08 July 2013

Big FamilySearch Announcements at RootsTech 2014 (my speculations)

RootsTech is where the new genealogy technology is revealed.

[Updates inside brackets, and some lists re-arranged to show completed items in chronological order]

Like any good genealogy technology enthusiast might, I have come up with ideas about what the future could bring. I know some serious gentechies will doubt my authority to make such statements, so let me tell you up front that this post is 99% opinion. No authority has been assumed. You might want to read it though, because it is 1% truth.

Why would I know anything worth reading on this topic? I've been at the last 2 RootsTechs, and watched the prior one online. I also make a hobby out of finding out what is coming at FamilySearch. I read their blog, their feedback pages--employees drop details about what is coming--, other blogs, talk to employees, and participate in numerous other ways to be sure that I am as well informed as possible. FamilySearch deliberately does not give a lot of advance detail about some of their projects, so staying informed of what they are working on takes some real effort. I will be happy to reveal my sources for any point you ask for more detail on.

The "Big FamilySearch Announcements at RootsTech 2014" title is just used here as an eye catcher. Deadlines are rarely given for the projects listed below and may appear before or after RootsTech. Now that we're done with that disclaimer, on to the list.

PS. If you want more explanation [or my source] about a topic please ask nicely in a comment. I'll be happy to respond to comments in future posts. There is a lot more I could say about any of the given bullet points.

Family Tree
  • Generate a pre-filled search form by going to search from a person page on the tree [added ~7/19/13]
  • Attach FamilySearch historical records directly to the tree without having to go to the source box [added ~7/24/13]
  • Selectively share living people on the tree with private groups
  • Attach a source like a census to everyone in the household all at once
  • Use cell-phone texting to interact with Family Tree (especially for countries with poor Internet)
  • Full media-included data transfers across platforms (e.g. Ancestry.com, FindMyPast)
  • [See a list of most likely historic record matches from inside a person page]
  • [Show photos on family tree view]
  • [Attach uploaded images/files to sources]
  • Audio interview and/or photos app
  • Use of the FHC printers to upload photos directly to FamilySearch.org
  • New photo viewer with zoom capability
  • Link multiple photos together (such as in multi-page documents)
  • Browser-based indexing 
  • Index corrections
  • Handwriting recognition, being studied
  • FamilySearch Linking beta comes of age 
  • [Indexing API so 3rd parties can create indexing apps (e.g. phone, Facebook, tablets)]
  • [Indexing projects can be made by societies and eventually individuals (e.g. family bible page)]
  • Specific page results
  • Better user interface
  • Provide link or searching of Community Trees
  • Finish listing all Family History Center collections
  • WorldCat will finish listing all FHLC collections
Historical Records
  • Collection-specific search fields (census, vitals first) [added ~7/29/13]
  • Volunteer project to list records at various archives
  • Expansion of US Public Records Index
  • More Italian and Latin American indexing
  • Ability to merge record text into the Family Tree during attach process
  • Notable progress on Ancestry.com-FamilySearch USA probate project
  • [Some of the following: Family Photo Albums, Information on Origin of Surname, Oral Records, Yearbooks, Newspapers]
User Interface, Help, and Social
  • Improved home page, easier navigation
  • FamilySearch Groups and other social media
  • Integrated help
  • [New LDS features to help church members integrate better with the ward and their own families]
Can you help me add to this list with things you know are being worked on?

I did a much more detailed list in January 2013: RootsTech 2013: What might FamilySearch reveal?
Some projects are in development for years, and some die out before ever going public. For example, it is still not clear what happened to the Kinfolio project. FamilySearch Labs only ever lists a very small fraction of ongoing projects.


  1. Thanks Michael. Great list. I really hope some of these do come to fruition.

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Thanks for your kind and thoughtful comments.