Friday, December 14, 2012

"Genealogies" Replaces "Trees" on FamilySearch Home Page

There used to be a "Trees" link on the FamilySearch home page that linked to text records from the Ancestral File (an interconnect tree) and Pedigree Resource File (isolated trees) submissions by LDS members and other researchers.

The "Genealogies" link has replaced the "Trees" link, and the format of the "Genealogies" pages has been revised to look like a family tree.  Here is the FamilySearch home page:

The "Genealogies" link is highlighted on the screen above.

I clicked on the "Genealogies" link and the "Search User Submitted Genealogies" page appeared, with a description of the database as:

"User Submitted Genealogies is a set of lineage linked conclusion trees provided to FamilySearch by users. This data comes from the Ancestral File, the Pedigree Resource File and other user submissions."

The user can check the "Search all terms exactly" box, search by Relationship or AF Number, and search in only Ancestral File, Pedigree Resource File.  Search fields are available for the first and last name of a target person, spouse's first and last names, parents first and last names, and the opportunity to add birth, marriage, residence and death events:

I picked only the "Pedigree Resource File" to search, and entered my 3rd great-grandparents, Benjamin Seaver and Abigail Gates, into the search fields for the person and spouse names.

I clicked on the "Search" button and saw a list of nine matches:

I can click on each of those nine Pedigree Resource Filer entries and see what was submitted by someone in the past 30 or so years.  I clicked on the first one on the list and saw (two screens):

The target person is highlighted in the white box, with his spouse listed below, his children to the left, and his parents and grandparents to the right in a tree configuration similar to what is in the "FamilySearch Family Tree."

A user can navigate to another person on the screen by clicking on the name of the other person.  I clicked on Norman Seaver and saw:

Unfortunately, the information in the selected result for Benjamin Seaver (1791-1825) is limited, and some of it is wrong.  For example, it lists his oldest child as being born in 1794 (before Benjamin's wife, Abigail Gates, was born), lists six other children, and does not list any of the four children he had with Abigail, including my second great-grandfather, Isaac Seaver (1823-1901).  This is fairly typical of submissions to both the Ancestral File and Pedigree Resource File databases - there was no sanity check of the submitted records.

While this is definitely a better presentation of this "genealogy" data than the former "Trees" presentation, it still lacks the most important information of all - the sources of the names, dates and places - and any semblance of family history information (stories, photographs, etc.).  That, of course, was expected since these Pedigree Resource Files were submitted as isolated family trees by individuals over a long period of time, using GEDCOM files.

All (?) of the information in this "Genealogies" database was used to seed the "FamilySearch Family Tree" interconnected family tree system (the "Family Tree" link on the FamilySearch home page, visible to registered users) with persons in the AF and PRF.  Then there was an attempt over several years to combine identical persons to try to get an interconnected family tree without modifying the vital records data. Recently, LDS members and registered researchers (including me) were able to add, edit and delete content, including sources and discussions.   In the near future, Finally, all registered users will be able to add, edit and delete content.

From a genealogical and family history point of view, the "FamilySearch Family Tree" will be the more useful database since it can be modified by users, and sources and documentation can be provided by interested users.

This "User Submitted Genealogies" database may become obsolete.  In the mean time, it serves as another user-submitted database that can be used to search for information provided by other researchers.  However, users of this database should understand that there are no sources and no supporting documentation (e.g., digital images) for this information, and it should be used only as leads and clues for further research in historical record collections.

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Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver


Rick Crume said...

The Pedigree Resource File includes the notes and sources in the submission. Unfortunately, it doesn't include the submitters' names and contact information.

Diane Gould Hall said...

Thanks Randy. That is a good explanation of the changes that I had heard took place. Very helpful.

Jodi-Anne said...

Thankyou so much for the Family Search instructions. I had all but given up on their new search facitities.

Les said...

Thanks for this post. When I used the "Genealogies", it came up with a file that I've never gotten before on Family Search. I wish there was contact info as it had to have been posted by my dad's cousin. It was an extensive file and has clues that will keep me busy for years.