New FamilySearch Site Design ~ A Left Turn?

FamilySearch has put a lot of effort into the redesign of their website.  Bright colors, large photos and plenty of white space grace the pages.



Accessing the features on FamilySearch is a two-step process accomplished by clicking on the icons under the main image and then on the related button in the image frame.  Users need to login access some features such as Family Tree, Indexing, Fan Chart and to add Photos.

The design is clearly meant to attract people new to genealogy.  They will feel at ease using the simple interface designed specifically for them.  Only one addition click has been added to the site to search Family Records.

Seasoned researchers don’t see the new design from the same perspective as beginning researchers.  The design has introduced a left turn into the usability of the site for them.


The little touted but widely acclaimed Research Wiki was hard to find on the old site design but the new design has pushed it farther into the background.  In fact, it has been pushed so far out of the stream of relevance that few site visitors will find it.  Links to the wiki have gone from two clicks to four.

Why does this matter?  It’s just a wiki isn’t it? 

Yes, it is a wiki but what a wiki.  Seasoned researchers know that the wiki is as welcome as a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  The wiki truly is one of the top five genealogy resources on the web.  Its articles are full of information, descriptions, locations and topics relating to the myriad of sites and collections around the world as well as collections on FamilySearch.   Links in the articles take us to the very records needed to find and prove the names and relationships in our family tree. 

Written by experts and knowledgeable volunteers, the wiki articles focus on proven results and how-to information.  They comprise the gold in the pot at rainbows end. 

Seasoned researchers know of the worth of the articles and celebrate them.   Why is their value being being hidden and almost denied by FamilySearch?

The new site design promises new users the ability to find records for Individuals already existing in Family Tree and attach photos and stories to them.  The lesser focus is to find records that may or may not prove the accuracy of those records and to add additional records to the Tree.

If the only collections to be used for research are on FamilySearch via the Family Records links on the site, then mission accomplished.  However, we know that those collections are not all-inclusive and that researchers will need to visit thousands of other sites, libraries and archives to find the names and information about their ancestors. 

The Research Wiki provides the links and information about them.

How difficult would It be to put the word ‘Wiki’ and the link to it above the main graphic on the new site design?  It takes five maybe six keystrokes. Let’s be generous and give them ten. 

Is there a problem with providing seasoned researchers a link to the tool they use to find the source information that creates the majority of new, proven records in Family Tree?

What have we done to offend FamilySearch to be treated this way?

Until the directors of FamilySearch remember who their most prolific and source proven contributors are… these are the convoluted steps to get to the Research Wiki.

1.  Click on the “Live Help” icon

2.  Click on the “Get help” button

3.  On the next page, Click on the “Request Assistance” link.  ( It’s so obvious isn’t it? )

4.  On the next page, Click on the “visit the Research Wiki” link

That’s all there is to it.  

Oh, did I mention that you’ll also need to turn the knob to the left, face south, close your right eye then say, “wiki, wiki, let me in!” to enter the site?    Nah – Just kidding.


If you want to find any of the wonderful FamilySearch Training courses, follow the same path as above but veer right at step 3 and click on the “Take a course” link.

Copyright (c) Lee Drew 2013-04-17 15:30:00
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avatar lineagekeeper 22 April 201310:13 pm

22 Apr 2013 10:00 p.m. The FamilySearch site now has a new tab called “WIKI”. See:


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.