February 4, 2014

FamilySearch Works to Put the World’s Historical Records Online in One Generation

FamilySearch Works to Put the World’s Historical Records Online in One Generation

FamilySearch Works to Put the World’s Historical Records Online in One Generation
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SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH—FamilySearch International (online at FamilySearch.org) is leading the way in digitizing and providing access to billions of historical genealogical records by collaborating with commercial family history companies and the online community. This collaboration will carve centuries off the time needed to increase access to the world’s historical records, enabling millions more people to quickly discover, share, and preserve family memories for generations.

Recent announcements of agreements with commercial family history companies are some of the first installments in fulfilling FamilySearch’s desire to remove the traditional barriers to genealogical research. FamilySearch CEO, Dennis Brimhall, explains that joining forces with other organizations, where possible, brings significantly more financial investment and technological resources to the family history industry than the nonprofit community could provide on its own.

FamilySearch plans to collaborate on digitization projects with commercial family history companies to publish new historical records collections on FamilySearch.org that have never seen the light of the Internet. Working with individual industry leaders such as Ancestry.com , Archives.com, findmypast, Fold3, and MyHeritage will also increase and broaden access to the records FamilySearch has already published online. FamilySearch plans to involve many other interested organizations that will provide records, tools, and other resources to allow more people to build, preserve, and share their family trees online.

In a keynote address at the RootsTech 2013 conference, Brimhall shared FamilySearch’s vision to empower people globally to share their family memories and save them for future generations. “Imagine if your ancestors had easy access to computers, digital cameras, and family history websites that allowed them to upload, preserve, and share important family memories through photos, stories, and vital names, dates, and places? How amazing would that be?” Brimhall said.

FamilySearch and its predecessors have been preserving and providing access to the world’s family history records for over 100 years. FamilySearch volunteers have indexed just over three billion records in extraction and online indexing projects, but they have only scratched the surface.
“For the top countries with the highest online research demand, using our existing resources and volunteers, it will take up to 300 years to index the 5.3 billion records that we already have,” Brimhall noted. “That means you and me and the next 10 generations of our posterity would not live to personally benefit from them. And there are another 60 billion records that still need to be digitally preserved. We can do significantly better by working together with other organizations and as a community.”

As new historical record collections are published under the latest agreements with FamilySearch’s affiliates, they will be available on FamilySearch.org and for free on Ancestry.com, findmypast.com, or MyHeritage.com to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FamilySearch offers free public access to Ancestry.com and findmypast.com through 4,715 local FamilySearch-owned family history centers worldwide. Additional details regarding expanded records access will be announced sometime in 2014, when they are available.

Infographic: Putting the World’s Historical Records Online in One Generation

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