After 10+ years of using your site and as one of the lucky 10% chosen to experience this disaster ahead of everyone else and spending the entire month of September trying to find results that actually are for the name, birth date, death date of the person I am researching I am ready to give up.
We recently uncovered this bug that caused us to miss certain event types like census record locations. We believe we have a fix for this and it should be out soon (likely sometime today). Thanks for your patience with this issue.
Unfortunately, I do not have the time (again responding to feedback isn't my primary responsibility set at FamilySearch) to respond to every piece of feedback we get, but I have made time to read each one. We are continuing to search for bugs and identify ways to improve this new design based on the specific feedback I am reading and regularly bringing back to the team.
The team is also looking into reasons why the system might be slower than the old version. As I said in the original post, in our tests, results are showing up significantly faster than the old version. (For the techies here - the actual size of the page that gets downloaded from the server is much smaller than the last one. We've also made some routing improvements contributing to the quicker load times) Right now as to the performance, the team is looking into anything we might have missed that might affect some users, but not others.
For four days I've seen nothing but
when I try to search within the Catalog -- why don't you just post a message on the sign-in page that "Family Search is not working. Come back in about a month and it may be."
@Casey Robinson 001
It's good to know that the team are working to fix things.
Can you please increase the priority of the fix to query formatting so that empty fields will be treated as wildcards when exact is selected.
I have not read all the comments here, so maybe this has been addressed, but I used to have a link to a search page where all the fields were available. Now I get to the search page and I always, always have to push the more options button. Just one more step that I always always have todo. Can we at least get a direct link to a page with the more options automatically there. If you had a genealogist sit down and do actual research with this new search page and actually got things done I would be really surprised. The only thing it really does is point out how much better the previous search page was.
First of all, and before you read my feedback on my thoughts, and yes feelings, on the new design, that I am frustrated beyond words, and not happy with what I have found. I DO want to offer my feedback because 1) It will make me feel better, and 2) I hope that someone reads this and takes it to heart. And I provide this having worked in a data development job, and with lots of course work in "how people learn".
INTERFACE: - the most glaring failure of this new design is someone, some committee, doesn't understand the idea of how people use interactive web pages. Human beings have been taught over the last thirty years that is a web page has two hemispheres/sides, the left side is general used for searching and the right side for results. This makes sense in cultures that read left to right because determining what to put in the SEARCH field is the FIRST step in searching. Results are the second.
HOWEVER, you have placed the entry point for searching in the right middle of the page. Which is not a normal place to start one's workflow. And by placing the results on the left and the search function right, you have mucked up how people use sites from everything from commerce sites to governmental sites. This caused a lot of users a great deal of angst because it is counterintuitive to how they use websites. In fact, I cannot think of a single major site that makes users hop through this construct.
Not only that, but it makes our fine-tuning of the search results harder, and it makes our workflow slower. You expect your end users to interrupt their thought patterns in order to switch to a nonsensical method of work.
This decision shows a basic lack of interest in how people use this site and a lack of understanding of how people use the site.
SEARCH RESULTS: - on top of forcing people to work in an environment that is counter logic, the search results now come with a myriad of options that make a positive outcome difficult at best. Frankly, I have no idea where to look for anything that can help narrow down the results that I am getting. So this illogical morass leaps from the changed layout into the search process. This compounds the frustration that people are feeling.
QUALITY OF SEARCH RESULTS: When I search for Jane Doe, born in the United States between 1890 and 1900, it is normal to expect that result. When I logged into today, what for on a query structured as such were results from the United Kingdom for Jane Doe, and birth dates in the 1960s and 1970s, with US records at the bottom of the list. So I reran the results, and low and behold, I got the same results. We used to get accurate results. That isn't what I am getting.
So what I found today was a counterintuitive interface that is impossible to navigate about in a logical and effective way, a confusing number of options placed in confusing places, and search results that weren't close to what I asked for.
I understand that people worked hard on this. But when I was in end-user development, the single biggest pitfall happened when developers sat around a table and developed an echo chamber about how the end-users will either see why the developers think that this is choke-full or great ideas or "will just have to adapt."
Frankly, this damages the Family Search brand in my eyes.
I have been as critical of the changes as most individuals who have been commenting here, but I don't see how people are having such serious problems over examples such as the one you mention.
I got 57 results when I searched for a Jane Doe, born in the US in the 1890-1900 period - using very similar search criteria to that I would have used with the old version. True, only the top 30 matched the birth date range, but all related to the US and, in theory, most were for individuals who could have been born in that period. No UK results of individuals born in the 1960s or 70s were included.
These results are no worse than I would have expected when making searches previously. There have always been results in such a list that were related to death and census records, where no age has been indexed.
As stated earlier, I agree with most of the negative reaction to the new Search interface. However, I do not personally find many of the typical searches I make (for census or vitals records) to be more difficult than before.
To help the developers, perhaps more users should illustrate actual examples (not necessarily using their relatives names) of where they are not now getting the expected / desired results.
Gedmatch is allowing the user to choose between their old interface and their new interface...thank goodness. Why can't Family Search just do that?
We hate it. IT people don't want to admit that their big project is a failure.
Paul W, the use of “Jane Doe” is a place holder because this is a public forum. In fact Jane Doe and John Doe are both place holder names. I will contact Family Search today and walk them through the search problem. Now you know.
Yes, I assumed they were not actual individuals on whom you were conducting searches. I provided the URL in order that you, or others users, might try the criteria I applied, in order to considerably reduce an otherwise unwieldy number of results.
I consider myself to be fairly computer and genealogically savey. I have been using your website since it came online way back.
After the recent changes I decided to give it time to see if they were an improvement and also to give myself time to learn how to navigate it. Now I have to agree with most other people, the website is virtually unusable with constant error messages or worse the spinning circle of death on a blank page. I can't even find the records I had previously found even when using the same search criteria. It is pointless having millions of records that can not be efficiently searched.
I use FamilySearch to compliment / verify my Ancestry information. Now I think I'll have to sign up to Find my Past to do that.
Good luck with your new users.
Some honest straight to the point feedback.
The opening search page needs work. You had an opportunity here to add great information for anyone just starting out their genealogy search, instead there is a link to helpful tips and you covered prime real estate with graphics and a search box that appears to be an afterthought. This is a missed opportunity.
What a mess you've made of a simple, easy to use search results page.
Those of use who are serious about our research don't need pretty graphics distracting us and slowing down our process.
The first thing that needs to go is the slide-in panel on the right. It is on the wrong side. Please put it on the left and remove the slide in, it's just plain distracting. I'm all for change, but people read from left to right (see ancestry & findmypast for examples of great search boxes)
The slide-in search box contains a series of pills - I have to click each one to open it and then add the information I want. This is a waste of my time. Just give us back the predefined fields you had before.
It took forever to find the "collections" tab and then the results appear in that slide-in box again.
Please add vertical divider lines between the columns ex. Name, Events, Relationships. There is too much white space and my eyes have no landing place. You can't tell the difference between one column and the next.
When you choose to close the slide-in panel, it's replaced with a stack of blue pills at the top of the search page - these are even worse than the slide-in. They take up way too much space. Space that could be used to display more information about the person you are searching on - like their spouse, children, parents, etc.
I've tried changing to the datasheet layout and it's even worse to work with than the table.
If you intend to keep this "improved" layout, at least add an option to have the results displayed in the classic layout or better yet put it back the way it was!
It is harder to search ...period. It is harder to scan the search results. It is harder to update from one search dataset to another. It is easier to miss updating a search parameter since only part of the parameters are displayed at the top. Forces us to continually do extra clicks to go into the new right side pane. The right side pane displays search parameters in a random order instead of a set order. The right side pane has SO MUCH BLANK SPACE that it spreads out the search parameter boxes...scroll scroll scroll. You cannot see all of your search parameters at once...scroll scroll scroll. CONTINUAL clicking of More Options over and over and over to open and close the pane. If the pane is left open, then it squishes the unnecessarily enlarged search results on the left side. Left side results data inclusion expansion...scroll scroll scroll.
I am NOT getting the same good results I have enjoyed for YEARS with your old program. I love updates improvements that improve functionality and I beta tested programs updates and rewrites for years at my job. I am NOT afraid of a program change.
Your explanation expands on why I should see that you did testing and I should therefore agree that the testing results are good. The problem is that it appears that your testers were not a sample of your actual users. It appears that you found testers that would agree to the functionality of the new system but were silent with a comparison to the old system. That one system "works" does not imply that it is an improvement over the old system.
I would think that it is possible to have both search systems running at the same time with an option to select the system one would like to use. (If you had done this step after the Beta testing, you could have gotten feedback then instead of now!)
Bottom line: Updates should not cause us to do 10 times the effort to get the same or worse results.
It took me a matter of minutes to find what I specifically wanted: a list of individuals named George Harrison who were resident in California at the time of the 1910 US census. See https://www.familysearch.org/search/record/results?f.recordType=3&q.givenName=george&q.givenName.exact=on&q.residenceDate.from=1910&q.residenceDate.to=1910&q.residencePlace=california%2C%20united%20states&q.residencePlace.exact=on&q.surname=harrison&q.surname.exact=on. By scrolling down the section on the right side of the page you will see my search criteria.
Actually, I was quite surprised to get such exact results. Had they included some that were irrelevant to my search, I was ready to narrow them down further, by selecting "Collection", at the top left of the page, then checking the "United States Census, 1910" box, on the next page.
There is some previously unnecessary scrolling and page changing to get to what is specifically required but, with a bit of practice, you do eventually "get there". I must emphasise that I am not watering down my previous views / comments on the subject - as I am still with those who are saying, "Bring back the old version!" To me, the change was not an enhancement, has caused too much confusion (to experienced users and those less so), and so really seems to have been all rather unnecessary.
This new interface (even calling it that is an insult to legitimate user interfaces) is a disaster. Unfortunately, those responsible for this mess are now thinking "Yep, here are the superficial objections and resistance to change we expected. They will pass."
NO, NO, NO - This is really, really bad. As others have stated, this is way unnecessarily cute, effete, affected and difficult, to the point of being unusable. It just is. Others have provided examples but, really, it's just BAD. Concept, execution, everything. Fire whoever did this and whoever approved it and go back.
It reminds me of the conversations I used to have with word processor developers early on (the 90's) when they would explain to me how "neat" and "cool" it was that I could go through several undocumented and/or hidden steps to finally be able to format correspondence. They just couldn't understand that all I and their other users wanted to do was write a letter, not play with their silly software. Eventually WP came around and is now easy to use.
It's the same problem here in reverse. Family search had its flaws but was relatively easy to use. Now it's just stupidly hamstrung by whoever did this.
Familysearch was my main search for people in UK parishes that are not in the commercial databases.
I can now not find results for the parishes I was able to find before the degradation that you have made.
I am surprised that nobody has commented that when using "*" and the "Exact" feature, results are nowhere near what they were in the former layout. The boolean searches, from my perspective, which is from more of the "expert" user classification, no longer function as they once did. I no longer come to your site as I can not replicate many searches I did in the past, in particular and most specifically as it relates to this aspect.
I tend to agree with most all other negative feedback offered by others. The three other primary expert genealogists that I work with have all had the same concluding outcome (to go to a different search provider).
Many aspects of the site are still great and the resources are top notch but I will no longer be relying on anything from the search interface, it's counterintuitive and definitely missed the mark.
Fortunately, I am not having your bad experiences in using wildcards and "Exact" searches with the new interface. However, many other users have complained of the poor returns they now get, compared to before.
I have illustrated examples of how I narrow down my results and would still much rather use FamilySearch than Ancestry (and even Find My Past), as I never have found away of only getting "exact" results from these programs, where only prioritising seems possible.
Like most other users, I would like FamilySearch to admit the failure of the whole project and revert to the former interface. Sadly, the organisation appears to have devoted so many resources to this and still seems convinced that we will all eventually adapt to something that, perhaps, works reasonably well on a smart phone, but certainly not in using a home computer.
May we all cool our jets. This program went from helping one another to poking the bear. The Bear meaning we are not getting our work done that the good Lord wants us too. I love my ancestors and wish to contribute to their lives and sacrifices which I can share with family members. The world is in chaos, this platform should be a place a peace.
To the caretakers of this platform: Most people don't like extreme change. We want to go about getting our work done. I have taken my family information back due to constant changes, mistakes and arguments and hurt feelings. FOR US OLD FOLKS SIMPLICITY IS BEST. How many of us have quit due to frustration and lack of understanding the new way of doing things. This should not be happening.
Is it in everyone's best interest to have an organized, safe program?
A place we can keep our own information and proof of record where others can copy, NOT CHANGE information they see fit.
A place where there is a list of records i.e., census, books to research (Daughters of American, Legends, births Certs), and the list goes on.
PLEASE CONSIDER THIS IS OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN WISH TO BRING TOGETHER. MAY OUR HEARTS BE SOFTENED. THIS IS A PLACE OF LEARNING.
If it was working, then people would not be complaining so loudly! It's just terrible.
I totally agree. I've been using familysearch since 2000 and now it's a complete waste of time. It's clumsy to use, takes for ever just to go round in circles and get nowhere. For goodness sake put it back to the way it was.
One recent change disallows connecting a source to a person of a different sex. This is a problem as many, many, many indexed sources have the wrong sex. It is incredible that anyone would believe all potential sources are 100% accurate.
Here is an example where the father was indexed as female, and the mother indexed as male. As a result, it is now impossible to link the sources to the right people. https://www.familysearch.org/search/linker?pal=/ark:/61903/1:1:K8NR-B47&id=LHM3-DKW
I own a software company and deal with users across the nation. Data entry problems need to have a way to make corrections.