This week I just want to quickly share my excitement over the incredibly simple and important tools now available on familysearch.org. Two new views were recently added which show either a traditional director-ancestor pedigree (“landscape view”) or up to four ancestors of descendants and their spouses (“descendancy view”). But that isn’t the exciting part. The exciting part is that four different icons may appear, if needed, next to each of the names in each of these two views:
- temple icons (various colors) indicate that temple work may need to be done or has been reserved;
- brown icons indicate that vital records exist which can be matched to the person to support the facts of their lives, including their relationships;
- blue icons indicate that the known facts of that person have left a gap of some kind to be explored;
- and red icons indicate that the known facts for that person are illogical, as when a person’s marriage date is earlier than their birth date (thankfully, I don’t see too many of these in my family tree).
As excitement has spread among familysearch.org users about using the temple icons in these views to try to quickly find more names to bring to the temple (talk about low-hanging fruit!), I have become perhaps even more excited about the brown icons that help me match my ancestors (and their descendants) to vital records which support their life facts and relationships. I’m not sure how long it would take me to clear all the brown icons in my family tree. I would guess that if I did it full-time for a year at 40 hours a week, I might get it done in a year. Since I don’t have that much time for it, I’m chipping away at it for about one hour a week and am inviting family members to jump in.
This is the gift that keeps on giving. By tying vital records to the records in my tree, I am verifying the accuracy of the tree–and doing so in a way for all to see who will ever share my interest in these same people. It’s much easier to press ahead with researching new people to the add to the tree when you feel confident that the people already in the tree are the right ones!
Now, I will admit that my family history work may be much easier than others’. All four of my grandparents’s lines come from England, where records are plentiful–and in English. Nevertheless, I think we have shifted very rapidly from a time when genealogical research was truly difficult and time-consuming to a time in which much can be easily accomplished in very little time. It reminds me of Alma’s and Nephi’s references to “the easiness of the way.” My desire is that more people will find the happiness and motivation that I find every time I interact with the “Spirit of Elijah” when I engage in family history work.
Some screen shots: