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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Yet another update from FamilySearch.org

Thanks to The Ancestry Insider reporting on the recent Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference, we have some updated statistics from FamilySearch.org on the progress of digitizing their huge collection of 2.4 million microfilm roles. Quoting from AI's quote of FamilySearch's Don Anderson:
FamilySearch has about 607 million images online and are adding about 500 million more a year from its microfilm collection at the Granite Mountain Records Vault. That means at the FGS conference next year FamilySearch will have more than a billion images online. The entire vault will be converted in less than six years. FamilySearch is capturing an additional 75 million a year directly from the field and not available on microfilm. FamilySearch has more than four billion indexed names online. About three billion are in historic records and about a billion are in family trees. FamilySearch has over 300 online training sessions. It has research resources in 28 countries. You can call for help 24x7, toll free from all over the world. There are over 70,000 wiki articles.
Anderson attributes this effort to volunteers.

If you read this blog with any regularity, you know what I am going to say next. Hmm. There are a few things either unquoted or unsaid. If there are 75 million additional images being "captured" every year from the "field," are these images also making their way online? If not, where are they? If FamilySearch has "four billion indexed names online" as noted that includes the billion or so records in New.FamilySearch.org, the Ancestral File, the Pedigree Resource File and other user contributed records? How many or what percentage of those are duplicates? I ask the same questions about Ancestry.com and MyHeritage.com and all of the others. Which of the records are considered "historical records?"

It seems there is a blurring of the distinction between providing an original source record and counting the same information when it is transcribed, either accurately or not, into someone's online family tree. Adding names to an online family tree does not necessarily add additional useful information.

The rest of the quote is very accurate except that checking the FamilySearch Research Wiki today, I find listed 68,134 articles, a little short of the 70,000 claimed. But, there are really over 100,000 articles in the Wiki since the number on the startup page only reflects content articles and not those involved in the Help categories or relating to the operation of the Wiki. Regardless, there is a huge amount of information in the Wiki.

Thanks to the Ancestry Insider for going to FGS and reporting. Good job. Thanks to FamilySearch for all the records. Good job.






1 comment:

  1. I am a FamilySearch employee, although not an authoritative source, but wanted to answer your question about 75 million annual images from the field. Yes, images digitized from the field are being published. I don't know of an easy way to tell which ones come from the field versus the vault, but one large project I am aware of that I believe is completely composed of field digitized images is the Italy Civil Registration project.

    This has been pushed somewhat on the main FamilySearch site to help complete the indexing for this large collection. See https://www.familysearch.org/italian-ancestors/?icid=fsHomeItalianAncestors

    Anyhow, I looked up one of these in the catalog and found that it does say "Not available on microfilm" in the notes. This may be only way an end-user would know particular images came from field capture instead of the vault. See https://familysearch.org/search/catalog/show?uri=http%3A%2F%2Fcatalog-search-api%3A8080%2Fwww-catalogapi-webservice%2Fitem%2F1488367 for an example

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