Wednesday, June 6, 2012

FamilySearch Facts for June 2012

I updated my "Exploring - The Very Best FREE Genealogy Website" presentation last week in preparation for my talk next week (Tuesday, 12 June at 10 a.m. at the Carlsbad (CA) City council chambers) to the North San Diego County Genealogical Society (NSDCGS).  

Part of the talk is a review of the progress that has made over the past year or two.  I contacted for an update on their holdings and received this from Paul Nauta:
  1. Number of searchable names from original source records in’s Historical Records Collections: Over 2.80 billion
  2. Number of searchable names from user contributed records in FamilySearch’s Trees collections online: Over 500 million.
  3. There are 1,164 historic record collections at [as of 2 June 2012]
  4. Number of browsable digital images of historic documents at 560 million.
  5. Number of hits on Over 10 million hits per day.
  6. FamilySearch Indexing is the largest community-based transcription initiative in the world.
  • Over 200,000 active (index at least one project/year) volunteer indexers.
  • Indexing 500,000+ arbitrated names per day.
  • Over 850 million names indexed since the application was launched in 2005.
  • Publishing over 200 million indexed names per year now (double entered, arbitrated).
  • Over 130 current projects. New projects added weekly. See the current lists of projects at
  • Search completed indexes and un-indexed images at
  • Indexing program is available in English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Polish,Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish with more language interfaces and international projects coming.
  • Greatest need is for native language indexers for international projects and volunteer indexing arbitrators.
  • Many partners—historical societies, state, national, and religious archives—use it to improve access to or accuracy of their indexes.
  1. 2.4 million rolls of microfilm (Search the catalog online at for more details)
  2. FamilySearch is producing over 160 million new digital images a year from original source documents.
    1. 100 million digital images a year created through microfilm conversion.
    2. 60 million new digital images produced a year from new field captures.
  1. 15 high-speed scanners are dedicated to converting existing films. Time to complete the digitization of the film collection is projected at 6 years.
  2. 185 camera teams currently filming records in 45 countries (new field captures). Most are digital cameras.
  3. Search digital images and indexes at Millions added weekly.
  4. 4,600 Family History Centers in 126 countries
  5. Scanning digital books in cooperation with select public libraries. Search over 50,000 historic books at     
In another email, Paul shared this:

The 1940 US Census, respective to FamilySearch activities, is:
  • 1 of 1,173 historic recollections online
  • 1% of total new digital image content we'll put online this year (1940 has 3.8 million images; we'll publish around 400 million images this year)
  • From an indexing perspective, it is getting a lot of focus from our indexing resources. It is 130 million names indexed when done. FamilySearch volunteers will index over 300 million names (double key; arbitrated). So it represents almost half of the indexing production for the year (unless we can keep all of those new volunteers engaged in the other 100 projects in the queue currently!)
If you read between the lines of the last two bullets, you'll see that our active volunteers are indexing about 2 to 3% of the total digital content we're putting online each year. And we'll be significantly increasing the number of cameras in the field each year—which means more and more digital images published online yearly. There's a huge need for additional online volunteers to try to keep pace with the growing number of collections and digital images we're publishing. Digital images being published are far outpacing the actual indexing output.

I asked Paul if I could share this information, and he said that it was intended for public dissemination, so there it is.  I appreciate FamilySearch's openness about their work and progress.  

Compare the statistics above with my last post on this subject - FamilySearch Bloggers Day - FamilySearch Indexing.  While the categories are not the same, you can see how the effort has progressed over the past 20 months.  The one thing I noted was that, if there are 3.5 billion images on the FHL microfilms and microfiches, and if they are converting 100 million microfilm images per year (stated above), then it will take 35 years to get them all digitized.  FamilySearch has stated that they won't digitize ALL of them due to copyright and other restrictions on some material, so it won't be 35 years, but it may be close to that.

Needless to say, I am ALWAYS impressed by the sheer size and scope of the FamilySearch effort to bring family hostory and genealogy records to the genealogy world -- for free use by all persons, not just LDS church members.  It is difficult to keep track of their progress.  The 1940 U.S. Census Indexing progress is phenomenal, and I hope that the Indexers and arbitrators keep up the indexing effort in other record collections when the 1940 census is completed.  

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver


Jana Iverson Last said...

Thanks so much for sharing this information! I must say this is very timely, as I'm involved in a presentation to our local genealogical society next week. My focus will be Indexing. I hope you don't mind if I use this great info. for our FamilySearch and Indexing presentation. :)

Steve Hayes said...

While I appreciate the growing quantity of information available on the new FamilySearch site, I still use the old one just as much, because being able to download GEDCOM files of the information saves a lot of time and typing.

I wish the new site had a similar facility.