FamilySearch's Facelift
4/1/2001
This online genealogy giant's makeover was more than cosmetic. Learn where to find the information you're after in FamilySearch's new format.
FamilySearch <www.familysearch.org> isn't what it used to be. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' wildly popular Web site still lets you access the church's mountain of family history information from the comfort of your home computer, but a recent redesign has changed how to point and click your way to it.

By reorganizing the site and adding new help features, LDS aimed to make Family-Search more user-friendly, especially for beginners. The site now operates through four main categories: Home, Search, Share and Library. A frame at the top of every page contains a tab for each category; clicking on a tab takes you to that section's main page. As you browse within a section, the frame displays that tab in color and offers links to the options within that area. So when you work in the Share category, for example, the tab shows links for "Collaboration E-mail Lists," "Share My Genealogy" and "Add a Web site to FamilySearch."

If you had trouble figuring out FamilySearch's former (and somewhat unconventional) organizational system, you'll cheer the new home page design. While the old version offered instant access to the ancestor search, tools such as Source Guides and the Family History Library Catalog were buried. Now, rather than having to wade through vague categories, you can easily identify the path to the information you seek because the home page acts more like a "front door." All the site's features are listed under their respective category (Search, Share, Library), and you can click on any description to go directly to that task.