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

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Comments on FamilySearch's Success Disaster

Can success be a disaster? In my own experience, it certainly can be. From the perspective of, success means that we sometimes suffer from a slow and unresponsive Family Tree program, especially on Sundays when we need the program the most. Perhaps you have wondered whether or not FamilySearch is aware of the problem. Uncharacteristically, FamilySearch posted an article entitled, "FamilySearch Working to Avoid 'Success Disaster.'

If you use the Family Tree regularly, you do not have to be told that FamilySearch is laboring under a huge burden of trying to keep up with the growth of the program and the amount of data being added every day, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The post outlines a few of the statistics that indicate the scope of the problem.
Over the past two years, FamilySearch has experienced faster-than-anticipated growth due to the phenomenal success of our marketing, genealogical-record acquisitions, partner development, and product-software improvements. In 2015, 1.6 million members visited FamilySearch Family Tree, and nearly 430,000 submitted names for temple work—approximately 27 percent growth over 2014. This growth pattern has continued into 2016. Since 2015, we have seen Family Tree database transactions increase from less than 200 million to more than 630 million a day on Sundays. Records are also being viewed and attached at ever-increasing rates. The number of names being added to the tree each week has nearly doubled when compared to a year ago.
My guess is that the FamilySearch engineers don't use the program that much and so they don't have a feel for what some of use do with the program. I use the program multiple times a day and my guess is that I see problems with the program about at the rate of two or three a week. One of the areas where the problems occur most frequently is in connecting to the Partner Programs such as I assume that the Partner Programs are also experiencing their own growth problems.

Another issue I see from my own experience is that some users are not just adding their ancestors and relatives to the Family Tree but are extracting records and adding unrelated people wholesale. I have absolute confirmation that this is happening. I am aware, for example, of a very small group of people who have added over 27,000 names in the past year. I am not sure which of the people in the group are doing the extraction, but the number of names added is way beyond anyones ability to do research and adequately document entries. In one case, a patron at the Library I was helping noted that the youth in his area were being told that they could add anyone in an English County with their same surname because they were related to all those people. I would be glad to do this if it is being allowed, since, for example, I have approximately 190,000 "Parkinson Relatives" in Lancashire County, England, i.e. people with the same surname and that is just one surname. I suggest that activities such as these are artificially adding a lot of unconnected and unrelated people to the Family Tree.

You can also add a lot of "names" by going to the end of every line and adding in a "Mr. Surname" and a "Mrs. Surname" with the location and dates estimated from the last entry. If you do not think this is happening, then you do not look at the data much.

Of course I am not disparaging the huge increases in names being added to the Family Tree. In fact if you think about it, if only 1.6 million members visited the Family Tree, then that is only about 10% of Church's population and they probably can imaging what happens if that percentage were to grow to anything like a reasonable percentage of the entire population of the Church.

We certainly appreciate the wonderful Family Tree program, let's just say that those of us out here using the program are not surprised at their Success Disaster.

No comments:

Post a Comment