Tuesday, February 11, 2014

FamilySearch Digitizing the World’s Records in One Generation

FamilySearch announced an initiative to digitize the records of the world in onepeople_collaboration generation at the 2014 RootsTech Conference in Salt Lake City.  Eyebrows immediately went up and the hall was filled expressions of “What?” “Wow!” and “Holy Cow!”

Dennis Brimhall, Director of FamilySearch, noted that they already hold images of 5.3 billion records that need to be indexed and processed before they can be added to their online collections.  Using the current processes it will take up to 300 years to complete that work.   How can the announcement to digitized ALL the world’s records be completed in One Generation?

Part of the answer is the recently formed partnerships between FamilySearch and Ancestry.com, Archives.com, findmypast, Fold3 and MyHeritage.  Many hands and minds are going to be required and undoubtedly new tools and methods are needed that don’t exist yet to compete the goal.

FamilySearch released an Infographic that presents the size of the commitment that includes the following information:

Records already preserved by FamilySearch. 5.3 billion
Records in Europe, North and South America that still need to be preserved. 10 billion
Additional records from all regions of the world that need to be preserved. 60 billion
Current rate of preservation and indexing. 11 generations to complete 5.3 billion records
Time required to index the currently preserved records. 20 – 30 years
Number of people who have lived since A.D. 1500 28 billion
Number of people mentioned in currently preserved online records on FamilySearch 1 billion
Number of people who still need to be identified and records indexed for them in population since A.D. 1500 27 billion


The numbers tell the story.  The size of the initiative is immense.   Will it actually be completed in the projected timeline?   Yes.  If you have any familiarity with the commitment that the LDS Church puts on genealogy, you know that the resources needed to successfully complete the task will be applied in the current and probable future partnerships with other entities.

Get ready to be part of a fantastic season in genealogy.  We’ll all benefit from it and will probably participate in the task to make it a reality.