Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Hats off to FamilySearch!

I'm in Fort Wayne at FGS and to enjoy the Allen County Public Library  Last night I attended the annual FamilySearch Bloggers Dinner.  What a great event!   Good food, fun techie gift, good news from Family Search.

A new director for the Family History Library was introduced - Diane Loosle.  I've either had her in a session sometime in the past, or talked to her in a booth (maybe both) - she has a great personality.  Her goals include increasing the family and youth-oriented experiences, collaborative research areas in the library, continuing to increase the online information. She said the volunteers will be coming out from behind the desks (the "fortress") to work closer with patrons.  I believe she'll be perfect for this job.

We were also entertained with a video of the new oral history rooms and how they will be set up in the larger Family History Centers and the new Family Discovery Centers.  Anyone can schedule an hour to either tell their own story or interview a family member - $8 for the programmed flash drive and you take home a DVD of the experience.

Plans for the new Family Discovery Centers were impressive - hope one comes somewhere near me or where I travel.

Certain of the Family History Centers, and the new Discovery Centers, will have scanners that can scan your photos and upload them to your Family Tree site at   How exciting is that!  No dates or locations were disclosed.

The most obvious emphasis of the presentation and the evening as a whole is that FamilySearch is really on board for telling "the rest of the story" about family history.  Not the dates, but the stories of our ancestor's, and our own, lives - both in words and pictures.

Appreciation was expressed for indexers and arbitrators - a show of hands indicated most of us in the room did one or both!   There's a great new fun video on the website that demonstrates how important this work is.  There are currently about 140,000 persons indexing - not nearly enough for the number of names that are being added in the uploaded images every day.   We were also promised that revisions are coming to improve this experience.  My own experience is that improvements are needed.

Now ...I'm off to the Allen County Public Library.