new FamilySearch Beta2 Complete

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garysturn
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new FamilySearch Beta2 Complete

Postby garysturn » Tue Apr 10, 2007 8:16 am

I have heard from some testers that they didn't really see any errors, they did send in comments of things they would like to see changed or added, but overall the site seems to run smoothly.

Now that the Beta2 testing is complete, have any of you beta testers got any comments about how things went?
Gary Turner
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Roger-p40
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Beta2

Postby Roger-p40 » Tue Apr 10, 2007 9:46 am

I thought it was great in general.

I only had one real serious problem that was never responded to. I could never get my own family correct always had to many children and could not combine them.

I sent in a feedback and got a response that it was being turned over to someone else but never did hear back.

But overall I think it is a great site.

Roger

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greenwoodkl
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Postby greenwoodkl » Tue Apr 10, 2007 9:54 am

Overall it is a great improvement to the current system. I'm still not sure how comfortable I feel with only using the online system when doing research. My biggest concern was that I had to manually merge my GEDCOM imports because it didn't automatically link them with the same records I submitted through Temple Ready. The dates and everything were the same. I hope they can find a way to merge my account with the arbitrary submitter accounts they have for my past submissions.

The sooner they release it the better! The pros definitely outweigh the little quirks. :)

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Tue Apr 10, 2007 10:43 am

Two major issues.

First, there's no "reality check". I was able to get it pretty wild things. Like I had someone who was my grandfather who was born in the 1500, and died the same year he was born. No red flags. No "error check" function to find those things.

Second, when you combine individuals, there's nothing to prompt you to combine the rest of the connected trees. That how you end up with duplicate spouses, children, etc. Combining those duplicates seems harder then it should be. At very minimum I'd like to see a "search for duplicate" that allows me to search by the unique ID.

rmrichesjr
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Postby rmrichesjr » Tue Apr 10, 2007 11:14 am

Overall, my opinion is it's beyond magnificent! I'm looking forward to using it for real. It's going to be a very good tool.

I reported several things that appeared to be (minor) problems, but that's what testing is for. Some were not repeatable, and those have me a little concerned if they show up in the production system. I made some suggestions for improvements, but they were mostly convenience-level things I could live without if necessary. All of the concerns and issues below were reported.

One thing I'm really excited about is the API that's supposed to be made available for (open source and otherwise) desktop record managers. With the API, if the main system doesn't do things the way someone likes, it should be possible in many cases to make the desktop system work better. With luck, that may lead to improvements over time to the main system.

One thing I'm somewhat leery of is the massive (at least based on the beta experience) amount of manual merging that will be needed. Once you get more than a couple hundred years into the past, at least some lines have a large number of records for each real person. At least in the beta system, you have to combine the parents of a child (maybe each child) as duplicate parents, and go to the parents as individuals and combine records for each of them, and combine them as spouses of each other. Then, you have to combine each of the children of the combined parents. Then, you have to combine any new records for the parents that combining the children brought into the picture. Rinse, repeat, ... :-)

My wife has one line that goes through the Roger Williams who founded Rhode Island. I combined individual and spouse records for him and his wife, and the system wouldn't combine one last "[Unknown Name]" spouse record. The support person told me to combine the children. About seven hours of work later, the children were combined (and that's not being as careful as I should be with the permanent system). There's still some amount of work to do in cleaning up that family, and that's just one family.

If people start blindly uploading GEDCOMs without doing the combining themselves, I'm concerned we could end up with a nearly intractible problem. I submitted a suggestion that the training materials strongly encourage each person who uploads GEDCOM files to do them a piece at a time and combine their records in as they go.

Another thing that could potentially be more difficult than merging records is unmerging records that have been merged incorrectly. If people are combining dozens of duplicate records for each real person, there are going to be some false positives. (I think I made a couple myself.) At least in the beta test, the facility for splitting apart incorrectly combined records is not nearly as streamlined as it needs to be for efficient splitting. I hope they improve that facility, or it may be necessary to use the API to write a client-side program to streamline that function.

To repeat, I think the new system is going to be very good tool, and I look forward to using it.

There, did that answer the question? :-)

sbarnsley-p40
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New Familysearch Beta2

Postby sbarnsley-p40 » Tue Apr 10, 2007 3:51 pm

I found the new system to be unweidling and impractical. It will not deal with the garbage that members are dumping into the temple, infact it will make it worse. It is open season on the Temples. Duplications was what this system was about, and yes it will stop me from doing the same work that my sister in law in Britain is doing, but we have already taken care of that situation by talking to each other and sharing information, this system will do absolutely nothing to curb the thousands of garbage names that are dumped in enmass by some members. It will not stop Mr. Smith, or Mary born about 1849. As soon as I saw "before" "after" "about" as options I just wanted to shut the system down. We are talking about linking families etc., you cannot link Mr. Smith to Mr. Smith indefinitely. It is meaningless and an affront to the work of the Lord.

In the merge fields or duplication fields, instead of being able to pick what you want to transfer over, it is all or nothing. Then you have to go through and manually take out what you don't want included and try and combine.

Trying to add a gedcom was a nightmare. I ended up in the system twice and it would not let me remove myself because apparently I didn't put myself in in the first place. My great grandfather ended up the brother to my grandmother, even after I uncombined and redid according to the instructions received from Salt Lake. I eventually just gave up.

What about the name places. My parents where married: Gorbals, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland. It would not accept this, it was either Glasgow, Lanark, Scotland, United Kingdom. Or Gorbals, Lanark, Scotland, United Kingdom. No one that I know who does family history in Britain or comes from there even considers using the United Kingdom as part of the place name. Shortening the Counties is annoying, but we can live with it. However, the Gorbals is not an entity of its own, it is part of Glasgow. I was disappointed with that as an option. It means the place names will not be correct.

The user manual that they provided was next to...shall we say...not very helpful.

Overall, I am highly disappointed, and in talking to various others who tested and who are not technically literate, it provided to be an exercise in frustration. This seemed to be borne out by the older generation. They either could not use it and gave up or found it unwielding.

Sue Barnsley

rmrichesjr
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Postby rmrichesjr » Tue Apr 10, 2007 4:05 pm

sbarnsley wrote:What about the name places. My parents where married: Gorbals, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland. It would not accept this, it was either Glasgow, Lanark, Scotland, United Kingdom. Or Gorbals, Lanark, Scotland, United Kingdom. No one that I know who does family history in Britain or comes from there even considers using the United Kingdom as part of the place name. Shortening the Counties is annoying, but we can live with it. However, the Gorbals is not an entity of its own, it is part of Glasgow. I was disappointed with that as an option. It means the place names will not be correct.


In case it might help a little, I found a way around the (sometimes problematic) standardization of place names. I would type in my place name as I wanted it, then choose "none of the above" from the list of the system's guesses at a standardized place name. The system appeared to record the 'original text' and leave the standardized place name field blank.

I also submitted a problem or suggestion about the place name standardization scheme being problematic in at least some cases. If we're lucky, they'll improve that at least as much as they can before the system goes into production.

jconklin
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Reaction to nFS beta

Postby jconklin » Wed Apr 11, 2007 10:10 am

I look(ed) forward to the opportunity of collaboration, but I'm not sanguine about this working out as it currently exists. I had a number of "it doesn't work the way I expected" comments. One of the support team was very helpful (at least he tried) when I said I was unable to "print to file". I tried all his suggestions, but still no go.
I also think that the instructions/help menu/user manual (if there's going to be one) need a LOT of work, before "naive" computer and/or genealogy users will be able to overcome the learning curve.

Joyce

JenniferJackson
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FamilySearch Challenges and Successes

Postby JenniferJackson » Wed Apr 11, 2007 12:58 pm

I have a tendency to agree with Sue concerning her comments about her concern the Temple ramifications of the program. To many members of the church are in to much of a hurry to rush through the preparation of their family names for temple work that they refuse, forget, or choose to not go through the process of providing accurate information or worse, not verifying the information prior to the temple work being completed. This responsibility rests solely on the individual members to properly prepare their names but to often people refuse to do what is necessary. I think that they have not yet caught the vision of why we really do Family History work. I am sure that they have a cursory understanding of the principle, but to often they do not go the next step in realizing that they are actually affecting families. It was not to long ago that I found an instance where a professional genealogist made the mistake of misunderstanding a will and ended up adding a child to the family and sealing the child to the parents, when in fact it was the family's cow named "Daisy". I am sure that this is a source of frustration to our Heavenly Father. Members truly have to make this work a matter of study and prayer.


Next, adding a GEDCOM can be a nightmare as Sue stated. I spoke with my sister-in-law who had trouble with adding in a GEDCOM file. She went through the help center to find her answers and then she ended up having to email for assistance. She stated that the email response indicated that what she was trying to do was not up and ready for this test. Needless to say she was extremely frustrated over the request to do something that she could not perform. I think that some of her frustration is due to the lack of knowledge. We have to assume that most people do not know how to do something and are totally computer illiterate (which she is not).

I think that the merge features could be upgraded as Sue mention so that you can pick and choose the things that you want to merge. Having said this, I am not sure that this would be defeating the purpose of the design of the program in that it is supposed to help decrease the duplication by combining the records. This is a bit reminiscent of Ancestral File, so I am a little concerned about this aspect of the new FamilySearch. The consolation that I take in the new FamilySearch, is that you can always see what has been combined and you can dispute the information if you disagree.

The next issue that Sue discussed was the place names. I wonder if their is a way to make this area a little less strict. I too have ancestry that has issues with this. I don't know if it is because we are basing the information space because of the way that the US of A has the geographical set up, but when you get into other countries, it does pose a problem. For example I have an ancestor that is from Morpeth, Northumberland, England, United Kingdom that was not accepted. I had to change the information which results in an inaccuracy in the location. I am not sure if the solution would be to take the country off of this line, or to allow the place name to include 5 names in the place name.

The online help was ok, but at times confusing as was experienced by my sister-in-law. I am fairly computer literate and know how to work around problems. The general population may not be as comfortable with the computer and may find that the help sections are not as intuitive becoming frustrated and quitting trying to figure things out. We need to make this site experience very user friendly. The older generation appears to have more difficulty with the web site and this may be where the Family History Consultants are going to need to focus most of their efforts when they are training members on the website.

Overall, I am happy with the site, but it still needs some re-working, refining. I look forward to the roll out of the site. The internet and the computers were and are being designed because our Heavenly Father wants the sealing of families to occur and these tools will help with this process. The computer/internet have made researching for family more accessible and easily done. We are truly blessed to be able to be living to see this time. It is amazing to me to watch how our Heavenly Father cares for his children.

rmrichesjr
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Postby rmrichesjr » Wed Apr 11, 2007 1:30 pm

Regarding the issue of wanting to combine some but not all of a duplicate record, I had understood thatt the basic architecture of the system has a "record" as an atomic unit, and that combining part but not all of a "record" would not be possible. It appears there are two ways of dealing with that aspect (could perhaps be called a limitation) of the system. One would be to combine the record but go back and dispute and/or correct the wrong information. The other would be to manually enter the correct information and either dispute the existence of the person described in the partly-wrong record or leave it alone to be combined with something else if that would be more correct. Additionally, if the partly-wrong record in question is made up of a combination of other atomic records, they could be split up as needed.

Regarding the issue of the system wanting to incorrectly standardize place names, did you try using the "none of the above" option at the end of the list of standardized names, as I had mentioned in an earlier posting in this thread? Some of the ficticious entries I made (as instructed) have births and/or deaths in highly abnormal places like Neptune, Phobos, Mars, North Pole, and Antarctica. The system had tried to standardize many of those places, but I told it not to. As far as I could see, it kept the original text exactly as I had entered it, with the standardized place name blank. I agree it would be nice if the standardization were improved, but it seems it can be worked around fairly nicely.


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