This is the second in a series of articles about FamilySearch executives’ town hall meeting during RootsTech 2017. Yesterday I published questions and answers pertaining to records. Today the topic is Family Tree.
As I warned yesterday, I didn’t always capture correctly everything that was said. What you’ll read below may or may not bear any resemblance to what was actually said.
Q: What happened with FamilySearch in 2012? A lot of changes in Family Tree are attributed to FamilySearch in that year.
A: Family Tree indicates 2012 because that year we migrated systems. It indicates FamilySearch contributed the information when we don’t know who contributed it. Long ago, back in the 70s and 80s and so forth, we received contributions for which we don’t have a valid user ID in our system. But since we require everything to have an owner, we assigned FamilySearch as the owner.
Q: Will FamilySearch ever have a place to post DNA results?
A: DNA is a valid record type. But we don’t want our Church members to feel like they are expected to spend $100 to fulfil their responsibilities. Having a place for DNA in the system is under advisement.
Q: There were a lot of questions on the ability of sharing living records. Why can’t we see living persons in FamilySearch.org? When are we going to have shared spaces for living persons?
A: We are currently inventing that new feature. It is going to be awhile because it is a big job to preserve privacy while allowing sharing, to keep private all those who wish to remain private, and make public all those who wish to be public. There’s a lot of legal work to do. There’s a lot of coding to do. It is going to be awhile. Stay tuned.
This is driven by the principle that individuals and families are the gatherers of their families. Since this is a family effort, lets make sure families can see both deceased and living information so they can do this as a family.
Q: I have added a lot of photos for the living. Why can’t other people see them?
A: The model with sharing will be that you can create a private space and invite people to go into that space. Everyone puts living persons in that space. Those persons are visible to everyone else in the space. A person can be members of multiple private spaces. When someone adds a photo, everyone can have access to the photo.
Q: [I didn’t catch the follow up question or most of the answer.]
A: If you tag a living person in a photograph, then it will be private. [I was a little confused at this point. I think that all photos and documents on FamilySearch are visible to anyone and everyone who has a URL to the photo or document. I think if a photo is tagged to both a living and a deceased person, then anyone can find the photo through the deceased person. What tagging a living person does, is hide the photo from Google’s search engine. At least that’s my understanding.]
Q: Why did you incorporate the name LDS Membership as a source in FamilySearch.org?
A: [Let me take a stab at a more detailed answer to this question than provided by Craig Miller.
You may recall that until June 2016, Family Tree was linked to the backend of the archaic NFS. NFS treated the LDS Church Membership database as if it were an actual user. When that pseudo-user made changes, those changes were attributed to “LDS Church Membership.” That is why FamilySearch incorporated that name as a source of changes in FamilySearch Family Tree.
Incidentally, once the link with NFS was broken, that pseudo-user ceased to exist. It no longer contributes or owns any data in Family Tree.]