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

Sunday, October 4, 2015

What's New on FamilySearch -- October, 2015 and Comments

Every so often, FamilySearch sends out a list of the new features and other news in a blog post. This month's offering is from Steve Anderson and is entitled, appropriately, "What's New on FamilySearch -- October, 2015."

There is a note that you can now register for RootsTech 2016, but I will be doing a post on that on my Genealogy's Star blog and so I will only mention it here.

Some of the new developments on the website would probably go entirely unnoticed if it were not for these announcements. Not that they aren't helpful or needed or whatever, but they are rather obscure. The first note is about the fact that they added a date to a printed family group record or a pedigree chart. That is always helpful, but since I don't print stuff off, I probably would not have noticed.

Feedback for Auto-Indexed Records

This particular addition to the website is a good step towards improving the accuracy of the searches. Essentially, FamilySearch has added the ability to tell through feedback, when a Record Hint is inaccurate.  I didn't have any trouble finding a record hint and I also had no trouble finding one that was in error. Look for the tab to report the error at the bottom of the page. Unfortunately, I couldn't give a screenshot example because is not working while I was writing this post.I could not see the suggested record hints, but I could tell that they were in error. For example, 1901 England and Wales Census when my ancestor was living in Utah. Further unfortunately, people keep adding this record and as a source without looking at the other sources of the information in the details that clearly show the ancestor living in Beaver, Beaver, Utah in 1901.

Memories: The People Page Now Has a Help Tray

FamilySearch is adding a Tips Icon at the bottom of many of the pages on the website. They have extended this feature to the Memories section. The People Page now has a help tray.


 all you have to do, is click on the tips lightbulb.

Feedback for the Recently Improved 110-Year Rule Request Permission Form

This is another change you would only have seen if you used the 110 Year Rule Request Permission Form.  Here is what they have to say:
In August, What’s New on FamilySearch announced that the form to request permission to perform ordinances for people born in the last 110 years was improved. People had been confused by some of the questions on the old form and were having their request rejected because they weren’t filling out the form correctly. Many areas have sent feedback that the new form is much easier to understand.
FamilySearch also indicates that there will be making the ability to change relationships much easier in the future. It looks like this will be a very helpful addition. For details, please review the blog post. There are several other developments mentioned in the blog post. Some of these I have already mentioned in previous posts such as the ability to directly search Partner websites from a person's detail page.They also indicate that the Memories page will be redesigned.

Personalized Home Page

Research indicates that about 25% of the users have been introduced to the Personalized Home Page. I've had this for some time, but I must admit that I don't spend a lot of time looking at it since I am usually going to a section of the website directly. However, I certainly find it more appropriate and useful than the old design. Right now, if you have the Personalized Home Page, you can opt out.

Mobile Apps: Record Hinting and Manage Relationships

FamilySearch is announcing a major upgrade to the Mobile Apps. Here is their description:
If you are using a mobile app and there are record hints for people in your pedigree lists, you will see a blue icon (the same as the web icon) on the person’s details header. Click the icon to see the list of record hints. 
You will be able to see that an ancestor has a possible record to review. You can attach the record as a source. If you find new ancestors in the record, you can add them to the tree. In the future, we will provide a feature that will expand the list of persons with hints. 
The ability to edit, delete, or remove spouse relationships or parent and child relationships using the mobile apps is coming.
I always think that it is very risky to announce programming changes in advance since no timetable is specified. During the past year or so there have been multiple announcements about the implementation of a new indexing program for FamilySearch apparently they are still having problems implementing such a program.

Portions of Will Soon Be Available in 42 Languages

Here is the explanation of what this entails:
The following portions of will soon be available in 42 languages: the start page and booklet tool for the My Family: Stories that Bring Us Together booklet; log in; create and manage an account; and the Temple section. 
Many Church members who want to participate in family history work don’t speak one of the ten languages currently supported by There isn’t enough budget to translate the entire site, so we selected pages that would allow members to create an account and log in, enter their family into Family Tree, and reserve their family names to take to the temple. 
If users have selected a preferred language, the sections that are available in 42 languages will display in the user’s preferred language. If the user has not selected a preferred language, the system will detect the language of the browser and display the sections in the appropriate language. 
To help users recognize those portions of the website that have not been translated into 42 languages, we left the header and footer for those sections in just the ten languages.
There seems to be a major push towards internationalization of FamilySearch and of the websites. I am guessing that is significant amount of their resources are going into broadening the reach of the website. We will probably see development such as this occurring with more frequency in the future.

There are also references to increased access to the My Family booklet and the War of 1812 Campaign. More on these later.

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