Thursday, August 4, 2011

The July 2011 Release of FamilySearch.org

A new version of the FamilySearch.org website was released last week and Kehrer showed several new features at the recent 2011 BYU Family History Conference.

FamilySearch added features to the list of historical record collections. As soon as you start typing in the search box, the titles displayed are filtered down to just those containing what you’re typing. For example, I typed in “par.” The number of listed collections dropped from 681 to 21 containing one of the words parish, Paraguay, or departure. Adding an i dropped the list to 18 parish register collections.

I selected United Kingdom as a location to further filter the list. Unfortunately, adding a place, date, or collection type clears the title filter. That’s annoying. I retyped “pari” and found that filtering by United Kingdom dropped the number of titles from 18 to 6. Additional filters are available for time frame, record type, and image collections.

Kehrer also showed that clicking on one of the column headers (Title, Records, and Last Updated) sorts the results using that column. This is handy. (I hope in the future FamilySearch will allow clicking a column a second time to reverse the sort order.)

Filter and sort FamilySearch.org record collections list

The July release contains updated releases of two classic FamilySearch record collections: Ancestral File and Pedigree Resource File (PRF). Ancestral File on Classic.FamilySearch.org contained about 25 million records. The new release contains 40 million. The additional records come from Ancestral File submissions made before the program was shut down, but after the last release. The last version of PRF on Classic contained 120 million records. This latest release on FamilySearch.org contains 200 million records. This release was refreshed from the original submissions.

I appreciate the efforts to improve the source citations for these collections. An insider tells me that they are consulting with industry expert, Elizabeth Shown Mills. Because of increased privacy concerns FamilySearch can no longer include a key piece of information: the submitter. This further erodes the value of these large, suspect collections. Information providence is essential in judging evidence strength.

I understand that FamilySearch.org is trying to give us every reason to move from Classic to the latest FamilySearch.org. A 66% increase in the size of the Ancestral File and the Pedigree Resource File is a pretty big carrot for users of these record collections. Now if they only had pedigree and family group charts…

2 comments:

  1. Dear Readers,

    Oops. I scheduled this article for release on Thursday and didn't notice until now that it failed to go out. No matter; here is yesterday's article.

    -- The Insider

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  2. I appreciate your observations and comments. It helps me to keep up to date with what is happening. Just a note: the column sort on FamilySearch Record Collections is not new, It has been there for some time. It is a very convenient way to quickly look at all the new and updated collections.

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