Friday, May 25, 2007

New Family Search and affiliates

The announcement of the 'New' FamilySearch website is stirring a lot of interest throughout the world.

I have been a beta tester of the new design for a long time and am excited to see it be revealed to the rest of the world. It provides a unique forum and repository for the lineage of anyone who wants to participate. I've always found that my family history research intellect is dramatically increased when I am part of a cousins group who are all trying to find the same ancestors.

Each cousin in the team brings a unique research skill set to the table often along with local research resources. As the group 'meets' via e-mail, chat rooms and in video conferences, the sum of their ability to knock down ancestral 'brick walls' truly is greater than the 'whole' of their individual skills.

The New FamilySearch website is based on that principle and it works! In future months and years, you will read of many repositories, websites, etc. partnering with the LDS FamilyHistory Society in an effort to post links and images online via the site. The potential is staggering.. Click here to read the Deseret News article about the recent affiliate announcement.

Here are some examples:

Two more large family history entities have announced that they are partnering with the New FamilySearch...

The World Vital Records site (created by the original Ancestry creators) and the Ellis Island records site will both be available at branch family history libraries..... including all images on them ... at no cost... Can't wait for the New FamilySearch (NFS) to come live in our area...

The Ellis Island site has received 10 billion hits since it came live in 2001... Obviously there is a lot of interest in the immigration information for many ancestors of U. S. citizens. You can review the indexes on the site for free right now, but will have to either pay to see the images today or wait until NFS rolls out to see them at no cost..

We've talked about making postings on Genforum as you look for information on your ancestors. World Vital Records has created a social network for family history website called FamilyLink that identifies researchers by geographic areas in the world, country, etc.

The idea behind the site is a type of the 'Pay It Forward' activity that I've discussed in my earlier messages. In this case, the payment comes from site users who are willing to do local family history related 'look ups' for someone else. Thus, if you need someone to look for record in Australia, you'd contact one of the FamilyLink members who live in Australia in the area where the record is located. If someone needs something from a record, etc. near you, you may receive a request from another site user who lives somewhere else in the world. The common currency is the willingness to .... 'Pay It Forward'... You can't be hurt by spending a little of your time helping someone else even if you never request or receive any help in return... The currency involved in this type of work always retains its full value (with interest).. You already know the concept and the 'rest of the story'.

You may want to sign up. Listen to CEO Paul Allen's comments on the home page of the World Vital Records site for further detail.


Eric Normington said...

Of course, such transcriptions are only as good as the transcriber's eyesight, and ability to read obscure ancient handwriting. My experience says that there will be between 5% and 10% failures if all transcripts are not double and triple checked by experts, not amateurs. For double safety, I trust the original materials will also be imaged and made available by links through the indexation process on-line. Then we can all check for ourselves, and errors can be removed.