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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

FamilySearch Completes Massive Microfilm Digitization Project (sort of)

Here is a quote from the article.

Huge news: after 83 years of filming the world’s historical genealogical records, FamilySearch has completed digitizing its 2.4 million rolls of microfilm.  The best part? The archive, which contains information on more than 11.5 billion individuals, is now available for free on 

Over 200 countries and principalities and more than 100 languages are included in the digitized documents. All types of genealogically significant records are included—censuses, births, marriages, deaths, probate, Church, immigration, and more. Now that the project is completed, it’s much easier for users to find members of their family tree and make personal discoveries within these records.   

Want to check out these digitized microfilms for yourself? Explore FamilySearch’s free collections of indexed records and images by going to, then search both “Records” and “Images.” The Images feature will let you browse digitized images from the microfilm collection and more. You will need a FamilySearch account to access digitized records—but don’t worry, signing up is completely free!

This is an incredible accomplishment. There is nothing like this amount of preservation and free publication in the history of the world. So why the snide comment about "sort of?" Well, for many people, a significant part of the total records are restricted in some way and of course all these records are not indexed and searchable from the Historical Records Collection. The conversion process may be complete but many of the records still show up as still being on microfilm. 

For an example of such records see this screenshot from today. 

Due to restrictions in the agreements with the originators of the records, they many never be available outside of a Family History Center or Library and some of them may never be available except for some people who qualify and go to the Salt Lake City, Family History Library in person. 

Basically, the job of indexing, cataloging, negotiating contract to display the images online, and updating the website is still ongoing. But the collections that are available are truly a blessing to us all. Time to write more about the collections that are available right now. 

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