6 Things to Look for in FamilySearch in 2017

January 9, 2017  - by 
6 Things to look for in FamilySearch in 2017

Worldwide interest in online genealogy services and activities will continue to grow solidly in 2017. And FamilySearch plans to play a major role in creating millions of new, fun family discoveries and online connections. Here are 6 exciting developments to look forward to from FamilySearch in 2017, a global leader in free online family history services.

1. Personalized Dashboard

Now available in 2017, if you log in to your free FamilySearch account today, you will be greeted with your own, customized home page full of interesting, relevant activity feeds, notifications, and suggestions on your personal dashboard. The more you work on your personal FamilySearch family tree, the more new, applicable content the system will automatically send to you through your dashboard throughout the year. In other words, it continues to work for you even when you’re not.

New features include:

  • Recommended Tasks. “Next-step” suggestions for specific ancestors in FamilySearch Family Tree that can lead to new discoveries.
  • Ancestor Hints. As millions of new historical records are added to FamilySearch weekly, the savvy search engine maps them against your Family Tree. High probability matches are presented for your consideration as “hints” on your dashboard. Keep checking back to see what new information it has been dug up on your ancestors. Add it to your ancestor’s source page.
  • Recent Ancestors. Forgot what you did the last time you visited your tree? Your new dashboard will automatically keep track of the ancestors you are researching each time and create a list that makes it easy to pick up where you left off a few minutes ago or during a previous visit.
  • To-do Lists. Make quick notes in this convenient new feature to help you remember what you want to do on your next visit to your Family Tree. Jot short reminder notes about records to search, people to contact, photos or documents to upload and add to an ancestor’s profile, or personal and family stories you want to capture for posterity in the Memories feature.
  • To-do Cards. See fun new photos, stories, and relevant documents about your ancestors that have been recently added by other family members and cousins to your collective family tree. It’s a fun way to identify relatives who are currently working on your family lines and make new discoveries or connections with extended family members.

Learn more about this new custom logged-in experience.

2. New and improved Mobile Apps

FamilySearch’s two mobile apps—FamilySearch Family Tree and FamilySearch Memories—will see cool new updates. Users will be able to search Ancestry.com from the convenience of the FamilySearch mobile app. Imagine being able to search the two largest online sources of family history records from your mobile device! A new descendancy view feature will give users the ability to create notes for specific ancestors, easily see a log of any changes made by others, and download user-contributed memories (Memories app). Multiple windows in the Family Tree app will significantly increase the speed of research from mobile devices.

3. Improved Searching

The FamilySearch.org search engine is already best-in-class, but in 2017, users will notice even faster search results from newly published historic records worldwide, and quicker hints from those new records and user-contributed trees.

4. New Indexing Tools

“We are really excited to launch the web-based version of our successful indexing software in 2017,” said Craig Miller, FamilySearch’s Senior Vice President of Product Development and Engineering.  “It will be easy to use and will work on any digital device with a web browser (excluding cell phones), eliminating the need to download the indexing software. That means more volunteers worldwide will be able to contribute in making more of the world’s historical records searchable by name online, and more quickly.”

Indexing is the nifty, web-based tool FamilySearch volunteers use to make hundreds of millions of historic records worldwide searchable by name for free online each year. These indexes are the secret ingredient to your ability to discover ancestral connections online quickly and easily. Additional innovations to the tool in 2017 will include more rapid completion of tasks, improved help, and even automated indexing for some record sets (obituaries) which means more records searchable at your fingertips, faster.

5. New Discovery Experiences

The Family History Library in Salt Lake City is a top tourist attraction for the state of Utah. In February, 2017, FamilySearch will open a wonderful, state-of-the-art Discovery Experience attraction on the Library’s main floor. The new feature will enable guests to have fun, large-as-life personal discovery experiences with their family history using the latest technologies. Similar discovery experiences will be implemented in select locations worldwide in 2017.

6. More Free Historic Records

Over 330 FamilySearch digital camera teams worldwide will digitally preserve 125–150 million historical records in 2017 for free online access. Another 200 million images will be added from FamilySearch’s microfilm conversion project that uses 25 specialized machines to convert its vast microfilm collection at its Granite Mountain Records Vault for online access. Over 30 percent of the 2.4 million rolls of microfilm have already been digitized and published online. The digital collections can be located in the FamilySearch catalog online and by perusing collection lists by location.

FamilySearch’s online community of volunteers will be focused on creating searchable name indexes to two major collections in the United States (marriage records and immigration records that will include passenger lists, border crossings, and naturalization petitions), and core record collections from select high priority countries.

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    1. I have a similar question that Bernard Ram asked: Is it true that FamilySearch has sold their census records to Ancestry? — and does this mean that census records cannot be viewed from FamilySearch but that we will have to search the census from Ancestry?

        1. FamilySearch believes in moving forward the work of family history even if that means sharing resources with our partners. I don’t believe FamilySearch actually sells any kind of records to anyone. Occasionally we will assist other organizations with their indexing projects, which may be the case here. Depending on the project and the organization, the completed indexing project may not immediately become available on FamilySearch. I’m not really an expert on those matters but that is how I understand it. I can tell you for sure that everything FamilySearch does is for the benefit of those seeking out their ancestors. That is most evident by the fact that their services are offered for free around the world.

    1. When you sign in, you will see your name in the top right corner. Click on it and then click settings. You will then be able to change your email address when you select the “contact” tab.

  1. “What are ‘high priority’ countries? I’d love to see more from those small places around Torino, Italy – and Torino from 1891-1908 – don’t have to be transcribed – I’m learning to read the ones in Italian very well. lol Castellamonte, Bairo, can’t remember them all. Also records from Carasco, Genoa, Liguria,Italy from 1800-1860. I love this site – use it all the time for Italy and several states in the US. I do appreciate all the work that is done to get these records online!

  2. It is encouraging to see progress in creating digital images from the collection of microfilms. Hopefully, it will be possible to call up the images of a whole film and scan through them, as that could reveal connections that a simple transcript of an entry and a link to its image could not reveal – in a similar way to scanning through all the transcripts from a film used to do.

  3. Suggest you invite Steve and Barbara Young (as in ex-pro football star) to speak at the 2018 Roots Tech. I think Steve’s comments on his family tree — and inherent challenges — would be extremely interesting as would be Barbara’s comments on her family tree progress and famous ancestors and cousins she has discovered since joining the Church and before marrying Steve. Steve and I are fifth cousins once removed (Moses Bicknell and Huldah Field are the common ancestors, by the way. .