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

Monday, May 27, 2013

Explosion of online digitized records

There is an explosion of online digitized records going online almost daily. Most of this news has passed into the background of the genealogy world because adding new records has become so common. The basic question raised by adding all of this new content is whether or not the new records can be adequately searched. Right now, the biggest problem is that adding the records does not make them automatically available to researchers. For example, any digitized image that contains genealogical information must be viewed by the researcher to access the information unless the document has been indexed. Even if and when the document is indexed, the researchers are then at the mercy of the indexers as to whether or not the the information was properly extracted and of course, at the mercy of those who created the document in the first place that the people and events were properly recorded. has added millions of new records in the past week and about half are indexed. When the records are added without an index, it makes it necessary to browse the images to find relavant information. This is not bad, in fact it is very good. At least the images are available for free online obviating the need to order microfilm copies from the Family History Library. See the latest announcement at "FamilySearch Adds More than 1.1 Million Records and Images to Illinois County Marriages Collection." But this does point up the need to keep working on the FamilySearch Indexing project.

If you would like to see a summary of many of the newly added records in other collections, you can go to for an update.

The larger online website collections of digitized documents keep growing. For example, back in April I reported that, the website of the Australian National Library had just over 338 million online resources. Today, that number has grown to over 344 million. In the last month, the UK based, added 23 million records and 121 million newspaper pages from around the world.

This vast increase on online genealogical resources gives the impression that soon almost all the records will be available online. However, the smaller, local collections of records, some of which are the most valuable to genealogical researchers, are very unlikely to be in the cue for digitization. There will still remain the challenge of locating and viewing localized collections of record.


  1. I sure wish that Virginia would put their land records online. My paternal line (Lusby) is in the Northern Neck Area of Virginia and my 2x great grandfather owned a farm there of almost 200 acres. I'm in Washington State, so it's not like I can run to the Court House and search for these records.

    Hopefully they will come online some day.

    BTW, I love reading your blog.

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