thegenealogygirl


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A FamilySearch Profile Photo Experiment

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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.

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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.

 

 


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I ran into a weird FamilySearch glitch…

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At the end of April, I shared the story of meeting a cousin and then getting together the next day with him and my uncle.  That afternoon, as we were visiting, we pulled up our tree on the FS app several times.  At one point, my uncle pulled up our ancestor, William Taylor.  He turned his phone to show me the page on William Taylor and I blurted out, “That’s not William Taylor, that’s James Lake.”  (James is also our ancestor.)  We got back on topic, but I was definitely puzzled about the photo issue and revisited it later.

I logged into FamilySearch on my laptop and looked at William Taylor.  Sure enough, his profile picture was a picture of James Lake.  An edited version of this photo of James Lake:

LAKE, James

But the really weird part was that the photo showing as William Taylor’s profile picture was NOWHERE in his memories.  I must have looked through that list of photos ten times trying to find the James Lake photo.  It simply wasn’t there.

So how on earth did a photo of James Lake become the profile picture for William Taylor?

I clicked on the profile picture and chose a different picture from William’s memories to become the profile picture for William Taylor.  Once I had done that, James Lake was no longer seen anywhere on William’s page.

This funny little moment has me wondering about a few things.

First, how did the wrong picture end up in his profile in the first place?  Was it uploaded to William Taylor and then later deleted?  If so, why did it still show as his profile picture?  Was it the first picture uploaded to William Taylor?  Does that make it the profile picture by default?

Second, how does a picture get assigned as the default profile picture?  I did not choose a photo as the profile photo for William Taylor.  So how does FS go about deciding for me?

Third, if this little glitch was a ghost of a photo that was uploaded and then deleted, why did it still show up as William’s profile picture?  That seems like a problem to me.

Here’s the good news in all of this.

IF I am correct and someone erroneously uploaded James Lake’s picture to William Taylor, crowdsourcing is working well on FamilySearch because now, William Taylor has a whole list of photos that are clearly all photos of the same man – hopefully of William –  and not of James Lake.  That is a good thing.

I’m grateful to all of the FamilySearch users who are trying to make the tree more accurate.  Thank you for your diligence!

And for those of you who get frustrated by the mistakes on FamilySearch, I am hopeful that this is an example of how the tree overall is evolving to a more accurate collection of data, photos, and stories.  I hope that trend continues!

 

 

Happy Tuesday, I hope you have a glitch-free week of family history!  xoxo

 

 

 

ps – I also hope that FamilySearch can make some adjustments to their system that will help beginners participate in a way that is less frustrating for more seasoned users.  We all go a little crazy when our pet relative is suddenly a disaster created by a beginner who doesn’t really know better.

 


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Save the Date!

2018FairPoster

I work one shift each week at my local Family History Center.  Every year, that center puts together a fantastic – and FREE – Family History Fair during the winter months.  We always draw a large crowd of people from our small town and the surrounding cities.  In fact, the last few years, we have filled the church almost to capacity.  This year I am teaching four classes.  It will be a busy day!

I know that most of my readers live far away from me and can’t possibly attend, but some of you live close by, so please, feel free to join us.  All are welcome.  The entire day is free and lunch is served.  It’s usually pizza, fresh veggies, cookies, and water.  Nothing too fancy, but it means you can stay all day without starving.  😉

2018Flyer

The classes I am teaching are the following:

DNA Basics – Have you wondered about using DNA in your research?  Come and learn about the different types of DNA tests, the different companies you can test with, what genealogy problems can be addressed with DNA, and a few examples of what DNA can do to knock down those brick walls.

Finding Hidden Records on FamilySearch – Did you know that FamilySearch has several different types of record collections? Come and learn how to find them all as we explore indexed collections with images, indexed collections with no images attached (but they might still be on FamilySearch), partially indexed collections with additional browse images, browse only collections, digitized microfilm found in the catalog that can be accessed from home, and digitized microfilm that can only be viewed at a Family History Center.

Making the Most of Ancestry.com – Come and learn how to supercharge your research on Ancestry.com by understanding the website and collections better and learning some fantastic smart search strategies that will help you find the records you are looking for more quickly.

Making the Most of Ancestry.com Trees – Why have a tree on Ancestry.com?  Is public or private better?  Learn how to create and use Ancestry.com Trees from scratch, by uploading a gedcom file, or by importing from FamilySearch.  Give your research a boost by adding the power of an Ancestry Tree.

I have been teaching the two Ancestry classes for a few years now, but they are a hit and draw a large crowd so I will just keep on teaching them as long as I am asked to do so.  😉  The DNA Basics class and the Finding Hidden Records on FamilySearch class are both new classes that I created this fall.  I LOVED teaching them and look forward to teaching them again.

Please feel free to join us and invite your friends!

 

Happy Tuesday, I hope you make a fantastic genealogy discovery today!

 

 

 

ps – We have had an unseasonably warm fall.  I think it was 60 degrees on Saturday.  FINALLY, it snowed on Sunday night.  My little fella has had his snow gear all gathered and ready for weeks now.  Well, not really his gear, a collection of items from the coat closet that he decided were the coolest.  😉  He was sooooo delighted to put it all on for school today.

 

pps – Su, in September I mentioned that we had snow on the mountains and everything was still in full bloom.  Here you go – three pictures taken on the same day, at about the same time, from about the same spot.  The mountain as seen from the front of my neighborhood, the flowers on my porch.  Utah weather is crazy!

 


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A Little Preservation on the Fly

 

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Grandpa, my Hubby, and my two younger fellas.

 

When my husband was born he had 12 living grandparents.

TWELVE!

Twelve actual direct-line grandparents of varying degrees.  Two of those 12 were 2nd great-grandparents.  One born in 1887 and the other born in 1882.  If we want to count 2nd spouses after a grandparent being widowed, the number is even higher.

Well, now he is down to two.  Two grandparents.  One grandfather and one grandmother on different sides of his tree.

Over Thanksgiving, we were able to spend some time with that grandfather.  The morning we left, we stopped in to say goodbye to Grandpa.  There are several lovely photos on display in his home.  Photos that I’ve never seen anywhere else.

So, I followed my own advice.  I pulled out my phone, snapped some photos using the Google PhotoScan app and then sat down with Grandpa and labeled the photos right in the FamilySearch Memories app.  This photo could use a few touch-ups in Photoshop, but I got the details I need in a safe place that was fast and easy to use.  On the left, my scan, on the right, the tagged photo in the FS Memories app.

I captured seven photos and got some of the details behind those photos.  It only took about ten minutes.  A very well spent ten minutes.

But even better than getting a little preservation work done for my husband and children was the interest it sparked in my husband last night when I spent some time editing one of the photos.

The original looked liked this:

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It was a particularly difficult photo to scan because the glass on the frame is domed.  It’s a 5-generation photo with the baby being my mother-in-law.  It’s old and has been in that frame for a long time.  Not the kind of item I want to take out of the frame to scan with an app.  Too much risk of damage.  The only way to get a good scan was to have my husband hold the frame.  The fourth scan finally turned out fairly well.  But you will notice there is an area on the right at about shoulder height to grandpa that you can see the reflection of the dining room light fixture.  A little editing in photoshop cleaned that right up:

STEED, 5 generation photo

I also removed the distracting elements, also known as my hubby’s hands.  😉

Well, after editing, I uploaded the photo to FamilySearch and was tagging everyone.  My husband walked by, noticed what I was doing, and then suddenly – there he was, sitting on the couch next to me learning about his family.

Those ten minutes of preservation at Grandpa’s house turned into so much more than just snapping a few photos.  My husband has actual questions about some of his ancestors.  Questions he wants answers to.

I’ll tell you what – that is a first around here!

 

 

Have you tried the Google PhotoScan app?  What about the FamilySearch Memories app?

 

Happy Tuesday, I hope you preserve a special memory today!

 

 


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Photograph Showcase: The First Image From A Precious Collection

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This beautiful family portrait was given to me by my Grandma several years ago.  It is an 11×17″ photo of my Grandma, my mother, and my mother’s siblings.  My darling Mom is wearing the blue striped dress.

This portrait was one of many in a large Kodak envelope.  All of the photos were taken by my Great-Grandmother Estelle Duval at her studio – Duval Portraits in Spokane, Washington.  Most of the photos in this envelope were hand colored with oil paints by Grandma Duval.  She was remarkably talented.

For the past several years – maybe 7 or so – these photos have been patiently waiting for some attention.  Well, two weeks ago when I scanned the Telesphore Brouillette book, I also scanned all 28 of the 11×17″ portraits.

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It felt pretty fantastic to finally get these treasures scanned.  I just needed some time and access to a large, high-quality flat-bed scanner.  Thank you, BYU for helping me out!

The only bummer, and it is a very slight bummer, is that many of these precious photos were printed on textured paper.  The scans exaggerate the texture and the photos come out much darker than they really are.  Here is the original scan:

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And here it is lightened up a bit:

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And here it is with a little bit of sharpening:

costello08 - cropped, lightened, and sharpened - smaller

And then finally, with some more sharpening and another layer of lightening:

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Which version appeals most to you?

 

I am sooooo happy to have finally scanned these treasures!

 

 

Happy Thursday, I will be enjoying lots of family time next week for Thanksgiving.  I’ll be taking the week off.  If you are also celebrating Thanksgiving, may I suggest that you spend some time preserving memories?  The FamilySearch Memories app is free and a fantastic way to record audio.  It can record segments up to 15-minutes in length.  Get your family talking about their favorite memories of loved ones now gone and record those gems.  Have the Google PhotoScan app ready to go so you can scan any photos that catch your eye.  Remember, the app isn’t nearly as good as a scanner, but sometimes, it’s the only thing you’ve got.  I hope you have a blessed and thankful week!  I am thankful for each of you who make my genealogy experience so much richer.  xoxo

 

 


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Tuesday’s Tip: What to do when your FS change log presents you with a tangled mess.

FS change log mess

 

This video is most applicable to FamilySearch users who participate in the Family Tree.  But it also contains some gems that may help FamilySearch users who do not participate in the tree.  Here are the items covered in this video:

  • FamilySearch watch lists.
  • The change log in FamilySearch’s Family Tree.
  • Command/Control click – which I wrote about here.
  • Reviewing record attachments in FamilySearch’s Family Tree, detaching records, changing the focus person in the attachments screen and then attaching the record to the correct person.
  • Ancestry’s FamilySearch button.  Using it to link people in your Ancestry Tree to the same individual in FamilySearch.  Using it to add someone new to the Family Tree on FamilySearch.  Using it to compare the version of a person in your Ancestry Tree with the version of a person in the Family Tree on FamilySearch, and sending data between the two websites.
  • The FamilySearch internal messaging system.  Making a plan with another user.
  • FamilySearch record hints.

 

 

Remember to click the ‘HD’ button on the bottom right of the video.

 

I went on to spend some time updating both Annas.  If you are interested in viewing each woman in the Family Tree on FamilySearch, Anna Graf can be found here, and Anna Evelyn Shoffer can be found here.

 

Confusing changes and tangled messes are part of working in the Family Tree on FamilySearch.  Frankly, that is why many genealogists stay away.  If you choose to participate the Family Tree, I hope this was helpful for you.  If it was, please feel free pass it on to other Family Tree users.

 

Happy Tuesday, I hope you don’t come across any tangled messes on your genealogy adventures today!  😉

 

 


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Tuesday’s Tip: Indexing!

Indexing!

 

In honor of FamilySearch’s worldwide indexing event this week, I am bringing you a few indexing tips.

This video is geared toward beginning indexers but it also includes a few of my personal indexing tips that would apply to anyone.

If you have never indexed, I promise it is not hard!  Give it a try.  If I haven’t convinced you yet, watch this video.

 

 

Be a Genealogy Superhero – index!

 

gg - indexing superhero - small

 

 

ps – I am having a hard time letting go of the old indexing software.  When indexing that way you ‘download’ a batch.  The new web indexing tool is great, you don’t download, but I think I said the phrase ‘download a batch’ a few times.  Sorry!  Old habits and all of that.  😉  Also, if you use the new web indexing, you can access your batches from any device and index anywhere you have internet access.  Pretty cool.