Friday, May 17, 2013

#NGS2013 – Futures for FamilySearch Family Tree

Ron Tanner of FamilySearchWhenever possible, I attend sessions presented by product managers so I can report on the future plans that they often reveal. (Too bad Ancestry.com product managers rarely present such sessions.) In this regard Ron Tanner’s presentation at the 2013 annual conference of the National Genealogical Society did not disappoint.

For the most part, he didn’t give too much guidance on when these features might be seen. “Sooner or later, or later than that,” he said.

Family Tree will soon have printable family group sheets and pedigree charts. When? The release is being held up by translation into 10 languages. Product managers are considering not waiting, releasing English sooner.

In a few weeks or so they’ll add the ability to take any photograph and make a source out of it.

Family Tree is currently in a transition phase with synchronization occurring between Family Tree and NFS. “Today, if a combine is not allowed in NFS, then we are not allowing a merge in Family Tree,” said Tanner. “Once we can separate the two, then you’ll be able to do the merge.”

Family Tree will soon support notes on ancestors and the notes over in NFS will be copied over. The notes will support up to 10,000 characters, allowing long proof statements.

FamilySearch is going to bring over all your sources from NFS. Tanner later said something I partially missed, so I’m not certain I understood it correctly. I thought he said FamilySearch is going to send a survey to those with sources in NFS asking if they want their sources migrated. If they so indicate, the sources will be placed in their source box.

Family Tree doesn’t support attaching sources or reasons to living persons. They are not yet full-fledged citizens of Family Tree, residing exclusively in NFS. Consequently, these new features of Family Tree will not be supported for living persons until they are fully implemented.

Tanner wants to add quality indicators to Family Tree. These would flag basic pedigree errors like

  • birth after death
  • death after burial
  • person died young and has spouse
  • birth before mother/father birth
  • birth before mother/father was 12
  • birth after mother died
  • death before marriage date
  • marriage date before person is 12

FamilySearch will match records in historical record collections to ancestors in the tree.

They are going to add a report abuse button that allows you to report someone who keeps reverting changes and won’t read notes and won’t discuss. “If they won’t cooperate we will delete their account.”

They are working on the watch notification timing. They may allow change notification to occur in as little as 5 minutes.

They are adding Helper capability to Family Tree. It allows someone to sign in as someone else—with their permission—without that other person disclosing their password.

He is thinking about implementing toggle war detection. If a value gets changed back and forth too many times the system would automatically lock it for some time, say two weeks. It would tell the combatants to let their emotions cool down and to enter into a discussion as to what is the right value.

He is thinking about implementing an “Is Accurate” designation that could be applied to an ancestor once he was largely complete and unanimously regarded as accurate. The designation would make it harder to change information about that ancestor.

FamilySearch is working on a way to help attach census records to an entire family and minimize the amount of work required.

They are also discussing what to do to support DNA results.

Not every Family Tree user has chosen to make their email address visible. Tanner would like an internal messaging system built so people can send messages to them and everyone else.

I look forward to seeing these features, no matter how many months or years it takes. Thanks, Ron.

7 comments:

  1. Ancestry Insider, you stated in your post:

    Too bad Ancestry.com product managers are no longer allowed to present such sessions.

    And I'm not sure why you would say that. We didn't get on the schedule for NGS, that is true, but we are presenting multiple times at SoCal and also at FGS. And there were many presentations in the booth.

    Just curious as to where this information came from.

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    1. I don't recall the last time the search or tree product managers (the two key areas of the web offering) have presented regular sessions at NGS, FGS or the regionals I frequent (NERGC, UGA, BYU, and St. George Expo).

      However, I concede your point, given the awesome Ancestry.com RootsTech keynotes, and some by-invitation-only events at one or two of these conferences. They have contained the sort of information I typically get from rank-and-file FamilySearch product managers in ordinary sessions.

      --The Insider

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  2. Ancestry Insider,

    Thanks for this information from Ron Tanner's talk at NGS. I didn't attend, so I appreciate you sharing what he said about FamilySearch.

    I want you to know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at http://janasgenealogyandfamilyhistory.blogspot.com/2013/05/follow-friday-fab-finds-for-may-17-2013.html

    Have a great weekend!

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  3. Fantastic ideas. When I started doing my research I thought those safeguards were already in place. As I have gone back through, I noticed a large number of these errors in my records so have had to trim the tree, so to speak.

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  4. Hallelujah to "FamilySearch is working on a way to help attach census records to an entire family and minimize the amount of work required." Oh yeah... so much easier.

    "Not every Family Tree user has chosen to make their email address visible. Tanner would like an internal messaging system built so people can send messages to them and everyone else." This would be really nice.

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  5. Great post. Thanks for letting us know. I just started updating my information into FamilySearch trees. It is slow going, but i think worthwhile. Just wish sourcing was easier, so will need to go back and do more of it. I figure they have to keep making that part easier.

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  6. Hi,
    I am fairly new to this--what is NFS? "Family Tree is currently in a transition phase with synchronization occurring between Family Tree and NFS."

    Kim

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