Thursday, May 22, 2008

Shoebox Genealogy blog

Elder Maynes is new FamilySearch head: "Recently, I was asked by a friend to write a letter to Elder Maynes, the yet-to-be-announced head of I am assuming this is Elder Richard J. Maynes, of the first quorum of the seventy. He has asked for the opinions of professional genealogists in the continued improvement of NFS. It seems that his opinion is that the programmers built the system without enough insight from the genealogical industry. I'm beginning to like the guy already.

My letter was long, a little biting, and somewhat sarcastic in places (what's new?). The letter contained 18 points of improvement for NFS. As I understand, some of these are already being addressed. I have not heard from Elder Maynes in reply, but I am pretty sure he got it, as my friend has very close connections. I present them here unedited. I wrote this in about 2 hours, and didn't really review it, as there were some time limitations on delivery. I probably should have looked over it a bit more.

I will try to post one section a day until it is all presented, as to not overload anyone. Section one immediately follows..."

Shoebox Genealogy: NFS Concerns: Intro and Part 1: "In general, the experiences I have had with NFS seem to show that the programmers of the system have taken great efforts to produce a quality piece of software, however they do not understand genealogy. This is reflected in the experiences I have with others:

  • Friends and family members who do not do genealogy and are not familiar with the process of genealogy, or even vaguely familiar with their extended ancestry, are very excited about the program and find it easy to use.
  • Those who are somewhat knowledgeable about their ancestry and are somewhat interested in their genealogy realize that there are errors in the system, but don’t know what to do, and come to me for advice.
  • Those who are very involved in genealogy are truly overwhelmed with the errors, the time involved in cleaning it up, and the inability to protect the work they have done. These people tend to abandon the system, and keep to themselves pristine files they have spent years compiling.

In my opinion, it is this last set of people who are vital to the success of the NFS, and these are the very people it is turning away. The only way that NFS can become a “pure and delight some” database is with the diligent efforts of the people who have immaculate personal records and PAF files. Leaving these people out, and focusing on “getting everyone involved” will result in disaster, and genealogical anarchy."

the operation could also be called "cleaning up familysearch"

Shoebox Genealogy: NFS Concerns: Intro and Part 1: "1) The myth of complete information – Hierarchy of Evidence
In a conversation I had recently in a group which met with Gordon Clarke of the NFS program, we were to only upload or add “complete or proved information.” This is not how the genealogical process works, and is definitely not what is currently on the system. , , , , , and do read the whole blog Shoebox Genealogy: NFS Concerns: Intro and Part 1:
as an external user I would like to contribute in return for all the benefits and help I have received from old familysearch and the UK 1881 census cd set in particular for example

BUT I learned if I submitted a gedcom I could not edit it or replace it with a newer version, because no way is my own research that perfect or correct, I prefer to share my data via Rootsweb instead.

RootsWeb's WorldConnect Project: LAPHAM one-name study: "There are bound to be errors - so always check original sources - assumptions and hypotheses exist - this ONE-NAME STUDY is a work in progress not a final authority"

I apply a version of the scientific method, and from the data I have make a hypothesis, and then collect evidence to prove or disprove my concept

Consensuses of other researchers is completely irrelevant - I demand of myself three independent references before I regard any data as "gold plated" in my trees

The damage done by the new generation of young brilliant, but genealogically ignorant, programmers to the reputation of Rootsweb and TGN "new ancestry search" and FTM 2008 is another issue

my own contribution is via
FamilySearch Indexing: Home: "The goal of FamilySearch indexing is to make the records currently held in the Granite Mountain Records Vault and other genealogical repositories accessible to family history researchers around the world. In order to do this, we need your help. The task may seem daunting at times, but together we can accomplish great things."

AND by visiting and giving feedback on:-

FamilySearch Labs: "FamilySearch Labs showcases new family history technologies that aren't ready for prime time. Your feedback will help us refine new ideas and bring them to market sooner. Have fun playing with these innovations and send your feedback directly to our development teams."


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