Friday, January 02, 2009

FamilySearch Certified Affiliates

At the 2008 Mesa Arizona Family History Expo, a rep from again extended a hand of friendship and cooperation. This openness facilitated our conversation via email with my questions about FamilySearch Certified Affiliates. I was pushing for a page on that would list the various affiliates and compare their functionality with on various levels.

In December 2008, after a meeting with a Family History Library employee, I blogged about such a page in the developer network area of FamilySearch. See: DearMYRTLE’s FamilySearch Certified affiliates.

A few days later, Ol' Myrt's morning's email brought a note from that FamilySearch rep with a new page explaining the certified products:

This new page will be most illuminating and is important to keep watching, since the average genealogist out here in the real world cannot believe that:

  1. is more than just a replacement for Temple Ready.
  2. One won’t be able to use PAF directly with

Use of PAF (Personal Ancestral File) and the database site (combined Ancestral File,
IGI, Church Membership Files, etc.) is problematic for genealogists. Even though all products are from FamilySearch, PAF just won't sync, and there are no plans to update PAF to do that.

Consequently, either a “bridging program” or a “full-fledged” genealogy management program (instead of the limited functionality PAF) must be employed to make effective use of

There are several worthwhile genealogy database programs out there designed to organized your family names, dates, places, notes, multi-media files, etc.

Several specialized software programs create charts beyond description, not within the scope of the printing capabilities of genealogy database programs.

Ol’ Myrt’s non-LDS readers are most likely wondering why I belabor the discussion about Here’s why:

  1. EVENTUALLY, will be freely open to any registered user, regardless of religious affiliation.

  2. The roll out is in multiple language format, a phenomenal approach, embracing major language groups in the world.

  3. The current collaborative and interactive capabilities of are marvelous, even in this glorified beta-testing phase limited to certain LDS Temple Districts world-wide. The fact that I am notified when someone else combines or modifies one of my ancestor’s records in provides opportunities for discussion and sharing of source documents that prove or disprove the ancestral relationship.

  4. The ability to combine (not merge) the 24 duplicate entries for my great-grandmother is a necessary and long needed component of large database management.

  5. Disputing inaccurate ancestral info and correcting it puts the world on notice. Previously the entries in the Ancestral File, IGI, etc. could not be changed, even when subsequent research finds clear error in the previous lineage assumptions. In a world where the internet has made it far too easy to replicate erroneous pedigrees, this idea of correcting what’s out there is a research break-through.

So what does Ol’ Myrt here mean by that? Just as with a wiki format, combining duplicate individuals in are combined, as if in a single folder. All changes are easily tracked, and therefore potentially un-combined (emphasis added). Contrast this with the merging capability, typically found in our individual genealogy management software, where duplicate individuals are merged into one individual forever.

As emerges as arguably the largest single genealogy database in the world, there will be information to correct, share and add. Using software to facilitate such work will be a heck of a lot easier than typing things into new.FamilySearch manually. Using software that easily accesses, prints, or syncs with will become an important resource for genealogists. As

FamilySearch advises, “FamilySearch Certified Affiliates are third-party companies and organizations that provide products and services with features that are compatible with FamilySearch programs. Certification indicates the affiliate’s declaration of compliance with FamilySearch requirements. Note that these products and services are independently developed and supported by their respective organizations, not by FamilySearch.”

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
Your friend in genealogy.


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© 2009 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved. This and previous blog entries are fully searchable by going to Myrt welcomes queries and research challenges, but regrets she is unable to answer each personally.