Friday, March 17, 2017

FamilySearch personal info workaround is a bandaid not a cure

DearREADERS,
This is follow-up to my post "FamilySearch listed my private phone and I am concerned." It was startling to find my personal cell phone and business email address added to the "Contact Us - Find a Family History Center" page on FamilySearch.org. It's laudable that FamilySearch wants to provide context sensitive help to my local ward members, but there are still problems.

IMAGE: Screen short of "Contact Us - Find a Family History Center" page at FamilySearch,
before I made the change.
BACK STORY
You may recall I have a dedicated cell and email address (MidasCreek6thFH@gmail.com) used strictly for my "calling" as a Temple and Family History Consultant in my LDS Ward. Continuity is provided since both ward consultants have access to the @gmail.com account. I consider it inappropriate use my business email address (____@DearMYRTLE.com).


UPDATE
It is possible to edit my data and insert my preferred but alternate phone number (green box below) and email (blue star burst below) using my LDS Tools app. This app requires logging in with an LDS account, and then the directory of members in my ward are visible, along with stake officers and others who make their directory info available beyond the confines of the ward membership. 

I have kept the "household" info with my personal email address and phone, (blocked out in red) as shown below.

IMAGE: Screen shot from LDS Tools showing the change I made to reference my
preferred alternate phone and email for my Family History Consultant work at church.
I checked the FamilySearch.org "Contact Us - Find a Family History Center" page was apparently immediately updated on FamilySearch.org.

NOTE: This info/procedure does not appear in any printed or online training material to my knowledge. I merely explored the LDS TOOLS app available to LDS Church members and found what I thought was the cure. 

The info that appears on "Contact Us - Find a Family History Center" at FamilySearch.org can rightfully include the "Find a Family History Center" option spotlighted with the green arrow and circle below. Family History Centers are part of FamilySearch, but my personal information is not.

IMAGE: Screenshot from "Contact Us - Find a Family History Center" on FamilySearch.org
after I made the change in my LDS Tools App.
SO WHAT'S THE REAL PROBLEM?
Since I made this change of email and phone number, I processed an online donation for tithing and fast offering. Sadly the receipt for my donation went to the (MidasCreek6thFH@gmail.com) consultant email account not my personal one, also listed in the "household" portion of LDS Tools App. This means:

  • Other ward FHConsultants now know of my donation, when this should be private.
  • My reporting to the IRS will be complicated.

Theoretically, it makes sense *on paper* that a FHConsultant's info to be pulled from the LDS Tools App but Internet standards *require* first asking permission to share one's personal info on a web page. Disregard for this standard is just the behind-the-scenes activity that make privacy advocates cringe. While I willingly added my email and phone to the LDS Tools App, I had *no idea* my personal info would be shared on a web-clipable site. 

Theoretically, having the member update his own info means FamilySearch.org can automatically render the latest contact info. 

HOW CAN THIS BE FIXED?
The following components should be in place if FamilySearch.org wishes to appropriately display a consultant's contact info on the "Contact Us - Find a Family History Center" page.

  • Opt-In - A consultant may prefer name only or nothing at all.
  • Editable - Accommodating a member's decision to have multiple phone numbers and email accounts for whatever reason.
  • Mr. Myrt suggests each ward should have a single dedicated email address for all ward Temple and Family History Consultants to access.

Hangouts: Pay what you want. So it's simple. If you value the work Ol' Myrt, +Cousin Russ and our beloved panelists do week in and week out on your behalf, please:

Check the DearMYRTLE Hangouts Calendar for upcoming study groups and hangouts. There you'll find links to the GeneaConference (in-person) and the GeneaWebinars Calendar with over over 200 hours of online genealogy classes, webinars, live streams and tweetchats from other hosts and presenters over the next 12 months.