There are changes ahead! – and we want to help you be prepared! We have been fortunate to have attended training sessions and presentations where information on the changes has been given. We thought, however, that perhaps the best way to summarize the changes was to share with you a handout used by Ron Tanner, project manager at FamilySearch, at the recent FH Expo in SLC.
Please: 1. Familiarize yourself with the new version of familysearch.org (currently accessible from labs.familysearch.org or directly through http://beta.familysearch.org/ ). Use it as much as you can. Watch it develop.
2. Note that the article states that nFS will become the Family Tree within the Familysearch.org web site – I have heard this term used but the name change has not been officially announced so maybe the new name for nFS has not been finalized.
3. The section on Future Enhancements refers to changes to what we currently call nFS.
FamilySearch 2010 and Beyond
Presented by Ron Tanner
at FH Expo in SLC 27 August 2010
Sometimes doing genealogical research can be confusing. Unfortunately there are times when the software and services intended to help researchers end up adding to the confusion. FamilySearch is in the process of a major initiative to replace the existing FamilySearch.org website with new and improved software and hardware while at the same time integrating the different FamilySearch services into one, easy to use website. This presentation discusses the replacement of http://www.FamilySearch.org, the integration of the various FamilySearch services into one easy to use site, and near and long-term enhancements to the services.
3 Steps to an Integrated FamilySearch
The effort to replace http://www.FamilySearch.org with an integrated site is monumental. Because of the size and complexity of the task, it will happen in multiple steps. These steps are described below.
Step 1: Integrate
The first step is to integrate most of the FamilySearch services into one easy to use site. You can see our progress on this by looking at the FamilySearch beta located at beta.FamilySearch.org. The FamilySearch services being integrated are:
- Record Search
Step 2: Replace http://www.FamilySearch.org
Once the initial set of services mentioned above are integrated, the FamilySearch beta will replace http://www.FamilySearch.org. At this point, all of the integrated services will be available at one website, http://www.FamilySearch.org.
Step 3: new FamilySearch becomes the Family Tree
Shortly after the FamilySearch beta replaces http://www.FamilySearch.org, we will integrate new FamilySearch into the http://www.FamilySearch.org web site. New FamilySearch will then be renamed Family Tree and simply be a service of http://www.FamilySearch.org.
Features of the Replacement Site
While the replacement site will have Forums, Wiki, Indexing, and Record Search all integrated into one easy to use site, it will also have additional services and capabilities. A brief description of all the planned features for the FamilySearch beta follows. These features are added to the beta website as they are built so depending on when you look at the FamilySearch beta, they may not all be incorporated yet. They will all be in place before the FamilySearch beta replaces http://www.FamilySearch.org later this year.
- Search. One of the biggest enhancements being developed concerns the way in which FamilySearch can help you find information. It is easy to do a simple or advanced search from the home page. The search allows you to search for and access digital images and transcriptions of historical records (all of the records that are in Record Search and more), family trees (records in Pedigree Resource File and Ancestral File), Learning (articles from the wiki and online classes from the Family History Library and other sources), Catalog (the Family History Library Catalog). You can also find a family history center near you.
- Getting Started. Getting started makes it easy for new users to get going with their family history. New users can explore rich information about famous ancestors, start their own tree or get step-by-step instruction through videos and other resources to help them start their family history.
- Learn. The learn section of the site provides access to all of the learning articles in the research wiki, research forums and a course catalog of online classes on a variety of family history topics from getting started to German handwriting.
- Library. The library section of the site provides information about the family history library and helpful tips for using the library. It also provides access to the Family History Library Catalog and the Family History Center Locator.
- Indexing. The indexing portion of the site allows users to volunteer to index historical records so the records can be found by the historical record search feature. It also provides information about what record sets are being indexed and the progress of volunteers to index them.
- Blog. Users can keep in touch with the latest and greatest information from FamilySearch about product offerings, research strategies, industry news and more by following the blog.
- Help. Users that need help or support on FamilySearch products can use the help features to get the support they need.
Features on the Near Horizon
In addition to the great features of the FamilySearch beta, we will also be releasing some new features for new FamilySearch. These features are described below.
- Single Sign-on. With single sign-on you can use the same user name and password for all of the different FamilySearch services. Members of the LDS Church can also use the same user name and password for other LDS Church web sites.
- Ancestor Discussions. Every ancestor in new FamilySearch will have a discussion page. Users can create and respond to discussions about their ancestors. This feature makes it much easier to collaborate with other users of the system.
- Invite Friends and Family. The initial roll out of new FamilySearch has been limited to members of the LDS Church. We plan to slowly start letting registered users of new FamilySearch start inviting their friends and family members regardless of religious affiliation to use new FamilySearch.
FamilySearch is also in the process of adding some other high-value features to the website.
- Change Log. The change log will track all changes to ancestors in family trees and allow users to undo changes when needed.
- Ancestor Pages. Ancestor pages provide a much richer and easier to use interface to how ancestors are viewed in family trees.
- Photos, Records and Stories. Users will be able to add photographs, historical records and stories to ancestor pages. Adding these artifacts adds richness to the ancestor and puts the evidence and sources into the forefront of the experience.
At FamilySearch we are working hard to deliver an easy to use set of services to support people working on their family history. The first steps toward this new world are the integration different FamilySearch services into one site and then the replacement of http://www.FamilySearch.org with this integrated set of services. At the same time, FamilySearch continues to add high-value features and move toward a world where users can fix any wrong data, undo bad changes, add artifacts and communicate with each other. We want to get the help of millions to find billions and build the human family tree.
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