I’m Going to Love Family Search – Family Tree

Family Search is finally doing something that I will L-O-V-E. It will streamline the process of the family tree from new.family.search in a faster, sleeker way. It will also allow me (us) to delete the redundant information that crops up. This visual, using RootsMagic, will help this make more sense.

Comparison of my database (left) to new.familysearch database (right)
Using RootsMagic 5

I hope you can see all of the yellow comparison information. This is the redundant information that drives me crazy about new.familysearch.org. A family member will have an event, but every slight variation of the event will be shown. There is no way to merge the events. So if you have a matching birth date (highlighted in green) and locations that are ‘slightly off’ (shown in yellow), there is no way to merge the events and choose the best version of the place to keep.  I don’t mind ‘big’ differences, but I can’t stand slight variations and the inability to change (abt 1784) to a specific birth date in 1784 once it’s been documented.

For instance:

one entry has Gainsborough Twp, Lincoln, Ontario, Canada
one entry has Gainsborough Twp, Lincoln, Ontario, Canada

The database can not recognize that these places are the same, only one person put spaces after their commas. If there are only a few instances of something like this, I suppose there is no major problem. But I have some family members with multiple ‘slight’  variations in their name (someone puts a period after an initial, someone doesn’t) and any event. The list of yellow is so long I have to scroll a lot to see what has changed. And RootsMagic keeps telling me these such records have updates, but they really don’t. It DRIVES ME CRAZY. (Can you tell?)

I’ve been playing around with the FamilySearch Family Tree (it’s in beta testing so I’m not sure who can access it). I’m excited, though I know some people will freak out. I’m excited to be able to remove the slight variations and keep the best version of the name, place, etc. FamilySearch Family Tree documents the changes so someone can go back and see why the changes were made. And there is a way to undo some of the changes as well. I’m not going to discuss that. BUT, I’m excited that there will no longer be 1,000+ plus slight variations on a name, date, or place. There will still be a place for alternatives. There’s a place to enter why someone deleted a variation (i.e. duplicate entry, or last name found, etc). There is a place to discuss things as well.

Entry for Alanson Comfort using FamilySearch Family Tree

FamilySearch Family Tree entry for Alanson Comfort. Look: only one place location for his birth!
This particular page doesn’t show my clean up work (sorry) but you can see the sidebar that will show
you every time there is a change made to an entry. Woo-hoo!

Right now, I’m playing around and ‘cleaning up’ the mess. I KNOW this will be so exciting. The reason why it is exciting is that more collaboration will be available. In the past, when you clicked on the little blue exclamation point, you would see who submitted the information. If there was a ‘real’ person in the reference, then you could contact them about making the updates. However, if the information came from a document (such as Temple File or Ancestry File) then, you couldn’t make updates. Also, some of the information has been submitted by people who have since departed this earth. How can you contact them to alter their records to the most updated information? Um… you can’t.

So… now, we can collaborate by making updates and explaining the reasons for our changes. We don’t have to be stuck with outdated information because the source was a compiled record (based on outdated information) or person’s who did the very best they could but have died and can’t make updates. Yeah!

Now I know some people will think this is controversial. However, I truly believe FamilySearch Family Tree is trying to accommodate people who will not like this ability to update ‘Our Family Tree’. I’ll defer anyone to them on that point. For me, I’m excited.

Now, the only NOT exciting part is that my RootsMagic does not sync with FamilySearch Family Tree. So, I have to go through 3,000 names to clean up the files. But I truly believe it’s worth it. And, RootsMagic, you seriously need to get us a sync ability when FamilySearch Family Tree goes live. If you can include the ability to attach sources, that would be awesome too.

Record for Allen Bricker and Catherine Caroline Geiszler. Notice the “Ohio, County Marriage” link at the bottom.
Yep, that’s me FINALLY able to attach records found on FamilySearch.org to a database!!!

Oh… the other SUPER COOL thing about FamilySearch Family Tree is that FINALLY I’ll be able to attach a link from the FamilySearch ‘records’ part directly to my FamilySearch Family Tree person. Hip-hip Hooray. I’ve said for some time that I’d love to be able to save the items I’ve found on FamilySearch to a database without having to do the tedious data entry. (Man I love the modern world. Genealogists of the past would seriously think I’m a wimp for saying I don’t want to retype anything). Regardless, this will allow for faster insertion of sources. But also, sharing sources will be as easy as on Ancestry.com. After I ‘clean up’ the redundant information, I’ll attach similar finding to FamilySearch.og. I know it will take a while for the tree to build up with linked information, but I’m SO excited about the possibilities.

Anyway, I know this is a ramble, but I wanted to share my excitement for the changes FamilySearch is making. Back to ‘cleaning’ and linking documents.

Devon Noel Lee

Devon Noel Lee

Devon Noel Lee is passionate about capturing and preserving family stories so no one alive today has to be researched, or forgotten, tomorrow. She has authored 6 how-to books, a memoir, two published family history biographies, and over 60 family scrapbooks. She's an enthusiastic speaker who energizes, encourages, and educates at the same time.

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