Why not fix your search function?
Instead of changing the appearance of the Person Page, maybe you could improve the things that actually need improving.
The biggest problem I've had is using Search Records / Family Search. Often a search will find nothing, then I do a search for someone else in the same source and FS finds it. I have to find the source first on ancestry so I know who else is in the record! Why is your algorithm not returning results for everyone in the source? (I have seen this most often in census records.)
Your algorithm for finding Research Hints is awesome. I'd just like to see some improvement in Search Records.
I so totally agree with you, Cheryl! I find FS search functions so non-user-friendly. Ancestry, on the other hand, is very user-friendly.
- Automatically add on the married surname of the woman, or any name changes, (like Ancestry does) so that we don't have to separately add each surname or variant.
- On many of the censuses, such as state censuses, if the relationship between the family members is not listed on that census, FS lists each person individually, EVEN THOUGH you can clearly see where each household begins and ends. Ancestry lists "other members of household" below, on the same transcribed page, so that we can evaluate and discern which "John Brown" we are looking at. On those types of censuses, I have to look up the family first on Ancestry, then one by one, look them up and attach them on FS. This is cumbersome, and time-wasting, PLUS I would NEVER even be able to link them at all if it weren't that an outside site (Ancestry) does it better.
- As with #2, even when several censuses that DO have the relationship listed, FS still lists the family members separately. WHY??
- Ancestry's algorithm is better at locating different names, more records, etc. Often, I'll have to find it on Ancestry, then enter the findings on FS, and ONLY THEN will FS cough up the search results.
- I would like to see a category for "never married" right in the marriage slot -- not up above where you tend not to see it -- for all the people who never married by had a child. Common law marriage does not address a "fling". ("No couple relationship" -- what does that even mean? Obviously they had some type of relationship if they had a child(ren).)
- Make a separate listing for "marriage license". The license is often on a different day from the actual wedding, yet there is no way to distinguish them on FS transcription forms, and they end up erroneously listed as the actual marriage date.
- When we add an outside source, we can only tag name, sex, birth, christening, death, burial. There is no "marriage" slot. As a older researcher, I remember that this oversight hearkens to the era in which FS had not really done much with indexing marriage records, thus the only available sources at the time were pretty much just birth and death records. However, NOW, thankfully, there are many marriage records, so let's add that box to check mark on the sources screen.
- When attaching information on the source linker screen, not all the needed information can be dragged across. Oftentimes, there is (for example) death information in that source, but also a birth date, yet that cannot be "dragged" across the screen. You have to remember (and not everyone does this, or knows to do this) to go back to the Details page, and manually change it. Again, you have Ancestry to use as a guide; there's no need to invent the wheel.
FS has many, many excellent qualities, but if the FS people feel like changing things around, how about addressing the above concerns from an experienced researcher, and temple/ family history consultant?3
Number 1 makes an assumption that every culture at all times in all places changed a woman's surname -- and only a woman's surname -- at marriage. This is false, and it is one of the many things that makes Ancestry's search so annoying to use.
For 2 (and 3), why don't you simply work from the image in such cases? It's the actual record, not the various finding aids.
I consider 8 to be a plus, not a minus: since Source Linker does not provide full visibility into what's on the profile, it is a good thing that it cannot replace existing conclusions.4
For 2 and 3: To work from the image, you have to have been able to select a source out of all the search results that come up. I do work from the image, once I've been able to locate the census they are in. But if you're searching for a name, and you know the other family members, but the only person listed is just the one you typed in, then you are provided no frame of reference, no other family members in order to make a selection. Eg: If I'm searching for John Brown, and the search results give me over a million John Brown's, how am I going to make a determination who "my" John Brown is without being able to see other family members. Should I have to click on each one? Households are clearly delineated on censuses, and Ancestry lists "other household members" in the search results to enable you to eliminate the wrong ones, and narrow down to the likely one(s).
For 8: I'm not sure what you mean by the Source Linker not providing full visibility into what's on the profile, and not replacing existing conclusions. That's not what I was saying. If I have info on the Source Linker, and I am comparing the source against what's already on FamilySearch, and there is info there that needs to be added to FS, but you are able to drag only certain parts of the record over, and other parts you can't add. Eg: there may be a date or a middle name or whatever, but the Source Linker only allows you to drag across selected parts of the record. On Ancestry, you have access to all those transcribed pieces of data, and can select (or choose not to) any of those. With FS, you have to remember to go back to the Details page after you're done with the Source Linker, and manually add in the birth date or middle name, or whatever it was. Not everyone knows to do that, and often sources are added, but the Details page doesn't reflect those updates.0
What I mean with "Source Linker doesn't provide full visibility" is that it doesn't show you the reason statements, collaboration notes and alerts, or already-attached sources. Heck, it doesn't even show you all of the existing conclusions, only the ones it thinks are relevant.
The situation I encounter most often is caused by FS's continued insistence on enforcing an artificial distinction between the words "baptism" and "christening". Since the indexes happened to choose "Baptism" to label the event type field in both the "Hungary Catholic Church Records" and the "Hungary Reformed Church Christenings" collections, while the legacy data based on these indexes uses the Christening field in Family Tree, Source Linker offers the baptism's date and place to transfer into Other Information, with absolutely no indication that it's already there, in Vitals. This results in a duplicate event on the profile: once as a christening, once as a custom event. I suppose this is better than no event at all, but it's annoying at best.
The situation that better illustrates the dangers of blindly replacing conclusions occurs when a prominent source -- say, a gravestone -- turns out to be wrong. A descendant puts in all the work of documenting the error, edits the resulting conclusions, and writes down his reasoning in both the reason box and in a collaboration note. If it's a common enough source of erroneous edits, he probably jumps on the chance to mark his note as an alert. He also attaches the half a dozen sources proving the error.
Now, suppose that the gravestone's very specific in its wrongness: it says the person was born in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776. Now suppose also that while the descendant has been able to prove this to be false, he doesn't have a better date or place: all he knows is that the person was born somewhere north and west of Philadelphia, and was at least a year old in the summer of 1776. So he puts "Pennsylvania" for the birthplace and "about 1775" for the birthdate.
Along comes another user. He gets to Source Linker from his homepage, which gave him the gravestone's newest index as a hint. Source Linker shows him a precise date and city on one side, and a bare year and state on the other. Of course the more precise data is better, right? If Source Linker allowed conclusions to be replaced, the user would automatically and without even really thinking transfer the false data, believing himself to be improving the profile, when in fact what he was doing was destroying the descendant's hard work.0