Why I Love Working for FamilySearch

I have my dream job working for FamilySearch. Here’s why I think it is the best:

1. Within the genealogy and family history space, there are so many difficult problems to solve technologically. This keeps things very interesting.

2. I get to work with great people within the FamilySearch organization. Most of the people who work at FamilySearch work at FamilySearch because they have a personal conviction of preserving and connecting to their families. I love that.

3. I get to work with brilliant people from all over the world who are building the future of genealogy systems.

4. I love genealogy and family history. As I continue to research, I keep finding more and more interesting things about my ancestors. I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface and my goal is to become a proficient researcher.

5. The world of genealogy is changing. It is awesome being part of a workforce that is connecting diverse systems, transferring big data, and helping people break through genealogical brick walls.

6. I get an amazing view of Temple Square from my office window. I took the featured image picture with my iPhone 5 from my window.

My New Job at FamilySearch

Three weeks ago I started my new job at FamilySearch, the LDS Church’s genealogy company, as a developer support engineer. In August, I wrote about how cool I thought it was that FamilySearch was opening up a new API for developers. What I didn’t realize then was how cool and powerful this API really is.

FamilySearch has completely changed the way that we will do our family history by creating a collaborative family tree. No longer will you have to beg your family genealogist to share his/her gedcom file with you. The family tree is already loaded with hundreds of millions of records and is ready for you to search out your family history.

FamilySearch has opened up an application programming interface (API) that allows developers to both read and write to this family tree from their own applications. Other powerful tools are available through the API that will help you to normalize place names, dates, and more. Access to a super powerful search tools are placed at the fingertips of developers who wish to create their own killer family history tool.

That is not all. The Record Search application at labs.familysearch.org is an application that is built on the new Record Search API that will be released later this year. Third-party developers will have access to a vast collection of digitized records, many of which have been indexed and categorized.

So, expect to see a lot of really cool third-party applications built around this new FamilySearch API.

My job at FamilySearch is to provide programming support to these third-party software vendors. My position has never existed here before because we are breaking such new ground. This makes my job very challenging and exciting. This job is going to stretch my abilities and provide me with a lot of growing opportunities. I’m very excited to take on this challenge and to help this new program become a big success. My prediction is that this is going to be huge.

For more info on the FamilySearch APIs, check out some of the presentations from the Developer’s Conference (Scroll down to the schedule and you’ll find links to the presentations).

FamilySearch API

I just got word this week that the LDS Church is opening up an API for their new FamilySearch. I believe this will open up a whole array of innovative family history/genealogy applications. Never before has there been an API which would allow developers to gain access to such powerful genealogical resources.

It’s amazing to see how the innovations and changes that happen in the world seem to come together to help the church in moving the work forward. Richard Miller and the rest of the team at the More Good Foundation have been keeping up with the latest web trends and have been using new technology to help move the work along. It’s cool to now see the technical department of the church grab hold of some of the web 2.0 principles and put them to work.

Update: I’ve been developing for a few months now with this new FamilySearch API, and I’m loving it. I’ve got an Open Source Ruby API wrapper project hosted at Google Code.