Monday, September 17, 2012

Ogden Family History Fair Report

Saturday, Sept 15th was the annual Ogden Family History Fair. I believe it is the third time being held at Weber State College.  It's also the third time I have attended and enjoyed this conference.

There were tons of classes to select from, but I wanted to immerse myself in the subject of Family Tree, with the goal of having a greater understanding of it. The conference began on a high note with a keynote address from Ron Tanner, Product Manager for FamilySearch. He was in remarkable form, very entertaining and delivered a lot of emotion and passion on the subject of FamilySearch, in particular new FamilySearch (NFS) and it's replacement Family Tree. I attended Ron's class after the keynote which gave us opportunity to ask lots of questions.  He's the man that can tell you what's happening at FamilySearch.

There were two other instructors on Family Tree, Debbie Burnett and Edith Reeves. I attended each two part class that they offered, giving their own twist on Family Tree.

Ron Tanner's Keynote Address and Class Notes

We have to change the way we do genealogy.  Instead of playing the game "Go Fish", we need to play fair in the genealogy pool.  The goal is to build a "Tree of the Human Family", everyone working together, so we can stop researching the same people over and over again.

There was a rumor going around that this coming Wednesday, Family Tree was going to be released to the public. That is not going to happen.  The plan is to go public next month. Then when people visit they will see a Family Tree link. Everyone will be able to look at it.  If you want to edit, make changes, you will need to register or login to your account to do so.  There will be no more need to request an invite.

After the public release of Family Tree there will be a three month or so time frame that New FamilySearch will be still live. Early 2013 New FamilySearch (NFS) will be gone! (Personally, I think this time frame for duel access if to give FamilySearch Affiliates time to make changes to their programs to transfer over to Family Tree.)

In October all the Temple features will be fully functioning in Family Tree.  We will then be in Pilot phase of Family Tree until the end of the year.  They will be adding the Add/Delete person features, Helper function, and the ability to Print.

Next year we will get the ability to scan and attach our own documents.

Ron was asked about adding GEDCOMs.  We were told they are writing a new GEDCOM system.  It will be available on FamilySearch in November. When you add a tree by GEDCOM it will use a tool to compare the GEDCOM with records that are already in Family Tree.  It will show you the status of how many are already in the Family Tree, and how many are new.  You will only be able to add the new people, but first you have to search the tree and compare possible duplicates on each one.  The process is purposely more painful for adding GEDCOMs so it stops the resulting pain others feel cleaning up the duplicates.

Separate from Family Tree is another Trees area on FamilySearch.  If you go to FamilySearch now you will find the Trees link under the word "Discover Your Family History"  This section is for Ancestral File (AF), Pedigree Resource File (PRF) and patron submissions.  This is the best area to upload your GEDCOM instead of the Family Trees. Ron told us patrons will have the ability to remove their old Pedigree Resource File submissions.  That is going to help clean up FamilySearch tremendously.

There are tutorials on learning how to use FamilySearch Family Tree.  They have plans on creating more of them.  You can find the tutorials at: .

Instead of Combine & Separate that was in NFS, Family Tree will have a Merge & UnMerge function.  You will also have the ability to mark individuals as "Not a Match".

When the Pilot Phase of Family Tree is released in Oct the Combine feature will be turned off in NFS.  This is due to all the issues involved with the two systems sharing information.

Right now there is no system to deal with LDS Temple Ordinances that have been reserved by patrons and left undone for years.  The Church and FamilySearch are evaluating the status of these old temple cards.  They may be having these old cards released to the Temple to be done. Another option is the ability to share your ordinances with others to complete. These items are still in discussion.

I loved Ron's presentation and am excited for all the new changes and great things to come with FamilySearch.

Debbie Burnett Class Notes

  • The NFS Personal Identification No. is now simply ID No. in Family Tree.
  • Searches can be refined. Advanced search will allow you to search by parent and it will return back all their children.
  • In your Temple Ordinance List you can use Ctrl-F to locate a person you are looking for.
  • The History List will remain even after you logout.  It will save the last 50 people viewed.
  • The Source Box is like a clipboard to attach sources to people.
  • Once a source is attached from FamilySearch records you can remove them from the Source Box. It will not delete the source from the attached people.
  • There is a difference in the links to Ancestry if you are using your own account or the FHC's Ancestry Institution account. This does effect the source links to documents from Family Tree to Ancestry.

Edith Reeves Class Notes

  • There are Practice Activities on the Family Tree Training webpage to help you familiarize yourself with the program features. You can find them at:
  • Edith said you can remove any source in your source box after you attached it to someone. Debbie earlier said you can only do this with FamilySearch sources.  I watched Edith's demonstration and she appeared correct.
  • You can copy a source attached to someone on Family Tree to your own Source Box and reuse it.
  • There are some lost children and pedigree lines on Family Tree from the NFS move.  You will have to just search for the people to connect the lines.

Renee's Observations

My notes may not make sense to the readers that are not familiar with Family Tree.  I encourage you to watch the videos on - .

My initial impression of Family Tree and it's wiki style, using the all-on-one-page concept, was favorable.  As I watched the demonstrations by Debbie and Edith it became quite painful to watch all the scrolling.  I wanted to yell use the Page Up, Page Down, Home & End keys on your keyboard.

As simple as it was to add sources, there was also a lot of clicking and page jumping involved. It would seem like you could keep one window open to your source box and another to Family Tree. Definitely need to play in this area.

It took me a little while to realize that when they moved people from NFS to Family Tree they came over as one combined person.  It doesn't have the separate people combined in one folder concept anymore, meaning you can't uncombine them. With uncombining in NFS you could remove the incorrect person's records and all their junk would disappear.  In Family Tree you have to clean it up.  I can see a huge benefit for those that have clean records in their genealogy databases to refer to. The need to have your own separate database for your genealogy is not going away any time soon.

See ya tomorrow, for tomorrow is always another genealogy day!

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