Tuesday, November 16, 2010

New FamilySearch Beta Website

Last Wednesday FamilySearch revised their beta.familysearch.org website. Yesterday I reviewed some of the changes in the library catalog. Today I’ll look at other changes.

More Catalog

At the close of yesterday’s article, I was looking at the search results for Drogheda, Ireland. Next, I clicked on “Ireland, Louth, Drogheda – Church Records.” The old catalog opened a new page and displayed the three titles. The new beta catalog slid the remaining items down and displayed the three titles in it.

List of titles for a record type

Unlike yesterday’s subtle alphabetizing error, here the beta catalog makes no attempt to alphabetize the titles.

I already mentioned yesterday the beta’s weird handling of narrow windows. That is the cause of the brown Feedback button in the middle of the window (above right).

Next I clicked on the parochial registers of St. Peter’s. The old catalog has the annoying habit of showing either title details or film notes. To see both, click to view the printable version (below, left). The new beta catalog displayed all the same information as the old catalog, including film notes, without the extra mouse click.

The new beta catalog contains all the same information as the old catalog

There you have it. The new beta catalog is not the loser that it once was. But FamilySearch is still seeking your feedback. Click the brown feedback button on the right edge of the window and let ‘em have it.

Historical Record Search

A brown bar (circled in yellow, below) separates close matches from partial matches. Made more obvious in this release is the preview arrow (a delta, really) to the right of each result. (See the examples circled in red.) Click the downward arrow to reveal the full content of the record (circled in purple, below) without leaving the results page. Click the upward arrow to re-hide it.

New search features in November 10th beta

Give Back

The Give Back page contains some familiar messages, and something new for FamilySearch.

Beta website revisions seem to be occurring about every four weeks. Slow, but sure, the beta is being readied to replace the old www.familysearch.org.

Don’t rush to conclusions because previous versions were wanting. Rush to beta.familysearch.org instead. Get on. Try it out. Leave feedback. Then stay tuned…


  1. Personally I think the search facilities on the Beta are dismal compared to those on the Pilot - and yes, I have given feedback.

    For instance, the advanced search form includes so many items in a vertical format that the "Search" button disappears.

    Then the summary list of records that appears is so abbreviated as to be often utterly useless. For instance, if I ask for a list of people of a certain born about X in county Y, I get a summary list of baptisms that includes parents but excludes the date. Whereas the first item I would be looking to check is the date and the parents are the last....

    Nor is there any predictive text any more on the locations so I have to guess how Acton might be recorded in the database (Acton? Acton-by-Nantwich?)

    It's as if the Pilot has been ignored.

  2. Agreed.It's absolutely atrocious. Do these people do any research? If so, they wouldn't have come up with this nonsense. Obviously a case of software developers not having a clue what the end-user wants or needs.

  3. is there some new beta new familysearch tree out there?

  4. Roger,

    I can neither confirm nor deny that, yes, there is a new beta FamilySearch Tree out there.

    --The Insider


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