Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Feature Change at FamilySearch

Updated Tree Search Form
A new Trees search screen has been added to the FamilySearch search page. You can access this search screen by clicking the Trees tab.
Improvements include the following changes:
  • The fields are organized to make it easier to search by relationships.
  • You can add a life event to your search in the same way that you do on the Records search screen. You can use multiple events here as well.
  • You can choose to search Ancestral File (AF) only, Pedigree Resource File (PRF) only, or both.
  • You can search by PRF submission number. If you do, the Ancestral File checkbox will automatically grey out when a number is entered. The patron will see a message to the right of the box explaining why that happened.
  • You can search with an Ancestral File number. Because an Ancestral File number identifies a specific record, you can’t use amny other search information with this search.
  • The Tree page contains links that provide additional information about Ancestral File and the Pedigree Resource File so that a patron who is redirected from the old site will know why they were sent there.
  • Patrons can click links that will take them to wiki articles to get additional information about Ancestral File and the Pedigree Resource File.
New GEDCOM Upload
At the bottom of the Tree page is a link that allows patrons to submit a GEDCOM file. This is not a permanent link but will reside on this page for now. This feature is a beta feature. FamilySearch will continue to refine this feature. All data that is submitted by patrons using this link will be preserved as part of the Tree database.
Here are a few of the details related to this new feature:
  • You must be signed in to upload a GEDCOM file.
  • Uploaded GEDCOM files are made available for searching in Trees immediately if you use this new process. GEDCOM files submitted on the old site cannot be published immediately. That happens through a completely different process.
  • When a GEDCOM file is processed, it is filtered to limit access to information about living people and to remove foul language and broken or damaged files. Patron data is NOT changed. FamilySearch is just applying a set of standards to make searching more efficient and easier. Again—none of the patron’s original data is being changed.
  • The GEDCOM upload feature on the old site will soon be shut down. No definite date has been announced, but when it is shut it down FamilySearch will begin sending patrons to this new upload link.
  • When the old GEDCOM upload feature is shut down, all of the pending submissions that have been submitted will be available through the Tree search.
  • If you uploaded one or more GEDCOMs for inclusion in Pedigree Resource File and if those GEDCOMs were in the data that was used to build New FamilySearch, you should see those submissions in your list of submitted GEDCOM files.
Family History Books
The Books search tab has changed. It now takes you to the new FamilySearch Books search, not to the BYU search database.
  • The books search now has a lot more data compared to what was previously available (40,000+ books).
  • You can now use an advanced search including Title, Author, Surname and Full Text Searching and the ability to filter results by material type, language and source archive.
  • The results now have multiple facet types to help patrons explore the results set and allow sorting results by relevance, date, popularity, author and by title.
Different Top-Level Regions for Browsing Records
FamilySearch has created a top level region called "British Isles” that is viewable on the main page as well as in all results filters. Under this top level region a patron will find all the countries that apply to this geographic location (Ireland, Channel Islands, Isle of Mann, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and the United Kingdom).
FamilySearch has broken the previous "USA, Canada, Mexico" region into separate countries. This enables patrons to filter results down to the county level in each of these jurisdictions. It also simplifies the user experience by removing unnecessary choices and getting the user to a country level quicker.

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