In recent years, FamilySearch has added a variety of tools that can both enrich your tree and make your research experience faster and more productive. You can attach photos, list sources—and attach or link to them—submit names directly to the temple, use record hints, search partner sites, and more. FamilySearch’s Family Tree mobile app carries these capabilities over to your phone or other mobile device. It’s truly amazing how much FamilySearch can do. But have you ever wished FamilySearch did less?
There are a number of reasons this might be the case. The first is limited available internet bandwidth. All the bells and whistles of FamilySearch.org run smoothly when bandwidth is plentiful. But in situations where it’s not, they can bog down the connection. A simpler site means a faster, less frustrating connection when bandwidth is limited such as in some countries or even just areas with less than stellar internet speed. Bandwidth can also be limited when too many devices are competing with one another. For mobile users watching their data, another benefit of a simpler site is that simplicity means less data used—which could lead to significant money saved.
These are some of the reasons that FamilySearch has released a new streamlined version of FamilySearch’s Family Tree, known appropriately as Family Tree Lite.
Back to the Basics
When you open the site, the first thing you’ll notice is that the information is presented in a list instead of the usual tree format. It starts with the family in which you are the parent, and then continues with the family in which you are a child, then your father’s family, your mother’s family, and so forth.
Clicking the names of individuals will take you to their personal screen, which also sticks to the basics. By scrolling down a little more, you can see temple ordinances and links to spouses and parents.
Neither the family list screen nor the individual screen include:
- Any attachments, such as documents or audio clips.
- Sources—not even as notes.
- Record hints or research suggestions.
- Links to partner sites.
Although you won’t find this information on Family Tree Lite, it still exists in other locations. If you are looking for photos or records hints, you need to check the full FamilySearch.org site.
Menu options at the top of the main screen allow you to change views to look at individuals on their own screen, return to the page with your own information at the beginning, search for a specific individual on your tree, and even look in more depth at temple work (see “Submitting Temple Work” below for more information).
Clicking the Edit button brings you to this screen where you edit information.
Edits and Updates
While options are fewer than in the full FamilySearch.org site, Family Tree Lite still allows you to make edits and updates to the information on your family. From the individual screen, you can click a detail (such as birth information) and choose Edit to make corrections or additions. Remember that to merge individuals or add sources, you must visit the main FamilySearch.org site. And of course, Family Tree Lite communicates directly with the main FamilySearch.org site, so any changes you make on one will immediately appear on the other.
Submitting Temple Work
One important capability Family Tree Lite maintains is the ability to submit names to the temple. To see temple work that needs to be done, look for green temple icons. You might find them by scrolling down the main screen or by searching for specific individuals. In the example below, the green icon near William Friedman’s name alerts me to the fact that there might be temple work that can be done for him.
Clicking the green temple icon brings you to a screen with more information. From there, you can see details on the person, what temple work has already been completed, and what temple still needs to be done. If you decide the name is ready, you can click Request, and begin the process.
Unexpected Research Benefits
Unexpected benefits often come from going back to the basics, and the same is true with a visit to Family Tree Lite. The format of the information may help you recognize problems or notice holes you hadn’t seen before.
My first visit to Family Tree Lite made apparent some data problems in the first few generations of my family. When looking at my big family tree, I usually skip straight back to generations where I know of work to be done and discoveries to be made. While I see the parents in each generation, I have no real reason to look at their children. The layout of Family Tree Lite lists all the children of my direct line ancestors though. I immediately noticed that several of my ancestors had too many children. The problem came from duplicates—people in the system more than once. In these cases, it was because I had the person in my tree both as “Living” and as “Deceased”! These ancestors had passed away but the “Living” version of them had not been updated. In a few minutes, I was able to clean things up and make the needed corrections.
So the next time you want to use FamilySearch.org with a connection that isn’t quite what you wish or with a minimal toll on your overall mobile data plan, try stopping by Family Tree Lite.