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Just Keep it Simple for basic research purpose Please!

I've appreciated familysearch website to look up census data etc. to do my family history research. It was a great site until "improvements" The site has become increasingly complicated and not user friendly anymore. I'm very disappointed to learn reason I've been experiencing difficulty accessing records on site lately is because it's now a requirement to submit a personal family tree to LDS database. I do not want to do that. Not everyone is comfortable with that! I would like to look up census records and data etc.. without feeling forced to give up my personal privacy so I will no longer be able to use LDS site now. My suggestion is keep Free site simple for basic research and not tied to making a personal "tree" in database or tied to requirement to add ones personal info in order to access census record data if user does not want to add their private info to LDS database. Thank You
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  • There is no requirement to submit a personal family tree. In fact there is only one community tree. To access source records click the "Source" tab
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  • Where on Earth did you get that chunk of total misinformation? Is this some sort of "game of telephone" version of FS's relatively new requirement that people log in to access content?

    The truth is that anyone can create an account on FS, and you can use whatever parts of the offered tools and records as you want. You don't need to be LDS -- I'm not -- and nobody is required to use the collaborative, open-edit family tree.

    If all you want is the historical records and their indexes, start here:
    https://www.familysearch.org/search/h...

    From that page, you can search indexed records, check country pages, look up a particular collection, and access the catalog. FamilySearch has a _lot_ of records freely available in various forms, and their holdings increase daily as the project of digitizing every micofilm continues.
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  • 5
    This got me curious as to what happens currently when someone come to FamilySearch for the first time. Here it is:

    After clicking "Free Account" I come here:



    I enter the information requested:



    and click "Create Account." This brings me to an e-mail confirmation screen:



    I go to my e-mail, open the letter from FamilySearch and click on the "Complete Registration" link which takes me to here:



    I click on the link which brings me to the sign in screen which then takes me to here:



    Clicking on the "Start Now" link under "Jump-Start Your Ancestor Search!" brings me to the Landscape Pedigree view with just me and encouragement to add additional family:



    Clicking on the "Start Now" button that mentions the My Family booklet takes one through the process of creating your family in Family Tree.

    Clicking on the "Start" button next to "Get Started with Family History" brings me to this screen:



    where the first several sections all direct one to Family Tree and getting initial family information entered.

    Under Recent People is a link to "Explore Tree" which again brings me to the Landscape Pedigree view showing just me.

    At the top of the page I see I have a message. Looking at this I find:



    So Laurie does have a point. There is nothing on the page that says, "Oh, by the way, feel free to ignore all this. If you just want to look at records, click on 'Search' in the choices at the top of the screen, the one after 'Family Tree.'"

    The "Getting Started with Family History" page does discuss the historical records and has a link to the main search page. It is the fourth blue button on the screen.

    I can easily see how someone completely new to FamilySearch would get the impression that entering your family in Family Tree is required before doing anything else even though it is not.

    The only personal information that is absolutely required in this entire process is a valid e-mail address and only then if one wants to be able to use the e-mail address to recover account information. Yes it asks for name, birthdate (to prove one is old enough to have an account) and whether male or female (to create that initial Family Tree entry) but all that can always be faked if one wishes to stay completely private.
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  • I know I am digressing, but just on that last point, I went to my profile a few years back and found a totally incorrect birth date. Fearing my account had been hacked, I changed my password but I'm afraid, due to privacy concerns, I never did amend it back to my true birth date.

    (Btw - excellent investigative work again, Gordon!)
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  • Brian Edwards (Product Management) July 10, 2018 14:57
    As stated by others, there is no requirement to have a family tree. The home page encourages users to create a family tree because we can provide much more relevant information and assistance in discovering your ancestors if you do.

    Here are a few things we can do for you if you create your family tree on FamilySearch.org:
    - We will search for records that may match your ancestors (record hints). These records are brought to you automatically through our search and match technology.
    - The system will also look for potential errors that might otherwise get overlooked (children born when the mother was too young, children born after a parent's death, etc.)
    - As you build your family tree, you will probably be able to connect to work that others have done on common ancestors. This allows you to benefit from their research (information, records, relationships, photos, stories, etc.).
    - When you find others researching on your lines, you can contact them anonymously to ask questions, share information, etc.
    - The home page can use the information in your tree to show you record hints, as well as photos, stories, documents, and audio that others have added to common ancestors. It also has a simple to-do list, and also has links to the last people you have visited in the family tree.

    In the future, we hope to be able to bring more research assistance that is tailored specifically to your family tree and research needs (Getting started helps for beginners, German research assistance for trees that connect to Germany, or whatever country your ancestors are from, etc.)

    We are constantly trying to improve and provide personalized helps to people to make them more successful in their research. Most of that automated, personalized assistance keys off of what is in your family tree.

    BTW, all information in the family tree on living people is private to you so no one else sees it.

    Again, there is no requirement to put any of your information into the family tree but you may make some great discoveries if you do.
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  • 3
    Brian, Your remarks point to an issue that bears on the concept of Your personal tree vs The Community tree. I think there is a disconnect between your use of the words, "create a family tree" and "As you build your family tree" and "if you create your family tree on FamilySearch.org" that can create confusion on the part of new users. There are no personal trees, except in the genealogies section. At best a new user creates a branch that connects to The Tree.
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  • 1
    Oh dear, Brian. Participants in this forum are continually advising inexperienced users not to think in terms of "my tree" and here we have a FamilySearch employee using expressions that go completely against the ethos / open-edit design of Family Tree! Please be very careful with your terminology.
    • Brian Edwards (Product Management) July 10, 2018 18:21
      Mea culpa. I used it incorrectly in terms of the shared collection of data that we call the Family Tree.

      We have had a problem with people not wanting anyone else to touch "their ancestors" so having people remove those words of "my" and "your" tree helps get across the idea that we are all working together and that no one "owns" their ancestors' information in the family tree.

      I may call down your wrath or the wrath of my colleague, Ron Tanner, but for me, personally, I still think in terms like "my family tree," and "my ancestors." If the tree is a collection of data, then I don't own it and it isn't "my tree." To me, when I think of "my tree", I am referring to the real people it represents so it is a statement of relationships to real people that expresses my connection and gratitude to my ancestors, relatives, and extended family.

      So, in terms of this forum, and the data in the tree, I will try to avoid using the term "my tree" and "your tree."

      Thank you for calling me out on it and sorry for the confusion.
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  • 1
    Just so my comments are not misunderstood, I would completely agree that not creating those links from yourself into the main body of Family Tree and using Family Search just for records is a lot like going to a ten course banquet and insisting that all you want is a piece of toast. Without butter.

    The emphasis that the best way to take full advantage of all the records is by being part of Family Trees is completely appropriate. I've had some amazing information pop up in hints.
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  • I’m ?????
    Brian, what Laurie wants to do is just login and research, If you were to explain how to do that with out having to imput a tree, she will be happy, their is many issues and things I HATE ABOUT FAMILY SEARCH AND BOY I COULD TELL YOU OFF ABOUT THEM, but I won't go into detail. all she is asking for you to make the start up a little more friender and easy for every one who don't want to imput a tree on family search. Their is many sites that have this feature, I strongly wished the church would try to make one for it.
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