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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Updates to FamilySearch Record Search Pilot Site

Records are continually added to the FamilySearch Record Search Pilot Site by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints due to the efforts of thousands of volunteer indexers across the world. This massive record scanning project has produced millions or indexed records that can be searched through the Pilot Site.

When viewing the records it is important to note both the percentage of completion and the date the records were last updated. Since many of the collections posted on line are not complete, this information will give you an idea of how much additional information may still be added in the future. To find the date of the last update and the percentage of completion, all you need to do is click on any particular collection.

For example, clicking on the 1850 United States Census collection shows that the collection was last updated on 12 Dec 2008. The 1900 U.S. Census was last updated on 6 Dec 2008. If the collection is not complete, for example the collection of West Virginia Births 1853-1930, then there will be a bar showing the percentage of completion. West Virginia Births 1853-1930 were last updated on 20 Dec 2008 and are 94% completed. Any qualifications on the availability of the records will also be explained.

Some of the Pilot Site records are available in index only format, such as the West Virginia Births 1853-1930. Other records, such as the 1900 U.S. Census have fully digitized images as well as an index. The list of available collections indicates whether or not images are available, those collections without images state "(No Images)." If there is no index yet available and the images are complete, for example Louisiana, War of 1812 Pension Lists, then the description allows you to browse the unindexed images.

The Record Search Pilot Site is raising the standard for availability of records on the Internet. It is important to keep in mind the date of the last update, whether the images are indexed or not and the percentage of completion.

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