What’s New on FamilySearch—August, 2015

August 7, 2015  - by 

Each month, FamilySearch publishes a list of new changes and updates to the FamilySearch.org website. This list includes changes to Family Tree as well as other parts of FamilySearch.org. In some cases, these changes will also be published as individual articles where the need to do so exists.



Recently Released

300,000 Places Added to the Place Dictionary

As you add a place, Family Tree displays places from the place dictionary that might match what you are entering. As soon as you see the place you need in the list, you can click it, and the system fills in the rest of the location. This saves you time typing, helps you spell the name of the place correctly, and enters a complete location.

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For example, if your source indicates a couple married in Rosario, Argentina, you can click the place in the list to enter a complete location.

A new and dramatically improved version of the place dictionary has been added to Family Tree. It has 300,000 additional locations. Because the new version is a web service, in the future, we can add places, and they will immediately display in the lists you see.

Updates to the Family Members Section

The Family Members section of a person’s details page has been updated to match the new Landscape view. To edit the relationships, you can click the icon that is always visible for the person. Tablet users will appreciate that the icon is always available. We also added a silhouette so that in the future, we can display portraits on this view.

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This change is the first in a series of improvements we are making to manage relationships. Stay posted!

Adding a Child on the Landscape View

You can now add children using the landscape view.

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  1. Under the parents’ names, click Children. An Add Child link appears at the bottom of the drop-down list.
  2. Click Add Child.
  3. Fill in the information about the child.
  4. Click Next, and follow the steps to see if the child is already in Family Tree.

Tip: If the child is in Family Tree and you know the ID number, it is faster to click Find by ID Number.

Recently Added Features on the FamilySearch Mobile App

Watch and Unwatch Toggle

You can be notified when another user adds or changes information or memories for a person in Family Tree. Just tap the Watch option to get notifications.

This helps keep you up to date on the information about the ancestors you are working on. When you no longer want to be notified about that person, just tap the Unwatch option.

Delete a Person

You can now delete a person you added by mistake. You can delete a person only if you added the person and you are the only contributor of information for that person.

Search Records

When you are viewing information about a person in Family Tree, tap Search Records to get a list of available records for that person. You can expand each record and search for more source information.

New Memory Artifact Notifications

You can receive notifications from FamilySearch.org when a photo, story, or audio file is uploaded or updated for people in your scope of interest. (The scope of interest is 4 generations of ancestors and 1 generation of their descendants.) On an Android device, just tap the item to view it. On an iOS device, the notifications are under the Today items.

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Tag Photos in the iOS Tree App

You can now tag people in a photo using the iOS version of Family Tree. Previously, this was only available in the Memories app.

Manage Couple Events

You can now use the mobile app to edit, add, or delete couple events, such as marriage, divorce, etc.

Memories: The Updated People Page

The updated People page in Memories has been released to all users. To see the page, go to FamilySearch.org, click Memories at the top of the screen, and in the drop-down list, click People.

Here are some of the updates:

  • The page has a new look.
  • Family Tree automatically displays all the people in your scope of interest who have memories attached to them. (The scope of interest is 4 generations of ancestors and 1 generation of their descendants.)
  • To change the category of people you see, click the arrows for Show at the top of the page, and click a category.

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You now easily discover more information about the people displayed on the page:

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  • The person’s life span has been added.
  • The gray thumbnails of pictures behind the person’s portrait indicate more memories for the person. Click the person to go to the page that displays all the memories that have been added. Even if you don’t see thumbnails of more photos, click the person to see if other users have added stories or documents.
  • Click the star to be notified when information or memories are changed or added for the person. To quit being notified of changes, just click the star
  • Click View My Relationship to see how you are related to the person.


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Thumbnails of Original Records

Several places in FamilySearch.org display a photo icon or thumbnail. It means you can see an image of the original document online if you click the icon.

In response to requests from users, FamilySearch.org has replaced the generic thumbnail with a thumbnail of the original document. This informs users of the type of document to expect before they click to view it.

Be sure to click the icon and view the document images for your ancestor’s records. Original records often include information that wasn’t indexed. (For example, the 1900 census tells you how many children a woman had and how many were still living.) Indexers try to be as accurate as possible, but sometimes you can read the original record better than the indexer because you know the name you are looking for.

Additionally, the information about the image is now presented below the thumbnail in a clear and easy-to-read table. The person’s indexed data and household data has also been re-organized to make it faster to read and understand.

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Find Out More about Your Name and the World When You Were Born

This project is an attempt to take one of the kiosk applications in the Discovery Center and create a similar experience on the web. You will most likely see additional engaging features on the Home Page when you log in.

To learn more about your name and the year you were born, go to: https://familysearch.org/campaign/discover.

You’ll see links to 3 web pages:

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Tip: If you sign in to FamilySearch.org, the system will fill in your birth year and name for you.

Birth Year Summary

Enter the year you were born, and the page shows you population statistics, the price of gas, and the price of a first-class stamp for that year. As you scroll down the page, you can see photos related to that year that have been contributed by the FamilySearch community. You’ll see additional facts about sports events and entertainment. There’s also a list of famous people who were born or died that year.

Try putting in the years that other members of your family were born, and see how the world has changed.

Name Meaning

Learn about the history of your name.

  1. On the Name Meaning page, enter your first and last name.
  2. To see all the information, click the circle for the First Name. Then click the circle for the Last Name.

Name Popularity

See how many people in the United States were given your first name in the year you were born, and see which states they were born in.

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Reserve and Manage Temple Ordinances from a Person’s Details Page

You can now print, share with the temple, share with family or friends, and unreserve ordinances from the Ordinances tab on a person’s details page. This will help those who have a large reservation list easily see the status of a person’s ordinances that they have reserved.

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This also encourages those with large lists to share their reservations with others. Eventually, in North America, reservations that were made more than 2 years ago will be released.

Pioneers: Past and Present

In July, FamilySearch added two new pages: one to celebrate the fact that we are all pioneers with a legacy to leave, and one to honor the early Mormon pioneers and share their stories (in collaboration with the Church History Library).

These pages are for all members. You are invited to view an inspirational video about modern pioneers, read stories about pioneers around the world, log in to FamilySearch to share your legacy, and join the global conversation using #IAmAPioneer at https://familysearch/Iamapioneer.

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The Pioneer Heritage page helps you learn more about early pioneers. It includes stories from the pioneer trail. You can choose a company and see a map of the trail and the major events they experienced on the trip. Go to https://familysearch.org/pioneers.

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If you have ancestors who were early pioneers, you will also see a list of the pioneers and the companies they were in. Click the links to learn more about their experiences.

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You can access these pages at:

The pages have been promoted in the LDS First Presidency email, on LDS.org, in local newspapers and TV, through several Church social channels, and by many others through social media. The pages are also being shared through the FamilySearch blog and in a FamilySearch email outreach campaign.


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  1. Steve

    Would be grateful if you could restart the practice of notifying patrons (here in the Blog) when new / updated collections become available in FamilySearch – nothing posted since May.

  2. Thanks a million! These are great and much anticipated updates.

    I appreciate all the folks who had to work hard to bring them to us.

  3. Is there any way to add a tab to sources, when it is a duplicate you already have listed. I see many, many duplicate sources on my Family Tree. Thank you.

  4. Great new and exciting things to get people interested in their past and recording their own story.
    I have one request on “View my Relationship”. My grandmother’s sister should have the relationship “great aunt”, not Daughter (I know she’s the daughter of the man above, but it’s supposed to show my relationship) This can be confusing to people.

  5. I am working in Sweden. Family Search currently puts the place name as city, county, state for example Julita, Södermanland, Sweden. Yet in Julita there are two different books of household records each with more that 150 farms where people lived. To make it easier to find someone it should read more like farm, Rote, parish, county, state for example Leby Öfvergård, Leby Rote, Julita, Södermanland, Servige (Sweden). Now I can go right to the area they were living in instead of having to go page by page to find them. I would love to see Family Search update place names to account for how different places give names for areas

  6. Me encanta todo lo nuevo ,pero para mi gusto la letra de todo lo de FamilySearch es muy pequeña y me cuesta mucho para trabajar en historia familiar. le agradecería que la vuelvan al tamaño normal .Todo lo demas que hacen es fantástico.Gracias.

    1. English Translation:

      I love all of this news, but for my liking the letters of everything in FamilySearch is very small and it is hard for me to work in family history. I would be very grateful if you returned everything to a normal size. Everything else that you do is fantastic. Thanks.

      Ada, ud. puede agrandar el tamaño de las letras en su propio computadora. Sabe como hacerlo?