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

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Billions and Billions


Actually, Carl Sagan never said "billion and billions." See Wikipedia: Billions and Billions. But the number of online, digitized records is now literally in the billions and billions. is claiming that they will add an additional 15 billion records to their website in 2023 after claiming to have added 5.2 billion in 2022. See  For some time, has been claiming to have 30 billion records on their website. MyHeritage adds billions of new records every year and currently says that they have over 19 billion records. claims to have over 13 billion records. probably has billions more and the list can go on and on. I guess I need to note that the estimates of the number of people who ever lived is about 100.8 to 121 billion. See

The number of people on the earth today is also an estimate of about 8 billion. See So, the number of online records in just this small group of genealogy websites is much greater than the number of people presently on the earth. Unfortunately, even with the overage of records most of the world's current population probably doesn't show up in any of the websites. One main reason being the lack of information about living people. 

In case you are thinking that the number of digitized records in the major genealogy websites has somehow made a dent in the existing records, you should also know that the overall global datasphere has exceeded 64 zettabytes. A zettabyte is 1000 exabytes and an exabyte is 1000 petabytes that is 1000 terabytes that is 1000 gigabytes. We are literally drowning in information. 

Despite the billions of records on the major genealogy websites, it is still highly likely that you will be unable to find at least some of the records that theoretically could exist about your own ancestors. But one thing the numbers do point out is that you should be aware of the content of all the major genealogy websites and not astigmatically focus on only one.  That said, it is important to realize that for the foreseeable future, there will always be more paper records locked up in archives and libraries than are available online. 

1 comment:

  1. Interesting. Almost every day I find that deceased people are not in online family trees or FamilySearch Family Tree.

    The lack of consistent records in most countries of the non-Western world back in time contributes to the sparse coverage of records. Also, many paper records are handwritten and not digitized.

    Cheers -- Randy