Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Sunday, May 13, 2012

FamilySearch Update 13 May 2012

You may well ask why I do a periodic update of the resources in FamilySearch? There are a couple of reasons. First, FamilySearch frequently adds substantial content and makes changes to their websites without formal announcements. By and large they do a pretty good job of communicating, but sometimes the "announcements" are days and weeks behind the occurrences. Second, FamilySearch is sometimes drowned out by the hoopla of the large commercial websites. For example, has its TV ads and links everywhere on the Internet, so there is no real need to assess what they are doing regularly, they are very good at letting everyone know what is going on.

Also, with all my involvement in the FamilySearch Research Wiki and the TechTips websites, I have a very personal interest in the resources. Last, FamilySearch is free. Sometimes it is hard to see value in free services and the FamilySearch resources are extremely valuable.

Here is the update:
With the addition of records every day during the past week, FamilySearch is up to 1146 collections. As an example, one collection added last week, the Brazil, Catholic Church Records has 5,860,767 images. This is just the last of millions of images introduced this week. The rest of the site appears pretty much the same, with increases in the number of articles on the FamilySearch Research Wiki with 67,049. Change is incremental but significant because as the number of records increase, the likelyhood that your ancestors will appear increases.

Family Tree
It is not surprising that since Personal Ancestral File, last updated in 2002, is still floating around and being taught as a current program at Family History Centers, that it might take a while for FamilySearch to transition from one program to another. underwent a major upgrade and revision in December of 2010 and now, more than a year later, after the old website has disappeared from the new site, you can still go to the old website. Now, we are facing another one of those types of transitions. FamilySearch Family Tree is going to replace

I am not sure if keeping the old sites and programs around is just a symptom of being involved in genealogy or has some other basis, but I am fully aware that there is a significant segment of the genealogical community that still believe PAF to be the one true program and the same people "don't like" the new website notwithstanding the huge number of new resources on the website. I expect that some of the diehards will asked to be buried with their favorite copy of PAF on 3.5 inch floppies.

Since died in Beta testing and is now being replaced by Family Tree, want to make any guesses as to how long the transition might take?

By the way, during the past week or so, I noticed that there were updated changes to Family Tree from day to day, not yet reflected in the documentation. Project
Indexing the US Census is moving right along. You can see the progress at the webiste linked from The overall progress shows 35.06% complete with 15 states completed 100% and 2 more very close. It is a very good program and quite easy to teach.
The big news this week was Poindexter, slipped into the website without much explanation or clarification. What is there looks interesting but not much to go on yet.


  1. Thanks Ron, for some explanation on behind-the- scenes of FamilySearch. There is much more than what meets eye going on at this fabulous site. And, all for free!

  2. Thanks James. I really appreciate your articles. They are very helpful and informative.
    Liz Snow