The FamilySearch Wiki Engineering Team modified a link on this page so it will not break when the Family History Library Catalog changes in late December.
The comment and the modification disappeared before the end of the day.
Documentation on beta.familysearch.org goes through the features of the old FamilySearch.org and gives a report card, of sorts, noting differences or deficiencies with the new FamilySearch.org website. I’ve added my own candid take, below.
To you, my friends outside FamilySearch, remember that these are my personal opinions and I do not speak for FamilySearch.
To you, my friends inside FamilySearch, I mean no offense. I know you care for quality, are aware of the issues, and are working to fix them. I have faith in you and ever growing respect. Although you may hear some things here first, I only repeat publicly available information. My criticisms are offered as a service to our users.
|Feature from old FamilySearch.org
|Status of the feature on the new beta.FamilySearch.org
|The logo works as it did before, taking you back to the home page.
The new website does not have a home button. I hear users saying they want it; I’m surprised FamilySearch hasn’t complied.
|Search Records, Advanced Search, and RecordSearch pilot have all been replaced with Historical Records search. Surprising, there are no links to this central feature of the new FamilySearch.org website. None in the header. None in the footer.
Here’s an insider tip: Click the FamilySearch logo.
|I wrote about the FHLC after the November release (here and here). Product Manager, Robert Kehrer, responded with additional information you’ll want to read. (Thanks, Robert!)
|The new FamilySearch.org website provides no way to search Historical Books and no link to search them on the BYU website. There are links to individual titles in the Family History Library Catalog. The documentation states, “You cannot currently search the historical books directly.” I hope that means FamilySearch is planning on adding Historical Book search.
|Google and other search engines do a far better job of searching other websites. Further, it is beyond FamilySearch’s ability to maintain a categorized directory of genealogy websites. With the FamilySearch Wiki, FamilySearch has given users the ability to provide, categorize, and maintain links to other websites.
|The new website’s Ancestral File has Individual view only. Pedigree and family views are coming. Thankfully FamilySearch has concentrated on higher quality historical records and readying the new FamilySearch Tree for public use. Hopefully this meager effort to include Ancestral File is but a placeholder for the latter.
|The 1880 U.S. Census is present on the new website, along with additional years! Some minor losses of functionality have occurred, including links to subscription websites, where the images were free for some FamilySearch accounts. (BTW, the image links on the old website no longer work. But I digress…)
The 1881 British Census is not available on the new website. Use the old one.
The 1881 Canadian Census is present, along with additional years!
|As I’ve mentioned before, the good stuff—the extraction records—have been moved into FamilySearch Historical Records, available on the new website now. Patron submissions were moved to the new FamilySearch Tree. I’ll have a lot more to say about the IGI.
|Not added yet. Users are instructed to use the old website. Ditto here my comments about Ancestral File.
|The US Social Security Death Index was added to FamilySearch Historical Records last week!
|The Vital Records Index is present, but incomplete. I tried one record from each of the five countries. Twenty percent of my teeny, tiny unscientific sample were missing. Has FamilySearch compared batch counts to know how many records are missing?
* Mexico: Albino Perez
* Denmark: Lars Peter Johansen, 19 Oct. 1877; Sigersted, Sorø, D.
- Finland: Matt Johansson, 12 Sep 1867; Sippola, Viipuri, Finland
* Norway: Ellen Johannesdatter; Askim, Ostfold, Norway
* Sweden: Nils Johansson, 5 July 1801;Stånga, Gotland, Sweden
|I don’t get it. If Historical Records are the central feature of the new FamilySearch.org website, then FamilySearch Indexing is its lifeblood. The FamilySearch Indexing page is buried two links under the home page. The first link is secret. The second is hidden.
Should you solve the mystery of the first, secret link, don’t bother clicking the big “FamilySearch Indexing” title or the large, beckoning image. The link is hidden after a couple of paragraphs into the page text.
Insider tip: Click Give Back in the row of links near the top of any page. Then click Get Me Started.
(On second thought, don’t get me started…)
|“Share My Genealogy” is not present on the new website. Ditto my comment on Ancestral File.
|Research Helps have been copied into the FamilySearch Wiki and in many cases improved. Click Learn, then search for the topic of interest.
|Research Guidance is a virtual reference consultant found on the old FamilySearch.org website. “Chatty Cathy” (as we sometimes call her) asks you a series of questions about an ancestor and then gives you an ordered list of records to consult, based on the locale, time frame, and the vital event of your ancestor.
Because Research Guidance has long been the hidden gem, the Cinderella stepchild of the old FamilySearch.org website, I fear Cathy won’t find her way to the new website.
|The Wiki is not really a part of the old website. It is part of the new website.
|Ask a Question is a link to the Forums, also a new, not old, website.
|The online research classes have been copied to the new website. Click on Learn, then click on a link you can’t see until you scroll the page down. Don’t scroll too far or the link will disappear off the top of the page. Don’t scroll too little or the link will not appear. Do a Goldilocks scroll. Don’t click “Research Courses.” The color looks like a link to me, but it is not. Keep reading, scrolling if necessary.
Insider hint: Click on View the Courses.
|Find information about the Salt Lake Family History Library by clicking on FamilySearch Centers, scrolling to the bottom of the page, and clicking the hidden link.
Insider Hint: To find hidden links, move your mouse around over possible spots. When the cursor changes (a pointing finger on most browsers), it is pointing to a link.
|To find a nearby family history center, click on FamilySearch Centers, enter the location, and click Search. Notice the snazzy new map.
|“The site currently does not provide information about genealogical institutes, university and home study courses on family history, online genealogical presentations, and upcoming genealogical conferences. Much of this information will be available in future updates of the site.”
|This is redundant. I covered it in the Search Records menu.
|It looks like the same Help Center software added a few years ago to the old website, and used on the new FamilySearch Tree website, is being used on the new site.
To learn more about the differences between the soon-to-be new www.FamilySearch.org and classic FamilySearch.org, start at beta.familysearch.org, click on Help, then “What are the Differences between Classic FamilySearch and Beta FamilySearch?” Use the interactive guide. And click “View or Print Handout” to access “Adjusting to the New Version of www.familysearch.org (8 December 2010).”