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

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Redesign of FamilySearch Help Center?

Every so often makes a major change to their website without notice or explanation. Sometimes the explanations come after the fact. Sometimes the changes are simply tests and disappear after a while. Very recently, I went to the Get Help link in the upper right-hand corner of the webpage and to my surprise, I got this pull-down menu shown above. When I clicked on the "Visit Help Center," the familiar Help Center screen had disappeared and all that was left was a blank field that said Search. Apparently, FamilySearch got over influenced by Google all of a sudden and went to a minimalist approach to Help.

Not that the Help Center was all that helpful as it was, but this is stupefying. It made me forget what I had started looking for in the first place. I finally remembered and put in a search. But now, I not only had to guess what I wanted to search for, I also had to try and guess what FamilySearch called it. Here is what I got.

Before, I had a Family Tree icon and when I searched for "standards" I got the standards for entering information in the Family Tree. Now I get "zoning" and setting up printers? What? I also get lessons on the Genealogical Proof Standard. Now I am flummoxed.

I also noted a new link on the right side of the page.

This was rather than the usual Feedback link. I decided to let them know what I thought. I was instructed to click on the part of the page I wanted to improve. Since I was the entire page, I wasn't sure what to do, but clicked around until I got something that looked like this:

I gave some specific feedback in a box that looked like this.

Now, I wasn't sure what some of the questions asked. For example, did the question about recommending refer to the problem or the entire website? Of course I recommend the website but I am not happy with the Help Center now and never have been.  I am supposed to rate the content of the training, but I haven't received any training and in fact, I haven't received any training about what I am supposed to put in the feedback box.

Hmm, well I guess we live with this. Fortunately, very few people I talk to and help ever used or even noticed the Get Help menu, so I probably won't have too many questions on how to help with the help menu.


  1. I saw this change yesterday. Amen to what you have said in this article!!! I have never liked the Help Center and never could think of what keyword/s to search use to find what I wanted. I suppose some of the former Learning Center lessons are out of date, but couldn't they be removed or replaced?

  2. FamilySearch engineers just don't get it. On my mission, when I served as supervisor of the research support help team I had the opportunity to meet with and talk with many of the engineers. It became very obvious that they were good at developing but lacked understanding of genealogy research. In occasion I became amused when an engineer would say: "I'm an engineer you're a volunteer. Will do it my way." Sir, your way also gxvr us new.familysearch and we all know what that was like. Many of them don't think as a genealogist or willing to listen or incorporate ideas presented by knowledgeable genealogist. Of course, it's easy to understand why. Many of them are climbing the corporate ladder. It''s a real shame. That's my two cents worth...����

    1. Thanks to all of you who sent me the link. Of course, we can go directly to any page, but the issue here is that how are we supposed to know the link or know to search for it on Google. This comment about the engineers is interesting and insightful. It is hard to find the combination of genealogist and engineer, but of course, we don't need to be genealogists any more to do family history. :-)