RootsTech 2014

Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Saturday, August 6, 2011

What's new with FamilySearch?

I noticed that it had been a couple of months since I took an over all look at the FamilySearch websites for a post. What has gone on in the FamilySearch world the last few months? More and more content which is why we need and use the FamilySearch websites. Here is a brief summary of each of the sites:

FamilySearch.org: This is the premier site. The Historical Record Collections continue to grow unabated with the addition of millions of records almost every work day of the week. In fact, two large collections were updated or added on August 6, 2011, a Saturday. So far in August alone, millions of records in ten different collections have been added. For example, the Panama Catholic Church Records, 1707 - 1973 contain 240,799 images and were added on 2 August 2011. There are so many new records that the genealogical community is ignoring new additions as "old" news, I am afraid. When was the last time you checked for new additions?

One change, at least in most of the U.S., is that films from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, must be ordered online rather than in person at a Family History Center. See Film.FamilySearch.org.  The films are still sent to a Family History Center near where the film is ordered, but the ordering process is all online now and will be shortly implemented throughout the world.

Wiki.FamilySearch.org: The FamilySearch Research Wiki now has 60,879 articles, although that number will probably change before you read this post. There is a very active Wiki community and even though this site passed into the rank of the first places to go for research aid many months ago, it is a still a relatively unknown and unused resource. I remind someone about this site every time I am asked a question and constantly get either the response, Oh, I forgot about that or I didn't know about that site. This is another site that has changed recently and needs to be visited regularly.

Indexing.FamilySearch.org: The vast indexing program keeps moving right along. New features that were added recently include (quoting from the website:

  • My Accuracy. Get feedback on how you're doing with your indexing. Since the indexing program began, the most frequent request of indexers has been "Please tell me how I'm doing." This feature is a giant step toward answering that request.

    My Accuracy is not a grade. It will show you how often your indexing work and the final arbitrated values match. You can look for patterns and see if there are areas where you can improve. The information is anonymous and only provided to you.

    Please remember that arbitrators are volunteers as well. They may not always agree with you, even when you both do your best to follow instructions. You can mark values for review, but this will not affect your My Accuracy score. This feedback will be used by headquarters to track data and be alerted to trends.

    After this feature is released, you can start reviewing your indexing batches as soon as they are arbitrated.

  • Invite a Friend. Send e-mails to friends to invite them to join the fun of indexing. More people indexing means more searchable records published online!
 FamilySearch.org/TechTips/: The TechTips site keeps adding new content and changing the look of the site. This is another valuable site that has a low visibility in the genealogical community. Articles are added almost daily and the site already has a large number of valuable articles.

New.FamilySearch.org: It looks like the changes to New.FamilySearch.org are concentrated in the Asian languages interface. There haven't been any other significant changes since my last comments on this site.

As I mentioned above, content seems to be the name of the game right now with FamilySearch and this is as it should be. The sites will only become even more useful as new content is added. On a different note, there is still no visible change to the Historical Books Collection at the BYU Archive. None of the books scanned over the last two years at the Mesa Regional Family History Center has yet to appear online. As a test, I have mentioned before that I had my Great-grandmother's book scanned for inclusion in the online collection. I am the copyright holder, in fact I have the original copyright in my possession. The book was scanned more than a year ago and has yet to appear online. The book does not appear in the online catalog of the BYU Archives, although the Family History Library also has a copy. The Family History Library copy does not show a digitized version of the book online.

If you would like more info about FamilySearch online, check out my new book, The Guide to FamilySearch Online, now available at the BYU Bookstore.

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