Monday, June 8, 2009

NFS Rollout News: IOUs, IOUSs and IOSs

It has been a little while and I owe you (IOU) an update on the rollout of New FamilySearch (NFS) to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Since our last update, the following has occurred:

  • Last Thursday family history consultants from the Salt Lake and Bountiful temple districts received word that they were beginning the transition to NFS.
  • Five stakes in Logan went live on 2 June 2009 and another ten today.

As always, all the latest information can be found at “Temple Districts Using New FamilySearch.” Keep everyone informed by sharing your news at .

Individuals of Unusual Size

IOUSs (individuals of unusual size) is the term used to describe the software glitch that held up the deployment of NFS to Utah and Idaho. I call this the red zone because my rollout map utilizes green, yellow, red traffic semaphore colors. When the rollout stalled last year, all the world was green (using NFS) except Las Vegas, which was yellow (in transition) and Utah and Idaho districts, which were all red (not yet in transition).

New FamilySearch Rollout Map for 4 Jun 2009

I believe that IOUSs continue to be the limiting factor in the velocity of the rollout to the Red Zone. Lately, we’ve seen a variety of methods used to control the rollout speed.

We’ve seen:

  • An experiment in Vernal. The nature of this experiment has never been mentioned publicly, but I understand it is over. All members of the Church in Vernal now have full access to NFS.
  • As previously covered in this column, the publicly available Product Support pages of documented giving members in Utah “read-only access” to NFS. Shortly after that article appeared, the list of temples that would get read-only access disappeared from the site. Read-only access is perhaps just an uncertain experiment planned for the future or held in the past.
  • In St. George, the rollout invitation originally went to the Church’s family history consultants only and required consultants to finish training lessons before gaining access to NFS. Presumably, this would smooth out the number of new NFS users over time instead of having all the new users hit the system simultaneously. If I understand correctly, this experiment ended and all consultants in the St. George district now can register for NFS.
  • In the Logan district, consultants in five of its 43 stakes were given advance access to NFS to allow training and familiarization before the membership at large was given access a few weeks later. (A stake is a geographic subdivision of a temple district, somewhat comparable to a diocese.) This pattern was repeated for ten more stakes who received full access today. Stake-by-stake rollout will continue in Logan until all stakes have access.
  • In the Mount Timpanogos temple district, the temple semi-retired TempleReady today and has started using NFS, even though members don’t have access to NFS. (TempleReady was a software program used by members of the Church to request temple ordinances for their ancestors.) The ramification on members in the Mount Timpanogos district is immediate and if you’re not prepared, it can be a little disconcerting.

Note: While I attempt to explain jargon specific to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for you, my friends who are not members, the remainder of this article is unlikely to be of any interest outside Church members.

If not TempleReady, What?

As in the Timpanogos district today, when a temple converts to NFS prior to the temple’s patrons, the method for making ordinance requests changes. Instead of taking a TempleReady disk to the temple, patrons take a Family Ordinance Request (FOR).

To assist patrons in the preparation of FORs, family history consultants at family history centers (FHCs) and in local wards have been given NFS accounts and a special feature called “Sign in to Help Someone Else.” In “NFS’s Helper Feature” I discussed misinformation going around stating that consultants shouldn’t use the Helper Feature. Some of this information comes from official sources, such as KB 105521 which currently states, “Signing on as a helper in the new FamilySearch when someone is not registered can be risky.” Another, KB 100546, can be misinterpreted if not read carefully. While support missionaries are instructed not to make changes for users when using Helper, family history consultants can and should.

IOSs to the Rescue

In the Timpanogos district today, and in other districts utilizing this split mode—temple on NFS, patrons not—patrons will follow this process to request temple ordinances for ancestors:

    Your membership record number is located near the top of your Individual Ordinance Summary
    Your membership record number is located near
    the top of your Individual Ordinance Summary.
    Image Credit: © 2009 IRI, All rights reserved.
  1. Ordinance requests are now tied to a Church member’s membership. The Church will know who submitted the offending request the next time someone submits ordinances for President Obama’s parents. Consequently, you will need to bring your membership number with you when you come to create a temple submission. The number recorded on your temple recommend may or may not be correct. The safe approach is to get an Individual Ordinance Summary (IOS) from your ward clerk. Your membership record number is located near the top, as shown to the right.
  2. Meet with your family history consultant at the family history center (FHC), your home, or another location where you have (preferably high-speed) access to the Internet. Bring your membership number and your genealogy.
  3. The consultant will log in to NFS using his or her own account. Then the consultant will “Sign in to Help Someone Else” as explained in this knowledge base article. The consultant will need your full name, date of birth, and your helper access number, which is the last five digits of your membership record number. Note that confirmation date is not necessary to be helped.
  4. Using the skills the consultant has learned in the training lessons, the consultant will help you search NFS to prevent duplication of the ordinances you desire to submit.
  5. For ordinances that haven’t been completed, the consultant will help you enter the information about your ancestors. As each is entered, select the option to print later. This allows you to combine all the names onto one submission. (See “Include More Than One Person on a Family Ordinance Request.”)
  6. Once you have checked and entered all the ancestors for your submission, the consultant will then help you print a Family Ordinance Request (FOR) from the Temple Ordinance tab of NFS. The FOR takes the place of a TempleReady disk.
  7. Take the FOR to the temple. The temple will print ordinance cards for you.

See “Switching from Personal Ancestral File, TempleReady, Ancestral File, and the Pedigree Resource File” for more information.

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