Friday, June 25, 2010

FamilySearch.Org: All Under One Roof "Later This Year"

I was in the middle of preparing an article on the different search results you can expect when using the three main search sites offered by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), when they go and publish an article squelching the need for my article!  I was not offended (don't get me wrong!), but pleasantly surprised.

The LDS article (published in the July 2010 issue of the Ensign) is entitled: "Updated FamilySearch.org to Bring New Features Under One Roof," by Breanna Olaveson, Church Magazines (see link below).  I had known that the Church was someday going to merge all of these together, and it appears as if they will be doing so "later this year."

List of Current Sites:

1.  familysearch.org
2.  pilot.familysearch.org
3.  fsbeta.familysearch.org
4.  indexing.familysearch.org
5.  forums.familysearch.org
6.  wiki.familysearch.org

All will eventually be combined under the name familysearch.org, but the fsbeta.familysearch.org site is currently displaying how the new site will look:


Benefits:
  • Simplify family history work (saves you time when all sites are located under one roof, with one login).
  • Families have one place where they can collaborate on their ancestors.
  • Newbies can get started quickly and make meaningful contributions without a lot of training.
  • New image viewer allows users to search digital images of microfilm and view them like a microfilm reader, but without that hand crank and the dark room.
  • Search results will include scanned primary source records, but will also return information from secondary sources (Ancestral File, Pedigree Resource File, Forums, the Family History Library Catalog, and other sources).
  • Search results can be sorted by Record Type -- Birth Marriage and Death, Census and Lists, Military, Probate and Court, Migration and Naturalizaiton, and Other.
  • In time, they hope to notify users when certain information of personal interest is edited or added.
  • You will still be able to participate in indexing scanned images from this site.  (Currently indexing is done at indexing.familysearch.org.)
  • Lots of learning/educational tools will be available under one tab entitled "Learn."
Read the article here July 2010 issue of Ensign (p. 74).

Some Questions I still have:
  1. Will you be able to perform batch number searches?  I have yet to discover a way to do so (on the fsbeta.familysearch.org site), but I am hoping this feature will be available.
  2. Currently the fsbeta.familysearch.org also gives you indexes for records located on other websites, but also gives you the link to the website to go and view the images with the "fees may apply" disclaimer (i.e. findmypast.com).  I am hoping that the Church and findmypast.com could some day come to an agreement to offer free links to the images too (I can dream, can't I?)   TIP:  findmypast.com's images are available free at the LDS Family History Centers through its Portal (see previous posts of mine).
  3. Some "hits" give you just the indexed record but does not link to an outside website (like findmypast.com).  Nor does it tell the user where to go to view the original.  It does provide you the batch, record, film and reference numbers, however, newbies may not know to use that information to order the microfilm to view at one of the many LDS Family History Centers.
In any event, I am excited for these changes.  I also love receiving the emails of how many more indexed records have been added to the pilot.familysearch.org site.  And, you can't beat it -- all under one roof, all for free.  I just wish "later this year" was now!  (Patience.)

Jirene

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