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I’m frustrated

Very Disappointed in What Has Become of familysearch.org

It would be of great value if you were to only let persons that actually know how to read old handwritting archive records. familysearch.org has seriously gone downhill since you started your overzealous archiving project. Some of the transpositions are absolutely laughable and you are becoming a laughing stock. Seriously!

Also, typically when a website, application, or the like, is updated, it's supposed to be better then what it is replacing. Have the site developers actually tried to use the new site? Why have they made our task so much more difficult and less enjoyable? Even the original site was better then the new one. Dump the new site and replace it with the much better pilot site. I was really hoping that familysearch.org's renewed vigor was going to put the money hungry sharks at ancestry.com to shame. What an utter disappointment!
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  • I’m Happy.
    4
    I personally and as a missionary at the international reference desk have made very good use of both the newly indexed records and those that are coming on line as browse only. I would never want to lose access to these records.

    Yes, there are indexing errors and the problem has been noted. The possibility of anyone submitting corrections is, I hope, being worked on. Despite the indexing errors, the individuals can usually be found by anticipating indexing pattern-errors and using wild cards.

    We're all very thankful for everyone who indexes because at the current rate I've heard it will take 300 years to finish indexing the old microfilms. Then there are all the new images coming in from 200 digital cameras working full-time in archives throughout the world.

    Only 32,000 people are indexing each month. One and all, please join the effort and try to pick projects that you feel comfortable with.
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  • 2
    I agree (mostly) with the original post but I think sometimes that it's not a matter of reading old handwriting but a matter of not paying full attention and thinking before you act.
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  • Beyond the handwriting transcription problems what is wrong with the new website?

    You just state that it is worse than the pilot site, but you do not describe the problems you are running into. There is no complaint about features, just a generic complaint that it is worse. I, personally, would like to know what you see as being worse that the pilot site.

    I really do want to know.
    • view 5 more comments
    • Jade, in response to your question about incorrect place names. If you see an incorrect place name please send an email to support@familysearch.org. We research each of the problems with incorrect standardized names and work to correct any problems in a timely manner. Thank you for your help in improving our site.
    • I have personally loved the enhancements made to familysearch.org. I believe that it is attracting new novice genealogists. Some most certainly will become "hooked" and become informed genealogists!
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  • 2
    All,

    Okay, here goes (and this is only what I can think of at the moment!)

    Expanding Results

    Often times, when you expand a search result (i.e. an individual) on the search results page by clicking on the expand button (i.e. the down arrow) every other search result will be repositioned to a new location on the search results page. This may occur more then once on the same search results page (i.e. the remainder of the unexpanded search results art shifted horizontally to a new location on the screen) if other search results happen to be in (vertical) positions that are not the same as the rest of the results when expanded. What this does in some cases is that it moves the expand button (down arrow) off of the computer display. Then you have to scroll down the page to where the page positioning bar is to move the page to the right.

    Lots of White Space

    I’ve witnessed many times on the search results page that much of the page is nothing but whitespace (the bottom of the page is much further down beyond the last result) from the end of the search results to the absolute bottom of the page.

    Search Parameters

    The new familysearch.com forces you to define the beginning and end dates (i.e. year) within the search topic (i.e. Birth, Death, Marriage, etc.). You are forced to define the first year and the last year. For example, search for a birth around 1850, you have to specify something like 1845-1855, rather then 1850 and set parameter to 1850 ± 5, 10, 20 or exact as with the old site. What I’m trying to say is that if you’re wanting to search for an event in 1850 exactly, then you have to type in 1850 twice. Once as the begin date to search, and once as the end date to search.

    No More Autocomplete?

    Typing in a field will no longer bring up suggestions of terms that you’ve entered during any previous search. For example, if you had previously typed in and searched for a name beginning with the letter ‘j’, such as in johann john, jacob, jack, joachim, janet, etc. the list of names that you’ve previously searched for beginning with that letter would pop up allowing the option to choose a name on the list if one of the names coincided with the name that you wanted to search for. I’ve checked Tools>Internet Options>Content>AutoComplete>Settings in Internet Explorer (I.E.) and everything is turned on there. So, I.E. does not appear to be the cause.

    The ‘Search by: Batch Number’ Field Not Always Present

    This option is always present from the search home page, but only available sometimes on the search results page. I have not seen any pattern as to when this occurs.

    Missing Source Film Number/Source Call Number Citation

    I have come across a number of records where the Batch Number is cited, but the Source Film Number/Source Call Number is not cited in the result even though one exists. It would be very difficult for an inexperienced user to determine what the Source Film Number/Source Call Number is for a result for which the information is lacking.

    Searching by Source Film Number/Source Call Number Not Possible

    To this day I’m still scratching my head as to why you can search by Batch Number, but not by Source Film Number/Source Call Number. This would be extremely beneficial to an advanced user like me. Over the years, I have had to compile my own database to correlate Batch Numbers with Source Film Number/Source Call Number.

    Physical Batch Searches

    It can be very tedious to look though an entire source film if it contains many thousands of records. In the new site, each results page is limited to 20 results (the next 20 results, if they exist, are on the next page and so on), whereas with the old site, each page had 50 results. Granted, the number of results are no longer limited to 5,000 results maximum as it was with the old site for which I am very thankful. It would be very helpful if it were easier and faster to look through and entire batch of records.

    No Records Downloading?

    Now, I haven’t actually looked since I don’t have much need for downloading records anymore (i.e. tick the checkbox next to a given result to download the record to your computer’s hard disc as a PAF or GEDCOM file...I forget which), but I haven’t noticed any records download feature on the new site.

    Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not bashing familysearch.org. I’m only looking to make using familysearch.org the best experience that a user can have. I’ve been doing this for more then 30 years, have +160,000 persons in my tree, and I have to use allot of logic to make good use of the records and functions within the new site.

    Almost all of the problems that I’ve cited here have to do with program functionality and not with the records themselves. To illustrate those issues would take me many more hours. All I can say in short is that some of the archivers archiving non-English language records obviously do not have any knowledge of the language that they are transposing, nor do they have any geographical knowledge of the area where the records come from as they can’t even get the place names right.

    To further Kurt’s point with regard to inaccuracies with respect to transpositions, such as for place names, most LDS records for places in the ‘Pfalz’ would have you believe that the Pfalz has always belonged to Bayern (unless it belonged to Prussia, in which case the record will not mention the Pfalz at all), when in fact the Pfalz only belonged to Bayern from 1816 to 1946. Another commenter (Jackie) attributed this problem to the archiver ‘not paying attention’. I think not. It’s more like incompetence. They’re guessing and in many cases, guessing horribly wrong. If you can’t read the script/foreign language, then you have no business trying to transpose it. Plain and simple. It would be like telling a blind person what Braille says when you can’t read it.

    The biggest problem that I see with the records themselves is quality. There is apparently no review of records archived by ‘people off of the street’ (i.e. meaning anyone) for content and quality purposes. It would be extremely helpful if the original document page could be viewed online so that one can make their own determination (not yet available with any German records that I've seen).

    I do notify the familysearch.org staff of errors whenever I see them.
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  • I so agree Rolf-Dieter with searching by batch number or film numbers. It would be beneficial; only those that are reading films by now on their research are extremely interested in this. I have about 8 pages of film # coordinated with batch numbers. I now notice that the films I need their notes states Batch number ... and I can't even use that because the main page it's states "not found"...ridiculous. Why does it mention it? for what purpose?
    I have been told that these batch numbers only applies to the old IGI records; so that means it was indexed a long time ago. Go figure... can't use those IGI batch numbers.
    On the case of indexing; You should try indexing in English or German (assuming by the above note) give it a try and maybe you could be an arbitrator. Sure need them.. I am an indexer myself and there are some handwriting that doesn't make sense to me, but try my best of my abilities.

    Happy Searching!!
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    • Your group administrator can set you up as an arbitrator (if you have one). If you're LDS, then there's usually a stake indexing director. Be warned, arbitrators probably lose more sleep than indexers :)
    • Thanks, Kurt. I don't have a group administrator, and I'm not LDS. I also don't have alot of time, so thanks for the warning.
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  • 1
    More...

    Search Yields No Results

    I have experienced cases where a specific search (individual + birth year) will not yield any results for persons who are known to have records in IGI. I have to bring up the contents of the respective Batch where the record resides and look through the records to find the record that I am seeking. Upon viewing the contents of the individual’s record, I can see no rhyme or reason as to why the record wouldn’t appear during the original search. Furthermore, once in the Batch Number search mode, I perform a global search for all records with the FN (family name) of interest, and there are no results returned. Then, I searched the Batch for all individuals having a mother with a specific FN, and voila! The person of interest is in the results returned for that search.

    Try it. On the main search page, search for philipp rahm (search is not case sensitive as you know) plus birth year range 1844 and 1844. No results. Now, search by Batch Number: C98777-3 (with or without the hyphen as it is not required for the search) and perform a global search for all individuals having the FN Rahm. No results. Now, search for all individuals with a mother having the FN Heller (i.e. clear ALL fields except for mother’s FN). Voila! 10 results including the one that we were looking for to begin with!!!!!
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  • I am very new to this site. I have found many of my decendents but most with the incorrect dates or spelling of names. I know the records are the right ones for my family due to being able to see all the family members first names listed and city lived in.

    So sad for someone searching family records. There was only 2 out of ten records that had correct information and correct spelling of names for my family. There should be a way to send in the correct information.
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    • Kurt, I'm sure that it was unintentional, but your comment was blank.
    • Sorry for the blank comment :(. Here is what I wanted to share with Mary:

      Mary,
      There are a number of different kinds of records available on FamilySearch, some of which will never be available for changing, but others will be available for changing. Let's talk about the differences as I understand them.

      1. Genealogical records submitted by family members on paper or by GEDCOM over the last 150 years or so will probably be preserved exactly as received. Many submitters are long deceased, and the submissions are a historical record in themselves. These include the IGI, Ancestral File, the Pedigree Resource file and some others. They will be available to look at and learn from, but are not the final record.

      2. Indexes created from historical records by extractor/indexers come in at least two kinds. One is those with which the original source record is available for viewing (FamilySearch has obtained rights to put the image on the Internet). The other is those without images (FamilySearch does not yet have rights to display the images on the Internet, but probably has them available to see on microfilm). We sincerely hope that a day will soon come that we can make changes to these indices. At ancestry.com members can correct fields and even add alternative information and notes to help others looking for the family.

      3. Original records not yet indexed that are available for browsing as one would a microfilm. This will be the bulk of all records for the next few 100 years. If you should find an error in the "way pointing" information to a browseable record, please report it as soon as possible so that it can be fixed.

      4. At the RootsTech conference next week, a new kind of record will be discussed in at least one session: Saturday from 11:00 am-12:00 pm, Future of FamilySearch Family Tree by Ron Tanner. Ron will discuss your ideal, Mary, of an environment where everything can be corrected.

      The handout for Ron's session can be found here:
      http://s3.amazonaws.com/rootstech/ori...

      My understanding is that Ron's session will be streamed on the Internet during or after his presentation. Go to http://rootstech.org/home to follow the details.

      I hope this prospect gives you hope, Mary. It certainly does for me. Please post any more questions you have.
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  • You're so right, Mary. Using the database is most definitely not for the novice. You have to know the language, the geographical area, and the area's history to be able to be able to find anything and to make good use of the information. There used to be ta feedback tab on the right side of either the results page, or the record page where you could address problems and provide corrections. I wanted to provide some record corrections just the other day, and the tab was gone (I think that they probably got overwhelmed and disabled it).
    • Rolf,

      The feedback side tab was a tool used during the beta period and was never meant to be part of the production site. Additionally it was conflicting with many on screen elements at supported screen resolutions. We were indeed getting a lot of feedback from users that it was in the way and we should move it.

      The feedback link is now found in the footer. We are looking at alternative placements that will make the link more prominent without it getting in the way of people research.

      In any case, Mary is commenting on indexing errors and the feedback site, that we are currently on, is absolutely the wrong place to post corrections to individual records. We maintain this site to engage patrons in ideas that will improve the product features.

      We are designing tools right now to let users add additional assertions to the data. Currently there is no place where a patron can contribute these corrections.
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  • I can't even find myself. :-(
    Used to be able to.
    Now, nothing. I try by name, birthdate, family members, etc.
    • Jonathan, where are you looking for yourself and family members. There is little or no current information about living people in the indexes and records, otherwise people would be stealing identities from FamilySearch. Were you looking for yourself and other living people using the main search form at FamilySearch.org, or in Family Tree, or in new.FamilySearch?

      If you can clarify what you were doing, we should be able to help you move ahead.
    • I was looking in the wrong area, now that you pointed it out. Thank you. I see me now. Sorry.
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  • I’m frustrated
    Years ago I signed up and starting a tree was optional. I don't know when they changed it but now they won't let me delete my own personal information. I do not want to be apart of this if I cannot control my own information/tree. They have others contributing to my name, and others including living people in my tree that are supposed to be private and you cannot get these people off your tree that is added by contributors. I don't want others controlling my tree, adding families that don't belong to my tree, I did not verify or confirm any information before they added it to my tree. I should be able to delete my tree if I don't agree with how they're handling my tree. There is no reason to have my information on there when it is supposed to be private.
    • Firstly this is a thread that is over 7 years old. Thread necromancy is generally frowned upon in most internet forums, including this one.

      Now on to the points you raise:

      1. There is no my tree. This is a single, global tree for everyone. That means this is a collaborative environment and the amount of control you have is deliberately limited.
      2. The collaborative element is confined to those who are dead. Living people are in a private space for each member, so if someone has added a person as dead who you know to be alive then that is a violation of the terms of service of the site. It may be a mistake, as I have made on a few occasions. It may simply be someone who has no idea what they are doing. In either instance it is perfectly fine to edit the person to turn them living and open a support case so that you can state why they need to be altered to living.
      3. You may not want others controlling "your" tree, but for this site that is the way it is. Whether you verified information of not before it was added is also immaterial. It is far better to add properly source information, as without source citations any information added is no better than fantasy. However that doesn't mean people don't add that sort of material. Indeed some people purport to have lines going back to Adam and Eve. They often seem incapable of understanding what complete nonsense that sort of thing is.
      4. "Your" information is limited to information about you personally in the vast majority of cases. That doesn't cover any siblings or children or spouse you have and it doesn't cover your parents; their information is theirs, not yours. If any of those individuals are dead then if you try and remove them and correct information about them from the site that would be vandalism.
      5. You control your own watch list. Unless you have either provided someone access to your account or your account has been hacked it is you that added those individuals to the watch list.

      This site is fundamentally different to many other prominent genealogy sites. There are others like it such as We Relate or Wiki Tree, but this is by far the biggest of the collaborative tree sites. There are a great many people who fundamentally misunderstand this difference of whom you appear to be one. If you are going to continue to use this site you need to be aware of its fundamental paradigm.

      Hope this clears up what is going on and the situation that exists with the site.
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  • I’m pissed
    Also, I know that I did not put living people on my watch list. Someone did. Living people are not supposed to be watched if their information is private.
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  • 1
    If you are sure that you, or anybody else (family members or otherwise) could not have made inputs using your account, then I suppose there is the possibility your account has been hacked.

    However, on a general point, providing you do not share your account with anybody else, there is no reason living persons should not appear on your watch list. Only you can see the details you inputted, so there are no privacy concerns here.

    Perhaps your first step in investigating this matter should be to look at the dates against the inputs made for the living persons on your watch list, to see if you can match them with any activities you might have recorded for yourself (in notes or a diary) matching the times in question.

    Otherwise, in line with the terms and conditions you agreed to when signing-up to FamilySearch / Family Tree, you have no control over the records of your relatives - other than you can delete them individually from the Tree if you are the only person who has made inputs against them.
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  • Paul well said it could not be better. Rday a hack can happen in many ways if I was you I would look in to even farther like Paul suggested, I also would scan your computer for virus and other wicked things. Their could be many issues, the main question is were to start, expect with the idea of Paul suggested. Good luck I hope you get the issue fixed.
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