Sunday, February 7, 2021

FamilySearch 2020 Genealogy Highlights

I received this information from FamilySearch recently:


FamilySearch 2020 Genealogy Highlights

FamilySearch International published its year-in-review, highlighting some of its exciting 2020 achievements. Each year, the global nonprofit helps millions of people make fun, free, personal and family discoveries online. In 2020, FamilySearch expanded its discovery experiences to 30 languages and added over a billion new searchable names from historical records worldwide that helped people to take advantage of global pandemic constraints to make more family connections.

FamilySearch Family Tree    

Contributors added nearly 100 million relatives to the FamilySearch Family Tree in 2020 for a total of 1.3 billion people in the world’s largest collaborative—and free—family tree! Users also added 300 million sources from their family records or hints generated by FamilySearch from its growing online record collections. These sources help strengthen the genealogical soundness of ancestor pages.

FamilySearch also made changes in its tree data that will help search engines more effectively index the tree’s content to make it more discoverable online. New features give users the ability to add tags to people they follow in their tree and in Memories; they can now make certain memories private, bookmark an album, create searchable labels (tags), and build slideshows for an ancestor. The popular ancestral fan chart can now be viewed on the Family Tree mobile app, and users can view or print up to seven generations in a variety of fun options.

FamilySearch Searchable Records

Few things are as exciting as discovering an ancestor for the first time in a historical document. FamilySearch published a billion new searchable names from historical records in 2020 despite constraints from a pervasive global pandemic. These new records mean a billion new personal and ancestor discoveries are now easier to find. In 2020, FamilySearch significantly improved its search experiences. The surname search was improved, and you can now search using alternate names. You should also check out expanded search enhancements made to the Genealogies feature. (The Genealogies section is a lesser known—yet extremely robust—growing collection of fascinating community and user-contributed trees.)

FamilySearch introduced its Explore Historical Images feature, which became an overnight user favorite. It helps searchers find records that may be hidden in the mountain of digital images of historical records yet to be indexed. These images were previously discoverable only through the FamilySearch catalog online. Over 4.3 billion images became readily available at your fingertips in 2020 through this feature.

The fun didn’t stop there. FamilySearch added significant new records to its Norway, Brazil, France, Germany, Fiji, American Samoa, and Puerto Rico collections, plus much more for other locales. And thousands were able to discover their pilgrim ancestry in the new Mayflower collection.

Almost 500,000 historical books are now available online in the FamilySearch Digital Library, and great strides were made in 2020 in refining emerging technology that can accurately read old handwriting—particularly in non-English historical documents. These innovations will greatly increase the number of records searchable by name in the future, leading to additional personal discoveries. Finally, as the effects of the global pandemic recede, FamilySearch looks forward to re-engaging its digital preservation camera teams in local archives worldwide to help nourish growing user appetites for new discovery experiences.

FamilySearch Discovery Experiences
Speaking of discoveries, visits to in 2020 increased 17.8%, to 207 million visits. Visitors searched the growing historical record collections and Family Tree, built their own trees, added family memories, subscribed to the FamilySearch blog, and volunteered in growing numbers. FamilySearch’s popular discovery activities were expanded with interactive time lines and maps. Rich, personalized experiences were added to the All about Me activity for those who have ancestral roots in American Samoa, Fiji, Norway, and Puerto Rico.

Need help with your family history? FamilySearch made wonderful enhancements to its menu of helpful services. You can now simply type in a topic or challenge, and suggested results will appear. The new FamilySearch Community forum enables you to easily find family history solutions and ask questions from—or even join—a delightfully helpful community of volunteers worldwide who are conscientiously quick to respond—for free.

Miss the friendly staff at the Family History Library? In 2020, the library added free online consultations to its expanding list of services. To schedule a free 20-minute research consultation, you answer a few questions to connect you with the right specialist, and your virtual appointment is set.
RootsTech 2020 Highlights

RootsTech celebrated its 10th year. The popular global family celebration event hosted 16,000 in-person attendees and over 75,000 livestream viewers. Keynotes included Pulitzer Prize winning White House photographer David Hume Kennerly, Emmitt Smith of the Dallas Cowboys, Leigh Anne Tuohy of The Blind Side, and New York comedian Ryan Hamilton. Family Discovery Day entertained over 25,000 attendees.

RootsTech 2021 will be an entirely virtual, free, global event projected to be the most popular yet, reaching over 200,000 registrants from more than 200 countries. Although free, RootsTech 2021 (25–27 February 2021) requires participants to register to view the live or on-demand content.

Start enjoying more personal and family discoveries today with your free account at


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