May 2nd, 2006

Renee Zamora

new FamilySearch

OK, Here's the article I promised for you. This is the back door way to get in on the beta test for "new FamilySearch" (formerly known as Family Tree). You will be working with the one of it's many facets:

"The Help Center Research Advice Forums"

By now most of the genealogical community has heard about the new FamilySearch™ system the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is developing, but fewer have heard of the Help Center. The Help Center is a web–based program designed to provide a self-service support environment for the new FamilySearch.

Among the exciting additions of the Help Center are the Research Advice Forums. These online communities will provide users a chance to ask their research questions and allow other users with research experience to share their knowledge. The forums will be available in eight languages, and will eventually cover every country of the world.

Research Advice Forums

FamilySearch Support (part of the Family and Church History Department) has been given the task to provide family history research support worldwide. Since volunteers in family history centers and genealogical societies collectively possess so much research knowledge, FamilySearch Support has created an online environment where these people can share their knowledge with those looking for help with their family history.

The Research Advice Forums are different than any other genealogical forum online. How many times have you asked a question in an online forum and never received an answer? Research Advice Forums will be different. FamilySearch Support will actively manage its forums and notify the forum moderator of any questions that have gone unanswered for a given amount of time. The forum moderator will then ask a research specialist to answer the user’s question.

The forums also have a dynamic search feature. Every time a question is asked and answered it is automatically added to the Help Center’s knowledge base of answers. The knowledge base contains forum posts, websites, authored articles, and Family History Library publications. As questions are asked and answered, websites added, and new articles written, the Help Center’s knowledge base will continue to grow.

Testing the New System

The new FamilySearch beta 2 test is coming soon. For beta 2, FamilySearch Support is looking for individuals with research experience to help test the forums. We will be asking beta testers to do a series of tasks in the forums designed to test the system’s features to make sure they are ready for public use. Testers will be asked to spend about 1-2 hours per week or more if they choose. Anyone participating in the Research Advice Forums testing will also have full access to the new FamilySearch. If you are interested in helping us test our forums and being a part of the new FamilySearch email us at: (please include “Renee Zamora blog” the subject line of your email).

Renee's note: Alright all you lucky people go forth and inundate the Family and Church History Department of the LDS Church with your desire to participate in this next beta test. I had a chance to play with the system during beta 1. (It was hiding there all the time and I only found it near the end.) It has a fantastic concept that I know will work. Your help is needed so here's your chance.

See ya tomorrow, for tomorrow is always another genealogy day!