Friday, April 19, 2013

Follow-Up Friday - Interesting and Helpful Reader Comments

It's Friday, so it's time for interesting and reader comments on Genea-Musings posts.  They include:

1)  On Is FamilySearch De-emphasizing Genealogical Research? (18 April 2013).

*  Michael McCormick said:  "If you look at you see hover over menu that only takes one bar on the screen and expands to things like their wiki so you only need one click.  Some wheels don't need to be reinvented.

"Congrats on the little summaries and big photos on the home page. these may highlight things for beginners to try, but at you said we need the links too.

"I like that they made it more mobile friendly. try it on your android or iphone web browser and you don't have to zoom to read the page. some pages don't work that way yet."

My comment:  I haven't looked at it on mobile yet, I will.   

*  Elizabeth H. commented:  "Can I also add that trying to find out the status of an order of microfilm is almost impossible. I very occasionally order a microfilm (not everything is digitized, especially from 19th century Hungary) and trying to figure out where to go to find the status is almost impossible. I'm glad I got an email with a link to the page showing the updated status.

"New researchers need to know that not all records are digitized and online and the FHL microfilms are such a valuable resource! (Admittedly not free, but very low cost for going back a couple of generations in my husband's Jewish genealogy!)"

*  Janet Iles noted:  "I am finding the new website layout very confusing. When I see Live Help, I think of live chat and I was looking for something last night, I thought this is not what I want. Thanks to your instructions I found the wiki and then England then the maps and then the interactive map. A site menu with links to the different areas would be so helpful and it would get you to where you want to go quite quickly.   Not everyone has high speed connections so every click takes time."

My comment:  Very good observation about click time.

*  Wendy L. Callaghan said:  "I have yet to utilize the new website or even look at it. How disappointing that, rather than emphasizing research, they are more interested in sharing stories, family trees, etc. While this is a lovely idea, it does not appeal to everyone.  Why not make room for *both* research and community/sharing on their front page?"

My comment:  Amen!  Family photos and stories are important for family history, and have a place in our genealogy world.  But genealogical and family history research is our  bread and butter - how we link it all together using sources and evidence analysis.

*  Amy Sue Smith offered:  "I appreciate all the links. I didn't realize that not all of the resources on FamilySearch were not actually searchable from the front page search box, so now I will have to re-think my search strategies and re-examine what is there."

My comment:  I will write more about my current FamilySearch search strategy, since this is them ost important thing to genealogists.

*  JG in MD said:  "Clicks? It's not just clicks. It's I can't possibly remember how to get through to where I want to go. Surely not everyone can remember exactly how to traverse a series of menus every time they want to see something on FamilySearch."

My comment:  Excellent point!  I get hung up on the time it takes to get to where I want to go.  

*  Patrick Liechty commented:  "I am a developer. I have posted on my blog a response to this blog post. This is good feedback that we can use to make the site better."  

My comment:  Thank you, Patrick, for the insider's view.  I'm glad that FamilySearch is listening.  

I know that we will have additional commentary in the next month or so on this topic.  It will be interesting to see how FamilySearch reacts with commentary and website design changes.

*  Randy asked:  "How do I see photos that others have uploaded?"

My comment:  You sign in to Familysearch, click on the FamilySearch Family Tree link (, and do a search for your person of interest, and look at his/her Profile. If there are Photos tagged to that person, you should be able to see them.  

*  Geolover noted:  "Thanks especially for pointing out the new burying ground for the Wiki. I find the placement in 'help' especially annoying: "Live help" is a particularly misleading term for an area that includes a huge body of research guidance. It suggests a chat forum for assistance with a site **problem**."

My comment:  The Wiki, like the Catalog and the Courses, deserve a visible link so users will find it.

*  Cormac said:  "Slick."

My comment:  Yep,  maybe too slick...

*  Diane B. noted:  "Randy, as someone who is bound to be distantly related to you many times over through the Townsend, Massachusetts and Brookline, New Hampshire folks, I can only urge you to write as often as possible about your ancestors. But beyond that, it's my belief that people learn a lot from looking at someone else's sources and strategies. In fact I would say the very idea of approaching a problem through multiple channels and methods is, in itself, eye opening to a lot of readers. Keep up the good work!"

My comment:  I agree, Diane.  The same attitude applies to genealogical books and periodicals, especially the peer-reviewed journals like NGSQ, NEHGR, NYGBR, TAG, TG, etc.

*  Unknown said:  "As someone who certainly isn't related, I enjoy all the posts from genealogists worldwide who post on these themes. Not only are they interesting, but they act as a poke in the ribs to keep me working on my own stuff. Thanks!"

My comment:  One of my favorite sayings is:  "There's no such thing as a bad blog post.  It can always be used as a bad example."

*  Lauri offered:  "I love all your posts and have learned a lot from them. I keep thinking that if I would have started a Surname Saturday process, I would have a lot of my ancestor's data cleaned up. Yes, I really should start that soon."

My comment:  Lauri, I hope that you do.  I get occasional emails as a result of my Surname Saturday posts - usually pointing me to a book or article that I've missed.

4)  On First Look at NGS 2013 Conference App (8 April 2013):

*  Julie Miller, CG commented:  "An Official Blogger button has now been added to the NGS Conference App. Thanks for pointing it out. You spoke and we listened."

My comment:  THANK YOU, Julie and NGS.  Great work within a week.  We appreciated it!

5)  Thank you all for the kind comments on my posts Genea-Musings is 7 years old today (15 April 2013) and Family Tree Magazine's 40 Best Genealogy Blogs for 2013 (16 April 2013).  I love feedback, even compliments and accolades...

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

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