By Cindy R. Williams
Family Search International, a non-profit, volunteer organization sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, recently announced new tools for online users, making research more interactive and collaboration more convenient.
On the redesigned FamilySearch.org website, which is free to anyone worldwide, users can upload and store as many as 5,000 pictures and add family history stories of up to 100 pages each.
Quoted in a news release distributed by the Church, Family Search CEO Dennis Brimhall, said photos and stories matter, because they “personally teach us time-honored principles from those who have gone on before us, like the value of hard work, dealing with life’s ups and downs and the impact of choices.”
In addition to providing a place to store pictures and stories, FamilySearch.org users can enter documents, like birth or death certificates, which will be instantly available to anyone, helping to eliminate duplication and making it quick and easy to share research and to find relatives among the many historical records on the site.
On FamilySearch.org, users can create a “fan chart” of their family tree. The researcher appears in the center, and each generation is a wheel on the chart, which can extend out to six generations.
Also, the site makes it possible to share information through social media outlets.
Sunny Oettel, of the Gilbert Greenfield Stake, is a former Family Search Worldwide Support Missionary. She says, “The new capabilities of Family Search make it possible for one person in the world to find an ancestor and document it for all to see. We can now collaborate with each other in a way never done before.”
“The site is comprehensive and user friendly. One click and you have live help. One click and you have your family fan chart. One click and there are self-help videos. Click on Temple and Opportunities, then a few more clicks, and you may even have temple work ready for you to do in your line.”
The Family Tree program on FamilySearch.org has more than 900 million names already submitted. The Family Tree Wizard helps beginners by asking questions about family members, both living and deceased, and builds these into the family tree.
A favorite tool is Live Help, meaning live research assistants can be reached by phone or through a web chat, 24/7. This service is free and is available in 10 languages including English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese and Korean.
“Family history work has the power to do something for the dead. It has an equal power to do something to the living. Family history work of the Church members has a refining, spiritualizing, tempering influence on those who are engaged in it.
“ … Our interest turns our hearts to our fathers—we seek to find them and to know them and to serve them. In doing so, we store up treasures in heaven.” (Your Family History: Getting Started,” Ensign, Aug. 2003.)
To get started, go to www.familysearch.org and create an account.