Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Coming to a Temple Near You!

Significant changes have been taking place in family history work. A new genealogy program has been rolled out selectively to members of the Church by temple district. Today, the Columbia, South Carolina Temple went online with the new familysearch program, allowing those of us in the temple district to submit our temple names at home on our own computers. This brings the total temple districts using the system to 82. All week I've been loading my genealogy into the new database. Now that I have a little bit of familiarity with the system I thought I would review it for my bloggy friends.

One of the biggest reasons for the change was to alleviate the problem of duplication of ordinances. I think the new system does a great job on this. As you type in your names, you can immediately see if anyone else has been working on them or if the ordinances have been done. It is a lot more user-friendly than the old temple-ready which you had to go to a genealogy library to use. This week I entered in my and my husband's first 6 generations, of which I thought I had all the ordinances done. I discovered about 30 missing temple ordinances, which I was able to submit there and then. I now have the printed out sheets with barcodes which I can take to the temple when I am ready to perform them.

New familysearch is set up like a wiki, and you can combine the names which have been duplicated, find people who will share information, and share your own research. If someone has submitted information you disagree with, there is a place to dispute their findings. (That's the fun of genealogy for me!)

A big problem for me on the site was the limited capability of submission. If you only have say, a few hundred names or so, it is easy to type them in or download a GEDCOM. But for those of us with thousands upon thousands of names it becomes a problem. One must split their PAF files into smaller pieces and download less than 1,000 names at a time. This becomes confusing as you try to keep track of which families you've put in. The program tells you generally not to put in your large GEDCOMs, since you will probably be duplicating information. But unless you check each name one by one, you don't know which names are on there. (I haven't tried the Insight program, which is the best way to merge duplicate records, because I don't want to have to spend money on it!)

Along with the temple submission program, the Church is in the process of digitizing all of their microfilmed records. I have been waiting for this for years. They really have been slow getting their collection online. I hear that most of the records should be up by 2012. It's about time.

I think it's probably a good thing that each new generation has a new genealogy program and has to go through their information yet again. It helps to reveal problems and errors which have been perpetuated. If you haven't been to new.familysearch.org yet, go try putting in at least a few generations of your family and see how it works!

10 comments:

Paula said...

Note that you'll only be able to use new.familysearch.org if your temple district has been added to the system.

Also, you can get a look at what the church has online for scanned records here:
http://pilot.familysearch.org/recordsearch/start.html#p=0

Don't you think it's a bit cranky to complain that they're not online yet? :) There are millions of records, and it will take a lot of time and money to get them online.

Kalola said...

I am so sad. I wanted to try the new family search program and found you have to "Enter Your Membership Record Number and Confirmation Date" in order to register. Since I have neither, I'm left on the outside with no way of looking in. :(

Paula said...

Kalola, folks who aren't LDS should be able to use newfamilysearch sometime in about a year. If all the bugs are worked out that soon.

Bored in Vernal said...

I don't know, Paula, I have been doing genealogy online for 15 years now, and I would have thought the Church would be the among the first to start putting their records online. Instead, this is the first serious effort they have made to put the microfilmed records in digital form and make them widely available. I and many other volunteers have been willing to help with this project. But I'm just glad it is going forward now. It really is such a pain to order those microfilms!

Jimmy said...

Kalola, if you ARE a member, you can get the info you need from your ward/branch clerk.

Maraiya said...

I gave you an award. Hope you like it.

ESO said...

I heard at Church that you need a temple reccommend to use this, or maybe it was just to submit names. Is that true?

Dr. B said...

ECS, I used it last week and submitted names for temple work, and it never asked for a TR. All you need is your membership # and confirmation date. Don't even have to be active, as far as I can tell.

Dr. B said...

oops, that's me, BiV signed in under DH.

ESO said...

I'm glad to hear that--I was not happy to hear about the TR thing. Glad to hear it is not an issue.