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

Sunday, April 19, 2015

My First Real Look at the New Interface for FamilySearch Family Tree

To my surprise, the new interface for the FamilySearch Family Tree finally showed up more or less permanently for me yesterday. I am guessing this is true since it is still here today. Some of the more obvious visual changes are as follows:

  • The additional information about ordinances, spouses and alternate parents visible when hovering over the entries has disappeared.
  • The icons for the families are larger and show the various suggestion icons previously only visible with the Descendancy View. 
  • You can turn the photos of the individuals off and on from a drop-down menu entitled "Show."

The entries show only the preferred wife with the preferred husband when there are multiple wives or husbands. Any choices about which husband/wife combination to show on the startup screen must be selected from the detail page of the preferred wife or husband. Here is a screenshot showing the preferred choice:

Showing the suggestion icons is the most significant change. I still think that the Descendancy View is more useful for suggesting research opportunities, but it is a big step to show the icons on the default view, now called the Landscape view rather than the "Traditional" view.

Here is a screenshot of the explanation of the research icons:

Without the addition of these icons, the changes would be superficially cosmetic, but the addition of the vital information conveyed by these icons is significant.

Another significant change is also generating a great deal of comment. That is that the procedures for reserving names, particularly for individuals who have been born within the past 110 years have been substantially made more restrictive. In some cases, it appears that reserving a name for anyone born within the last 110 years now requires written permission from the closest living relatives. I am also hearing accounts of disciplinary action being taken against members who willfully violate the rules.

FamilySearch Family Tree is rapidly moving towards resolution of the basic underlying problems caused by over 100 years of inconsistent family history submissions. There are still some areas that need to be resolved, but on some of my lines, I can now do some productive work. Good job FamilySearch!


  1. If you haven't personally seen the new requirements for requesting ordinances for people born within the last 110 years, you can take a look at this cousin of my wife's father:

    Click thorough the procedure, and you will see that it is now required to give the name and contact information of the person who gave you permission and that "FamilySearch reserves the right to contact the person granting permission, if necessary." In addition, the ordinances will not be reserved until FamilySearch has reviewed the request.

  2. Yes, the 110 impedance, as well as the duplicate record merging impedance, both before reservation of names for temple work, these both are great improvements. Thank you FamilySearch

  3. Actually, I think it's a bit misguided. Yes, some folks are not honestly following the 110 rule, but could it be more because of the 'push' to take names to the temple with out a subsequent 'push' to understand the restrictions. I had the great opportunity to take my Grandmother's name to the temple but wanted to seek the permission of my aunt first. I called and had a lovely conversation about what I wanted to do and why. She agreed and I moved on. If I also needed to say, 'would you sign a consent form?' or 'can someone from my church contact you to follow-up that you granted permission?" would have killed the Spirit of the moment.

    Honestly, I think this is overkill and a problem of a few rather than the many. It also is a waste of church resources to 'follow-up'. FamilySearch has done their part by providing the rules for members to follow. When the member marks they have permission, they are accountable for God if they answer dishonestly.

    Instead of this overly burdensome step, the church leaders should do more to instruct stake, ward, and branch leaders (and consultants) on the 110 year. Do you realize most members don't know about it at all? There is a significant lack of education on this but there is a huge PUSH to take names to the temple. I'm not saying the PUSH is bad. I'm highlighting the point that a PUSH without proper instruction is causing more harm than good and should be corrected.

    1. However, after discussing it more, I realize, the church needs to do it because too many people aren't following the rules. As such, it puts are church in a tight spot. So... I guess we'll live with the ramifications of folks not being honest.

    2. Unfortunately far too many people have stories to tell. A few years ago, my wife got to be good friends with a woman who moved into our ward who had only been a member a few years and was the only member in her family. She started working on her family history and was aghast to discover that someone had done all the temple work for her parents. Both were under the then current 92 year age limit, Not only that, both were still alive! We helped her figure out who to contact to get the the work cancelled.

      Since the notice says nothing about written consent and states Family Search will contact, "if necessary," I suspect that a well put together explanation will suffice most of the time and that the form that needs to be filled out will itself be enough to discourage people who really don't have permission.