Tuesday, February 4, 2014

FamilySearch Works to Put the World’s Historical Records Online in One Generation

I received this press release vis email from FamilySearch this morning.  It is important information, and I want my readers to know about this, because it may be earth-shattering news.


FamilySearch Works to Put the World’s Historical Records Online in One Generation

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SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH—FamilySearch International (online at FamilySearch.org) is leading the way in digitizing and providing access to billions of historical genealogical records by collaborating with commercial family history companies and the online community. This collaboration will carve centuries off the time needed to increase access to the world’s historical records, enabling millions more people to quickly discover, share, and preserve family memories for generations.

Recent announcements of agreements with commercial family history companies are some of the first installments in fulfilling FamilySearch’s desire to remove the traditional barriers to genealogical research. FamilySearch CEO, Dennis Brimhall, explains that joining forces with other organizations, where possible, brings significantly more financial investment and technological resources to the family history industry than the nonprofit community could provide on its own.

FamilySearch plans to collaborate on digitization projects with commercial family history companies to publish new historical records collections on FamilySearch.org that have never seen the light of the Internet. Working with individual industry leaders such as  Ancestry.comArchives.comfindmypast,Fold3, and MyHeritage will also increase and broaden access to the records FamilySearch has already published online. FamilySearch plans to involve many other interested organizations that will provide records, tools, and other resources to allow more people to build, preserve, and share their family trees online.

In a keynote address at the RootsTech 2013 conference, Brimhall shared FamilySearch’s vision to empower people globally to share their family memories and save them for future generations. 

“Imagine if your ancestors had easy access to computers, digital cameras, and family history websites that allowed them to upload, preserve, and share important family memories through photos, stories, and vital names, dates, and places? How amazing would that be?” Brimhall said.
FamilySearch and its predecessors have been preserving and providing access to the world’s family history records for over 100 years. FamilySearch volunteers have indexed just over three billion records in extraction and online indexing projects, but they have only scratched the surface.

“For the top countries with the highest online research demand, using our existing resources and volunteers, it will take up to 300 years to index the 5.3 billion records that we already have,” Brimhall noted. “That means you and me and the next 10 generations of our posterity would not live to personally benefit from them. And there are another 60 billion records that still need to be digitally preserved. We can do significantly better by working together with other organizations and as a community.”

As new historical record collections are published under the latest agreements with FamilySearch’s affiliates, they will be available on FamilySearch.org and for free on  Ancestry.comfindmypast.com, orMyHeritage.com to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FamilySearch offers free public access to Ancestry.com and findmypast.com through 4,715 local FamilySearch-owned family history centers worldwide.

Additional details regarding expanded records access will be announced sometime in 2014, when they are available.

Interesting Facts Addressed by FamilySearch Community Initiatives
  • Approximately 28 billion people lived on the earth in recently recorded history—from A.D. 1500 to 2010.
  • Information for an estimated one billion unique individuals may exist today in online family trees—a fraction of how many still need to be linked.
  • The bulk of online family history research today is focused on the records of North America, Europe, and Latin America. Less than seven percent of these records are searchable online today.
  • An estimated 60 billion historical records still exist to be digitally preserved and indexed.
  • Only eight percent of FamilySearch’s current online indexing volunteer workforce is non-English speaking. The majority of historical records to be made searchable online in the future will require volunteers who read non-English records.
  • With current volunteers and resources, it could take up to 300 years to make the current inventory of historical genealogical records searchable online. This time can be reduced to 20 to 30 years with more business and community involvement. Disclaimer: FamilySearch does not establish relationships with third parties or take other steps that may be in violation of the terms of contractual obligations. As a result, FamilySearch may not be able to provide some information, records, indexes, or other data to third parties or the public.
About FamilySearch
FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch has been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at FamilySearch.org or through over 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries, including the renowned Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. 

Contact for news media:

Paul Nauta 
FamilySearch Public Affairs 

Thom Reed 
FamilySearch Partner Marketing 


We'll have to see how this shakes out over time.  I know that it will be a topic at the Blogger Dinner tomorrow night, and I'll try to report what I hear/note/recall tomorrow night.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Will we eventually have to subscribe to Ancestry.com, Archives.com, findmypast, Fold3, and MyHeritage to find information? I didn't renew my ancestry subscription because I haven't found anything new for a long time. If familysearch is forming all these partnerships there will certainly be documents that are only available by paid subscription. The index might be free at familysearch but that isn't much evidence for finding the right person. No doubt it's better to have documents available by subscription but who can afford to subscribe to everything? I'm not in favor of a monopoly but if I'm faced with choosing which pay per view to use, I'd rather pay more at one place for access to everything. How could I possibly know which site has what I need? And without a doubt every one would have something else I wanted to see. The phrase "Search for free!" is stupid. Of course you can search for free. Getting any information of any use is not free.