Family Tree ~ The New FamilySearch Interface

As announced by Ron Tanner at RootsTech 2012, FamilySearch has been working on a new data interface for the records in New FamilySearch.   The new interface is called Family Tree and beta testing has begun for a group of power users.

The new interface should be of great interest to current and future users of new FamilySearch because of the great improvements it provides in adding, sourcing and maintaining records in that enormous database.

The full interface has not yet been released for general use but we can see the new design and much of the functionality that it will provide to users in the images in this article..

When released for general use, a link to the interface will be displayed next to the FamilySearch logo after a user is logged into the FamilySearch system.



Records are displayed in graphical pedigree format .  If you have included a record for yourself on the site, the initial view will show you, your parents and grandparents. (Click on image to enlarge)   Expanding the initial view is accomplished by clicking on the arrow to the right of the last person in the tree.   Conversely, clicking on it again will collapse the tree.


Clicking on a name in the tree produces an individual view of their data.  The Individual’s page can be fairly long if many events, sources, discussion posts, etc., have been added to the record.  The top section is seen below.


The next section of the individual record shows the information for the individual as an adult and as a child in their parents family which is followed by a Sources and Discussions sections.


if the event dates and locations in the record aren’t correct or need tweaks, it is easy to correct or add them.   Simply mouse over the event and click on the edit icon.


As you enter data into the event fields, the standard date format is displayed as is the standard location name.  Using the standards will insure consistency throughout the records in the database.


If needed, evidence and analysis arguments are added in the corresponding field below each event.  Other collaborators on the record will read your entry and add their own arguments in this field if they have another opinion.


Sources for any information added to a record is imperative to ensure a correct and accurate record.  The Family Tree interface makes them easy to add.  Simply fill in the source title, a web link if to the record, the source location and the source detail to their respective fields in the source tool..   Examples of the data and its expected format is shown in each of the source fields.


Populate the fields with the source data and click “Save”.


The inclusion of primary source information is easily understood if they are correctly titled, but many sources need further explanation of why you have added them to the record.   After you have saved your new source information, you will have an opportunity to justify their inclusion and application to the event.


When the process is completed, the source is displayed in a consistent easily readable format.  The identity of the user who added the source is shown along with the records using it.  The sources can be attached any record that they support.


Discussions about a record are easy to add to any record using the associated Discussion tool.


To see children or an expanded tree, simply click on the associated arrows by any of your ancestors names.



Navigating expanded trees is as simple as dragging them around your screen.


Or you can use the onscreen navigation tool.


Family Tree also allows you to Watch any record for changes by others.  Additional navigation is accomplished wising the History list that shows the last eight records you’ve selected.


Future additions to the tool will display all of the events and duplicate records that exist in New FamilySearch.  Additionally, it will offer a merge tool rather than the current combine tool.  

FamilySearch expects the records on the site to be accurate records of our ancestry.  Collaborative users must work to ensure that each record is accurately populated, sourced and reviewed by the user community.  All users should have had this goal in mind from the beginning but not all have taken the time to add accurate well-sourced data in the past.  As soon as Family Tree is released, less conscientious users will only open themselves to a substandard reputation if they continue adding bad or poorly researched and documented information to the database.

Official information about the new interface tool will be released as it becomes available.  The information and graphic layout  seen in this article may change as the application undergoes further development.  

I’m already enamored by the new Family Tree interface and am sure you will similarly enjoy it too when it is released for general use.

If you watched Ron Tucker’s presentation at RootsTech, you know that other additions are in the pipeline for Family Tree.  We don’t know how many of them will come to fruition, but if even only some of them eventually reach production, we will all be greatly rewarded.  

Keep an eye open for official announcements about Family Tree in the weeks and months to come.

Copyright (c) Lee Drew 2012-02-24 08:00:00
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About lineagekeeper

Family history research is a favored avenue of relaxation. It is a Sherlock-like activity that can continue almost anywhere at any time. By leveraging a lifetime involvement in technology, my research efforts have resulted in terabytes of ancestral data, earning me the moniker of Lineagekeeper. And yes - We are all related to Royalty.