You might’ve read on the blogosphere that FamilySearch is hosting a bloggers’ day at its Salt Lake City headquarters, with about a dozen genealogy bloggers in attendance and one on the phone (you can see their tweets on Twitter with hashtag #FSBlogDay).
Most of what was covered was context: a look at the changes in FamilySearch products and services over the last few years, and what direction future developments might take. Over the next few days, I’ll share what I’ve learned that’ll be especially helpful to you.
Sometimes it’s helpful to have an overview. You might be using parts of the FamilySearch website in your research right now, but not know that other parts exist. Eventually, all the parts will be integrated into one site where it’s easier to move from one to another, but for now, here are the parts and where to find them:
- “Classic” FamilySearch: This familiar site has Ancestor File, the International Genealogical Index and other pedigree databases, the Social Security Death Index, the Family History Library Catalog, research outlines, and more.
- FamilySearch Record Search Pilot Site: For a few years, this is where Familysearch was publishing its digitized records and volunteer-created searchable indexes. The site is still there and will remain for awhile, but new records are no longer being added. Instead, those new digitized records are being added to …
- FamilySearch Beta: This is where new FamilySearch features are being incorporated, and it’ll be the main FamilySearch site in the future. Right now, it has all of FamilySearch’s digitized records and the volunteer-created searchable indexes, searchable family trees, plus links to FamilySearch online classes, the Research Wiki (with articles you can search for genealogy advice), a new version of the Family History Library Catalog, a Family History Center search and a FamilySearch news blog.
- Community Trees: This site lets you search lineage-linked genealogies from specific time periods and localities around the world. See this page for geographic areas and time periods covered.
- Forums: I just learned about this resource–post your research questions here, and genealogists (including Family History Library or Family History Center consultants) lend their expertise. No need to register if you don’t want to.
- FamilySearch Indexing: FamilySearch has mobilized volunteers around the world to help index its digitized genealogy records. Here is where you can join the volunteer effort and see what projects are in the works.
- FamilySearch Labs: New products are tested here.
- “New” FamilySearch: This is a place (eventually to be called FamilySearch Family Trees) where users can post and collaborate on family trees. It’s currently available only to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as kinks are worked out. We got a look at some of the kinks, which include how to reconcile differences in trees for the same family.
In the interest of full disclosure: FamilySearch covered travel expenses and meals for participants in the bloggers’ day. There were no agreements regarding whether or how any bloggers would cover the event.