Friday 27 January 2012

Great improvement at Familysearch

I couldn't have been in a better place to discover that FamilySearch had at last made the change I had been hoping for. I was in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, settling down to some Irish research, when I found that the British Isles category has been reinstated. I have written about this a great deal in the past, bemoaning, among other things, the fact that the British Isles categories in the left-hand list did not match the ones in the detailed list of resources 'United Kingdom' in one, 'Great Britain' in another, with a clearly imperfect understanding of the divisions within our collection of islands.

The site has now reverted to filters that more closely resemble the British Isles section of the old FamilySearch site. Well done FamilySearch, you listened to your users, including me! The categories are now:

Channel Islands
Isle of Man
United Kingdom

This is still not ideal, but it is a great improvement. The individual databases now reflect this list much more closely, and to be fair, some of the databases do not fit neatly into one of the main categories. If you click on the United Kingdom category, the three databases contained are all 'Great Britain', but these  are miscellaneous collections extracted from various sources, and at least Great Britain is part of the UK. The creation of a UK category as distinct from England, Scotland etc means that there is a home for any future databases that may be added in future; for example military or naval records that relate to the whole of the UK.

Some of the existing databases cover more than one place, the most obvious being the England and Wales censuses. But the Wales filter does include these within its results, which is another improvement - the Wales category was a bit of a mess before! It might be ungenerous to point out that the 'England and Wales census' databases also include the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, but does not appear in their filters. I'm sure that can be fixed.

It's a great way to start my stay in Salt Lake City. Now, if we could only get county filters too...



  1. Hey, great blog. I'm from Wales. Live in SLC. Volunteer at the Family History Library. Thanks for posting the information re: British Isles.

  2. Not being from England/U.K./etc. I never realized there was a distinction. My ancestors (as far as I've searched) are from Yorkshire and Northumberland. I just generally thought England and/or United Kingdom. Thanks for pointing out that there are differences.