“News of the Church,” Ensign, Jul 2010, 74–78
Updated FamilySearch.org to Bring New Features Under One Roof
By Breanna Olaveson Church Magazines
Breanna Olaveson, “Updated FamilySearch.org to Bring New Features Under One Roof,” Ensign, July 2010, 74–76
An update to familysearch.org, available now at beta.familysearch.org, will make the site a hub of genealogical activity. Users can visit the site and provide feedback for developers before the beta version replaces familysearch.org later this year.
The site brings together many of the tools FamilySearch provides, including FamilySearch Indexing, new.familysearch.org, user-generated and -edited wikis, and forums. To create a more seamless user experience, a single username and password will allow users to log in once and gain access to all areas of the site.
New.familysearch.org, which replaced TempleReady last year and includes the Family Tree feature, will be integrated into the updated site. The beta site also includes new record collections currently available at pilot.familysearch.org. As developers bring these various tools together, feedback from users is a valuable asset in helping prepare the site for a worldwide audience.
“In the past, using all the FamilySearch tools has been like visiting separate, distinct buildings. The goal of the beta site is to create a sense of visiting different rooms in the same house,” said Robert Kehrer, senior product manager for the site.
With the remodel, the site’s search capability, collaboration tools, and overall simplicity will help put valuable information closer to the user’s fingertips.
The Church is digitizing billions of records stored at the Granite Mountain Records Vault and adding them to the documents already available online. A new image viewer feature allows users to search digital images of microfilm and view them as they would using a microfilm reader at a family history center, only without the hand crank and eye fatigue. The image viewer enhances the legibility of record images and provides access to published records online. With so many records becoming readily accessible, an easy process for sifting through information is essential to a useful family history site.
In searching for ancestors, beta.familysearch.org’s search engine goes beyond requested documents and provides users with other information that might also be helpful in research. A search for an individual’s birth certificate, for example, will return historical documents but may also return information from Ancestral File, Pedigree Resource File, forums, the Family History Library Catalog, and other sources.
To help organize results, search pages include a “Record Type” box. Here, records are organized as Birth, Marriage, and Death; Census and Lists; Military; Probate and Court; Migration and Naturalization; and Other. The new site will also allow members to access select collections on third-party Web sites.
The improved familysearch.org will also provide several forums for collaboration that will enable family members to share and compare information without leaving the site.
Forums on specific localities, a blog, and similar communication areas are accessible now on the beta site, with more functionality to come in the future.
“The name family history implies that this isn’t a work to be done in isolation. We are laying the foundations of a site where families can collaborate on finding their ancestors,” Brother Kehrer said.
Users can read and contribute to wiki pages dedicated to specific localities through the “Learn” tab on the beta site. These pages provide forums where users can share information pertinent to a certain place, share research tips, and include external links to helpful Web sites.
In time, familysearch.org will be able to notify users when certain information of personal interest is edited or added. These alerts will help ensure changed information is accurate and encourage family members with similar information to compare sources and reach sound conclusions.
Even with so many new features, the beta site is designed to simplify family history work. The site’s usability saves visitors time as they find and prepare names to take to the temple.
One of the goals of beta.familysearch.org is to help novice researchers get started quickly and make meaningful contributions to family history work without a lot of training. The site is structured to make it easy for casual volunteers to learn what information is already available, find out what needs to be done, and help by finding sources of information and establishing credibility of information.
Even individuals whose family history is largely completed can help with family history by making records available for others. For example, users can transcribe information from online images such as census records on a personal computer in a process called indexing. After records are indexed, they can be searched digitally. The indexing application is currently housed on indexing.familysearch.org, but will be part of familysearch.org later this year.
Indexing is one way to help with family history, but it certainly isn’t the only way.
“Each person has different interests and skills that they can contribute to family history,” Brother Kehrer said. “We are building a site that gives users a lot of options for becoming engaged in the work.”
Help is also available on the Web site. Users can ask research questions and find information on getting started, understanding historical documents, researching specific localities, and other helpful hints under the “Learn” tab on the site.
With the coming improvements, familysearch.org makes family history work easier and helps further one of the great purposes of the Church in the latter days. President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said, “Family history work has the power to do something for the dead. It has an equal power to do something to the living. Family history work of Church members has a refining, spiritualizing, tempering influence on those who are engaged in it. They understand that they are tying their family together—their living family here with those who have gone before” (“Your Family History: Getting Started,” Liahona and Ensign, Aug. 2003, 12).
Bringing the Family Together
• Family Tree and temple preparation features currently available on new.familysearch.org
• Search capabilities currently available on pilot.familysearch.org
• FamilySearch Indexing functions currently available on indexing.familysearch.org
• User forums currently available on forums.familysearch.org
• Family History Library Catalog and other information
• Family History blogs
• Wiki pages that provide research help and guidance currently available on wiki.familysearch.org
• Help features
Church Makes Mission Changes
“Church Makes Mission Changes,” Ensign, July 2010, 76
To better align resources to changing needs, the Church has created 10 new missions and consolidated others with neighboring missions. The resulting number of missions will be 340.
The Church has created the following missions:
Democratic Republic of Congo Lubumbashi, Guatemala Retalhuleu, Mexico Mexico City Northwest, Mexico Villahermosa, New Mexico Farmington, Nicaragua Managua North (the Nicaragua Managua Mission will be called the Nicaragua Managua South Mission), Peru Cusco, Peru Lima West, Philippines Iloilo, and Utah St. George.
The Church has combined the following missions:
The Australia Melbourne East and West Missions will become the Australia Melbourne Mission.
The Australia Sydney North and South Missions will become the Australia Sydney Mission.
The Puerto Rico San Juan East and West Missions will become the Puerto Rico San Juan Mission, with parts of the east mission being consolidated into the Dominican Republic Santo Domingo East and the West Indies Missions.
The Germany Hamburg Mission will become part of the Germany Berlin Mission.
The Germany Munich/Austria, Switzerland Zürich, and portions of the Germany Frankfurt Missions will become the Alpine German-Speaking Mission.
The Illinois Chicago North and South Missions will become the Illinois Chicago Mission.
The Illinois Peoria Mission will be consolidated into a realignment of the Iowa Des Moines, Missouri St. Louis, and Nebraska Omaha Missions.
The Ireland Dublin and Scotland Edinburgh Missions will become the Scotland/Ireland Mission.
The Italy Catania Mission will be consolidated into a realignment of the Italy Rome and the Italy Milan missions.
The Japan Hiroshima Mission will be consolidated into a realignment of the Japan Fukuoka and Japan Kobe Missions.
The Korea Seoul West Mission will become part of the Korea Seoul Mission.
The New Jersey Cherry Hill Mission will be consolidated into a realignment of the New Jersey Morristown and Pennsylvania Philadelphia Missions.
The Ohio Cincinnati Mission will be consolidated into a realignment of the Ohio Columbus and West Virginia Charleston Missions.
The Spain Bilbao Mission will be consolidated into a realignment of the Spain Barcelona, Spain Madrid, and Spain Málaga missions.
New Mission Presidents Begin Service
“New Mission Presidents Begin Service,” Ensign, July 2010, 77
The majority of more than 100 new mission presidents and their wives began their three-year service this month in missions around the world.
Many new mission presidents and their wives began serving this month.
Photograph by Christina Smith
In the News
“In the News,” Ensign, July 2010, 78
Mormon Channel Offers Variety of Programs
Since its development just over one year ago, the official radio station of the Church, the Mormon Channel, has made some changes to better serve radio listeners and Internet audiences worldwide.
New radio programs include Conversations, Faith in Action, and a series called Q&A.
Conversations features interviews with General Authorities, auxiliary leaders, and other faithful members from across the globe. Previously featured guests include Elders L. Tom Perry, Dallin H. Oaks, M. Russell Ballard, and other members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
Interviews are informal, enabling listeners to learn unique things about the Apostles such as childhood experiences. Conversations episodes are typically 90 minutes long.
Faith in Action airs weekly and discusses welfare efforts of the Church and how the gospel can help people become more self-reliant. Guest speakers include returned LDS humanitarian missionaries, who share experiences from their time serving in various regions of the world.
Q&A allows people to e-mail questions to the radio station through email@example.com. Many questions come from those who are not members of the Church.
Audio podcasts of the programs are available in English on the Mormon Channel Web site, radio.lds.org. The Mormon Channel can also be found in eight major markets on Bonneville International radio stations.
Conversations on the Mormon Channel features faithful members from around the world, including members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
Help Us Improve
“Help Us Improve,” Ensign, July 2010, 78
The Ensign staff is seeking members of all ages who are willing to give feedback about proposed articles and features in upcoming issues. Volunteers for this Ensign Evaluation Committee must have Internet access and be able to communicate in English. To volunteer, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and put “Evaluation Committee” in the subject line. We will send you questions periodically. Your feedback will help the Ensign better meet the needs of readers around the world.
“World Briefs,” Ensign, July 2010, 78
Mormon Battalion Historic Site Reopens
The Mormon Battalion Historic Site in San Diego, California, USA, reopened in March after extensive renovations. The site honors more than 500 Latter-day Saints who followed prophetic counsel to join the United States Army in 1846. A walk-through exhibit follows the Battalion’s journey from Council Bluffs, Iowa, to Old Town San Diego, California. The exhibit contains original artifacts, including muskets and cannons.
New Beginnings in Kathmandu
Young women in the Kathmandu Branch in New Delhi, India, participated in their first New Beginnings program in April 2010. Five young women and their mothers were present as the branch presidency, Young Women president, and other youth leaders offered inspirational counsel. The young women were taught about the Personal Progress program and the importance of building and strengthening their testimonies.
Kyiv Temple to Be Dedicated
The Kyiv Ukraine Temple will be dedicated on August 29, 2010. A public open house will take place from August 7 to 21, with a cultural celebration on August 28. The Kyiv Temple is the Church’s first temple in Eastern Europe and the 11th on the European continent. It will serve members in 13 countries.^ Back to top