Friday, October 8, 2010

FamilySearch Beta has a New Look - Part 1

The public face of the FamilySearch Beta web site has changed a bit.  The additions an were provided by email today from Paul Nauta, who noted:

1)  Redesigned Home Page. We redesigned the home page to highlight more of the site features like the Getting Started Section, Learning Resources and FamilySearch Centers. We also added a basic browse by location feature under the search form. We plan to make the browse by location tool much more interactive over time and would love to get your suggestions of how to improve it. Click the Feedback link on the site to leave us a suggestion.

2)  Brand New – Getting Started Section. We have big plans for the Getting Started section of the site. What we released last week is just the beginning. Right now you can look at profiles of some famous ancestors that have been researched by our experts in the Family History Library. You can also choose from a number of designer pedigree charts and fill out your own family tree. Another valuable addition to the Getting Started section isn’t quite ready yet, but you can still see a placeholder for it on the page. A new four-part video series in the Getting Started section will teach people how to begin researching their family history.

3)  Redesigned Learning Resources Section. The learning resources section has been redesigned to try and make it easier to access the tremendous content created by FamilySearch and a community of volunteers. You can quickly search over 40,000 articles containing a wealth of knowledge about how to do research or where to find records all around the world. You can also add your own knowledge by updating an article or creating a new article. We’ve also added over 100 online courses dealing with a range of topics from Beginning English Research to Reading Russian Records. Watch these courses online to learn to research or improve your genealogy skills.


 4)  FamilySearch Center Section.
Each of these modifications to the website are improvements, and there are some hidden gems in the pages.  Here is the top of the home page at


The menu items just above the Search fields has lost the "All Collections" link.  There are links for each continent below the Search fields headlined by "Browse by location", and a link for "All Record Collections" at the very bottom (not shown on the screen above). 

Over on the right sidebar are links and images for three features - Getting Started, How-To and FamilySearch Centers (the last three items in the Paul Nauta email).  Nauta's email calls the "How-To" section the "Learning Resources" - I wonder if it will change again?

Clicking on the "All Record Collections" link brings up the list of record collections available on FamilySearch Beta:

 The collections are listed in alphabetical order.  Over on the left sidebar are filters with listings by Place, Date range, and Record category.  If you click on one of the Place filters, you see only the records applicable to the place:

In the screen above, I clicked on the Place link for "Canada, USA and Mexico."  Each country in the Place collection is listed - in this case, presently Canada has 33 collections, Mexico has 7 and the USA has 247. 

I clicked on the Arizona Deaths, 1870-1951 collection, and saw:

The search fields can be used to search for persons in the specific database.

There is a link for "Learn More" which leads to a FamilySearch Research Wiki page for this specific database:

Each record collection on FamilySearch Beta has a similar Research Wiki page.  The wiki page has much more information about the specific database being used, and there are links to related Research Wiki pages that might be helpful to the researcher.

We'll look at one of the other new features in the next post in this series.

1 comment:

Debbie Blanton McCoy said...
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