We released an updated version of the FamilySearch Beta today. The update includes lots of fine-tuning under the hood and bug fixes. It also includes some new features and enhancements for the Library Catalog, Historical Record Search, and the introduction of a new Give Back section of the site.
We constantly monitor feedback about how search is working for people and make changes every release. One of the common points of feedback has been a sense of being overwhelmed with how many search results are returned. To help clarify the quality of the results we’ve added an indicator into the results that identifies where the exact and close matches stop and the partial matches start.
We’ve also adjusted the design of the results preview arrow (the little arrow located on the far right of each row of results) to make it easier to see and easier to click on. The preview arrow lets you see more information about a record without having to leave the search results screen.
Users often wonder what collections are new or have been recently updated. You will now notice on the browse collections pages that we have included the date each collection was last updated as well as an * indicating collections that have been recently added or updated.
Library Catalog Improvements
We’ve wanted to enhance the Library Catalog for quite some time. With this release we’ve introduced the first of several enhancements to the catalog. You’ll notice when you do a place search in the catalog that the system now lets you choose a specific place from a list of known places in the catalog. This lets you easily narrow your search to just those items that apply to a specific place.
We’ve also enhanced the search results when doing a place search to organize the results by subject. This makes it easy for you to see how many items are in the catalog for a given subject in a certain place.
Here is an example of how this works. Imagine that you are trying to see what items are available in the Family History Library for your ancestors that lived in McDonough County, Illinois.
- Go to the home page of FamilySearch Beta (http://beta.familysearch.org)
- Click the Library Catalog Link (just below the big words that say ‘Search for an ancestor’)
- Select ‘Place names’ from the Search drop-down list (this should be the default)
- Type McDonough into the For text box.
- Select Illinois, McDonough from the list that appears.
- Click the Search button
- Notice that search results for McDonough County are grouped by subject. Each subject has a number indicating how many items are cataloged under that subject. For example, there are 2 items under the subject Court Records.
Give Back Page
Millions of researchers continue to benefit from FamilySearch’s genealogical resources worldwide. As a non-profit organization, FamilySearch is constantly reaching out to good people everywhere to help us make it easier and cost-effective for others to find their ancestors. The Give Back page lists some of the main ways you can help by sharing your time, skills, and knowledge.
Thank you for using the FamilySearch Beta. Let us know what you think of these improvements by leaving a comment below or clicking the Feedback link.