FamilySearch is headed towards another innovative year as it streamlines online accessibility and provides increased family discovery experiences. New developments in 2016 will focus on 5 areas.
Here are 12 new FamilySearch.org changes and additions patrons can expect in 2016:
- The free Family Tree, used for building and collaborating on your family history, will be more robust and dramatically faster. Patrons will receive quick record hints from FamilySearch’s billions of online records when records containing an ancestor are added or modified. Hints will also begin to originate from more online collections and additional record types. In addition, increased collaboration options with improved views will be available.
- Improved guidance will help users achieve family history goals or provide direction when and where they need it.
- A new relationship feature will enable you to easily identify how you are related to people in the Family Tree.
- More user-friendly search capabilities will provide less duplication, better search results, and more insight at a glance across the many record sources on FamilySearch.org.
- The process of adding family photos, stories, documents, and audio files will be easier.
- A dynamic, personalized home page will help you find more family information. The offering of simple tasks while using the site will help you discover more ancestors and improve the quality of your personal family history and information in the FamilySearch Family Tree.
- Partners will be offering more exciting third-party products and apps integrated into the content of FamilySearch that will offer fun and enriched experiences.
- More digital camera teams will be added to preserve historic records and make them accessible online. There are 319 digital camera teams producing 125 million images per year currently. Additional cameras in 2016 will focus on more international records.
- More mobile apps on IOS and Android platforms will become available through FamilySearch.
- A new, web-based tool will allow more volunteers to help index more historic records online from any web-enabled tablet or computer. This will also help engage more foreign language volunteers needed to index a growing tide of new international historic records.
- RootsTech, a global event hosted by FamlySearch, will expand its streaming audience and provide recorded, useable content to reach more people worldwide.
- New developments will encourage younger patrons to participate in family history. Building from the base created by family historians and older patrons, there will be an added emphasis on attracting youth.
Steve Rockwood, president and CEO of FamilySearch International, said, “We want to give youth a much earlier and much more relevant experience than ever before. We have a real specific desire to give youth a connection to their family, to provide spiritual and emotional help to them that strengthens their relationships with their parents and grandparents to give them identity. For example, we have seen tremendous growth in youth when they discover the stories of their ancestors.”
Rockwood feels FamilySearch has only just reached the tip of the iceberg with its successes. “We hope to shine a light on the life-changing nature of family history so our patrons personally experience the emotion, understanding, and joy that comes from discovering family, both past and present. Our areas of focus in 2016 will encourage families to work together more to make connections that touch our hearts and fill our lives with a sense of heritage and purpose.”
Rockwood believes RootsTech, with its streamed and recorded content in multiple languages, and the growing number of local family discovery day events, is one way FamilySearch can, as a nonprofit organization, meet the needs of more individuals in local areas throughout the world.
“We love RootsTech because it is a gathering place that brings our customers and partners together. It helps inspire us collectively to see how we can work together to grow the market space worldwide and really improve the discovery experiences of patrons on a local level. That’s a huge, huge global challenge we’re excited to tackle,” Rockwood concluded.