We are pleased to announce a major upgrade of the FamilySearch beta site that provides some of the important features (listed below) patrons have been requesting. Many important features will be provided in upcoming releases before beta replaces RecordSearch (http://pilot.familysearch.org) and the existing FamilySearch site (www.familysearch.org). Try this new functionality and let us know how it meets your research needs.

Design Overhaul

  • New header and footer design and labels – More intuitive navigation
  • New color schemes - Enhanced contrast for easier reading
  • Visited link color change – See where you’ve been on the site

Historical Records Collections Enhancements

  • Records, Records, Records – Everything found at RecordSearch plus some—450+ collections!
  • Alphabetized Browsing – Quickly find the collections you’re looking for
  • Prioritized Collection Categories – Select categories and collections on the left to quickly filter your results
  • Sorted Search Results – Broad searches return the most valuable collections first
  • Browse Image Only Collections – Easily navigate through a collection of images
  • See Previous or Next Image – A must for census or probate records
  • Household Groupings - Census results include all household members
  • Browse Only Indicator – Identify “Image Only” collections from collections list

Site Access

  • beta.familysearch.org – Goodbye fsbeta!

Search Improvements

  • Apostrophe Support – Supports searches with apostrophes for names like O’Hara.
  • Ancestral File Event Year – Find individuals in Ancestral File by event year (included under Trees in the search interface)

As our work on the beta site continues, we will be resolving outstanding issues. See the list of outstanding issues.

Please try the FamilySearch beta experience and tell us what you think.

Invite others to enjoy the enhancements found at FamilySearch beta.

Visit FamilySearch beta today.

Comments (44)

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  1. I have tried your new format and have to tell you, I hate it. The other format was easy to find individuals and you could use it so many different ways. I have to tell you, this new format is difficult to use and does not give you many options if you are not sure of spellings, areas, etc. Very disappointed

    Helen Fink 04 February 2012
    10:55 am
  2. I would just like to find an image that was on the previous version, such as Ohio death certificates, Kentucky death certificates. If I want to see a census record, there are plenty of other sites that have them, just more clutter. Where are these images we used to be able to see. I find the site extremely cumbersome, difficult to find anything, keeps bringing up census records, not matter what you state you want to find. Very, very disappointed.

    Beverly Mundy 05 April 2011
    12:03 am
  3. I love it

    Karen 21 November 2010
    7:46 pm
  4. I have famuilysearch. Beta.family provided an excellent compliment to what i had seen before. I am new I have not got a good handle on Beta yet it is terrific. So the link is okay.The reason is that I am on wireless. The info available has been extremely helpful. The original info came from two gentlemen and being to verified and expanded. i would not be able to do much 4 years ago

    Harold Brockopp 05 November 2010
    11:52 am
  5. Where can I get a user guide? Maybe that would help answering these many questions. As an example, I want to look in a given Collection (census, year and place, or births and deaths from somewhere) and I don't know how to call it up. Sometimes when I accidentally get there, I can click on "use this collection", but as I am using it, the system wanders off somewhere else, all by itself. HELP. but thanks, great potential!

    John Mellick 21 September 2010
    5:37 pm
  6. In the pilot version I liked most the browse images of Germany-Posen church book duplicates and i hoped to find more from other regions like Pommerenia or silesia in the future. Now I even cannot open the images of Posen in the pilot and also I cannot find them in this beta.version. Where did they go?

    C. Basibüyük 19 September 2010
    1:49 pm
  7. I'm not happy with the changes. It now takes longer to navigate and does not allow browsing. This is a real problem for those of us who spend a lot of time researching.

    M Taylor 18 September 2010
    9:57 am
  8. FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE PLEASE DO NOT REPLACE FAMILYSEARCH.ORG WITH THIS AWFUL RUBBISH! IT IS MUCH HARDER TO USE AND I AGREE WITH MR ADKINS FOR THE OPPOSITE REASONS - I AM IN THE UK AND DO NOT WANT LISTS OF PEOPLE FROM THE UNITED STATES! THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF RESULTS WHEN LOOKING IN THE UK - YOU NEED SOMEONE WHO UNDERSTANDS PROGRAMMING AND RESEARCH! FURTHERMORE I DO NOT WANT LONG LISTS OF CENSUS RESULTS EVERYTIME I SEARCH. I DO NOT HAVE A SUSCRIPTION TO THE PAYSITE YOU PROMOTE IN ANY EVENT - EVEN IF I DID WANT A CENSUS RETURN I WOULD NOT USE THIS! YOU GIVE FEW DATES - ENGLAND 1538-1975! HAVE YOU NO IDEA HOW MANY THOUSANDS - MILLIONS - OF PEOPLE WERE BORN IN ENGLAND DURING THAT PERIOD??? THAT IS COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY USELESS! I CANNOT EMPHASISE ENOUGH HOW DISAPPOINTED I WAS TO READ THAT THIS IS TO REPLACE FAMILYSERCH.ORG. PLEASE PLEASE AT LEAST GIVE PEOPLE THE OPTION OF VIEWING RESULTS IN THE OLD FORMAT! I DON'T KNOW HOW I WILL COPE IF I AM FORCED TO USE THIS!

    John Preton 18 September 2010
    6:33 am
  9. I found that the Feedback on the beta site was not working today (16 Sep 2010). I have been searching for marriages in Wolverhampton as part of a one-name study and have the following comments. The Record Search site is functionally terrible - it won't respond to "Page Down" and scrolling is so hard on the eyes. The beta site does respond. It's a great site, but it would be better (a) to list bride and groom's parents on a single entry; (b) to show the spouse above the parent (the present layout is very distracting) and (c) to make it clear when a so-called marriage is in fact merely banns. In the case of Wolverhampton, the church is frequently unidentified and I have found (so far) that the unidentified church can be any of St Peter, St Mark and St Matthew !! Duplicate entries should be removed to avoid clutter.

    Keith Percy 16 September 2010
    1:36 am
  10. I can see that the site is still underway, however it is still an invaluable tool for all seeking genealogy answers. Every little bit helps! Thank you to those who are responsible and keep up the good work. I solved several small puzzles on my first trip through the site, yes a bit unweildy as yet but saved me hours anyway. Thanks Noel

    Noel Todd 16 September 2010
    12:45 am
  11. I have been trying to work with the Beta system. I would say that I am disappointed. Several have already hit on the same such as getting other results when I want just marriages in the US or trying to just get vital records with a particular mother's maiden name, not foreign countries and census records. It takes too much time to scroll through the mess just to get what I need. Your Pilot program was much better for results and easier to use. Also, I liked the preview of the location in the Pilot program, because I did not always know how the location was actually listed in the database, rather than guessing now.

    Fred Davis 15 September 2010
    10:38 am
  12. In response to anonymous: Thanks for sharing your thoughts about the beta. We realize that it has not yet caught up to previous projects. We're only part way through the process and expect that you'll be pleased before we're through.

    Dan Lawyer 14 September 2010
    4:57 pm
  13. In response to GreenwoodKL: Thanks for sharing your feedback on the beta site. I think you'll be pleased to know that are plans are exactly in line with you suggestions. We're only part way through building the site.

    Dan Lawyer 14 September 2010
    4:48 pm
  14. In response to thomas.adkins: Thanks for sharing your honest perspective on the FamilySearch beta. We are only part way through our efforts to build out the site and the features that you indicate are currently lacking are definitely in the plans. I hope that when we're through you'll find this to be even more valuable than the previous site.

    Dan Lawyer 14 September 2010
    4:45 pm
  15. In response to fidomk: Thanks for leaving your comment. We are looking into some additional search options which might overcome the challenge with the index that you describe. Of course, that requires the appropriate information to be indexed. I think you're suggestion about indicating the Family History Library film number so that a film can be ordered is intriguing. I'll look into the feasibility of this.

    Dan Lawyer 14 September 2010
    4:42 pm
  16. In response to Mark L A Moore: Thanks for your positive and constructive feedback. We are working on more depth to the filters over the next couple of months. We also need to take a look at the print capabilities.

    Dan Lawyer 14 September 2010
    4:38 pm
  17. In response to rdcarson and Rod McLatchy: Thanks for looking at the beta and sharing your encouraging comments.

    Dan Lawyer 14 September 2010
    4:36 pm
  18. In response to Wilfred Bow: Thanks for taking a look at the beta. Have you tried using the advanced search? It has options for exact matching.

    Dan Lawyer 14 September 2010
    4:34 pm
  19. In response to Denise: I agree with you, it is really a nuisance to have to click on every name just to see the info. We've actually included a feature that we need to improve upon which might help with this. To the far right of each search result is a little arrow that will expand the detail without taking you from the search results. This also allows you to compare multiple search results at a time by expanding more than one row. We hope to make this more intuitive in the future. We'll also see if we can refine the way things are printed out.

    Dan Lawyer 14 September 2010
    4:33 pm
  20. In response to S. Reger: What in particular are you trying to print out? Search results? An image? The details of a record? I'm not sure how soon we can let you just type in VA but I understand the convenience. We're working on a feature that will allow you to quickly filter your results by location that I think will help with the problem with names from all over.

    Dan Lawyer 14 September 2010
    4:30 pm
  21. In response to Dianetoo: Thank you so much for pointing out that the beta is not currently finding your Wurzwallner ancestors. We apologize. We've noticed that a handful of collections had some problems when they were moved over. The Wurzwallner's were lucky enough to be in the New York Passenger Arrival Lists collection which is one of the ones impacted. We'll get it fixed.

    Dan Lawyer 14 September 2010
    4:27 pm
  22. In response to Richard Edwards: Thanks for looking at the beta. You mentioned that you like having the paging option at the top of the search results as well as the bottom. We've been considering that. Thanks for keeping it on our mind. You also asked about a way to only show results for a specific location. Currently the only way to do that is through an advanced search using the Exact feature. In the near future we plan to provide some filtering options that will give you increased control over this.

    Dan Lawyer 14 September 2010
    4:24 pm
  23. In Response to RCowan: Thank you for using the beta site. We appreciate your positive feedback.

    Dan Lawyer 14 September 2010
    4:03 pm
  24. In response to Carol Sanders: Thanks for trying the beta. With regard to your question about being able to narrow search results to just certain locations, currently you can do this by using the advanced search choosing exact on a location. This isn't however the way you always want to do this. In near future we will be adding in some filters that allow you to filter results by location and other meaningful ways.

    Dan Lawyer 14 September 2010
    4:00 pm
  25. In Response to Joseph Scott, Liz and Alison Spring: Thanks for pointing out the problem with the link. We've since fixed it. Not sure how it slipped through but thanks for pointing it out.

    Dan Lawyer 14 September 2010
    3:54 pm
  26. Ugh... I think this "new and improved" is bulky, difficult to use, horrible to visualize and a nightmare to search. I miss the old version greatly. Your "improvements" did nothing to enhance the functionality of this site. Try again.

    13 September 2010
    10:39 pm
  27. I echo the comments of others that the updates feel like a step backwards from the pilot site. The pilot site allowed for more granular filtering and more data accessible in the results without opening each record. The beta does appear to pull up many extraneous results even when additional information is entered in the Advanced Search. My issues boil down to the following: 1. Please bring the filter capabilities from Pilot into the new Beta. 2. Please work on the search algorithms and UI to better show applicable results and more detail to minimize clicking into each record. In general I like the direction the beta is going in pulling all the databases and tools into one common home. Hopefully, somehow Family Tree (nFS) can become part of the unified package in the future. :)

    GreenwoodKL 13 September 2010
    6:33 pm
  28. I've done a lot of research, including a number of formats offered by FamilySearch.org over the years. There is an ease in using the older "pilot" http://search.labs.familysearch.org format, a logical and easily read "preview" of various records, and the ability to select one or more "categories" of records, such as all the Kentucky records. The "new" site at http://beta.familysearch.org lacks the functionality of the previous format. I've found FamilySearch.org to be an invaluable aid in the past, but in my opinion the "new" beta is a step backward, and should be scrapped, even if it means starting all over. I know it is a challenge to program such a site, but a good USABLE format requires a good programmer who is ALSO a genealogical researcher.

    thomas.adkins 13 September 2010
    2:17 pm
  29. Sorry, but I've done a lot of genealogical research, including a great deal of research at FamilySearch.org & its many options, but the "new" beta.familysearch.org is dysfunctional. Why do I get nothing but results from ENGLAND when I've clearly entered born in Virginia, died in Virginia? Plus many other functions that I don't feel function properly. Further, I can't "see" results as I used to be able, including selecting several options for "collections." The "old" site at http://search.labs.familysearch.org is FAR superior. My best advice: trash can the beta, and start over; it simply goes in the wrong direction. I understand programming considerations, but we need a programming that ALSO understands genealogical research.

    thomas.adkins 13 September 2010
    10:20 am
  30. I'm researching my Mom's side of the family, more specifcally my Grandpa's side of the family. I was looking at the Baptizmal records from Mexico using a last name to find someone in Chuhuahua. Instead of giving the child's name and then the parents names, it give the couples' names or one of the spouse's names. There is some duplication of entries where the one of the parents is listed then the child then the other parent. It should be indexed by the baby's last and first names and then the parents names on the side. It would make it a lot easier to find someone. It would also be nice if it would give a film number(if any) (a la IGI) so anyone could order the film at the FHC and be able to read the films, if no image is available to read on-line.

    fidomk 11 September 2010
    10:32 pm
  31. WOW, I am really impressed with the improvements that you have made. Keep up the great work!!!

    Rod McLatchy 10 September 2010
    8:19 pm
  32. This a wonderful improvement in many respects, but I think you need to focus on putting more depth into the filter functions. This would eliminate the masses of information that is very time consuming when researching. You might also introduce a "printer friendly" version of any filtered page.

    Mark L A Moore 10 September 2010
    12:02 pm
  33. Great job!!

    rdcarson 10 September 2010
    8:12 am
  34. Would it be possible to add the choice of entering a birth/death month into the search? This could cut eliminate many of the incorrect results.

    Wilfred Bow 10 September 2010
    7:29 am
  35. It would be MUCH easier to use if you could select "EXACT" on the items your searching, birth - death - marrige - etc. and not get all the other hits. You need a way to search for JUST what your looking for if you want. Otherwise theres a lot of time wasted scrollng through the other things. When I search for a marriage I want to see Marriages, NOT census etc. When I want to search for a birth in Michigan, I want Michigna, NOT Ohio - W. Virginia etc, even if the year of birth is the same! Wilfred Bow

    Wilfred Bow 10 September 2010
    6:44 am
  36. I don't like the new format. It is time wasting having to click on every name to see the info. I was trying te find the parents of a relative and it just gave the child's name as a parent . The first day the info about this site showed up on the old site it interfered with the old one - it will only show the first page of the search results. I only looked at it because I couldn't access the info on the old site. Both formats waste a lot of paper when printing - it could be condensed to half a page.

    Denise 09 September 2010
    9:26 pm
  37. "The print out function wasted too much paper. You don't get a change to copy and format the way you could before. I don't like having to type in Virginia instead of VA as I could before. I don't lilke all the people with the same or similar name from all over, just the area I knew they lived in.

    S. Reger 09 September 2010
    5:25 pm
  38. Your info says beta has everything pilot has, and more... but I put in one of my ancestors... the name "Wurzwallner" and got no hits on beta, but three at pilot. If you replace pilot I know I lose some of my data availability.

    Dianetoo 09 September 2010
    3:05 pm
  39. I liked the page number feature on the old the Old famiysearch.org. It gives you options to either go back to the previous page by selecting the number button at the bottem or the windows arrow to go all the way back to home (to the biginning of a new search). When you select the next page, it brings you to the next page but at the bottom of the page. you have to scroll up to the top of the page then back down in order to go to the next page. Maybe the next page option should be at the top also. When trying to locate a person In Georgia, the search engine does not give you all of the similar names in Georgia at the beginning of your search. It gives you people with similar name from other places like England. Should it not exhaust all similar names in the place you ask for before going to other states? If It is allowed to search other countries, can It have a option feature that only allows search in the US? Thank You

    Richard Edwards 09 September 2010
    11:29 am
  40. I've been using the beta site for a couple of months now and I think it's absolutely marvellous. I've found many ancestors (specifically in India) who I couldn't find before. I would also commend the new design. It's clean, stylish, modern and very easy to view/read.

    RCowan 09 September 2010
    2:47 am
  41. One of the main reasons I prefered using family search was because unlike others when you requested a search for a certain area using a name and or year, you didnt get bombarded with that same name all over the world. After the initial search is there any way you can narrow it back down to only search in the area you want to look, and not be given in some cases 21,000 results because you are given worldwide results ?

    Carol Sanders 08 September 2010
    11:02 am
  42. You might want to correct the hyperlinks to the Beta site, they have an extra *i* in them which takes you to something totally different.

    Alison Spring 08 September 2010
    10:03 am
  43. The link to the FamilySearch beta site is misspelled, and leads people to an incorrect URL.

    Liz 08 September 2010
    9:12 am
  44. The first link in the post goes to http://beta.familiysearch.org/ which is incorrect, should point to http://beta.familysearch.org/

    Joseph Scott 08 September 2010
    1:51 am

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