For those of us who live many hours or miles from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, it has always been a difficult task to obtain the records we KNOW are waiting for us in the microfilm stacks. Knowing that the ability to break through a brick wall in our research, and yet not being able to get the image, can be excruciating. Luckily, there is now a digital request service offered by the Family History Library that will look up the film in question, scan the applicable images, and email them to you, FOR FREE! For a look at the service, or to order your own film, hop over here:
Unfortunately, it can still take weeks to get the images in question. I ordered an image about three weeks ago, and still have yet to receive it, but it should still be faster than waiting for an annual trip to the FHL, or ordering the film at your own Family History Center. Some restrictions apply, so be sure to read the fine print!
FamilySearch’s family tree program, commonly called New FamilySearch, has just revealed the updates that will soon appear in its regular quarterly update this May, 2011.
The last several quarterly updates have focused around several minor features – adding the discussions feature, a proposed move from disputes to discussions, and making the site non-LDS friendly. This latest quarterly update adds no major fixes, features, or functions. It follows in the tradition of the updates of the past year by making just one or two minor tweaks.
The “What’s New” document, which can be found after logging in at http://ftbeta.familysearch.org reveals the following updates:
New Features as of May 2011
Starting in the May 2011 release, all previously entered disputes are automatically being moved to the discussions. Once moved, the former disputes will be collected in a discussion that is titled “Legacy Disputes.”
You May Still See Some Disputes
The disputes are being moved by an automated process. This process will begin soon after the May 2011 release. It will take several weeks to complete. This process will remove disputes individual by individual. Therefore, you may see some disputes until this process finishes.
If you find a dispute that you entered and the automated process has not yet moved it, you can still remove the dispute yourself. You can also edit the note associated with the dispute. If you find a dispute that is preventing corrections, check this record in a few days or weeks, after the automated process has had more time to run. Once the dispute is moved, you might be able to make the corrections.
Where to Find Former Disputes in Discussions
After an individual’s disputes have been moved to his or her discussions, they will appear in a discussion that is titled “Legacy Disputes.”
While a nice feature, and one that’s been talked about for some time, it sure does little to fix the main problems facing New FamilySearch. While disputes can be inconvenient, the lack of an adequate source citation system, source image linking, source image uploading, historical and biographical structure, and research/conclusion system are really the kinds of problems that doom New FamilySearch to the same fate as Ancestral File. As far as basic functionality, the ability to remove false data, change incorrect genders, or adequately and effectively seperate combined individuals remain off the table.
New FamilySearch began with ambitious goals and fire in their blood. Now it seems the quarterly updates become less and less significant, and resources are being funneled to other projects. I would love to see New FamilySearch reach every one of those ambitious goals, but their current pace reveals the internal problems at hand. The drive has left them, the dreamers and do-ers have been hired away by bigger companies, and what remains is an un-finished program and a diminished band of programmers doing their best to keep the ship sailing.
I hope that the programmers have been busy on wonderful new additions that will begin to appear at any moment. The rumors of source citation systems and source image linking have been swirling for years, but we’ve seen no results. Projects that were slated for a week or two have taken 6 months to implement. Please prove me wrong, FamilySearch, I hope the fire is still alive, but I’m beginning to doubt.
Some time ago now, the people at FamilySearch replaced some photos on the site to make it more non-mormon friendly. That included the removal of President Monson’s photo from the log-in page, and the removal of a photo of the Salt Lake Temple on the home page, after log in. In place of the temple photo, this generic family photo appeared:
“Awww, how cute,” you might say, but have you really taken a close look at this photo? Yes, the pose is odd. Why is the mother staring at the youngest child? It appears obvious that he’s mom’s favorite, and the two boys on the right are looking at their mother, longing for her approval and attention.
But here comes the creepy part, and it took me a long time to notice it. I mean, I’m a professional genealogist, and I’m on New FamilySearch every day. So for several months I quickly bypassed this photo and went to the search tab. Then one day, while NFS was stuck loading the page, I saw him. The middle child. Not paying any attention to mother, or little brother, but staring…right…at…me. Yikes! Kinda creeped me out, and now I can hardly log in to NFS without noticing it.
His look is so haunting, it makes me kind of wonder if the family got the photo back from the studio and exclaimed, “That’s Billy! He’s been dead for two years, but he showed up in the photograph! Ahhhh!!!” Or maybe he was a prankster, or just wanted to ruin the happy family photo because mom got mad at him earlier that day. I don’t know what the real story is, and I’m assuming he’s just some random ancestor of a graphic designer at FamilySearch, but I’m hoping they’ll find a new photo soon, or else I’m going to have to submit my own family photo for a replacement, one that’s a little more normal.
Yeah, that one will work.
FamilySearch recently changed the standard system for ordering microfilm and microfiche. You can now order these films and have them delivered to your local Family History Center all through an online ordering system. The website for access to the ordering system is http://films.familysearch.org. You will need to have a FamilySearch Account or LDS Account to access the system. Prices for the services are currently published as:
The cost for ordering microfilm with Online Film Ordering will be as follows:
· Short-term Loan = $5.50
· Extended Loan = $13.75
· Microfiche Loan = $4.75 (for the entire set of fiche)
Wait times for processing and shipping the film have not yet been published, but sometimes you’d really like to have copies of certificates or other documents now! So why not have Shoebox Genealogy find the document at the Family History Library, scan a copy direct from the film, and email it to you on the same day? The price for one document is $15, and we do offer discounts for multiple lookups. Call us today for immediate service!