Sunday, February 1, 2015

Geeks Gone Wild At FamilySearch; And It's Going To Be Awesome

I am scheduled to view the discover center on Thursday at 4PM. Hooray.

UPDATE: The first discovery center is here at last. I wrote this article about 12 months ago. Now the Discovery Center is taking appointments for tours. Go here: to book a time. The slots are already filling up. I get to see it in two weeks. Go and let  your heart be turned to your ancestors. 

Introducing the FamilySearch Center of Tomorrow, "Discovery Centers". In April and May of next year two pilot versions of the future LDS Family History Centers will be unveiled. One will be a revamp (already underway) of the Family History Center at the bottom of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. The second will be in the Bellevue, Washington Bellevue South Stake Center. This building sits behind the Seattle Temple.

Pardon the quality of the following photos, they are my iPad snap of a power point presentation I was privileged to enjoy last Saturday.

These centers are going to be experiences. An example of the concept lies in the answer to the question behind these to photos: Which is more interesting, both have the same message?\\

The one with photos is the correct answer.

On an average day 5000 photographs and 500 stories are attached to FamilySearch family tree. This is important. It is important for those who come along to find the contributions of others. It is also important to the Discovery Centers, in a couple of other ways.

The discovery Center is to be a family experience. It will help connect us, young and old,  to our ancestors. It will also pave the way for us to leave our posterity with important parts of our own histories. The family history center of the future is a place where families can discover together. It offers individuals and families simple yet powerful in-person experiences to discover their heritage and have their hearts turned to their ancestors.

The purpose is to create an environment where families can begin their journey of family history. It is a focus on family history in addition to genealogy. It will help others find themselves through their ancestors. It will create a family experience as well as a better experience for the visitors.

These Centers will be inviting

When you walk into a Discovery Center you will be welcomed with  an iPad.
You will take your picture with it.

You will begin by building a story you can leave with, 
send to social media sites, or attach to family tree.
You will login to family search or open an account and login. Anyone can join.
You will then see on a large screen your first 8 generations as connected to FamilyTree
You will pick an ancestor from this fan chart visual of your ancestors.
This person will be your focus during the tour.

You can take as many tours as you want, each studying a different ancestor.

 At your first station you will be in front of screens that are interacting with the iPad.
It will have on screen calculators, showing what happened when you were born: + costs of items, etc.
These screens will be touch screen technology, you will be managing your tour.
You will be building your own story which you can forward to Facebook when you leave.
Children will be creating a story book
A digital popup book

Your screen will show you what it was like in the places your ancestor lived.
It will show the immigration patterns of  your first and second generations families.
The experts and techies at FamilySearch are having a ball providing research in 100 countries.
You will learn about what is was like and where your families came from.
You will see what it was like where they lived.

You will see the areas where your ancestor came from
You will go to the dress up station
You will pose in front of  an 80 inch screen
If your ancestor was Scottish you will be appear in Scottish Clothes
If he was a farmer - dressed like a farmer of that day.
You get to take the photos home
They are part of the book you build

Then there is the Time Machine
This will drive your family wild
You and the iPad and your family enter the Time Machine
It's a room for about 8
In holographic style the room goes back in time
Authenticity is the word here
It takes days just to create a digital copy of an original teapot
You are taken back in time
in the home your ancestor would have lived in
you are recording this for your book
You scroll with your iPad to make changes
It's all in 3D

Take Grandma with you
at the end of the tour
is the Share Your Story room
Do the interview
take a thumb drive with you
upload it to the tree

A lot of what happens here is thanks to family tree
the thousands of photos and stories
they will be integrated into the
Discovery Center Experience

If you live in a far off place such as Kokomo or Tokyo, you may want to make one of these two your family vacation. They will be just that cool.


Salt Lake City Joseph Smith Memorial Building in April
Bellevue South Stake Center, next to the Temple
A New Visitors Center
In the Chapel Building
In May

And portions at RootsTech 2014

Bless those Geeks, They can make life so interesting

Will there be others? Possibly, if they have an impact in expanding the spirit so more get involved. These are so expensive that the Church is considering sponsorships

I have the many opportunities to be around serious researchers. I usually ask who will pick up the legacy you have started? Who will take care and take off from your hard work? The answer is often a shrug, like I have no idea. This changes when someone gets the spirit. My sister and I picked up and went a lot farther than my avid mother. I am sure she had no idea it would happen. Experiences such as will take place in the Discovery Centers plants the seed and desire with those who you bring. So my suggestion - bring em.


  1. Larry,

    Wow! It looks like these Discovery Centers will be amazing!

    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds at

    Have a great weekend!

  2. That promises to be quite interesting!!

  3. Glad you dropped by folks, Thanks for the find Jana