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

Saturday, October 10, 2015

FamilySearch Family Tree Opens New Doors for Everyone

The Family Tree is not just for experienced family historians. The Family Tree has grown into a multi-faceted experience with opportunities in family history for all ages and all experience levels. Unless you have been closely watching the development of the program, you probably haven't noticed that the entire website has been changing and is almost entirely different than it was, say, two years ago. Some people complain about "all the changes" but change is inevitable and as the program evolves, it adds a better user experience and increases in functionality.

One of the "entry level" features of the Family Tree is the Memories section that gives users the ability to add photos, stories, documents and audio files to every individual ancestor. The "drag and drop" function to upload the files should be familiar to anyone who uses any one of the online social networking programs. In fact, FamilySearch has a Memories App for both iOS devices and Android devices that can be used to add photos directly to the Family Tree's Memories. The addition of ancestors' photos and other documents has greatly expanded both the utility and the appeal of the website.

For those who care to be a little more involved, the Family Tree has the need of many activities that can be easily learned. New users can take advantage of the Record Hints to add appropriate records as sources for individual ancestors. More experienced users can then analyze and extract the information from the sources and make needed changes in the data. Users soon realize that adding or correcting information in the Family Tree should be supported by sources. They also learn that the Family Tree is a unified program; everyone has the opportunity to add, correct, delete or merge data. Changes at this level should not be viewed as an attack, but rather as an opportunity to collaborate and make the Family Tree better. Those who do make changes, should be careful to do so only after careful consideration of the sources already provided. If an inappropriate source is added, it can be detached with an explanation.

At every level of the program, changes should be explained and in some cases, justified. Since its inception, the Family Tree has allowed the users to add millions of links to source records, thus enabling subsequent viewers to verify the conclusions made about family members and their relationships.

Whatever level you choose to be involved, even if it is only has an observer, the program is designed to provide you with valuable information about your ancestors. One of the more recent developments is a series of colored icons that notify users when there are either opportunities to add information through research or when there are problems with the data already recorded. You should look at these icons as an invitation to spend some time improving the quality of the Family Tree for all users. If you are unsure how to deal with a particular issue raised by the icons, please take the time to seek help from your local Family History Consultant or Family History Center volunteers.

No comments:

Post a Comment