Thursday, March 22, 2012

My First Look at FamilySearch Family Tree - Post 1

After watching Ron Tanner's video presentation at RootsTech 2012 about the FamilySearch Family Tree (not currently available), and knowing that there was a Beta test of the improved Family Tree in operation, I wanted to be invited to see how the FamilySearch Family Tree looks, feels and works. One of my friends invited me yesterday and I took advantage of it.  Previously, I added about 400 persons to the New FamilySearch (NFS) database using RootsMagic and their interface with the NFS tree.  My last post about the Family Tree was What is the Status of the FamilySearch Family Tree?

After accepting the invitation, and after logging into FamilySearch, the FamilySearch home page ( now has a "Family Tree" item in the top menu line (to the right of the FamilySearch logo):

Clicking on the "Family Tree" menu item opened the Family Tree with myself in the #1 position.  I clicked on the right arrow for my grandfather, Frederick Walton Seaver, and two more generations appeared, as seen below:

There are several menu items at the top of the Family Tree page - "Tree" (shown above), "Ancestor," "Search," "Watchlist" and over on the right, "History."  If you click on the "Ancestor" menu item, you go to the page for the person in the #1 position on the tree.

The user can move this page around by dragging and dropping the mouse button, and can click on the right arrow next to a person to see two more generations and navigate to earlier generations.

If you click on a person's name in the Family Tree, then a popup box comes up with the person's name, birth information, and death information.  I clicked on Isaac Seaver's name and saw:

This popup box has links for "View Tree," "View Ancestor," and "Watch."  When you click "View Tree" you see the person, and the children of that person to the left of the person.  I clicked on the "View Ancestor" link and saw all of the information for Isaac Seaver (four screens below):

The information in blue is clickable so that it can be edited.  When I clicked on the Death Fact, the Death information was expanded so it could be edited:

On the screen above, the "Deceased" button is selected, the Death Date is shown (and it tells me it's in the correct format - Day-Month-Year), the place name is shown (and it tells me that it's in the correct format (Town-county-State-Country), and an "Evidence and Analysis" box is shown.  If the date and place are not in the correct format, I could edit them and, hopefully, conform them to the standard.

I can add information to the "Evidence and Analysis" text box to explain my conclusion for the Fact.  I'm not sure if there are examples for this, so my thought is to add a summary like:

"Death certificate and probate record indicate that Isaac Seaver died on 12 March 1901.  See sources for details."

I have not seen enough information yet to understand what information has been included in the FamilySearch Family Tree.  I have many questions, including:  Are all assertions included for a Person and relationships of that person?  How do I edit the information?  How do I delete information?  How do I remove a relationship from the tree?

How do I add a Source?  I'll look at that task in the next post in this series.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

1 comment:

Jim Ericson said...

Randy, it looks like you're making a great start in using the Family Tree on To answer some of your questions, the ability to edit, update, and remove relationships should be coming out in about a month or so. As you can imagine, this functionality will be at the heart of making a common family tree work. We also have the ability to see the history of changes and undo changes that have recently been made. This is another critical piece for an evidence-based common family tree to be practical. I look forward to seeing your ongoing evaluation over time. Thanks! Jim Ericson