thegenealogygirl

A FamilySearch Profile Photo Experiment

4 Comments

Screen Shot 2018-04-26 at 8.16.12 PM

Last week, I wrote about a funny glitch I came across in FamilySearch.  See that image right up there?  The profile picture?  It’s not William Taylor, it’s James Lake.  Weirder still is that picture of James Lake isn’t anywhere in the memories tab for this William.  It seems to be the ghost of a photo no longer attached to William.  Well, that post prompted a Twitter conversation that led me to conduct an experiment with FamilySearch photos and profile pictures.

These were my questions:

  • Question 1 – Does FamilySearch automatically set a default profile picture for individuals in the tree?
  • Question 2 – If one user changes the profile picture for someone in the tree, does that change the profile picture for every user?
  • Question 3 – What happens to the profile picture if the photo used for the profile picture is deleted?
  • Question 4 – Have each of these things functioned consistently over time?

 

 

Experiment Phase One – Simple Comparisons

 

I selected a handful of my own ancestors whose profile photos I have personally changed at some point and compared their profile from the FamilySearch Tree app on my phone, to the profile as seen when logged in as my friend.*  The results were interestingly inconsistent.

Untitled document (3)

Here are the profile images of each person.  Images from my friend’s account on the left, from my account on the right (note – I double checked the website, logged in as me, and the images on the right from the app match what I see on the website):

 

Based on these results we can answer two of our questions.

 

Question 1 – Does FamilySearch automatically set a default profile picture for individuals in the tree?

YES!

 

Logged in as my friend, I looked at my relatives who my friend had never looked at before.  They all showed a profile picture if they had any photos in the memories tab.  (With one strange exception that we will discuss in more detail in my report on part two of my experiment.  But recently uploaded and deleted photos can cause a person to go from having a profile photo to not having a profile photo.)

 

Question 4 – Have each of these things functioned consistently over time?

NO!

 

Because there is such a wide variety in this set of simple comparisons, it appears that FamilySearch has had different default settings for profile pictures at different times.

 

Experiment Phase Two – Uploading and Deleting Photos

 

I selected a handful of family members who did not currently have any photos in the tree.  I uploaded and deleted photos from both my friend’s FamilySearch account and my own to see what happened to the profile photo.

These are the four photos I used in my experiment:

 

Let’s start with John Arthur Jerrain.

 

John is seen in the first and second photos.  Logged in as my friend, I uploaded photo 1 and tagged John in that photo.  What happened?

  • Photo 1 became the profile photo for John when logged in as my friend.
  • Photo 1 became the profile photo for John when logged in as me.
  • In the app, photo 1 shows on John’s memory tab, but he has no profile photo.  (Note – I did not click on the profile photo circle as I wanted to see if the app would add a photo by default.)

Still logged in as my friend, I uploaded photo 2 and tagged John, Emma, & Prude in that photo.  Yes, Prude.  His full name is Prudent Arthur Jerrain.  😉  What happened?

  • Photo 1 was still the profile photo for John when logged in as my friend.
  • Photo 1 was still the profile photo for John when logged in as me.
  • In the app, photo 1 and photo 2 show on John’s memory tab, but he has no profile photo.

Still logged in as my friend, I deleted photo 1.  What happened?

  • When logged in as my friend, John now showed only photo 2 in his memories tab and had no profile photo.
  • When logged in as me, John now showed only photo 2 in his memories tab and had no profile photo.
  • In the app, John now showed only photo 2 in his memories tab and had no profile photo.

Logged in as me, I uploaded photo 1 and tagged John in that photo.  I made the tag a much larger circle so that it could be differentiated from the tag created using my friend’s account.  What happened?

  • When logged in as me, John now showed both photo 1 and photo 2 in his memories tab.  Photo 1 with the larger circle was now his profile picture.
  • When logged in as my friend, John now showed both photo 1 and photo 2 in his memories tab but had no profile picture.
  • In the app, John now showed both photos and still has no profile photo.

 

Now let’s chat about Emma Esther Jerrain.

 

Emma is seen in the second photo.  Emma already had a few photos uploaded by me.  Logged in as my friend, I uploaded photo 2.  What happened?

  • Photo 2 became Emma’s profile photo when logged in as my friend.
  • Emma’s profile photo did not change to photo 2 when logged in as me.
  • In the app, Emma’s profile photo did not change to photo 2.

 

What about Prudent Arthur Jerrain & Jessie Cambell Shirkie?

 

Prudent can be seen in pictures 2, 3, and 4.  Jessie can be seen in picture 3 and 4.  Logged in as my friend, I uploaded photo 2 and tagged Prude in that photo.  What happened?

  • Photo 2 became Prude’s profile photo when logged in as my friend.
  • Photo 2 became Prude’s profile photo when logged in as me.
  • In the app, photo 2 was visible in Prude’s memories, but he did not have a profile photo.

Logged in as me, I uploaded photo 3 and tagged Prude and his wife Jessie Cambell Shirkie in that photo.  I did not tag their daughter Willow Eleanor, who is also seen in this photo, because I was planning to delete this picture and Willow was not part of my experiment.  What happened?

  • When logged in as me, Prude’s profile photo changed from picture 2 to picture 3.
  • When logged in as my friend, Prude’s profile photo is still picture 2, but picture 3 can be seen in his memories gallery.
  • In the app, both picture 2 and picture 3 can be seen, but Prude has no profile photo.

What happened for Jessie with the upload of photo 3?

  • When logged in as me, Jessie’s profile photo became photo 3.
  • When logged in as my friend, Jessie’s profile photo became photo 3.
  • In the app, photo 3 shows in Jessie’s memories tab, but she has no profile photo.

Logged in as me, I uploaded photo 4 and tagged Prude and Jessie in that photo.  What happened to Prude?

  • When logged in as me, Prude’s profile photo is still photo 3, but photos 2, 3, and 4 are all visible.
  • When logged in as my friend, Prude’s profile photo is still photo 2, but photos 2, 3, and 4 are in his memories gallery.
  • In the app, all three photos are visible, but he still has no profile photo.

What happened to Jessie?

  • When logged in as me, Jessie’s profile photo is still photo 3, but photo 4 is also in her memories gallery.
  • When logged in as my friend, Jessie’s profile photo is still photo 3, but photo 4 is also in her memories gallery.
  • In the app, photo 3 and 4 are visible, but she still has no profile photo.

Logged in as me, I deleted photo 3.  What happened to Prude?

  • When logged in as me, Prude’s profile photo changed back to photo 2.
  • When logged in as my friend, Prude’s profile photo is still photo 2.
  • In the app, photo 2 and 4 are visible, but he still has no profile photo.

What happened to Jessie?

  • When logged in as me, Jessie shows no profile photo, but photo 4 is visible in her memories gallery.
  • When logged in as my friend, Jessie shows no profile photo, but photo 4 is visible in her memories gallery.
  • In the app, photo 4 is visible, she still does not have a profile photo.

 

Interestingly, on the day I conducted this experiment, after a photo was deleted and a person “lost” their profile photo, in the couple box of that person and their spouse, the circle for the profile photo showed a broken photo link icon.  However, the next day, that icon was gone and the profile photo area is just empty despite there being a photo in that person’s gallery.

 

 

Conclusion

 

I started with four questions.  I was able to answer all four:

 

Question 1 – Does FamilySearch automatically set a default profile picture for individuals in the tree?

Yes!  It is the first photo uploaded for that person.  However, if a user adds a photo for the first time to a person who already has photos, the profile photo will change to the newly added photo for that user.

In the app, however, FamilySearch does not set a default profile photo.

 

Question 2 – If one user changes the profile picture for someone in the tree, does that change the profile picture for every user?

Yes and No.  This function has varied over time.

 

Question 3 – What happens to the profile picture if the photo used for the profile picture is deleted?

It appears that based on my original post, in the past, a ghost of the photo can still remain as the profile photo.  But now, when the photo is deleted, in most cases, the profile picture is blank until a user chooses a new profile photo.  In one instance, the profile photo reverted back to the first photo uploaded by a different user.  This function is inconsistent.

 

Question 4 – Have each of these things functioned consistently over time?

No!  FamilySearch has clearly made some changes to how profile photos are assigned.  Based on my experiment, I think they have changed things more than one time.

 

 

Thank you, Alberta Genealogical Society – @ABGenealogy – for prompting me to complete this experiment.  When I work with patrons at my local FamilySearch center and they ask a question about some quirk they have run into on FamilySearch I often say, “Well, it used to work this way, but let’s give it a look and see how it’s working now.”  FamilySearch makes changes regularly and just when you think you have it figured out, it’s different.

 

Thank you, FamilySearch for constantly working to improve all areas of your website.  You are awesome and you make the genealogy world so much better for everyone!!  (I’m especially loving how fast you are digitizing records and getting them in the catalog.  Amazing!!!!  ❤️)

 

 

Happy Monday, I hope it’s a wonderful genealogy week for everyone!  If you haven’t perused the FamilySeach catalog – do give it a look today!  You just might find a hidden treasure.  If you aren’t sure where the catalog is, read this post I wrote last yearxoxo

 

 

 

*I logged into my friend’s FamilySearch account, with her permission, to assist in my experiment.

 

 

Author: thegenealogygirl

I'm a girl who loves genealogy. Let me tell you about it.

4 thoughts on “A FamilySearch Profile Photo Experiment

  1. Too much time on your hands, Amberly? Just kidding. Interesting experiment. I’m also loving that FamilySearch is moving along so fast with the digitizing and adding to the catalog. I’m always telling people to go there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaha!! Goodness, I would love to have that problem one of these days. But in all seriousness, I help so many different patrons with FamilySearch “quirks” that when something strange comes up I do try to figure it out. This experiment was especially fascinating to me so I spent more time on it than I normally would have. 🙂

      And YES on the catalog – AMAZING!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t use the FS family tree so have no clue!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s