What’s New on FamilySearch—October, 2015

September 25, 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.

Recently Released

You Can Now Register for RootsTech 2016!

Registration is now open for RootsTech 2016.

RootsTech is the largest family history conference in the world, attracting tens of thousands of participants! The upcoming sixth annual global conference, “Celebrate Families across Generations,” takes place is February 3–6, in Salt Lake City, Utah, and is a great way to discover and share your family’s stories and connections, regardless of your knowledge or experience level.

The Family Discovery Day events on Saturday, February 6, are free. The events are popular with family and youth, so you might consider registering soon. If you plan to attend other days and sessions, registering early can save you as much as $100.

To register, click the Register Now link on the FamilySearch home page.

For more details about RootsTech 2016, keep watching the RootsTech website at http://www.rootstech.org.

Family Tree: Printing Pedigree Charts and Family Group Records

In Family Tree, from a person page, you can print several charts and records.

Now, the date you print a pedigree chart or family group record (with or without sources) is printed on the form. This will help you identify how current the information is.

Search: Feedback for Auto-Indexed Records

In August, we reported that FamilySearch.org has begun publishing collections that have been indexed by automated indexing tools.

To help improve the tools, your feedback is needed. On auto-indexed records only, you will see a tab labeled “Errors?” at the bottom of the page.

If you find the automated tools have made an error, please click the Errors? tab, and report the problem.

Memories: The People Page Now Has a Help Tray

You may have noticed that several pages on FamilySearch.org have a Tips icon in the bottom right corner.

When you click the Tips icon, you’ll see a panel that links to tips about some of the features on that specific page. The panel is called the “help tray.” A help tray is now available on the People page in Memories.

How to See the Tips for the People Page

  1. At the top of the screen, click Memories. Then click People.
  1. On the lower right corner of the screen, click the Tips icon. The system displays the help tray.
  2. To see the tips for a topic, click the topic in the table of contents.

Feedback for the Recently Improved 110-Year Rule Request Permission Form

In August, What’s New on FamilySearch announced that the form to request permission to perform ordinances for people born in the last 110 years was improved. People had been confused by some of the questions on the old form and were having their request rejected because they weren’t filling out the form correctly. Many areas have sent feedback that the new form is much easier to understand.

Coming Soon

New Features in the Family Members Section Make Correcting Relationships Easier

The new features in the Family Members section are being released incrementally, so if you aren’t seeing it now, you will be soon.

Have you clicked an edit icon lately in the Family Members section? You’ll find the icons on the Person page in Family Tree. You may have thought, “Wow. That’s different.” You’re right. There’s a new feature attached to the edit icons that makes it easier to see and correct family relationships and add sources. For example, if the wrong mother is listed for a large family, you can now change the wife and mother in a single operation!

What’s New

When you click an edit icon, you’ll now see a fly-out (it’s similar to a pop-up). The fly-out gives you more information and makes it easier for you to modify relationships and add sources—without going to another page! You’ll still see the other family members, which will make it easier to see how your changes impact the family.

What You Can Do

When you click an edit icon, here are some of the changes you can make using the fly-out:

  • Add or modify marriage information for the parents.
  • Change the parents for a child. (Tip: To change a parent for all the children listed, use the edit relationship icon for the husband and wife.)
  • Change an incorrect spouse.
  • Add or change the relationship type (such as biological, step, or adopted).
  • Add sources that show that the relationship is correct.

When you click a Wrong Person or Wrong Parents link, you’ll have the option to remove or replace the incorrect person.

If you use touch devices (like iPads), you’ll always see the link to open the relationship fly-outs. And all members of the family will be displayed with their default portrait!

So when you see the new fly-out, try it out. We think you’ll enjoy the new possibilities!

Family Tree: Search for Records on Partner Sites

If you go to a person page in Family Tree, you have the option to search the historical records on FamilySearch.org. You click the FamilySearch logo in Search Records on the right side of the screen.

Starting from a person page lets the system use information from the person’s record to search the historical records collections. You don’t have to fill in a form to start the search.

Soon, members of the Church will also be able to use the Search Records section to search some of our key partner websites: Ancestry, findmypast, and MyHeritage. You’ll just click their logo in the Search Records section, and the system will use the information from your ancestor’s record to search the partner site’s records.

The search results on the partner site will open in a new browser tab. You’ll be able to close that tab when you finish and return to your place in FamilySearch.org.

Here is a sample search from FamilySearch to findmypast.

If you sign in using your LDS Account (so the system knows you are a member of the Church) but you don’t have an account with the partner site, the system will pop up a message alerting you that you can get a free account on the partner’s website.

Being able to use FamilySearch.org to search the partner sites will help you easily find more records, improve the accuracy of information for your ancestors, and open up new lines of genealogy.

Memories: Gallery

Soon when you click Memories, you’ll see a memories gallery. The gallery brings all of the items you have uploaded (photos, stories, documents, audio) together on one page. It also makes it easier to organize your items into albums.

Previously, you had to go to different pages–Photos, Stories, Documents, and Audio—to see all the items you had uploaded. If you couldn’t remember whether an item was uploaded as a photo or as a document, you had to search each page. There was no way to see all of your items in one place.

Our users have frequently asked for a way to organize their memories into albums. There is an album feature in Memories, but users weren’t finding the feature, and it was a bit awkward to use. With the gallery, you will be able to drag and drop your Memories items into albums. The gallery will make it easier to create and manage albums.

Testing a Personalized Home Page

We are continuing to test the personalized, logged-in home page. The page is being shown to about 25% of the members who log in in English. We have gotten rave reviews from many people but still have work to do before it will work for everyone worldwide. We plan to release this version soon (after we add Find, Take, Teach) as a beta “dashboard” and give people the option to make it their home page. This will allow us to continue improving the experience for beginners and some of our international areas before releasing it as a regular home page for everyone.

Key work happening right now:

  • Adding the Find, Take, Teach message
  • Improving the experience for people with empty or sparse family trees
  • Investigating how to help match tasks with user intents (“What do you want to do today?”)

This is the first entry point for many of our new users. We would like to successfully match users’ intents with simple, appropriate family history tasks that they can do based on their experience and the state of their family tree. This will let us help more members be successful in family history and in finding ancestors, in reserving and taking their ancestors’ names to the temple, and in teaching what they learn to others.

Mobile Apps: Record Hinting

If you are using a mobile app and there are record hints for people in your pedigree lists, you will see a blue icon (the same as the web icon) on the person’s details header. Click the icon to see the list of record hints.

You will be able to see that an ancestor has a possible record to review. You can attach the record as a source. If you find new ancestors in the record, you can add them to the tree. In the future, we will provide a feature that will expand the list of persons with hints.

Mobile Apps: Manage Relationships

The ability to edit, delete, or remove spouse relationships or parent and child relationships using the mobile apps is coming.

War of 1812 Campaign

As part of our new campaign, FamilySearch.org has taken lists of people who served in the War of 1812 and identified their living descendants in the Family Tree. Their descendants will receive an email inviting them to find their ancestors who served in the War of 1812 and view their pension files on FamilySearch and Fold3 (owned by Ancestry.com).

The War of 1812 Pension Files are rich with information about the soldiers who served. The files often includes a soldier’s full name, age, place of residence, service data and dates, the organization he served in, his rank, the acres granted for bounty land, the soldier’s death date and place, his widow’s name and maiden name, marriage date and place, widow’s death date and place, and also the names of his previous wives, if any. You can often find marriage records, death records, obituaries, family Bible pages, and other valuable documents within the pension files. In many cases, there is enough information in the pension file to identify the veteran or his wife in Family Tree. Descendants will be able to add missing details in Family Tree about the soldier, his wife, and extended family members based upon the details provided in the pension file. The War of 1812 pension files were never microfilmed, so access to these records prior to today was very limited. The Federation of Genealogical Societies, in partnership with the National Archives Records Administration (NARA), Ancestry.com, Fold3.com, FamilySearch, and others, are working together on this community project to digitize the 7.2 million pages of records within the pension files for the War of 1812.

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  1. I am thrilled with the information that is being given here and what exciting things are happening with Family Search

  2. A lot of good information for ward consultants to give to the ward members. But I wonder if the consultants are aware of this news letter.
    Please keep people like me informed as to what is going on.