Tuesday, December 23, 2008

FamilySearch Road Map: Past, Present, and Provisional Future

The FamilySearch Road Map: Past, Present, and Provisional Future
December 21st, 2008
Paul Nauta, Public Affairs Director for the Family History Library, was the dinner speaker at the Annual Banquet for the Salt Lake Christmas Tour. He outlined the FamilySearch Road Map: Past, Present, and Provisional Future.

Director Nauta diagrammed the Past: Preserve Genealogy Records–Collaboration with Archives and Libraries to ensure genealogy records survive–Access Records–Collect and Film Records–Check Records for Quality Control.

The Family History Library maintains more than 200 camera teams throughout the world (more than 45 countries at one time) and makes the records available to the public through over 4500 Family History Centers in 80 countries, including over 200 affiliate public libraries.

The Present approach includes: Collect and Preserve Genealogy Records directly in digital format–convert previous microfilm to digital format–Create Online Indexes to digital records–Distribute film and digital images.

New FamilySearch is being tested in several areas of the LDS Church using a temporary URL open to selected users only.

FamilySearch Indexing which, on 31 October 2008 alone, launched more than 30 million newly-indexed images to online public use. FamilySearch Pilot More than 150,000 indexers are at work producing more than 1 Million new names a day.

And indexers are actively recruited: members of the LDS Church, qualified volunteers from local genealogy groups and commercial research services, patrons of Family History Library facilities. If you are an indexer, you get access to indexed records–whether they have been released to the public or not. To learn more and view current projects visit: FamilySearch Indexing

Family Tree, where you can post your genealogy for personal and public access, will open to the world at large next year (2009).

All of these resources post works-in-progress. They are intended to provide access to data as they become available–not when they are completed. You can check them frequently to speed-up your own work and increase your ability to share your genealogy with others.

The Provisional Future will give us online digital access within 24-hours from the time the records are digitized! Such a time frame is needed to counteract the record loss that occurs at an alarming rate: Nauta estimated that there is no record of existence for 1/2 of the children in the world. Less than 5% of genealogy records are online.

The FamilySearch goal: More records for More people using More effective technology. 25 high-speed machines are currently at work at the Records Vault to prepare records in digital format. The next step is to create a digital microfilm reader online to provide a digital expressway to your home. This will give you access to over 1 Billion digital images now available and not yet indexed.

For example, there are over 1 million books in the Family History Library. 25,000 only are now available online. Family History Library Books

With 20 Billion images stored in the LDS Records Vault, more than 70 Billion images stored in the world at large, and more than 500 million images being created every year–lots of genealogy volunteers are needed. Sign-on today and access what is available. All they ask is 30 minutes of your time each week! Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle