Tuesday, October 11, 2016
Strange reaction to the FamilySearch Partner Programs
The FamilySearch.org Partner Programs have been available for free to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for some considerable time now. But despite the availability of these fabulously valuable research programs, there is still a huge lack of interest in even signing up for the programs.
As a very recent example, last night, I was helping a patron at the Brigham Young University Family History Library who had come in for help in finding his English ancestors. He turned out to be an experience researcher with some very specific needs for English parish records. In the course of beginning to help him, I began to refer to Findmypast.com as the place to begin his research. He had not even signed up to use the program. This would not be surprising from a member who was not interested in genealogy and had not even registered for FamilySearch.org or used the program as I commonly find, but it is surprising that so many of the people doing their own research and even using the Family Tree, that I deal with on a regular basis, have yet to signup for even one of the Partner Programs.
Just in the past few days, I taught a class at the BYU Family History Library about MyHeritage.com. There were about twenty people in the class and only two of them had used the program when I asked the question about who was using the program.
When people start to use the programs, they become very enthusiastic about the additional research opportunities. I hear positive feedback about all the Partner Programs. But the addition of Geneanet.com has highlighted the issue of the overall acceptance or even awareness of what the programs are and what they can do. Even among those who are doing their own genealogy on a regular basis, I have yet to find anyone familiar with the latest addition.
I do think that the existence of the partner programs could be more prominently available on the FamilySearch.org program than they presently are; tucked away in the Get Help menu. I also think the list of programs might be better presented to help explain what each programs can do for the researcher. But despite the fact that each of these programs promotes their own program extensively, my perspective is that the average FamilySearch.org user seems oblivious to the opportunities presented.
I am doing what I can to teach and promote all of the programs. So far, some of my most popular YouTube.com videos on the BYU Family History Library YouTube Channel deal with the partner programs and I routinely use the programs for classes and when helping people individually. But I can only do so much to promote the programs.