilySearch and users. In an effort to make sure that any changes to the program are done with careful consideration FamilySearch has come out with new dialogues that accompany both of these functions. Quoting from the blog post:

When you delete a relationship, you now see a screen with more information to help you make better decisions about whether to delete the relationship or not. For example, you now see how many sources and events are attached to that relationship. The Delete button remains unavailable until you:

  • Enter a reason for why you are deleting the record.
  • Click both check boxes, certifying that you have reviewed other relationships.
  • Entered a reason statement.

 Changes to Photos and Stories
 You can now switch between Photos, Documents, and Stories from an individual's detail page. New additions to the menu bars make this possible. Here's a screenshot of the addition to the menu bar:

 Show Photos for Living People
 You can now see photos of living people in Family Tree if you have permission to see their records.

 Attach FamilySearch Historical Records without adding them to the Source Box
When you are on a historical record and you click Attach to Family Tree, the source, until now, has been automatically added to your Source Box. You now have the option to attach the source without adding it to you Source Box.

Attach Browse-only Images as Sources and Edit the Title
This is probably the most important change made to the program in this round of changes. When you are viewing an image from an unindexed (“browse only”) collection on FamilySearch, you can now attach that image to a person in Family Tree as a source. You can also edit the title of that source, since the title that is automatically generated may not have much meaning. During the attaching process, you have the option to include this item in your source box or to leave it out.

Detailed instructions about this process are in the blog post from FamilySearch.

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