Will FamilySearch please stop telling me about my changes?

FamilySearch.org is a wonderful resource for researching and collaborating on family history with family members we know and ‘new to us’ family members. The website has talented individuals who provide so much value at no charge to the community. When something is provided for free, we shouldn’t fuss too much. This post isn’t to fuss but an expression of a small wish I’d love granted or a prayer that I can ignore the situation.

I wish FamilySearch.org would stop including my updates in the weekly emails that let me know what has been changed on the people on my Watch List.

FamilySearch’s family tree is a collaborative tree and having the option to watch the changes to this tree is a great feature. To turn on the watch feature, you need to view a profile page for an ancestor.

Watch Feature on FamilySearch
Click on the Watch feature to start receiving notices on updates to your family members.

After clicking on the word Watch, it will turn into a blackened start and the word will now become Unwatch (click on unwatch to stop this feature in the future).

Watch feature in FamilySearch
The word “Unwatch” will let you know that you are following this person

When you select the Watch feature you will start receiving weekly emails of the updates to profiles as they happen.

Here is a sample email:

Updates to Watch List FamilySearch
Sample weekly email of the persons I’m watching on FamilySearch

With the goal of collaborating with others, I’m not sure an email like this is beneficial. I can’t ‘collaborate’ with FamilySearch.org  when these ‘changes’ are system issues rather than changes.

I also can’t collaborate with myself… the person in the red circle. Why do I need to know that I made changes to FamilySearch.org?  I know I made changes that week because I was using the service.

This sample email isn’t near as bad as the time I made 100s of changes to the tree adding sources and such. When I go on a spree, I do not want all of my changes in an email crowding out the changes made by another person whom I may wish to collaborate with. The information is redundant and unnecessary.

I would love to see emails that look like this:

Updates to Watch List on FamilySearch
Sample weekly email of the persons I’m watching on FamilySearch.org

With email updates like this, I can easily see the changes being made and who made them. I can contact the individuals about their changes and collaborate with them. Unfortunately, when I have an email like this (without my updates), I know that I haven’t worked on my account that week, not that my changes were filtered out.

It’s a small wish for an otherwise amazing service.

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.

2 thoughts on “Will FamilySearch please stop telling me about my changes?

  1. What I noticed the first time I entered a family was the sharing part where I could accept someone's search for same family. I then see errors and the time I spend correcting them (not knowing if the person has good sources) is longer than I wish to spend. I wish we could see all the family members cited instead of the couple. I hope I make sense.

  2. I'd love to visualize your situation better. I know on FamilySearch, we're challenged to spend the time cleaning up the family tree so we have the most accurate family tree possible (so far as our records support). So, I'm not certain I am understanding the phrase 'accept someone's search for the same family'. If you could provide more detail here or through my email (use form on side bar), I'd love to discuss this further. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I LOVE comments!

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