Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Top Ten 2014 Record Collections on FamilySearch

The FamilySearch Blog had a post on 29 December 2014 by Alivia L. Whitaker titled "2014's Top 10 Free Online Ancestry Databases."

The most popular list is further down the post:

The lead paragraph of the paragraph above says:
"Of’s 1,861 free online historic records collections, the top 10 most searched collections (See Chart) include the free US Censuses, public records, death, and immigration and naturalization indexes. The popularity of US historical records can probably be attributed to the fact that the United States is a country of immigrants. And those hundreds of millions of descendants today are curious about their ancestral origins—which many of us will eventually extend to other countries. In fact, only half of’s monthly patrons hail from within the U.S. The other half of its online family history seekers is distributed from dozens of countries from Europe, Central, and South America."
I am not surprised by most of the record collections listed in the Top Ten.  Number 3, the U.S. Public Records, 1970-2009, is somewhat of a surprise to me.  My guess is that researchers look for their parents and their aunts and uncles in the global search, and this database pops up.  It has the most number of records of any database that comes up when a search is performed (the International Genealogical Index has more records, but it does not appear in a search).

I am surprised that the Find A Grave database is not on the list, since it is the database with the 5th highest number of records.I am also surprised that the U.S. Immigration collection wasn't on the list, given that "descendants are curious about their ancestral origins."

Number one on the list is the "United States Censuses, 1790 to 1940."  Were other collections grouped for this list?  Some examples:  U.S. Passenger Lists; England and Wales Census, 1841-1911; England and Wales Civil Registration; Mexico Vital Records; etc.

It seems to me if you are going to group the Census records together, you would group other records with similar content together.  Why weren't the England Vital Records (Births and Christenings, Marriages, Deaths and Burials) grouped together?  Or Germany?  Or Mexico? Or Texas?

Either that, or list the individual U.S. Census collections in the Top Ten.  Perhaps it was because the Census records might take most of the Top Ten slots?

How do you find the list of FamilySearch collections with the most Records?  On the Record collections page, you can click on the "Records" link and see the list, as shown below:

It would be interesting if FamilySearch could provide statistics for how many records in each collection were accessed in the year.  They must have that information since they ranked the Top Ten above by number of searches.

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Copyright (c) 2015, Randall J. Seaver

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