Monday, June 25, 2012

Fall 2012 course - FamilySearch Family Tree

Classic FamilySearch is No More Without fanfare last Monday June 18, 2012 FamilySearch turned off the home page of its website, redirecting traffic to the current home page. (The old catalog remains available, however.) Some users are not pleased with the retirement. Elaine Lee said, “Please can you tell me WHY you have RUINED a perfectly good website. I have used this website for 12 years and now find it so confusing.” First released to the public in May 1999, the site was an instant success. The traffic load in the first few days was overwhelming and crashed the website. For many years, site navigation was enabled via four color-coded menu pages; the home page was green. In later years, a search form was added to the home page and color coding was eliminating. This home page design continued until it was shut down Monday. In December 2010, this original website became It was replaced with the current (not to be confused with newfamilysearchorg, which will be replaced by FamilySearch Family Tree). The original site was characterized by a search experience still favored by many individuals. The search strategy was simple: enter an individual’s name. If too many results were returned, add another piece of information to the search. Repeat until the result set was reasonably sized. Back in February, FamilySearch gave users an opportunity to express their feelings about retiring the original site. Rochelle Edwards said, “Very disappointed to learn I can no longer access the old site. It was so much easier than the newer version (which I find extremely difficult) and can no longer find things which I could so easily find on the old site.” I call the old site’s search paradigm “exact search.” Not all users found it intuitive. Beginners often entered both birth and marriage information, precluding results of both types. The current site implements a new search paradigm. Some users like it and some don’t. Mike Fisher said, “Forget about the old site. The new site allows much better user defined search parameters. I find what I want, not what the old site allowed me to see. Plus the bonus of no patron submissions.” For anyone unfamiliar with familysearch. org it is a website run by the Mormons featuring records held in the world's largest genealogical library situated in Salt Lake City. These records are BY FAR the most economical and fastest way of researching families no matter what part of the world your ancestors came from - once you learn how to use the website and the records! I have been teaching courses on using this website, and associated records, through all it's many changes since 1999. Fall of 2012 will see me teaching the course again, reflecting recent updates. I'll be writing it 'on the fly' which means that the course will teach what the website offers at that particular time, with all it's changes - what's new and improved will be the focus as well as as many 'work-arounds' as I can find. This will be a totally online course with practical lessons emailed directly to you over a four week period mostly in October 2012. You can be 'anywhere' in the world so long as you can receive email and connect to the Internet you can learn from this course. Specific dates etc. will be announced soon on this blog. Anyone wanting more information or wishing to pre-register can send me an email at Happy Searching! Pat

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