Posts Tagged ‘FamilySearch Certified’

New FamilySearch: An Enormous Endeavor with Enormous Rewards

Sunday, April 4th, 2010


Here at Genlighten, we’re working on ways to collaborate with the folks at FamilySearch so we can become “FamilySearch Certified.”.

With that thought in mind, I was intrigued to hear Russell M. Nelson, a member of the LDS Church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, discuss New FamilySearch (NFS) in an address entitled “Generations Linked In Love” at the Church’s 180th Annual General Conference today. Here are some excerpts from his remarks that got my attention:

“When our hearts turn to our ancestors, something changes inside us,” Elder Nelson said. “We feel part of something greater than ourselves. Our inborn yearnings for family connections are fulfilled when we are linked to our ancestors through sacred ordinances of the temple.”

“No matter your situation, you can make family history a part of your life right now,” Elder Nelson said.

The New FamilySearch system helps members find their ancestors, decide what ordinances to do and prepare the names for the temple. It’s accessible wherever the Internet is available and about 60,000 [family] history consultants serve throughout the world who can assist those who need help.

The new system reveals errors needing correction and members may be frustrated as they work through these challenges, but the Church understands these concerns. “The Church… is working diligently to assist you in solving these problems,” he said. “Together we are striving to organize the family tree for all of God’s children. This is an enormous endeavor with enormous rewards.”

I was gratified to see Elder Nelson acknowledge the frustration that some have experienced in using NFS. I don’t have access to any inside information on the process beyond the notifications I receive as a member of the FamilySearch Developers’ Network and what I read on the FamilySearch Labs blog. But I sense that the people behind NFS are indeed working very hard, and that “enormous endeavor” is a rather pleasant euphemism for what in reality is a ridiculously difficult programming and database administration task.

“FamilySearch Certified” Done Right: Family Photoloom

Sunday, March 28th, 2010


Here at Genlighten, we’re eager to get on the “FamilySearch Certified” bandwagon. It just seems like a natural fit for us. Here’s what the ad copy might look like when we become certified:

Want to make sure your genealogy data on New FamilySearch (NFS) is accurate and well-documented? Come to Genlighten and get help finding the offline documents you need, delivered to you in digital form. Then attach those documents to your ancestors’ NFS entries as sources with just a few clicks. It’s easy and affordable!

OK, so that’s just a draft.

Problem is, it’s not at all obvious how to do this yet. FamilySearch has an API that let’s us “pull” NFS data to our site if we want, but they (understandably) don’t let us “push” document images to the NFS tree. So our basic option would be to reproduce a user’s tree on our site and “decorate it” with the documents that user gets through us. We’re considering that, but not yet actively pursuing it.

Family Photoloom’s Take on “Decorated Trees”

In the meantime, though, I’m super-impressed with what the people at Family Photoloom are doing. First off, their site just looks good. Clean, spare, simple — not too many bells and whistles. And their copywriting is marvelous — it says just what they need it to, and no more.

But here’s where it gets really cool. They let you pull in close family connections from NFS, then associate photos you upload to Family Photoloom with your NFS data. From the demo video they show, it looks straightforward and intuitive. You haven’t modified anything on NFS itself from what I can tell, but the name-photo associations are maintained in your Family Photoloom account. So basically, they’ve got the “decorate your tree” thing down perfectly. And in the process, they’ve become a “FamilySearch Certified” affiliate. To me, they’re a great example of what the FamilySearch affiliate program is intended to accomplish.

I’ve met Family Photoloom’s co-founders — Scott and Renee Huskey — at numerous genealogy conferences, and I’ve listened to them pitch their product. They’re just great people. They love what they’re doing, and their product arose as a solution to a problem they had themselves — how to organize photos around family history data.

I plan on checking their product out in more detail so I can write a full review, and I’d encourage you to do the same.