FamilySearch has been introducing several new features to the FamilySearch.org website recently. I have already written about some of them but there are still more to review. In the next few days, I will be highlighting and writing about more of these helpful and very interesting developments for the website. You can see a list of all of the newest developments on a blog post entitled, "What's New on FamilySearch -- December, 2015" by Steve Anderson.
Even with my intensive use of the FamilySearch.org website, many of these new features would go entirely unnoticed by me without these blog posts or someone pointing out the changes. Some of the changes are obvious, such as the new personalized dashboard, but others can only be discovered if you know what has been changed.
Illustrated above in a screenshot is the Place Research Tool. I could have used this tool earlier this week when I was teaching a series of classes. From the description, it is unclear where this tool is located in reference to the website. There does not yet seem to be a link from any page on FamilySearch.org. There is a link from the Standard Finder page but where is the Standard Finder? Both of these features depend on you knowing that they exist and then finding them with a direct link. I added links to both these tools to the Miscellaneous Research Tools page of the FamilySearch.org Research Wiki so links will show up with a Google search for the tools' names. The Standard Finder is also on the Labs.FamilySearch.org website.
For English research, I should have remembered the interactive map of the English & Wales Jurisdictions of 1851. It would have also helped me this week. It is also located on the Labs.FamilySearch.org website. I guess I need check lists for my check lists.
Back to the Place Research Tool, here is the description from the blog post.
The Place Research Tool will provide jurisdictional information to help you know where to look for records for the place results. In many cases, historical information is provided which will help you know how the place has changed over time. More information about the places will be made available as we expand the capabilities of the tool.Here is the further description.
The Place Research Tool allows you to look for places that are important to your research. Go to this URL to give the tool a try: https://familysearch.org/int-std-ui-research/. If the place name you enter is found, you will see some information about the place, such as its official name and any variant names, such as The Big Apple for New York City, or the Big Easy for New Orleans. It will also pin your place on a map and provide the latitude and longitude. You can look by name, by jurisdiction, or by location.Tools like this need to be prominently displayed with links.