App Approval Considerations:

Enabling Innovation with Limited Resources

The FamilySearch API is now closed to the general public; however, some developers with compelling ideas and unique solutions may qualify for access to the FamilySearch API. For these developers, FamilySearch has created the Innovator Program. [ Learn More ]

As the family history industry undergoes dynamic changes, FamilySearch is focused on creating and utilizing solutions that enable patrons to build and exchange data through collaborative processes.

While it is important that FamilySearch assists with enabling innovation within the industry, FamilySearch is aware of resource limitations; and must carefully consider third-party offerings that may use our API and impact our limited resources.

A First Step for Approved Solution Innovators: Sandbox Access

FamilySearch developer sandbox ( is available to Approved Solution Innovators to assist their organizations in the creation of innovative solutions for the family history industry. While this access can assist developers in building solutions, please be aware that receiving permission to use the developer sandbox environment should not convey to the developer that solutions created there may or will be approved by FamilySearch.

While obtaining access to the developer sandbox is one of the first steps, and is an important part of the overall development process; it is important to recognize that additional business, marketing, support and engineering steps are required before an offering may be considered a solution that can be utilized within FamilySearch’s system.

Some of the additional steps includes applying for and being accepted in the Compatible Solution Program and passing the Compatibility Review. [ Learn More ]

Review and Approval Process: Core Considerations

All solutions must go through review, acceptance and approval processes, including for both business and engineering considerations. Core items considered include the following:

  • Are the solution and features compatible with FamilySearch, and will the company maintain compatibility throughout future releases of FamilySearch’s offerings?
  • Are the solution and features complementary and non-competitive with FamilySearch technology and our core mission?
  • Do the solution or features cause an increase in demand on technical, system, or support resources of FamilySearch? An example of these are “ordinance crawler” solutions. (Please see the announcement below from June 27th, 2017.)

Other Items to Consider:

Besides the items already covered above in the Review and Approval process, FamilySearch looks for additional differentiators when evaluating a new solution. Please keep the following in mind when considering the development of a solution:

  • Ideal applications will facilitate growth of data in FamilySearch Family Tree (persons, memories or other rich data being added)
  • Ideal solutions will provide a meaningful and innovative discovery experience for the FamilySearch patron
  • Solutions may not be approved that simply copy data out of FamilySearch, without providing value back to FamilySearch Family Tree

Solutions Not being Accepted:

  • Ordinance Crawlers: Ordinance crawlers are not being accepted at this time because of impacts to the FamilySearch system. See the announcement below regarding this issue:

    As of June 27, 2017, FamilySearch is suspending the approval of new applications that provide functionality for the scanning, capturing or reporting (or any combination of the three) of ordinance information, including those that are or may be available to take to the temple. As we evaluate the impact of these types of applications on the FamilySearch systems and the end-user experience; this suspension will remain in effect until further notice. Solutions that request limited read-access privileges may be considered based upon need and functionality.

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