23 January 2014

FamilySearch Family Tree Watch List

When I attended the Ogden Family History Conference last September the Keynote speaker was Ron Tanner. Ron is product manager for the Family History Department of the LDS Church. His bio from the conference says that, "his primary responsibility is to lead a team doing research and design of Family Tree and companion products."

Ron described functionality of Family Tree as well as some of the products that work with Family Tree. One  functionality that he highlighted was the watch list.


As you navigate the tree you can click on the name of any person and a small details box pops up for that person. Details include an image of the person (if one is loaded), full name, ID number, birth and death information, as-well-as the number of sources, photos, discussions, or stories that have been attached to the person. For members of the LDS church it also shows temple information. The cursor is pointed to the Watch/Unwatch feature.


The same information appears on the persons details page. Each Friday I receive an email from FamilySearch detailing any of the changes that have been made to each of the people on my watch list. You can also view your watch list by clicking the Lists link in the navigation bar on Family Tree.


My watch list shows 240 people that I am watching. This is also the number of detail pages I have added sources, pictures and other information. I could go through and check all of my people in the tree but this is a quick and easy way to check my progress


Clicking the 'Changed To People I'm Watching" link shows that there a 826 changes to the details pages of the people I am watching.


Most of the changes are generated by people merging or deleting duplicate information. As you can see in this image above, Stanley Roberts, who I don't know, detached a source for one of our common relatives. If you click on the person's name the link takes you to their detail page.


On the right side of the detail page is a box with the three latest changes for your person's detail page. Clicking the show all link in the box allows you to see the changes that were made to the detail page.


The information shows that on 22 January 2014, Stanly Roberts detached the source "Massachusetts, Marriages, 1695-1910" because "he found better data". I have used this list to see if someone had added new pictures, made changes to data I have verified, or merged two files.

The number 826 seems like a large number of changes but that is the total since I started my watch list. Each Friday I review only the changes for the previous week.  It has made it easy to collaborate with others and identify new sources of information.