On Thursday Craig Miller spoke at the FamilySearch luncheon about “some of the challenges of dealing with family history.”
One issue is duplication of research. You do a lot of work to document a line; you spend countless hours. Only then do you come across the results of someone else researching the same line.
Another issue is the preservation of your work. “It’s all about saving that legacy,” said Miller. You could write a book, but your children may not read it. How do you preserve your research for those that value it?
Long time readers know I’ve taken particular delight in poking fun at FamilySearch for naming a website “new FamilySearch.” I’ve always wondered who picked that name. Thursday I found out.
“I am the man,” said Miller. “I named these websites the way they are.” He said we could blame him. He explained that there were reasons. He didn’t have time to explain them.
Knowing where to start has been a challenge. The consolidation of new FamilySearch and FamilySearch Family Tree eliminates some confusion. For members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the starting place is the same now as for other online Church needs: lds.org. (See https://www.lds.org/topics/family-history.)
Miller then showed slides of a newly designed FamilySearch website. They’ve done some user testing and are simplifying navigation, brightening colors, increasing font size, and improving contrast (all issues I have raised over the years).
FamilySearch.org new website design utilizes warm color palette, photographs, simple icons.
A video shows the same things that Miller showed about the new website design:
The video, along with a description of features, is also available on a page on FamilySearch.org.
In addition to the new fan chart view, they will add a descendency view and other charts in the future.
FamilySearch is adding a feature to assist members of the Church provide temple ordinances for their deceased ancestors. They have added an automated way for them to scan their first four generations of ancestors for the people they’ve added as a quick flow rather than walking the tree manually.
“No one has a help system like us and it’s all free,” said Miller. There are several different ways to get help. Help is available via live chat, phone call, or help center. Help is available for products or for research assistance.
Three or four weeks from now the general public will have access to the photos and stories feature of the new website.
The FamilySearch website addresses challenges confronting family history. It allows people to work together on a common website. It preserves research. At the end of the day we have an ancestor page that is filled out and preserved, said Miller. “The vault isn’t going away. That is where we store the backup tapes.”
“The purpose of FamilySearch is to help families work together to preserve their heritage,” said Miller.