Friday, August 20, 2010

200 million more records on FamilySearch?

FamilySearch sent out a press release on Wednesday that said, in part:

"SALT LAKE CITY—As the nation’s genealogical societies gather in Knoxville, Tennessee, at the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference this week to share tips and tricks for finding one’s elusive ancestors, there will certainly be some clamoring over an unexpected gift from FamilySearch, a world leader in historic records preservation and access. FamilySearch announced the addition of over 200 million new searchable historic records online representing 18 countries. The new records were added to the hundreds of millions FamilySearch published earlier this year at a similar event in Salt Lake City, Utah. The total number of records on the pilot site totals 700 million.

"The latest deluge of records includes 53 new or updated collections from the United States, and over 100 million new records from Europe, Scandinavia, and Mexico. The United States collections include the 1910 U.S. Census, and states’ birth, marriage, and death records. There are 10 million new records for New Jersey and Michigan respectively, 4 million from Tennessee, an amazing 41 million from Massachusetts, and much more from other states."

Unfortunately, they didn't say WHERE the records were, so I went and found them on the Record Search Pilot - They are not yet on the Family Search Beta site at

Reading the press release, one gets the message that these are brand new records released just this past week or so. Well, not really. Looking at the list of records available for Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey and Tennessee (the states listed in the press release), I see that (with record counts rounded off):


* Birth and Christenings, 1639-1915, 6.0 million records updated last on 6 May 2010
* Deaths and Burials, 1795-1910, 3.7 million records updated last on 14 May 2010
* Deaths, 1841-1915, 58% (no record count) updated last on 24 May 2010
* Marriages, 1695-1910, 3.0 million records updated last on 7 May 2010
* Marriages, 1841-1915, 27% complete (no record count), updated last on 5 May 2010


* Births and Christenings, 1775-1995, 1.6 million records updated last on 4 May 2010
* Births, 1867-1902, unknown number, updated last on 5 May 2010
* Deaths and Burials, 1.4 million records updated last on 4 May 2010
* Deaths, 1867-1897, unknown number, updated last on 5 May 2010
* Marriages, 1822-1995, 1.9 million records updated last on 4 May 2010
* Marriages, 1868-1925, unknown number, updated last on 5 May 2010


* Births and Christenings, 1660-1980, 2.3 million records updated last on 6 May 2010
* Deaths and Burials, 1.1 million records updated last on 6 May 2010
* Marriages, 1678-1985, 0.9 million records updated last on 7 May 2010


* Births and Christenings, 1828-1929, 0.2 million records updated last on 7 May 2010
* Deaths and Burials, 1874-1955, 1.5 million records updated last on 4 May 2010
* Deaths, 1914-1955, unknown number, updated last on 12 August 2010
* Marriages, 1796-1950, 1.7 million records updated last on 15 May 2010
* County Marriages, 1790-1950, 1% complete (no record count), updated last on 29 April 2010

As you can see, there is only one database added in the last week or so - the Tennessee Deaths. The other databases have been available for researchers to use since mid-May, at least for the four states mentioned.

The FamilySearch press release was not inaccurate - they have released these records recently, just not all in August (except for one of the Tennessee datasets), as the press release implies. And they are "new" records since they haven't formally announced them previously. I couldn't find them in any of the monthly announcements of new or current projects, except for one of the New Jersey databases.

The press release also mentioned the 1910 census - it is now 56% complete as of today, with records for 33 states and territories. What it didn't mention, and what is really important for users to understand, is that there are no images for the 1880, 1910 and 1920 U.S. census records on FamilySearch yet, and the search results provide records for only individuals, not individuals in families. I've written about this before in U.S. Census Records on

Overall, the FamilySearch Record Search Pilot site has 447 databases, while the FamilySearch Beta site has 289 databases. The search process and search results for the two different collections are somewhat different, as I've written in Searching Collections on FamilySearch Beta and Record Search - they're different!

I know that FamilySearch is trying hard to bring new database collections online as quickly as possible, and that all of the datasets will eventually be on the FamilySearch Beta site, but it's easy to be confused by a press release that doesn't say where the records are located (presumably because they are going to be moved from the Pilot site to the Beta site in the foreseeable future).


Julie said...

I remember reading somewhere that they released some Tennessee records in conjunction with the FGS conference because they were the hosting state. At the same time, I noticed that they added a new database for Illinois, I suppose in conjunction with the FGS conference since Illinois will be the host state next year.

James Tanner said...

I think the only way to actually know what is new is to open the collections and see the latest update. However, some collections do not show an update date. Thanks for the post.

Anonymous said...

The first Horton, of this family, landed in 1640 and is buried in a church cemetery in Rehoboth or Dighton, MA. Just now I do not remember which one. Havent been there since 1970s. I'm pretty sure the church was a protestant one.

My cousin wants me to dig out what we knew then as he was too young at the time to care, but I am not going to get to it for a few months. This should give you some digging material

I did not know about this but its good because the slate gravestones are already less readable than 45 years ago when I was a child.

Its late. I don't have the energy to post my name and not put my email on the internet. I'll try to write back later or send a note to your geneology group.