Well, better late than never, right?
I attended the FamilySearch Blogger Dinner last Tuesday night before the conference. As usual, good food and good company … and good news from FamilySearch! So what do we have to look forward to in the next several months?
Records Preservation Update
To date, 5.3 billion (yes, with a B) records have been digitized. However, an estimated 10 billion more records still need to be digitized from the Americas and western Europe (see infographic here).
There are an additional 60 billion records all over the world that have not yet been digitized. Until they are digitized, they can’t be indexed. Which is really what’s important for us as genealogists, right? At the current rate, it will take about 11 generations to index just the 5.3 billion records that have already been digitized. (Even if I try really hard, I doubt I will be around to see that).
That’s why FamilySearch is collaborating with Ancestry.com, Archives.com, Fold3, findmypast.com, and MyHeritage to reduce the indexing time to 20-30 years – or one generation. (That’s a lot better!)
The current indexing program will be phased out and a new browser-based indexing program will be instituted. I am quite excited about this – not because there is anything wrong with the current program – because the new program will have lots of new features!
- You won’t have to download any software
- Project selection will be easier
- You can index for multiple groups
- You can index from your tablet (if that’s your thing)
Most of these are self-explanatory, but I really want to expand on the second one. Right now, filtering options are basically limited to experience level. With the new program, we will be able to filter by location, time period, language, and experience level. Not only that, but we can save our selections as favorites! So if you really want to help index birth records for the state where your ancestor was born, you can find it!
So … what are the drawbacks? As it stands right now, you must be connected to the internet in order to index. Gone is the option to index offline. I know this will be a deal-breaker for some folks who don’t have unlimited internet availability because of their location or because it’s cost-prohibitive. Hopefully, FamilySearch will remedy this pretty quickly.
Some people are members of multiple indexing groups and have had to create multiple identities in order to join more than one group. You will be able to join multiple groups now under one identity … unfortunately, you will not be able to merge your existing identities. You will need to pick one and run with it.
You have to admit, even with the drawbacks this news is pretty exciting!
The new browser-based indexing program should be available later this year. In the meantime, go ahead and start practicing on some obituaries. After all, this IS the year of the obituary (so says Captain Jack Starling)!
World Indexing Project
Remember when we were all indexing the 1940 Census? Remember that one day in July 2012 when we doubled the goal and indexed over 10 million records in 24 hours? Let’s see if we can do it again! The new indexing event is called:
Lift Where You Stand
From 6 p.m. (MDT) on July 20 through 6 p.m. (MDT) on July 21, FamilySearch has set a goal to have 20,000 participants in 24 hours. (I think they were scared to set a goal for number of records since we blew the last one out of the water!) Keep an eye on the FamilySearch Indexing Facebook page for updates!
I’m off to index some obituaries!Do we share ancestors? Email me: lostancestors AT gmail DOT com
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