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

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Historical Images Tool Finds UnIndexed Records in FamilySearch Catalog
To begin discussing the new Historical Images Tool, I think it is a good idea to know what it does and does not do. To understand what it does do, you need to understand why the tool was needed at all. Going back in time, FamilySearch's originating organization, the Genealogical Society of Utah (GSU), began microfilming genealogical records back in 1938. Eventually, the GSU amassed approximately 2.4 million rolls of microfilm. The GSU adopted the tradename of "FamilySearch" and began doing business as FamilySearch. In 2017 FamilySearch discontinued its microfilm circulation services. The majority of FamilySearch's vast microfilm collection (2.4M rolls) has now been digitized and are available online. The remaining microfilms (less than 350,000 rolls) are being digitally scanned and are projected to be completed sometime in 2021. See "UPDATE: FamilySearch Digital Records Access Replacing Microfilm." Before this date, FamilySearch had already converted its record acquisition efforts from microfilm to digital images. Record digitization is ongoing with more than 300 camera crews around the world and as noted above, the remaining microfilm is also being digitized.

According to the FamilySearch Company Facts, as of January 2020, there are about 7.77 billion searchable names in the indexed Historical Record Collections with about 1.41 billion searchable digital images but there are another 1.73 billion digital images published only in the FamilySearch Catalog.

Now I need to explain a little about the Indexing Project. FamilySearch primarily used and current uses individuals volunteers to index the digitized records. You can read more in this article: "Indexing Makes a Difference." But as the FamilySearch Blog article entitled, "FamilySearch’s 2 Billion Digitized Records," states:
It’s important to note the difference between digital record images and indexed records. A large portion of the digital images on FamilySearch are unindexed. They can be viewed using an image viewer, but can’t be searched by name and other search variables like a fully indexed collection would be. 
Anyone can help in the process of indexing record images like these after they are digitized. Learn more about how indexing works, and give it it a try.
Now, finding the records on the website takes time and quite a bit of searching experience. I made this video a while ago to talk about this subject.

Where are the Digitized Records on

With all that, there was a need for a tool to find the unindexed records. The principal and really the only accurate way to find pertinent genealogical records is through identifying the exact place an event occurred in an ancestor's or relative's life. A general or vague place is almost entirely useless for research. Very few names are so unique that a name search will find only one particular individual.

Just recently, FamilySearch introduced the Historical Images Tool to help find those unindexed records. Hopefully, you already understand the need for this tool and will simply be thankful to have an easier way to search the Catalog but if you are just now learning where all the rest of the digital images are, I hope you understand what you have been missing.

1 comment:

  1. For some, I guess this tool will be helpful. For me, it is a waste of time. I always search the FS Catalog via keywords, which always provides the optimum number of results. it may require a bit of browsing through the results, but I am ensured that nothing is missed for the location and record type I am seeking.