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Thursday, August 18, 2011

CH-CH-CH-CHANGES IN THE ONLINE GENEALOGY LANDSCAPE

I was doing my genealogy online tree building routine last night at Ancestry.com
last night. Right now that involves adding data from the Florence O'Connor
Ellingwood genealogy book and checking the Ancestry records and trees
for additional descendants. I try to source as much as possible so I cross
reference each name at FamilySearch Record Search and add the records 
I find there to my Ancestry tree.

Sometime last night this appeared on my screen when I clicked my Record
Search link.:

August 23: Last Day for Record Search Pilot!

Record Search Pilot will be replaced by FamilySearch.org
Thank you! Record Search Pilot has been a great success. Your feedback 
led to the first phase of an improved search experience on FamilySearch.org
Look for more of your ideas to be implemented in the coming months.
Why is Record Search Pilot ending? The Pilot website was never intended
to be permanent—it was a place to gather and test ideas. It was never designed
to handle more records, more features, or more visitors. In order to fully
implement improvements, we need to end the Pilot and shift resources to
our main website.

Now I know most people would wonder why I'd be unhappy about this.
After all, there's more records on FamilySearch.org. But I've found on
the times I've used the new site that it's not very user friendly. It takes
too long to narrow the search parameters down and it seems to me in
that respect to mirror the same process on Ancestry. I liked that all I had
to do in  most cases at Record Search was enter the name, place and
exact, partial or close (or all three) and I was good to go.  I also think
the green background on Record Search was easier on the eyes(well, mine
at least.) than the white background of FamilySearch.org



Then this morning I started seeing references on Facebook from my genealogy
friends to something called Fold3. It turned out that Footnote.com also
changed over night.It's now focusing on Military Records and changes at
the website now reflect that move  The menu that was formerly divided
into periods of American history now has war headings such as "Revolutionary
War" "War of 1812", "Mexican & Indian"and so on. The other records such
as newspapers and censuses are at the end of the menu bar under "Other
Collections". Now I am a Footnote..er...Fold3 subscriber and will be forever
grateful to it for all the Revolutionary War Pension files I found there of my
ancestors, but I must confess that trhis change has me confused. There is
quite a bit more there than just military records and the changes don't let
genealogy newbies know that very well.

And then there's the name, "Fold3".

This is what they say about it at the Footnote.com blog, now known as
"Fold3HQ" (why do I feel like I should be wearing a helmet and camos
reading that name?):

 Footnote Becomes Fold3
One change that won’t impact how things work, but is significant and will 
probably get a lot of attention, is the site’s new name.  Footnote has been 
a great name, but it doesn’t relate to military records and can carry a 
connotation of insignificance which doesn’t seem appropriate for a site 
focused on records related to the great sacrifices associated with military 
We wanted a name that would show respect for the records we are 
working on and for the people who have served in the armed forces.  
The name Fold3 comes from a traditional flag-folding ceremony in which
the third fold is made in honor and remembrance of veterans for their 
sacrifice in defending their country and promoting peace in the world.

Now my Dad participated in military funerals as a member and Commander of
the Abington VFW and I've never heard of "fold 3". Neither have others with
military backgrounds who commented about the change over on Facebook,.
As someone said(sorry, can't find the name again) it sounds like an origami
instruction. They could have picked a much better name, I think. Nor am I
happy as a historian and genealogist with the idea in their explanation
that footnotes are items of "insignificance"

All this comes on the heels of the Geni.com controversy of this past weekend
which has already been well covered by others. Randy Seaver over at his
Genea-musings blog has a list of blogposts on that subject. If I were a guy
who believed in conspiracies O'd wonder about that but it's possible that the
folks at FamilySearch and Foot...er....Fold3 were hoping to take advantage of
Geni.com uproar to announce their own changes with minimum flak.

To be fair, the FamilySearch move to close down Record Search has been
 known to bescheduled for some time now. Since Footnote.com was
bought byAncestry change had been expected there as well. Both companies
have every right to make whatever changes they want, even lamentably poor
name changes. It doesn't mean that I, geneafuddyduddy that I am, have to
immediately like them.

 I suppose in time I'll get used to the changes eventually.

And when I do, they'll change again....sigh.

4 comments:

Kristin said...

I'm tired of changes for the worst.

kinfolknews said...

"It doesn't mean that I, geneafuddyduddy that I am, have to
immediately like them.

I suppose in time I'll get used to the changes eventually.

And when I do, they'll change again....sigh."

Thanks for capturing exactly how I feel this morning! From one geneafuddyduddy to another!

Regina =^)

CMPointer said...

Agreed. Well said!

~Caroline Pointer

Karen Packard Rhodes said...

I also served in the military and never heard of "fold3." And it was I who made the comment about origami.

Yes, there have been a lot of changes in the genealogy world this week. It is a problem, I think, in that genealogists are used to long-term things -- sometimes our research takes years before we come to any usable conclusions. We are used to taking it slow. The online world, on the other hand, is the most changeable and changing thing there is! So there is some dissonance there that will be disturbing to us "geneafuddyduddies."

I think the changes for the most part have not been handled well. More explanation -- BETTER explanation -- would have been a wise move (FamilySearch.org excepted - we all knew what the score was on that because they DID explain it, all along the way, and because we've also had James Tanner providing great information along the way, too).

We know that information -- full, complete, accurate information -- is a good thing. The computer geeks running the online side of the show need to learn that. Customer relations is an important function, and one of the best ways to have a handle on that is properly to inform the customer!