As the nation’s genealogical societies gather in Knoxville, Tennessee, at the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference this week to share tips and tricks for finding one’s elusive ancestors, there will certainly besome clamoring over an unexpected gift from FamilySearch, a world leader in historic records preservation and access. FamilySearch announced the addition of over 200 million new searchable historic records representing 18 countries to its online database. The new records were added to the hundreds of millions FamilySearch published earlier this year at a similar event in Salt Lake City, Utah. The number of records on the pilot site totals 700 million.
The latest deluge of records includes 53 new or updated collections from the United States and over 100 million new records from Europe, Scandinavia and Mexico. The United States collections include the 1910 U.S. Census and states’ birth, marriage and death records. There are 10 million new records from New Jersey and Michigan, 4 million from Tennessee, an amazing 41 million from Massachusetts, and many more from other states.
“Some time ago, FamilySearch committed to creating access to the world’s genealogical records online in a big way. Today’s updates are part of an ongoing effort to make good on those commitments,” said Paul Nauta, FamilySearch public affairs manager. “We have only just begun,” Nauta concluded. In the U.S., FamilySearch is currently focusing on digitizing and publishing online federal and state censuses and state birth, marriage and death records. When complete, the initiative will provide a definitive collection of U.S. genealogical resources for family history researchers.
In addition to the new U.S. collections, over 100 million records were added to FamilySearch’s international collections online — making it most likely the largest international genealogy collection online. The new international databases come from birth, marriage and death records and from municipal records. Go to FamilySearch.org, then click Search Records and then Record Search pilot to see a full list of the free collections. The records will also soon be available at beta.familysearch.org.
“What makes today’s announcement even more impressive is that FamilySearch uses predominantly a growing corps of volunteers to accomplish the task of digitizing and indexing the records for online publication. That’s also in large part how we can do it for free, how it can be done at no cost to the patron,” said Nauta. Currently, 350,000 volunteers worldwide log on to FamilySearchIndexing.org and use FamilySearch’s proprietary software to view digital images of historic documents of personal interest and type in the desired information. FamilySearch then creates a free, searchable index of the historic collections online for the public to use.