Friday, May 22, 2009

Mid-May releases of NFS and Family Tree

Well, the middle of the quarter has arrived, so it is time for new releases to New FamilySearch (NFS) and Family Tree. And unlike many past quarters, the releases have come at or near the mid-quarter date, 15 May 2009.

What's New in New FamilySearch

New FamilySearch

As always, the sign-in page contains a link to view a list of the updates in New FamilySearch. The “What’s New” document itemizes these changes:

GreenBulletYou’ll recall that IOUSes—individuals of unusual sizehalted the rollout of NFS in February 2008. When the rollout resumed in April 2008, the number of records that could be combined was limited to prevent the creation of IOUSes. In this release, the number of records that can be combined together has been increased from 85 to 150.

Does this mean the IOUS problem has been fixed? I don’t think so. While nearly doubling the number of duplicates allowed, in my opinion this isn’t a fix. I need to be careful here, lest I digress too far. I intend to do an entire article some time showing that the NFS architecture is the right architecture, but should never have been the dumping ground for millions of secondary source records.

See… Already I’m digressing.

No, I’m guessing this change is an intermediate milestone that shows progress is being made towards a complete solution, and that FamilySearch has increasing confidence that the New FamilySearch website can handle more than it currently handles.

GreenBulletRootsMagic 4 has been certified to reserve temple ordinances and print Family Ordinance Requests. Interested parties are directed to and liates/index.html .

GreenBulletThe User’s Guide has been updated to clarify the Helper feature of NFS, as I previously reported in “NFS’s Helper Feature.” If you use the Helper feature to help someone not registered as an NFS user, then any changes made will identify the full name of the person helped and your contact name. Moral: unless you’re prepared to be contacted about the changes you make, don’t help someone not registered in NFS.

GreenBulletChanges have been made to the User’s Guide explaining what, if any, information from LDS Church membership records can be viewed in NFS:

  • You can view the names and genders of your current spouse, parents, other direct ancestors, and children. I guess it goes without saying that you can see your own name and gender.
  • For children younger than 18 years of age, you can also see birth dates. Again, I guess it goes without saying that you can see your own birth date.
  • For individuals known to be deceased, you can view name, gender, birth date, and death date. Marriage information can be viewed when both parties are deceased.

GreenBulletThe User’s Guide has been changed, instructing users not to add living relatives who are members of the Church except in minimal situations necessary to link yourself to deceased individuals. Use PAF or a similar program to track information about living relatives.

GreenBulletInformation about Family Tree has been added to Chapter 1 of the User’s Guide. Several additional changes concerned temple submissions.

What's New in the Family Tree

Family Tree

There’s two new links on the Family Tree home page:

  • Register for the new FamilySearch…
  • News and Updates…

I’m not certain what the purpose is for the ellipses (three periods) on the ends of the links. In menu systems, an ellipsis alerts you that you’re going to get an intermediate window prior to execution of the menu item.

Indeed, I do get an interstitial pop-up when I click either of these links. It’s one of those Windows Vista popups of which Apple Computer makes so much fun. I’ve updated Adobe software since the last time I ran Family Tree and I think it is the new Adobe software, not the new Family Tree, that is causing this problem:

Windows Vista complains about Adobe DLM

Unfortunately, this popup seems to pull the Family Tree window back to the top, so if you click on the Register link, the registration window is left underneath. It took me several clicks on Register before I noticed the small registration window underneath the Family Tree window.

The News and Updates link opens up (after the Vista popup) a “What’s New in the Family Tree” document. According to this document, there are but two new features in the May 2009 release of Family Tree. Can you guess what they are?

I’ll give you a hint.

I just covered them.

Next week we’ll scour product help for any additional public information about these latest releases of New FamilySearch and Family Tree. Stay tuned…


  1. I question why they have left so much information on submitting GEDCOM file in the instructions and e-lessons. It almost seems as though they encourage submission of the GEDCOM files. As Utah and Idaho roll out, it would seem as though this only adds to the duplication and the IOUS problem. I add new names only through the Ancestral Quest (or Family Insight works as well) route after verifying that the person is not already there. I wish others would do the same, as duplicates keep showing up after I have combined names.

  2. Dear Just,

    That's an excellent question. Thanks for commenting.

    -- The A.I.


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