What’s New on FamilySearch—March 2016

March 29, 2016  - 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

Search: Oral Genealogies

A new collection of unique and high-quality data is being added to the Genealogies search. Oral genealogies consist of large lineage-linked trees constructed from the memories of tribal, clan, or family leaders in Africa, Tonga, and other locations. Most trees come with attached audio, PDF, and image artifacts documenting the interviewee and the recorded family history from which the tree was generated. These represent the only family history that will likely be obtained from these locations and are believed to be highly accurate.

To search for an ancestor in the oral genealogies, at the top of the screen, hover your cursor over Search. In the drop-down list, click Genealogies.

FamilySearch oral genealogies

The Search Genealogies screen appears.

FamilySearch oral genealogies

Search: Updated Person Card

The person card displayed on the search pages has been updated. It now matches the person cards that you see in Family Tree. The new card includes the Watch or UnWatch control and the number of Sources, Discussions, and Memories. If you are signed in as an LDS Church member, it also includes temple ordinance status.

FamilySearch person card

Find Your Family Names: A First Time Guide

A new beginner resource card, Find Your Family Names: A First Time Guide is now available to help members find success in their family history efforts. This card and the accompanying online experience provide a simple, guided path to help members get started with their family history and find family names of ancestors who need temple ordinances.

To download a PDF, go to https://familysearch.org/firsttimeguide. You can also order copies from BYU Print Services.

Find Your Family Names: A First Time Guide

Printing Family Ordinance Cards at the Temple

You can now print family ordinance cards at home. However, you can still choose to have the cards printed at the temple. To get cards printed at the temple, you will need the 16-digit number from the Family Ordinance Request. Temple workers in the office will use the number to print the ordinance cards.

There are two ways to get the 16-digit number.

  1. Sign in to FamilySearch.org, and click Temple near the top of the screen. This takes you to your temple reservation list.
  2. Click the boxes by the names you want included in the Family Ordinance Request.
  3. Click the Print button.
  4. You can click Print Family Ordinance Cards or Print an FOR (Family Ordinance Request). Both options create a PDF of the Family Ordinance Request, which includes the 16-digit number.
  • If you click Print Family Ordinance Cards, you will eventually see a page with the cards on it. The page includes the 16-digit number.
  • Print temple ordinance cards at home

  • If you click Print an FOR, you will see a bar code and the number. You can write down the number or print the FOR to take to the temple.

Print temple ordinance cards at home

FamilySearch Research Wiki: Updated

The FamilySearch Research Wiki (https://familysearch.org/wiki/en/Main_Page) has been updated. We have moved to the most current, stable version of WikiMedia. This has made some changes to where you access options on the pages, but we can now correct problems we couldn’t fix in the earlier research wiki platform.

How is it different?

New URL. The wiki now has a new URL (https://familysearch.org/wiki/en/Main_Page)

Navigation on the left. The update moves the navigation to the left side, making it consistent with other wikis using the MediaWiki software.

familysearch wiki
Personal Tools. In the earlier wiki, the Personal Tools option was on the right side. Those options are still available, but now when you sign in, they appear after your name in the top right portion of the screen.

Same articles. All the articles that were in the previous wiki are in the update.

Bookmarks still work. If you’ve bookmarked articles, when you click the bookmark, the system will redirect you to the new page.

New editing tool. When you add information to the wiki, you’ll now be using VisualEditor to format the information when you click the Edit tab. Clicking on the Edit Source tab will still allow you to edit in wikitext.  

All browsers. You can now contribute to the wiki using any popular browser. (Chrome users rejoice!)

New look for the state and country pages. We are in the process of giving a new look to the state and country pages.

FamilySearch Research Wiki: Easy Access to Online Genealogy Records

Did you know the research wiki has a page with links to online genealogy records? The page is easy to get to and easy to use. The links include collections that are not available on FamilySearch.org.

  1. On any research wiki page, look at the navigation on the left.
  2. Click Online Genealogy Records. A page appears with the list of links.
  3. familysearch online genealogy records

  4. Click the country, province, state, or county records you are interested in. The system displays a page with links to the online records for that place. There may be a brief description of contents. If there is a cost to use the records, you will see ($) after the collection name.
  5. familysearch online genealogy records

  6. To go to the records, click the link to the specific record collection.

Coming Soon

When You Change Information, How Many Users Will Be Notified?

Soon, when you edit a person’s information in Family Tree, like birth or occupation, the system will display the number of users who are watching that person. Watching means that users have asked the system to let them know when any changes or additions are made to the person’s information in Family Tree. So when you change the information, that’s how many people will be notified by the system.

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  1. I’m sad to see the first time guide sanction the tedious “find a green icon” game… Familysearch, please fix your egregious bug in not finding duplicates until many sources are attached as you is is causing duplicate templework to be compounded. Please let me help!

    1. To John,

      There is findarecord.com that searches for ordinance work that needs to be completed. As far as a duplicates, you always need to make sure you find duplicates and merge. Many new family historians do not know how to do this, thus temple work will be done again. We need to teach everyone to search for duplicates. The more information you put in on an ancestor, the better chance of finding duplicates. Many members just add an ancestor name with just census information. We need to teach to thoroughly search out a person’s life information. This has been my observation…….

      1. Thanks for the findarecord tip Carol. I’m not a new historian and have found around a thousand family names but have been frustrated with a documented unfixed bug with the find duplicates “feature”. It doesn’t work. What’s crazy is that when you add a certain number of sources, it’ll find a existent familysearch record and say, we think you mean this person when you attach it to your newly created record and find that the information is the same as your newly created record and scratch your head wondering why it didn’t find it earlier when you created it (it automatically does a duplicate record search, but doesn’t find it manually running it either). This leads to countless duplicate ordinances being performed – very frustrating as the record matching obviously already works with the source attachment feature, they just need to fix it with the find duplicates feature. Also, it could be so much simpler to find undocumented cousins by having a compare/contrast feature between ancestry/familysearch/etc that showed you records that don’t exist on familysearch that do on ancestry – not suggesting they be blindly copied, but when they have good sources and well documented save a lot of time hunting and pecking through to find the records someone else has already on ancestry… I’ve reached out to familysearch about these critical features several times without a lot of traction. Please let me help you guys 🙂

        1. Hi John: I’m frustrated like you. I have been doing my Cousin’s line and have gone back to the 1600″s. Checking on it the other day I found that someone had changed one of his Great Grandfather’s name from Karcher to Kirschner. This happened, I think, when
          Karcher’s daughter married a Kirschner. But I don’t understand how they could change the Karcher and add some of the Kirschner children. It has really been a mess. I understand that Family Search is going to implement a procedure where when a change to a line is made, they have to contact the original entree person to make the change if it is correct. What a blessing that will be. My line has been changed so may times. It is frustrating to have to change it back time and again.

  2. Why not just leave good enough alone? I see NO need to constantly “update” your family search program. It was EXCELLANT before you messed it up. The ONLY ones who like it are those who NEVER RESEARCHED before your program. I’m NOT putting personal information about my family on here!!!!!!

    1. I must politely disagree. As a seasoned researcher, I am particularly pleased with the new(er) features that allow me to easily fix incorrect relationships, add audio recordings, attach documents and photos, link to partner sites, and view information in ways that are useful and meaningful to me.

      Change is a constant with technology and that’s a good thing. Products that are not changing are “dead.”

      Put the very best sourced “personal information” about your family (deceased family members) in the FamilySearch Family Tree because NOT sharing good info ensures bad info is perpetuated. If you have the most accurate record and you don’t share it, what will the “newbies” find?

      1. I had the most accurate information like Birth, death, marriage certificates and someone is constantly changing what I put in to their version. So I have stopped putting in any information.They won’t answer messages. For instance, the program wants us to not abbreviate months, places. I put them in as the programs asks, and this person goes right behind me and abbreviates everything with his own way he wants it done. I state the information is from either birth, death, or marriage records and they still change to incorrect information. And I have been searching and recording as taught in classes for over 40 years.

    2. I was involved with the beta part of New Family Search and have consistently used Family Tree through all of its updates and it is an excellent program and usually all of the improvements are helpful. The one weak link with Family Tree is the sourcing option. But I have found a “work around” which works. I create master sources, i.e. Germany, Verden (St Andreas) Church Books Baptisms. Then I create another source for Marriages and another for Burials. Under the “Reason to Attach” I give a full text of the source and the specific film number and page number for that record. In this way, I don’t have to create a new source for each individual. I simply copy and paste the sources that I create for every one in my personal genealogy data base. It works and simplifies the process of sourcing. I have used the same sources hundreds of times with the specific information for an individual. It works.

      1. Thank you for the great suggestion in working around the source mountain. I like your idea and will try it.

    3. I was a beta tester for FamilySearch for about 9 years. In that time we made many, many suggestions for improving the program. Most of the changes have been very successful but unfortunately there are some that don’t work out so well. The ones with problems do get weeded out over time. Salt Lake does listen to complaints so be specific and perhaps you’ll see something you don’t care for go away. “To put” or “not to put” personal info is an individual choice and it is entirely up to you to decide, just as I do.

  3. I am so glad you are changing Family Search so that once something is put into
    a direct line and someone wants to change it, I will be notified. It will save a lot of heartache. I have had so many changes to my Father’s line that it has really messed my direct line up and it have been a bear to straighten it up.

  4. I heartily agree with John’s comment regarding the “green arrow game”. Because of the problem with BIC error, there are many Green Arrows that produce duplicates for temple ordinances that have already been completed, especially with Sealings. Can this be taken care of, or must New.FamilySearch be turned off so correct ordinances will show and thus avoid this duplication?

  5. Thanks for updating the wiki. However, help me understand why the focus is only about ‘online.’ Are you saying you are going to exhaust all records, therefore a knowledge of history and clues to resources is not necessary?
    There used to be an historical timeline for each State, region, country. I found this invaluable to help me understand what could have been going on and associate events that may have been recorded and why they were or were not recorded and where the records would be. I feel I need that.

    1. Thanks for your feedback Ecboyle.
      Sorry for the impression that only online resources are being discussed. That is not the case, we are actually interested in all resources online and offline.
      For historical timelines, yes, they are available for each U.S. state. Here’s an example for Kentucky: https://familysearch.org/wiki/en/Kentucky_History . If you go to the state and then click the topic “History,” they should be there.
      Everyone with a FamilySearch account is able to edit the Wiki. We welcome any contributions you may wish to add.

  6. I have noticed many duplicates added by FamilySearch which are occurring faster than I can merge them. Also there seems to be addition of spouses with “Unknown Name” when the spouse is already in the data bank. This is causing duplication of families!

  7. You have given me more information to help me with my patrons at the Hurricane Family History Center In Utah. All these changes make family history exciting and entering information easier. Thank you.

  8. I find myself getting discouraged with Family Search as my tree is invaded with information that I know is wrong and I DID NOT enter… such as my great great great grandparents married at ages 7 and 10… I do not have any idea who entered the information that changed everything I had researched…

    1. I called SLC the last time it happened and was told that the change was done by Family Search. When l asked for their source for their info they didn’t have a source. I politely asked them to play in their own tree and stay out if mine. It took me all day to clean that mess up. I really like the Ancestry does it. If you have changes pertinent to my line, let me know, I WILL CHANGE IT!

    2. On the ‘person’ screen in the right column, scroll down to the third gray box titled “Latest Changes”. If you click on this it will show all of the changes that have been made on the person, who made them, their reason and when. If the changes appear malicious they can be reported to Salt Lake who will take a look at the situation. If it appears that the changes reflect an honest difference of opinion, create a Discussion item at the bottom of the page. This box gives you the opportunity to discuss the pros and cons of the information. It is possible for conflicting, hard-copy documentation to exist. As an example, census records frequently have spelling, age and birth location errors.

  9. I think Family Tree is a great blessing. People probably find it challenging if they are unaware forget to check out the Help/training section.
    If anyone is struggling please don’t hesitate to ask a Consultant In one of the Family History Centers and they will be only too happy to help you out.
    The changes and tweaking to this program are part of a natural progression to making it easier for all.
    The program is only young compared to some out there and the Volunteers are doing a great job I reckon.
    Patience is required when finding and combining duplicates. I find it more annoying when people don’t check the duplicates properly and combine the wrong people who then have to be “uncombined”. My family line has been “Hi-jacked” quite a few times but it is all good experience.
    You go Family Tree – Love your work guys :}

  10. I would love to see a place where you can attach a photo to the audio part of memories just like you can now with the stories feature. A picture is worth a thousand words and photos get people talking and memories flowing.