Thursday, May 16, 2013

#NGS2013 – FamilySearch Family Tree, An Item or Two

Ron Tanner of FamilySearchA lot of expert, accredited, certified genealogists present at the annual conference of the National Genealogical Society. I learn a lot.

Not to be left out of the initialism crowd, Ron Tanner, product manager at FamilySearch, added some of his own. He is “Ron Tanner, POFT, OAG, F4:1.” He explained that these stand for Product Owner of Family Tree, Observer of All Genealogists, and Father of 4 with 1 grandchild.

In his session, “FamilySearch FamilyTree: Documenting the World’s Genealogy,” Tanner made a case for a unified, shared, world tree. Without one, there is a lot of duplication of research. It is difficult to continually compare your tree with all the other pedigrees out on several websites. “What will happen to your online tree when you are gone?” he asked. “Who will take over your work?” FamilySearch is expert in preservation. With Family Tree, your work is preserved in the vault.

I’ve already written about much of what Tanner presented. Here’s an item or two that may be new to you.

The history list keeps track of the last 50 people you have worked on. You can quickly jump to any one of them by selecting their name.

The pedigree is a little bit different because it shows couples together, This allows more people to be shown on the screen.

FamilySearch Family Tree pedigree shows couples together

“Our goal is to make it easier to change data back, than what it takes to change it,” said Tanner. Family Tree allows undoing changes with the click of a button. This addresses the problem in New FamilySearch (NFS) where cleaning up problems took hours and reverting to the erroneous state took seconds.

An original design goal of Family Tree was that every change required an explanation. But some users wanted to edit the explanation associated with the previous change. “[We asked ourselves,] ‘Do we make people add a new reason or let them edit the last reason?’” said Tanner. “We decided to let you edit the last reason.” In my mind this essentially changes the objective from explaining the change to explaining the value. That’s OK, though.

Tomorrow I’ll talk about the future plans for Family Tree.

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