What’s Coming from FamilySearch in 2018

The following announcement was written by the folks at FamilySearch:

FamilySearch is a global leader in fun, online family history services with over 9 million users in 2017. In 2018 FamilySearch will be expanding its free site and services by adding new family discoveries, more online connections, expanded global reach, and millions of new sources to search.

1.   Personalized Home Page

Refinements to the FamilySearch personalized home pagewill enable signed-in patrons to make many more new discoveries and easily engage with their family trees.

As new photos, stories, or documents are added by other members of the family, they will be shown on your personalized home page and prioritized based on relevance. You will also be able to see new additions as relatives add them.

FamilySearch's new user dashboard personalizes activity and new content in a fun, interesting way.Enjoy more adaptive, relevant FamilySearch Record Hints. As millions of new records are added to FamilySearch weekly, the search engine maps them with your family tree. FamilySearch will specifically begin looking for new ancestor record sources you don’t already have in your tree. It will be easier than ever to add them.

Relevant ancestor event notifications, if you want, will be able to prompt you throughout the year regarding relevant dates in the lives of your ancestors. These can be great nudges to learn more about your forbears.

2.   Historical Records

FamilySearch will digitally preserve over 400 million images in 2018 and publish the majority of them online. It will also add hundreds of millions of indexed, searchable names in historical records, thus making it easier and faster to find your ancestors.

New additions will include prominent international collections from Europe, Central and South America, and the United States. New images will first be accessible in the FamilySearch Catalog Viewer. Once they are indexed or have additional metadata, they’ll be published in the FamilySearch Historical Record Collections.

3.   Online Discovery Experiences

FamilySearch will introduce fun, new personal “discovery” experiences online and in additional physical locations in 2018. The online experiences will be similar to the popular attractions currently found in select FamilySearch Family Discovery Centers.

4.    Family Tree

Refinements to the FamilySearch Family Tree in 2018 will extend its reach globally to more devices through improved language support and making the service faster and easier to navigate in lower bandwidth regions of the world.

An underlying goal of the FamilySearch Family Tree is to ensure new developments regarding data are always converging towards more accuracy and completeness.

An upcoming feature will help improve collaboration while encouraging more sound edits and discouraging poor edits to good data.    

5.  Family Tree Mobile App

The FamilySearch Tree mobile app syncs with syncs with your FamilySearch Family Tree online and offers 90% of the same functionality.FamilySearch will continue to update its FamilySearch Family Tree app and mobile experiences, which extend the website’s functionality. Currently, the robust app has 90 percent of the functionality of the web feature.

The app will provide fun, location-based experiences for making family discoveries wherever you happen to be. The popular 2017 “Relatives Around Me” feature allowed crowds or groups to discover who in the crowd was related to them and how.

New experiences in 2018 will build upon this, allowing interaction based on your proximity to people or locations with which you have a personal ancestral relationship.

The app will also continue to enhance the research capabilities of the mobile experience, including a new Research Mode that will allow multiple windows to be opened simultaneously to facilitate multitasking and research from within the app.

6.    Memories

FamilySearch Memories is a free service for saving and sharing your family photos, stories, and documents.Individuals are now uploading millions of family photos and documents for free permanent storage at FamilySearch. In 2018, patrons will be able to add multiple photos to a family story, rather than just one.

The FamilySearch Tree Fan Chart will help patrons, at a glance, easily discover areas in their tree where memories and sources are attached to ancestors, and help them identify opportunities where they need to be added.

7.   FamilySearch Web-Based Indexing

FamilySearch will end its desktop indexing software in 2018 as it continues to roll out more updates to its new web indexing platform. The new web tool is easy to use and works with any digital device (besides cell phones) with a web browser. It enables hundreds of thousands of volunteers worldwide to make millions of historical images easily and freely searchable by name so online family history researchers can quickly discover ancestors.

8.  RootsTech

RootsTech, hosted by FamilySearch International, will continue to expand its support of community growth, personal development, and exciting industry innovation. This popular global family history conference will attract over 100,000 attendees (in-person and live online viewers).

Keynotes this year will include: Scott Hamilton, olympic figure skating champion, Brandon Stanton, Humans of New York photographer and writer, Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Finding Your Roots. and Natalia Fourcade, internationally renowned Mexican pop-rock singer.

The RootsTech Innovation Showcase will highlight exciting innovations related to family history. It will replace the Innovator Summit and Innovator Showdown.

9.   Oral Histories

Family history in oral (no written documentation) cultures are kept in the minds of village elders—walking, human libraries. When they pass away, the library is lost forever. FamilySearch will increase the number of oral histories it captures from these tribal historians significantly throughout Africa.

FamilySearch appreciates its growing customer base (over 134 million visits in 2017!). When you visit FamilySearch in 2018, be sure to sign in to your free account to enjoy the most of what FamilySearch has to offer. Come back regularly to add your own family memories. Enjoy the new content added daily and the new features coming soon. Collaborate with your family to upload your favorite photos, documents, personal histories, or journals from previous years, and update your ancestors’ stories.

About FamilySearch

 FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at FamilySearch.org or through over 5,000 family history centers in 129 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

30 Comments

don and Phyllis Krueger January 22, 2018 at 2:52 pm

We are Ancestry Members World Wide. Can we use Family Search as Ancestry members or do we have to pay???

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What ever the people who built the new lehi building didn’t even get a thanks what a waste of time never when you build a church building or temples you never get any praise only the top guys who sit in the trailer and only only started helping when the jobs only two months out from being done

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I hope the hints with Family Search are more accurate than those with Ancestry

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Every thing sounds good but i think they need to Translate all of the historical record like The whole baptism page or marriage record for example

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Do you happen to know why Family Search recently removed access to digital images? I made a lot of headway on my Mexican ancestral branches in 2016 and 2017 by looking through the images from Sonora, Mexico, but now those records are only available to LDS members or by visiting a family history center. The images are also missing from the ancestry.com search (through their partnership). I’ve written to Family Search support and never got a response, and I’ve not been able to find any answers by googling. Any insight on this is appreciated.

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    —> Do you happen to know why Family Search recently removed access to digital images?

    I suspect it is a contractual issue. See my article, “Why Was the Information Removed from Online?” from last year that is still available at: https://blog.eogn.com/2017/10/26/why-was-the-information-removed-from-online/

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    Thank you Dick for that explanation! I always thought that Family Search simply owned all the records they had microfilmed, but I guess it’s a little more like Netflix with shows: here today, maybe gone tomorrow.

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    I have also had a lot of trouble accessing both record details and images since the December upgrade, including for US Census schedules which should not be impacted by contractual issues. It seems the site no longer supports certain browsers and if, like me, your equipment can’t run the latest versions of Firefox, Safari, Chrome, or the MS replacement for Internet Explorer, you are out of luck unless you can afford to buy new hardware. They have a FAQ somewhere on the site explaining which browsers will work and which won’t. Perhaps someone who can still use the site will provide the URL

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I think your improvements are great. It will help putting your family history together.

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Looking forward to the enhancements. Will there be more medieval Europe records?

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I would like a place or means to flag or make aware errors or disputed/ alternate info so researchers can make an informed choice about information. Errors could be intermixed family groupings. , transcription errors ,or disputed info. Family Search could have a link to corrections or alternate info. Eg.. my 1 Great Grandparents are named William Henry and Elizabeth Moore. Both the men were born in Ohio in 1837. The “wrong” set are buried in Ohio And someone has designated the woman buried in Ohio as Elizabeth Clayton. Yet she was born several rears later. They also have added two children of the “wrong” Moore’s to the listings of my Moore family. This error is now appearing on the popular genealogy sites because it is on Family Search. A bit of detective work would show that 1) the 2 Elizabeth Moore’s were born in different years and different states. 2). The census entries show the children with their own parents so if you check repeatedly and the names of the children do not show in a household then they probably do not belong in that household. 3) All 4 of them passes away in different years and different locals from that of their counterparts. 4) . William Henry Moore and Elizabeth Ann Clayton are interned in 3 Springs Cemetery Poplar Bluff, Butler Co. Missouri. My point being that if there was a place to post information calling attention toon to situations such as this lt would certainly help the Trees grow as they should because researchers would get a heads up , and even an indication of where else to look so trees would have more validity.
#2 Same family, Different generation! John Moore is listed on a tree as having a certain set of parents and dying in Ohio in 1847. Well that IS correct. Only there happens to be more than one John Moore ( actually I think there’s thousands who were born in North America. Before 1800! ) The John Moore ( William’s father!) Who did not die in 1847 yet was attributed to Thomas Moore and Sarah Haines was alive and well along with his wife and children on the 1850 census. The error was corrected on the original tree yet it has multiplied and spread and is accepted as truth by thousands of people because Family Search does not have a little icon inserted on their family cards that would let people know they really need to check out this particular person or family. A 3 rd item is a family who have the 4 th wife of the family’s father credited as being the mother of all the children. It started in. Book about this line and if you read the actual text the info is right yet it was wrong in a chapter subtitle. I had researched the ancestors of the 4 th Lady and when transcrining births etc I realized it simply was WRONG! Too bad because I have Nothing on Real Mom’s family p but wrong Mom’s Dad was easily found! I know I sound like I am being picky but really.? When wife # 1 dies about the time the last child was born (oldest kid was about 16,) Dad remarried 5, 7, and 18 years later (Baby is now in his mid 20s) It is really stupid to assume that the woman who was # 4 is the mother. So a little red icon on the card by the names would alert people that there is an issue. I know it would take work but perhaps if people could flag things as they find them it could be completed by attritation, eventually at least 80 per cent of these transcription or oversights could be corrected or at least flagged!
I feel that since the purpose of genealogy data bases is to assemble a compilation of ancestral trees which are more more correct than not it behooves them to provide an avenue that promotes good practices rather than being a major part of the problem.
ps Ancestry owns FS now right? They are just as guilty if not more so!
ps #2. Have enjoyed your blogs for years and really really really miss your magazine!

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    —> ps Ancestry owns FS now right?

    No. Absolutely not. FamilySearch is owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    I don’t know why that rumor keeps floating around. Ancestry has purchased a number of other genealogy-related businesses but, so far, has not purchased a division of a church.

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    Your complaints appear to be about the reliability of data in the user submitted family trees. I agree. Same with Ancestry trees and other sites with such data. The same occurred many years ago when pedigree charts and family group sheets were exchanged via snail mail. They should be used for hints only and not considered a primary or even a secondary or tertiary source document.

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    If you find errors in FamilySearch Family Tree, you can edit them. Of course, they want you to source the information you change. You can unlink a correct relationship like the one you described by clicking on the little pencil icon to the right of the name. Then you could add the correct relationships. You can also add a discussion to describe what you corrected and your sources. If you need help to know how to do any of this, they have free help. There is a little “get help” link on the top of each page.
    I also wish there was a way to flag incorrect transcriptions of records, I think they are working on that.
    Good luck with your research…

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    Patricia Levy-Phillips January 24, 2018 at 11:02 am

    This is not true. That does not work to date. Ias a post computer operator all these ‘jugged’ filled data are at risk of deleting themselves as the site is loaded to fell. I hope funds can be allocated to purchase mainstream data banks storage to remedy this ‘ really time consuming data collations site.

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

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Patricia Levy-phillips January 23, 2018 at 1:27 am

Great news! Indeed while I can’t change a relationship gender mistake thus far and it really frustrating and slow…

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I couldn’t be happier that you are doing all of this. I’m a adopted child who found his birth parents in 1981. But I’m having trouble with the Rodgerses that I come from. Namely my grandfather’s parents. So hopefully with all this new stuff you
are adding I may find who they are.

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I would like to see the site set up so that additions or corrections require a link to valid documentation linked to viewable online citations.How does one evaluate information if it can not be accessed? An entry can surely be linked so that it clears/vanishes if decent documentation is not cited. Also, deletions should require an explanation and vanish if not
an explanation is not made.

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I believe that people are getting Ancestry’s affiliation with Family Tree Maker mixed up with FamilySearch. Family Tree Maker just recently was sold.

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I am not at all pleased with Louis Gates’ sly racial innuendos. We know Jefferson and Washington had slaves. So what calumny should be heaped on them now when they followed the customs of the day? The racial divide is exacerbated by his remarks.

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I am not sure if I am so happy about some of the changes Familysearch is creating right now. No more viewers, access only to some film from a family history center, and family history center only available by appointments. Well, at least we still have access to them for free and many films are already online free. I always appreciate that Familysearch was and is free so I don’t complain. However, Familysearch is always saying that they don’t work together with other companies. Well, it looks like they are working with MyHeritage for sure. Why would MyHeritage have the family trees of Familysearch on their website and worse of all, if you click on to one of them you need to pay a membership or get to the Familysearch website and that tree you want to view or you can try switching webpages to go to Familysearch and find the tree there.
To me, its working together with someone else if I release parts of my website to another companies website.
Again, I don’t complain only state a fact.
Legacy used to be promoted by Familysearch and now Legacy is purchased by MyHeritage.
Will the church keep the website of Familysearch or will they eventually sell it to another company like MyHeritage and we will have to pay to access all the records or we have to visit a Familyhistory center all the time to get free access?
I know, that this question will not be answered or if it will be an open answer. But the fact that Familysearch has released all their family tree to MyHeritage didn’t go over well with me in the first place.
So what’s next?

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    If anyone is likely to hold on to their genealogy site, rather than selling it off to a commercial company, it is FamilySearch.org. FS is also the most likely organization to keep free access for all over the long term. Finding one’s ancestors is an important faith obligation for members of the LDS church and this provides a strong motivation for the church to continue to support the research of both church members and non-members, and avoid shutting out people of limited financial means from being able to participate in genealogical research.

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I stopped adding to my Familysearch Tree and wish I hadn’t added any of it from the start because of the ability of others to edit my work incorrectly. One Giant World Tree is of no use if it is full of errors.

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    I have not added any additional family members beyond myself because anyone can change my tree by adding/deleting/changing without having to prove by adding documentation. There is already too much misinformation out there in the genealogy world.

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I wish they still loaned microfilm. Very few of the property and probate records from Canada are digitalized. And those that are are only available at Family History Centers (which have limited hours and even more limited computers) or affiliate libraries (ditto). I am starting to suspect that this is a way to encourage tourism to Salt Lake City.

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    Where did you view the microfilms you ordered? It must have been at a FHC or one of their affiliates. So can”t you just go there now and view the film without having to order it? Just asking.

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    Every center that is still open will be soon equipped ( maybe is already) with laptops for everybody to use. Most centers will be accessible by appointment only. You can bring you own I-Pad, Smart Phone, Tablet or laptop and sign on to the center’s IP address to be able to access the files on familysearch that are limited right now from you own home PC. By 2020 familysearch announced to have all films online but many of them only visible through a family history center’s available equipment or IP address.
    Right now many films go online weekly but you have to drive to an open center.
    Hopefully, in time they will open more films for the general public and our own PC from home. All the films that show up with a key on top are online but closed to our home PC.
    Some centers may still have films but they will be gone soon.

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1. When will marriage documents be available for Austria Hungary. Have come upon a road block and unfortunately the marriage certificates are my chance to find info I need.
2. I am unable to access Frosinone Italy from my home computer. The files at FHC are not readable. I know a repair ticket was put in months ago. Last time I was there, they were still not readable.

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