Thursday, October 28, 2010

Some statistics on FamilySearch - document access and online Indexing

FamilySearch began in 1894 as the Genealogical Society of Utah with 11 donated items. From its origin its purpose has been to fulfill the genealogical needs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FamilySearch is funded, primarily, through Church donations.

From its rather humble beginnings in the then frontier city of Salt Lake, FamilySearch now serves millions of people worldwide, both in and out of the Church. Present reports show that FamilySearch has more than 750,000,000 historical and genealogical documents online from over 100 countries around the world. The records have primarily come from the vast collection of over 2.4 million rolls of microfilm stored in the Granite Mountain Records Vault and Field Operations center just east of Salt Lake City in Little Cottonwood Canyon. The vault is in a canyon wall beneath 200 meters (700 feet) of solid granite, and is climate controlled to maintain optimal storage conditions. Digitizing has now replaced the microfilm format and efforts to digitize records worldwide continues at the rate of the equivalent of over 40,000 rolls a year.In addition to the vast collection of microfilms records, FamilySearch also has over 1,000,000 documents on microfiche. Altogether, FamilySearch has about 3.5 billion pages of family records.


The Online Records Access program includes acquisition of the records, scanning and digitizing the records, indexing the scanned and digitized images and then publication online. The 750,000,000 records processed so far are on the Beta.FamilySearch.org website. As of October, 2010, only 2.6% of the indexes have been published and only 1.1% of the images are published online. If you do the math, you can see that the end product will contain about 75 billion images. All of these images are or will be available free online and the large network of Family History Centers, now called FamilySearch Centers, around the world.  On 28 October 2010, FamilySearch announced the addition of over 2 million more records added to its online site. 

As the records are scanned more than 375,000 volunteers are involved in indexing the records. The indexing is open to the general public and everyone is invited to participate at FamilySearch Indexing. More than 300 million total names have been indexed and the goal for 2010 is to index over 200 million during the year with 148 million names indexed so far this year.  In all of 2009, 139 million names were indexed. However, at the current rate, it will take 300 years to finish the indexing. Needed to complete the job are a lot more indexers and especially indexers in languages other than English.  

Note, most of the statistics in the post came from a presentation at the First Annual Bloggers Day at FamilySearch.org in Salt Lake City, Utah courtesy Jim Ericson, Software Community Manager. If the numbers are wrong, it is my fault for not writing them down correctly.





1 comment:

  1. I think that "records" do not equal to "images." An image may contain more than one record - like a census page image has perhaps 40 records on it. But some pages have only one record. The number I heard was that they have 3.5 billion "pages" of records on the microfilms and microfiches.

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