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

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Coping with the changes in the FamilySearch Family Tree

I received my weekly update from FamilySearch concerning the changes made to my Watched relatives on the Family Tree. Here is a screenshot of the first part of the list. In this week's notice, I had 297 changes made to the people I am watching. If this seems like a lot, I thought it might be a good idea to come back to this subject and explain more about the need to Watch your portion of the Family Tree and how you might react to the changes you see happening. 

One of the keys to maintaining the integrity of the Family Tree is to "Watch" any of your ancestors or other family members you are working on or are interested in supporting.

When you are watching your family on the Family Tree, FamilySearch automatically sends you a weekly updated email message telling you about any changes made to the people you are watching, just as I noted at the beginning of this post.

If I want to see a list of the people I am watching, I can look at the list under the "List" tab on the Family Tree window.

Here is a screenshot of part of my "People I am Watching" list.

As I review the list of changes, I am looking for things that look unusual or out of place. Many of the changes are routine "cleaning up the Family Tree" type changes that I made myself or were made by my immediate family members. In some cases, there are changes made by FamilySearch that turn out to be a mystery, but after looking at the entries, I don't see any problems. In each case, when I am notified of a change, I can click on the notice and go directly to the Family Tree to see the change in context. I can then accept what has happened or I can reverse the change or investigate further. This usually takes only a few minutes, but since I am adding to my watched list and also becoming more active in making edits and adding sources, there are some changes that require more attention.

This is basic way that the Family Tree functions. If you are in the middle of a family that is actively working on the Family Tree, you may see a large number of changes. But this is good and not bad. The changes show you that people are interested in working on the Family Tree. Even if you feel that their changes are inappropriate, the Family Tree gives you a way to communicate directly with the other family members and discuss the reasons for making the changes and come to a consensus.

The growing number of changes I see is an indication that the Family Tree is alive and well.

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