What’s New on FamilySearch.org—May 2015, Part 2

May 11, 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.

Community Trees Collection Added to Genealogies

A new high-quality collection called Community Trees has been added to Genealogies on Familysearch.org. Community Trees is a growing set of more than 120 location-specific trees compiled by skilled genealogists using all the records available for the specific localities. These trees have extensive sources and should have a low error and duplication rate.

To search for an ancestor in Community Trees, do the following:

  1. At the top of the page, hover your cursor over Search.
  2. In the drop-down list, click Genealogies.
  3. On the Genealogies search page, enter the information about your ancestor.
  4. At the bottom of the screen, click the Add
  5. In the drop-down list, click Community Trees.

Updated Genealogies Search Form

The search form for Genealogies now looks and functions more like the search form for historical records. A panel on the right describes the collections included in the Genealogies search. When more collections are added to Genealogies, you will see them in the right panel.

If you click the All button at the bottom of the form, you see a drop-down list that lets you search a specific collection.

Refine the Search Results in Genealogies

When you search Genealogies, on the left side of the screen, the system displays how many records were found in each collection.

If you do not want to see all of the records found, under Refine your search, click the collection or collections you want to see. (You can choose more than one collection.) The system puts a check mark by the collections you choose and then displays the results from only those collections. (In this example, if you click Pedigree Resource File, you will see just the 29 records from the Pedigree Resource File.)

The quality and format of the data in Genealogies varies. Users have often expressed a desire to be able to choose which collections they search. Now you can choose collections before you do a search, or you can search and then use the Filter to see the records from a specific collection.

Updated Genealogies Record Details Page

In Genealogies, when you click a search result, you see the details for that record. Those details are now displayed like the landscape view in Family Tree, with similar navigation. If a record includes multiple generations of a family, you will see the generations in a landscape format. The information for the person is displayed in a panel on the left side. The collection that has the record is described in a green bar across the top of the page.

New Campaign: Ancestors in Obituaries

Obituaries are fun to read, especially the ones about your ancestors. Obituaries may also contain names of family members who have not been added to Family Tree. A new effort to promote family history has identified about a million patrons who have ancestors in the following obituary collections:

  • United States, Obituaries, American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, 1899-2012
  • Idaho, Southeast Counties Obituaries, 1864-2007
  • Idaho, Southern Counties Obituaries, 1943-2013
  • ObitsUtah Obituary Index
  • Utah, Obituaries from Utah Newspapers, 1850-2005

The patrons will be sent an email to encourage them to read and learn from the obituaries, attach the records to the Tree, and add names of family members to the Tree.

The emails are being sent out in stages to keep from overwhelming the site. So far, we have sent 100,000 emails. Over 15% of the patrons have clicked to discover their ancestors in the obituaries.

Improvements to the Online My Family: Stories That Bring Us Together

  1. Auto-Save Stories

As stories are added to the booklet, they are now auto-saved. This lets you walk away in the middle of writing a story and come back without losing your work.

  1. Use Existing Photos from Others

You can now add your own photos of ancestors or use a photo that was uploaded by someone else for that same ancestor. This helps to prevent duplicate photos being added for the same ancestor.

  1. PDF Cover and Introduction Pages

As you generate a PDF version of your online booklet, the standard cover page associated with the printed booklet is available. In addition, a personalized introduction page is added that indicates who supplied the data for the PDF booklet.

  1. Handling Duplicates

As you enter ancestor information in the online booklet, FamilySearch.org checks to see if that ancestor may already be in Family Tree and notifies you of potential matches. If you select a match, the ancestor is linked to the information and the families already in Family Tree. The person’s ancestors will be copied into the online booklet.

Request to Remove a Living Record

You can request to have a record containing living information removed from the Historical Records. This option is available only for the California Birth and US Public Record collections.

To request to have a record of a living person removed, click Get Help, and click Request to Remove Living Record. You can then fill out and submit a form requesting to have the record removed.

Requests can only be made one record at a time. The system helps you by filling in some of the critical information needed to remove the record. Information is removed only for the specific record requested.

Duplicate Historical Records Are Being Retired

Many users have noticed that they often see hints and search results that look like duplicates of the same indexed record. After years of managing these records across many different systems, a small amount of duplication has crept into the databases. We are keeping the ones with the most data and retiring the duplicate records. This removes the duplicates from search results and hints.

If you have linked to a duplicate historical record that has been retired from the system, you see a message at the top of the page. The message has a prominent link to guide you to the surviving record. The link that was created for the retired record will continue to be displayed, but all the tools that allow you to take action on the record (such as Attach, Save, and Print) are removed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Could we get a list of communities?
    We ask a year ago if we could not do Warren County but have not heard back.


  2. How is the remove a record for a living individual going to impact things like the 1940 Census? Will it just remove the index entry for the living person or will it remove the entire record for the whole family? How about in births or marriages where one of the parties is dead but the other is alive? Is only the living person going to be pulled or the complete record including all names associated with it?

  3. I am so excited that familysearch is growing so fast. It is amazing to see all of the changes. In just 5 years things have become so much easier to do. I can’t wait to see what it will be like in 5 years from now.

  4. You just came out with the genealogy community just about the time I started recording public records, the 1940 census, and obituaries in composition books and a business note book. It makes my task so much easier now we have genealogy communities.

  5. Please help me. I do not understand where to go to find the genealogy information that used to be under the Community Trees Project.

  6. I want to set up a new Tryon, NC Community Tree for the Town of 2000. Managed by the Tryon Archival Research Center
    I need guidance to establish this site.

    1. Hi Gerald! Please contact FamilySearch Support for assistance. Select Visit the FamilySearch Community or search for your geographical area and select “Live Chat Support” or “Live Phone Support”.