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

Friday, September 9, 2016

FamilySearch Labs

The FamilySearch Labs website, or, has a long history of hosting some of the most innovative and useful programs from FamilySearch. Lately, there has been some attrition in the offerings and no new programs added. Only two of the six programs showing on the website are still operational. The latest one to cease operation was the Community Trees program that has been integrated into the Genealogies section of the main website and I might add, losing nearly all of its utility in the process.

The two remaining programs are both nearly unknown and very seldom used, but extremely valuable.

Quoting from the Labs website:
The England Jurisdictions 1851 project simplifies research by consolidating data from many finding aids into a single searchable repository that can be accessed by clicking in a parish boundary. Features include contiguous parish and radius search lists and relevant jurisdictions as they existed in England in 1851. Data includes changes to parishes prior to 1851 and lists of non-conformist denominations in a parish. (requires Internet Explorer 7, Firefox 3, Safari 3 or newer)
It is a real shame that more people who are investigating their English ancestry do not constantly use this program. I find it immensely useful for identifying specific information about every parish in England.

The second remaining tool is the Standard Finder, described as follows:
Standard Finder provides access to standardized information for names, locations, and dates. These databases are used by several FamilySearch applications to assist researchers in searching for exact spellings as well as for indexers who enter information used for Historical Record Search.
Technically, "The Standard Finder" has been replaced by the Place Research Tool. Here is a screenshot of the Place Research Tool:

It is not clear how much support and updating these helpful tools receive. Originally the Labs website was represented as being a place to show new programs from FamilySearch that might be used in the future. Many of the Labs programs were abandoned but some of the features have been incorporated into the main website.

It would be a real shame if the last two remaining, very useful tools went the way of the Community Trees and lost their utility.

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