What’s New in FamilySearch—September, 2015

August 27, 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.





Messaging on FamilySearch.org

FamilySearch Family Tree is a collaborative pedigree that enables people to work together. A key ingredient of that collaboration is the ability to make changes, updates, and additions and the capability to carry on a conversation with those you are working with. That conversation just got a lot easier.

A new user-to-user messaging system called FamilySearch Messaging has launched. This has been one of our most commonly requested features. The new messaging system connects users within a private network and displays the users’ contact name (the name the users have chosen to display in FamilySearch.org). Messaging keeps the email addresses private for those users who have chosen not to display an email address but gives others a way to contact them.

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How It Works

Think of it like text messaging on FamilySearch.org. Go to a person’s details page, and click a piece of information. If the information was ever modified, the system shows the contact name of the user who modified the information. You can initiate a conversation with that user by clicking the Send a Message link.

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For example, if you discover some new vital information (such as birth, marriage, or death) added by another user and have a question or want to know more, you can send the user a message. To do so, do the following:

  1. Click the user’s contact name. The user’s contact card will pop up.
  2. Click the new Send a Message link with the paper airplane icon. A message window appears. FamilySearch fills in the To field with the user’s contact name and the About field with a link to the deceased person’s details page in Family Tree. Tip: If you want to remove the information in the About field, click Remove.
  3. Fill in the subject and the message.
  4. Click Send. The system sends an email notification to the person receiving the FamilySearch message.

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You can track the conversation, text-message-style, by clicking the new Messages link in the top right corner of the home page.

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A Show All link appears.

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Click Show All to see the messages panel where you can read, reply to, or delete any of the messages you have received or sent. Tip: You need to sign in for the Messages link to appear.

Improved 110-Year Rule Request Permission Form

To reserve temple ordinances for a deceased person who was born in the last 110 years, you need to be one of the person’s closest living relatives or obtain permission from one of the person’s closest living relatives. Then you fill in a form certifying that you have requested and received permission. The form has been improved to better accommodate Latter-day Saints members all over the world.

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How to Search for a Specific Type of Record for a Specific Place

When doing a new search, when you enter information you want to find (such as marriage information), you may be surprised to see census records or death certificates in the search results. That happens because the census record and death certificate contain some marriage information. But sometimes you may want to look for a person in a specific type of record for a specific place (for example, Henry Huff in marriage records for Nova Scotia, Canada). To do that, use the restrict records feature in Search:

  1. Near the top of the screen, click Search.
  2. In the Search form, enter the information about the person.
  3. Go to the Restrict Records by section, and enter the country. Then click in the empty box labeled State or Province. A list appears of the provinces, states, departments, or whatever large division is used by the country you are searching in.

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  1. In the list, click the place whose records you want to see.
  2. To look for a specific type of record, click Type.
  3. Click the type of record you want.

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The system will give you search results for only those types of records where the primary event on the record is from that place.

Searching is Now Available in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean

The FamilySearch.org search engines now allow you to do searches in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. This means you can search the existing Asian records on the website using Chinese, Japanese, and Korean characters and see the results with the same rules and rankings currently enjoyed by other researchers.

This helps you search current patron-submitted genealogies, and it will make searching record collections easier as they are indexed and published in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.

Search Enhancements for Searching Chinese, Japanese, and Korean Records

The main search page for historical records has been enhanced in four ways to improve the searching experience for Chinese, Japanese, and Korean records.

The changes include:

  1. The top of the page has direct links to the published Chinese, Japanese, and Korean image-only collections that are available. This helps users get to the records more easily so that they can browse for the records they need.
  2. The Search form was moved down on the page to make room for the links to the published collections. The form is preceded by a message that explains that FamilySearch.org has not published many indexed records for the country and that the search will return records for people with Asian ancestry living abroad.
  3. The Wiki article and scanned books options have been removed from the search drop-down menu at the top of the page and from the Search subnavigation bar, since those options do not exist for those countries at this time.
  4. “Genealogies” was renamed to clarify what records they contain (patron-submitted genealogies). This also helps avoid confusion with the published image-only collections, which are also lineage linked family records.

Search Results Enhancements Now Available for Single Collection Searches

When you click Search at the top of the page and fill in the search form, you get search results from the historical records collections on FamilySearch.org. There have been many enhancements to the search results in previous months. For example, when you click a search result, the result expands to show you the record details right there on the page. Previously, these enhancements were not available if you chose to search only a single collection.

With this release, these recent enhancements are also available on all single collection search results. The search pages on the website were also optimized to fit better on mobile devices.

Auto-indexed Record Feedback

FamilySearch.org has begun publishing collections that contain searchable indexed information that was extracted from images by computers rather than by people. This monumental advancement promises to dramatically increase the indexed information available for the many image-only collections currently published on FamilySearch.org.

While we are developing these automated indexing tools, your feedback on the accuracy of these records will greatly accelerate the improvement of the tools. On auto-indexed records only, you will see a new tab at the bottom labeled “Errors?” When you click Errors?, you will be able to provide direct feedback to the engineer on the type and specific nature of any errors you encounter.


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  1. This is great. I love all that is being done to bless those searching for family.

    I notified those who can fix an error, where they had attached the wrong film, and they were quick in responding. Bless your heart for all you do.

    This is such an exciting time to be alive. I am surely glad all my doctor were wrong. If I had died back then, I would never have been able to see so many of my ancestors obtain that which I was blessed to obtain.

  2. I’ve received an Email from Family Search, ref: 00D301b00H._50030Ywdak:ref It states (BCIESPSS)* Morris Kelvin Richards. The Temple ordinance reservations for the name listed above are NOW AVAILABLE in your Temple reservations list. Does this now mean that I can complete this ordinance work for Morris Richards? It’s not recorded on my Temple Reservation list yet,

  3. Email received, RE: 110 Year Ordinace Request for: (BCIESPSS), * Morris Kelvin Richards (LFK3-J7G). The Temple ordnance reservations for the name listed above is now available in your Temple reservation list. We appreciate your efforts in this important work for the dead. Ref: 00D301b00H._50030Ywdak:ref. Does this mean I can NOW complete this Temple ordinance work?? I’ve checked my reservation list & it’s not on the list yet.

  4. Is there a way that an auto-indexed record is annotated so that we can readily identify it as such? What to look for to differentiate it from records indexed by people?