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Thursday, September 20, 2012

FamilySearch update 20 September 2012

I've decided my "updates" need to have dates so both the reader and I can differentiate between the updates as the occur and see if an "update" you might find through a search, is really a recent update or an older one. So now on to the FamilySearch.org update. Some of this information came from an online update presented to FamilySearch employees, missionaries and volunteers on 19 September 2012. Significant changes are promised for the future.

Historical Record Collections
There is no question that this resource continues to expand at a tremendous rate. Today, so far, as I write this post an index to over 6 million Wisconsin births and marriages has gone online. All I can say is that if you haven't looked at the new records added in the last week or so, you have missed millions of additional records. It may seem that the records are being added randomly, but if you look over time, you will see that a pattern emerges; records are being primarily added to areas where online access have previously been missing. In addition, it appears that records that are in the most demand are being added.

The 1940 U.S. Census was completely indexed some time ago. 163,000 people helped index the 1940 U.S. Census. As of the 18 August 2012, there were 38,654,888 records online.

Over 350 million names have been indexed online. There are over 161 million images online. 23% of the images in the Granite Vault have been digitized and it looks like the images will be completed within three or four years. There over 3 billion searchable names in the database.

Family Tree
This program which will replace New.FamilySearch.org in the near future is still on track. The last major update was dated 29 August 2012, but incremental changes continue to be made continually. I have been working on the program on and off since February and I am convinced that this program will become a fundamentally revolutionary development in genealogy. For the first time, there is one unified place to put information and sources where there is substantial effort to avoid duplication. As there are changes, I will keep providing specific updates.

Family History Library Catalog
There are some important developments, first, the integration of the various FamilySearch Centers and Libraries' catalogs around the world and the main catalog. If you search for an item in the catalog and that item is available in a local FamilySearch Library, eventually all of the holdings of all of the libraries will appear in the catalog entries. In addition, thousands of digitized books are being added online and the entries in the Catalog show the newly added books. By the way, as the books are digitized and made available online, the physical books are removed from the shelves in the Family History Library to make room for books that have previously been available.

FamilySearch Research Wiki
Of course the number of articles continues to increase and there are more than 68,000 articles. But numbers do not tell the story, a lot of the work in the Research Wiki goes unnoticed because it is primarily incremental additions to existing pages. This is another resource that cannot be ignored. Every day it becomes more valuable. There is no question that this the go-to resource for finding genealogical resources.

Billion Graves Index
This website, BillionGraves.com, has quite a ways to go to catch up with FindaGrave.com, but it is growing rapidly with over 1,800,000 gravesites located. I include it here because the index appears in the FamilySearch Historical Record Collections.

There are, of course, many more resources available on the website, such as the Forums, the Research Courses and others. But in these areas I have mentioned, there is most value being created.

1 comment:

  1. James, thanks for this overview. You said, "For the first time, there is one unified place to put information and sources where there is substantial effort to avoid duplication."

    One substantial effort would have been not to load the user-submitted IGI er, material. I have found in FS-FT a very large number of multiple duplicates in my family lines from that source alone.

    This is all the more annoying because the architects did not include "merge" capability with FS-FT's initial release. Sigh.

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