Monday, November 4, 2013

Attaching Documents to Persons in the FamilySearch Family Tree

I wrote about attaching photographs to persons in the FamilySearch Family Tree in FamilySearch Photos Is Open (posted 15 April 2013).  

Now, a user can upload document images also, according to the FamilySearch blog in More Updates to FamilySearch Photos and Stories -- October 29, 2013 by Steve Anderson.  There is a Content Submission Agreement that contributors should read, and there are guidelines that appear in a popup window when the user starts to upload an image (either Photo or Document).

I decided to upload only some of my scanned or collected documents.  I don't want to upload document images that I've downloaded from a website other than FamilySearch (e.g., scanned census images, Find A Grave gravestone photos, Fold3 Revolutionary War pension file pages).  For some of those, I can find the document images on FamilySearch, or I can attach FamilySearch record summaries to the Sources in the Family Tree.  I want to upload only those images that are out of copyright protection (e.g., publications before 1923, or government documents), are under my copyright protection (e.g., photographs or family papers), or are from FamilySearch.

Here is the upload process for those who haven't seen it before:

1)  From my grandfather's Profile, I saw the "Photos and Documents" link in the menu row below the name:

2)  I clicked on the "Photos and documents" link and that screen opened (I already had two photographs uploaded for him):

3)  I clicked on the "Add Photo" link on the screen above, and then was told o click on the green "+" icon - the text beside it says "Drag and drop or click to add family photos here" and below that "We support .jpg, .png and .pdf up to 15 MB."

4)  After clicking on the green "+" icon, and one more click, my file folder "Open" window opened and I clicked to the file folder with documents for my grandfather:

5)  From the "Open" window above, I clicked on the document for his Death Certificate and clicked on the "Open" button in order to upload it.  After a short period of time, the screen below opened showing a place holder for the document I uploaded:

6)  It took about 10-20 minutes for the document to appear on the "Attach Photos" page.  There is a placeholder that says "Completed" until the image is uploaded and approved:

After some time, the document image appears in the "Attach Photos" page (it's the one on the left):

After another ten minutes, the image still does not show on my grandfather's "Photos and Documents" page.  I imagine that it will at a future time.

7)  With this addition of Document images, FamilySearch is close to completing the FamilySearch Family Tree design.  I'm sure that they will add more new features over time and improve the Tree, but it looks to me like it is fairly complete.  What more is there to do?  Perhaps some sort of Report capability.

One of the real problem areas in Family Tree is duplicate Persons caused by the many submissions of historical persons; the duplicate persons need to be merged and their profiles streamlined to eliminate wrong or duplicate material.  I would like to see some sort of curator team for sets of famous persons (e.g., Mormon pioneers, Mayflower Passengers, Jamestowne settlers, British Royals, etc.) who could manage that process in an orderly way using authoritative and peer-reviewed reference sources.  It is these duplicate persons that will keep the FamilySearch Family Tree from being accurate and really useful.

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Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

1 comment:

Geolover said...

The matter of duplicates in the FS-Family Tree is much more serious than you suggest. For example, for one of my 3rd-generation Ipswich ancestors there are more than 200 versions that have been uncombined from new.FamilySearch and put into FS-FT. There is indeed an admin. team working on 'famous persons' and uncombining at least some of the Individuals of Unusual Size (IOUS) that made the n.FS program even more unworkable than its original design seemed to be.

Such duplications are being dumped into Family Tree, but the process of deciding which sets are to be separated has not been disclosed.

These components of the IOUS tend to have major or minor mistakes including in vital dates, spouse identities, parents and children (many of whom also are IOUS with the same sorts of mistakes).

In my experience some of the duplicate sets are attached wholesale, seemingly randomly, to completely impossible persons (different surnames from the attached parents, and/or born different centuries from supposed spouses/children).

My suspicion is that this mass of duplicates (originating in so many copies of user-submitted data that were put into new.FamilySearch) are going to be left in Family Tree for *somebody else* to fix.

If one had not already conducted sound research on my aforesaid ancestor, it could take days or longer for an admin. person to do so. And there must be at least tens of thousands of these.