“We have some of the finest organizations on earth represented and handling various aspects of this conference,” said Elder Richard G. Scott at RootsTech. “We feel honored to be part of that.” Scott is a high ranking leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
(Presumably, Scott is Jay Verkler’s boss’s boss, according to publicly available information.
While Verkler is the president and CEO of FamilySearch, his position at FamilySearch sponsor, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is managing director of the Family History Department.1
The managing director reports to the executive director, Elder Richard J. Maynes.2
Presumably, Maynes reports to Scott, since Scott is the apostle that directs the Church’s Temple and Family History Executive Council.3
But I digress…)
Scott spoke at a devotional for Church family history consultants held during RootsTech. Unfortunately, I was moderating another session at the same time and was unable to attend. Here are some things I’ve gleaned from others:
- The session used a question and answer format. Elder Scott led a panel with Jay Verkler (CEO), David Rencher (CGO), Craig Miller (product management), and Ransom Love (strategic relationships). Jim Greene, a marketing manager at FamilySearch, gathered questions.
- I spoke to one attendee who was disappointed that the session, billed as a devotional, was more secular than religious. Perhaps next year organizers can set expectations better.
- Question topics included “technical improvements on FamilySearch, getting priesthood leaders involved in family history, and involving young adults.”3
- The new FamilySearch Family Tree will be improved this year, hopefully making it ready for the general public, according to James Tanner. The changes make the tree more evidence based, with sources attached and the ability to fix wrong information.4
- It may be ready for release near the end of the year, according to Paul Walworth on FHCNET.6
- Tanner also reported that FamilySearch was asked about Personal Ancestral File (PAF). FamilySearch will not improve PAF. Instead, they are working on the new FamilySearch Family Tree. Tanner put it more succinctly: “The answer essentially confirms the demise of PAF.”4
- FamilySearch is working on an updated standard to replace GEDCOM, said Tanner.4 Coincidentally, at the same time I was hearing the same message in the “Genealogical Data Standards” session. More on that later…
- FamilySearch will attempt to improve the rate at which digitized books are published online, said Tanner.4
- Providing Ancestry.com Library Edition access in family history centers is a test according to Shanna Jones on FHCNET. Users may not be able to use Ancestry.com at times because the number of simultaneous users is limited. After several months FamilySearch will evaluate the results.5
- Questions were also accepted from the audience. One came from Mormon Mommy Blogger, Elisa Scharton. Elisa, it was great to meet you!
James Tanner captured the answers to these questions on his blog:
- What will happen to Family History Centers outside the Wasatch Front?
- Explain the new Ancestry.com deal?
- What is the balance between involving everyone and being genealogically sound?
- Problems in library in Alexandria, Egypt?
- What about duplication?
- Is Personal Ancestral File going to talk to New FamilySearch?
- Is it OK to have a Millenium File?
- How can I inspire and motivate my Priesthood Leaders?
- How do we get people to come to the classes?
- GEDCOM standard issues?
- What about access to New FamilySearch to those who are not Church members?
- How do we get Young Single Adults interested in family history?
- Will this meeting be online?
- How has the use of the Internet affected the storage of records in the Granite Mountain Vault?
- Is there anyway we can have New FamilySearch without clicking on so many arrows?
- What new technology will have the most impact on family history in the near future?
- What about documentation in New FamilySearch for place names at the historical time?
- What about on demand digitization of microfilm?
- Duplication of work on New FamilySearch?
To see his answers, read “RootsTech—Devotional with Elder Richard G. Scott.” Thanks, James!
1. [Jay Verkler,] “Jay Verkler,” profile, LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/pub/jay-verkler/27/40a/bb4 : accessed 14 February 2011); also see conference programs where he has spoken, such as NGS 2010 and RootsTech 2011.
2. “Elder Richard J. Maynes,” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, website (www.lds.org : accessed 14 February 2011), Menu > The Church > Organization > General Authorities; and Gordon Clarke, “Bay Area FH Conference : May 18, 2010,” PDF file, Silicon Valley Computer Genealogy Group (www.svpafug.org : accessed 14 February 2011), Free Downloads > FamilySearch Presentations, pp. 4-5.
3. “Family History Work Vital, Prophets and Apostles Say,” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, website (www.lds.org : accessed 14 February 2011), Menu > Study > Prophets & Apostles Speak Today > Unto All the World.
4. James Tanner, “New Developments at FamilySearch,” Genealogy’s Star (http://genealogysstar.blogspot.com : dated 13 February 2011, accessed 14 February 2011).
5. Shanna Jones, “Ancestry.com: "Institutional" or "Library Edition"?” message in FHCNET group, Yahoo! Groups (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FHCNET : 13 February 2011, 7:20 pm).
6. Paul Walworth, “Nfs Problems,” message in FHCNET group, Yahoo! Groups (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FHCNET : 13 February 2011, 1:41 pm).