Thursday, December 12, 2013 November 2013 User Newsletter

In its November 2013 user newsletter, FamilySearch said a number of interesting things.


CEO, Dennis Brimhall responded to criticisms that the website changes too much. “It can be very difficult for those of us who didn’t grow up using the tools of technology to keep up with this ever-evolving revolution,” said Brimhall. He said that FamilySearch has to balance the human cost of change with the benefits that those changes bring.

“We never change just for the sake of change,” Brimhall said. “Our intent is that each change makes it easier for you to find a record, a photograph, or a story that helps you find your ancestors. If we can do that, then we will be happy with the changes we bring about—and be confident you will be, too.”

You can read the complete text of Brimhall’s message on the FamilySearch blog.

FamilySearch Drop-down Menu

Site Navigation

Currently, navigating around the site can be less than optimal. As I’ve mentioned, they recently added a site map. The newsletter gave a sneak peak at an upcoming user interface change designed to make navigation easier. The change will provide a drop-down menu if you hover over the current navigation buttons, as shown in the illustration to the right.

The newsletter reminded users of the upcoming RootsTech conference. “Whether attendees are just beginning their family history, an avid hobbyist, or an experienced researcher, RootsTech has something for everyone.” For more information, see “Announcing RootsTech 2014 Registration and Limited Time Discount” on the FamilySearch blog.

FamilySearch Indexing

The newsletter revealed more details about future changes to the FamilySearch Indexing program. “Everything in the new indexing system—including the actual indexing tool—will be available on through current web browsers,” wrote product manager, Scott Flinders. “You will no longer be required to download a separate desktop application or go to a separate website to participate in indexing.” Flinders wrote that they are targeting desktop, laptop, and tablet computers. “We have found that smartphones don’t have a large enough screen to provide an optimal indexing experience, so support for those devices will be limited to viewing informational pages.”

FamilySearch will be adding a new “My Indexing page.” (Better not tell Ron Tanner. He’s finally making headway on getting users to replace the word “my” with “our.” :-) Your My Indexing page will show the batches you are working on, messages you have received, progress you are making, groups you are a member of, and activities and achievements of yourself and your friends.

Future Indexing ToolThe indexing program itself will roll out in stages throughout 2014. The illustration to the right is called a “mockup.” That means it is suggestive of how the tool might look. When it is eventually released, it may or not look like this.

You will be able to use the indexing tool directly from the indexing project page or from the project list. All the familiar data entry methods and toolbars will be present, as well as new ones.

Batch selection will allow more than just project selection. You will be able to look into certain projects and pick by location or time period.

For more information, see “The Future of Indexing” on the FamilySearch blog.

I would give you a link to see the entire newsletter on a webpage, but I can’t find a way to do so without giving out my private email address. Can somebody at FamilySearch fix that? Until such time, you’ll have to settle with the links that I have provided.


  1. In the past 12 months my familysearch usage has gone from every day to when I think of it status. This newest change will no doubt lower it past the "when I think of it" slot. I started with familysearch back in my learning days. I won't have it in my bookmarks at the end. I can't spend the time fiddling around learning a site's NEW!! format every 6 months. Do you really think this is going to suck more YOUNG people in? And while I have your attention; why tell me the item I'm looking for is at a pay per view site? Either YOU have it or YOU DON'T.

  2. All of the various "genealogy" websites have become more competitiveness marketing efforts. The result is recycling of the same info, trying to get money from often limited pocketbooks, and the absolutely horrid transcription of records whether by machine or human effort.

    I am a very senior citizen and am no longer able to travel to far away areas of this country where my ancestors lived. I'm told not to rely on printed or online records, but need to consult the real thing. So, I wish I could have really reliable transcriptions/images of those distant records.


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