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FamilySearch Reaches One Billion Images

FamilySearch.org announced an important milestone this week. They have now put online one billion digital images of historic ancestral records. This is big news for anyone who appreciates free genealogy records. Below are several fascinating facts behind the headline that will be on interest to genealogists:

• Each digital image can potentially contain several ancestral records. Thus, one billion images represent a few billion records (3.2 billion records have already been indexed).

• FamilySearch first started preserving and providing access to ancestral records in 1938 (through FamilySearch centers and affiliated public libraries).

• It took FamilySearch a total of 58 years (until 1996) to record 2 billion images onto microfilm.

• In 2007, FamilySearch first started to digitize their extensive collections. It has taken just 7 years to create the first 1 billion digital images.

• Of the current digital images going online (as mentioned frequently in newest genealogy records), approximately 70% come from digital conversion of existing microfilm records, 25% come from new sources and 5% come from partner organizations (historically, the biggest provider has been Ancestry.com).

Granite Mountain in Utah is the main record repository for FamilySearch. This video from FamilySearch provides a fascinating glimpse inside the facility.

• There are 275 camera teams digitally recording historic images in 45 countries. The run rate is currently 500,000 new digital images a day.

• It takes just 2 to 4 weeks from the time a digital image is first captured to when it goes online.

• The most popular images are for census, immigration, military, birth, marriage, death, church and court records. The records are sourced primarily from national, state, municipal and religious archives.

• FamilySearch has worked with more than 10,000 archives in over 100 countries.

• As identified in the article Top 100 Genealogy Websites of 2014, FamilySearch is the 3rd largest genealogy website overall and the 2nd largest free genealogy website (after Find A Grave). It gets an estimated average of 10,000 visitors a day.

• FamilySearch has 2.4 million rolls of microfilm, 742,000 microfiche, 310,000 books and 4,500 periodicals, so there is no shortage of digital imaging to be done.

• FamilySearch estimates the next 1 billion digital images should take just 3 to 5 years to complete and put online. In other words, genealogists can expect FamilySearch’s collection to double in the next 3 to 5 years.

FamilySearch has at least 3.5 billion images in its possession. This means the current milestone of one billion digital images online represents only about 1/4 of what could eventually go online.

Here is the link to FamilySearch.org

Originally published June 2014

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