Thursday, April 21, 2011

FamilySearch Plans for Attaching Sources

Source links will attach sources to the FamilySearch Tree
Image: renjith krishnan

Users will soon be able to link sources to their ancestors in the new FamilySearch Tree (“Family Tree”), according to Tim Cross, a product manager at FamilySearch. Cross showed mock-ups of the new feature to attendees at the Riverton FamilySearch Library’s April Saturday seminar.

Cross said that even though they will be called sources, they might be understood better as source links. Source links will allow you to create links in Family Tree to sources found on or other websites such as The URL is optional so the system will replace the tree’s existing source system.

The create source window is much simplified. The plan calls for a “Create Source” window with four fields: title, web page, description (citation), and notes. Historical record collections on will include an “Add to Source Box” link that makes it simple to link sources in historical record collections to information in Family Tree. The system will fill in all the fields for you. Cross suggested that he’d like other websites to provide the same option.

Sources can be reused, attached to several ancestors as desired. Further source management and source templates may be added later. Desktop programs will be able to exchange sources with Family Tree. One day it will be possible to upload images.

Not all intended functionality will be included in the initial release, said Cross. The initial release has been scheduled and rescheduled several times, starting with last February, then May, and now August.

“Look for it this fall…,” said Cross, “or January…”


  1. I've given up before sources. The names I entered (yes, I have good sources) have been changed for the worse in several cases. I'm not even listed as the submitter on my own line, even though I created this tree a few years ago. If others could change my line (removing several wives' maiden names and their parents) why can't I change them back?
    I thought the purpose was for my adult children and grandchildren to carry on doing their ancestors' temple work. After I'm gone they won't have a true ancestry here to follow. Some of our ancestors will be left out because other names have been put in their place.
    If anyone can help me, I'm at

  2. You said, "The URL is optional so the system will replace the tree’s existing source system." If the URL is optional, I would think this would NOT replace the existing source system. Did you leave out the "not" or am I missing something?

    I suppose these links are a step in the right direction, but as I have learned to my sorrow a number of times already, links are not particularly stable. Webmasters have a tendency to upgrade their sites periodically and these upgrades sometimes change or eliminate the URL of a document or page. Hence the often encountered "broken links". A more suitable, albeit space-hungry, way to make a source document available would be to store a copy of the document itself at the nFS site. Providing only links to off-site locations will inevitably lead to frustration as said links become "broken".

  3. Sources are attached to *individuals*??? Not to events or relationships??

  4. Where ten or a dozen purported 'records,' (representations of family group sheets) each wrong in some crucial detail, have been combined into one record-combination-representation of a family, will this new "source" attach to each of them? If someone comes along and uncombines the 'records,' what happens to the 'source' link?

    Will the server also fill in the "notes" field? Will any of the elements automatically filled in by the server be editable by the user? What if you want to add a source-citation from the site, but to have the link go to the actual image of a record instead of the purported 'record' ( extract from a record)?

  5. Many of my sources come from microfilm (which may or may not have now been digitized by the church. Will there be a way to cite those? Will there be a way to attach scanned images of documents I possess?

  6. Genealogy Grammy,

    IMPORTANT: familysearch should NOT be your Primary data storage. Your family can have all the correct info if you give it to them on Legacy, Ancestry Quest, or PAF, etc. The goals of familysearch is long reaching. We [our generation] just happen to be part of the infant developmental stage. Our children will see a more refined, more glitch free and more sleek version as time goes on. It is a work in progress.

  7. Recently, I have had a few genealogy people insist that FamilySearch has no intention of making it possible to upload images to the FamilyTree.

    I have heard from people who attend Riverton Family History seminars that the feature is coming. Some missionaries/directors have even told me they've seen image upload demonstrated even though it is not in the beta yet.

    Why would said employee insist so strongly that there is no intent to create such a feature and that it is not possible that a demo was ever shown?

  8. PS. I forgot to clarify that the person who told me this will not happen is an employee of FamilySearch. A missionary of FamilySearch or a volunteer or someone who is very involved at least said the same thing. (We were speaking as FamilySearch volunteers about the topic of FamilyTree)

  9. Dear Michael,

    Look for a response to your question in the Monday Mailbox of 20 August 2012 (subject to change).

    --The Insider


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