Wednesday, October 24, 2007

New FamilySearch Version 0.91 Coming Soon

The FamilySearch logo

Rumor has it that an updated release of New FamilySearch (NFS), internally called version 0.91, will soon hit the New FamilySearch website. New New FamilySearch will contain minor but helpful improvements to most key tasks. The release is expected before the end of the year. The schedule for the affiliate software beta test runs through November 14, so I wouldn't expect it before then.

The new release is said to make it easier to search, combine and enter data. I've been told that the silly "Finalize Your Choices" page (below) has been improved, making it look like it's really supposed to be there. A source inside FamilySearch confirms that the page was really a placeholder for some functionality that hasn't made it into NFS yet. When it does, there will be rhyme and reason to choosing between "Yes, combine" and "Yes, combine, but some information is different."

The Silly Finalize Your Choices page

By the way, did you know that when comparing two records if you hover over a spouse, parent or child's name, NFS will highlight all names on the page that belong to that person (see illustration below), even if some are on the left hand side and some are on the right. This is helpful knowing that someone (maybe you) has already combined the relative's record. It makes it quite likely that the two records refer to the same person.

Hover your cursor over a name and the same individual is highlighted in both the left and right records

Claim Your Contribution

Perhaps the most exciting enhancement for me is the ability to claim Ancestry File (AF) and Pedigree Resource File (PRF) contributions. Many users know that some of the information they've submitted in the past was wrong. Correcting AF data required writing letters and submitting floppies and sometimes years of waiting. With the advent of PRF, FamilySearch advised users to submit corrections by duplicating their AF submission with a corrected submission to PRF. PRF submissions were corrected by duplicating the submission to PRF with the corrections. Some individuals made it an annual process. Hundreds of thousands of duplicate records were produced. But I digress...

With NFS it is not only possible to correct data you enter into NFS, it is also possible to claim all your old AF and PRF submissions and correct them also.

Version Numbering

Spokespersons for FamilySearch have stated that the "0.9" nomenclature references the early versions of NFS reserved for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Church). The "1.0" nomenclature refers to a future release open to the general public. The priority of the 0.9 release is collaboration and cooperation among Church members to avoid duplication of ordinances in the Church's 124 temples. Once this need has been addressed then the software can be upgraded for the needs of genealogists in general.

It has been reported that at least some staff members of Family History Centers (FHCs) who are not members of the Church have been able to get accounts for NFS and are reportedly helping train Church members to use the new software. Since the registration process requires a membership identification number, the special process that must be followed is explained on pp. 5-6 of the NFS FHC Directors' packet. (Source)

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