He reports more than 700 attendees absorbed nearly 100 presentations and explored a large exhibit area. Here’s what Rick had to say about developments he uncovered there:
FamilySearch makeover update
The revamped Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Family History Library Web site, still in the testing stage, is gradually being rolled out to the church’s temple districts around the world. It’ll be open to the general public once data security issues are addressed.
“New” FamilySearch offers collaboration, multimedia and improved searching. It’ll attempt to consolidate all the family information located in several databases on “old” FamilySearch.
As a shared database open for users to collaborate on, the new FamilySearch is fundamentally different from the current site, which doesn’t let you alter data someone else submitted. You’ll be able to submit information to the new site in GEDCOM format, but you can’t download data as a GEDCOM.
Working with other service providers is the new site’s strong suit. Several genealogy programs, including Ancestral Quest, Legacy Family Tree and RootsMagic (but not Family Tree Maker or FamilySearch’s own Personal Ancestral File), will let you synchronize the family files on your computer with New FamilySearch. And you’ll be able to use these programs free at Family History Centers for three years.
Progeny’s Charting Companion utilities will combine family information from the renewed site with photos from another site to create a photo family tree chart. And Generations Maps will let you order a chart made from names on the new FamilySearch.
Work is underway to digitize the Family History Library’s collection. FamilySearch Labs’ Record Search already lets you search millions of indexed names.
How many searches was that?
Tim Sullivan, president and CEO of The Generations Network, rattled off a string of statistics on his company, whose divisions include Ancestry.com, RootsWeb, MyFamily.com and Genealogy.com.
Amazingly, Genealogy.com still ranks as the third most popular genealogy Web site, even though TGN virtually abandoned the site after acquiring it several years ago.
Sullivan noted Ancestry.com processes 20 million search requests a day. TGN has invested almost $69 million to digitize records over the past 10 years; $10 million a year now goes toward digitization. In the works: scanning some of the National Archives’ 9 billion undigitized documents.
From the genealogy social networking front …
Genealogy social networking sites are multiplying like crazy. Geni now has a million registered users. A new entrant in the field, Family Pursuit, lets you and your relatives use a Web-based genealogy program to collaborate on family history research.
- Family Photoloom, which should be available this month, lets you tag faces in photos and link them to genealogical data
- Heritage Collector lets you organize your digital photos, label people in them and create family history scrapbooks
- Biographywiki.com is a wiki that accepts biographies of anyone, famous or not, but the person must be deceased
- USFamilyTree.com, coming in April, aims to make tracking down your ancestors’ descendants more efficient.