FGS Report: News From and FamilySearch

By Diane Haddad

I wanted to share some of the and FamilySearch updates I learned about while at the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference in Fort Wayne, Ind., last week.

  • This update is to family trees on The site is gradually rolling out a new “Story View” in individual profiles. It uses information from the person’s timeline to create a basic narrative about his or her life events. The narrative is presented in timeline format along with images of records or photos you’ve attached to the person or event. You can edit the narrative and crop the images to focus on the part you want.

I don’t have Story View yet or I’d show you what it looks like, but you can see more Story View details and screenshots on the Genea-Musings blog (Randy has had access to Story View for months now).

  • also recently updated the new, interactive image viewer with a Related Content panel that shows Member Connect information (such as other members who’ve viewed that record), Suggested Records (other records that might name your ancestor) and Related Trees (other family trees on the site that have people matching your relatives).
  • If you search from an member tree, over the next two weeks you’ll start seeing “smart filtering,” which lets you hide results from collections in which you’ve already found a person’s record. For example, say you’ve already found your third-great-grandfather in the 1880 census. When you next search the census collection, you can filter out all results from the 1880 census and focus on other results.

Your search results also will start with a list of records you’ve already attached to the person you’re researching, so you can see what you have and what you need.

We didn’t arrive in Fort Wayne until Wednesday evening, so we missed the FamilySearch dinner on Tuesday (bummer—I heard the freebies included a solar phone charger), but I stopped by the FamilySearch booth in the exhibit hall for a quick update:

  • The organization’s focus continues to be on sharing family history stories and photos as opposed to hard facts, with messages about “turning hearts” and “Not charts … but hearts.”
  • FamilySearch is working on plans to open Family History Discovery Centers in “high-traffic areas” (Philadelphia was mentioned to me as a location for a prototype) with oral history recording studios and other technology to help the “casually interested” start researching their family history.
  • FamilySearch will begin to equip its FamilySearch Centers with oral history recording equipment, similar to what you might find in a StoryCorps booth.