, indexing

Indexing: A few stats from the folks at FamilySearch

Infographic: Putting the World’s Historical Records Online in One Generation

On Monday I defined indexing.

And I talked a little bit about what it does for genealogy work.  Today let’s look at some stats the folks at FamilySearch have put together.

That info graphic up there does a great job of summarizing the time it would take to index the records currently held by FamilySearch with it’s current indexers vs. the amount of time it will take to index those same records after collaborating with some big genealogy companies.

200-300 years vs. 30 years?

Ummm, 30 years please and thank you!

The collaboration of these big companies with FamilySearch makes my little genealogy-lovin’ heart sing!

In an article published on FamilySearch that discusses these agreements {worth the read, found here}, I found these items especially interesting:

“FamilySearch and its predecessors have been preserving and providing access to the world’s family history records for over 100 years. FamilySearch volunteers have indexed just over three billion records in extraction and online indexing projects, but they have only scratched the surface.
 “For the top countries with the highest online research demand, using our existing resources and volunteers, it will take up to 300 years to index the 5.3 billion records that we already have,” Brimhall noted. “That means you and me and the next 10 generations of our posterity would not live to personally benefit from them. And there are another 60 billion records that still need to be digitally preserved. We can do significantly better by working together with other organizations and as a community.”
 Interesting Facts Addressed by FamilySearch Community Initiatives
  • Approximately 28 billion people lived on the earth in recently recorded history—from A.D. 1500 to 2010.
  • Information for an estimated one billion unique individuals may exist today in online family trees—a fraction of how many still need to be linked.
  • The bulk of online family history research today is focused on the records of North America, Europe, and Latin America. Less than seven percent of these records are searchable online today.
  • An estimated 60 billion historical records still exist to be digitally preserved and indexed.
  • Only eight percent of FamilySearch’s current online indexing volunteer workforce is non-English speaking. The majority of historical records to be made searchable online in the future will require volunteers who read non-English records.
  • With current volunteers and resources, it could take up to 300 years to make the current inventory of historical genealogical records searchable online. This time can be reduced to 20 to 30 years with more business and community involvement.”

I remember when records were first put up on FamilySearch.

The collection was so small.  In less than a decade that online collection has grown to become an impressive wealth of information and one of my main go-tos when I am researching.  If we have only ‘scratched the surface’ as they say, I am really looking forward to the accelerated pace of record publications we can expect to see with these new collaborative agreements in place.

Next week I plan to talk about indexing a little bit more.  I also plan to issue an indexing challenge next Friday so stay tuned!

Hooray for indexing!  Come and join the party.

8 thoughts on “Indexing: A few stats from the folks at FamilySearch”

  1. Great post and some amazing statistics!

    It truly is pretty stunning the sheer amount of information that has become available in the last 10 years. With genealogy becoming such a massive ‘hobby’ worldwide now, it is becoming a serious task now (and a lucrative one for some companies) to provide what their customers want – more and more records from a wide range of resources. The huge spread of immigration in our ancestry means that many people don’t have the opportunity to visit the records in person to research, the internet is a many faceted thing and in terms of genealogy it is the perfect way to not only make these records available to all, but to reach out to people to help with the indexing and transcribing of these records!

  2. Indexing and arbitrating can be interesting and frustrating! Not that I would say anything to discourage anyone from getting started or re-started. As a matter of fact, your posts, e-mails from FamilySearch, RootsTech…. All have inspired me to get back to it. Especially for those nights when I’m to charged up to get to sleep!

    Thanks for posting these statistics…make you think!

    1. Thanks for stopping by. I’m glad I have inspired you! I agree, indexing can be frustrating at times. Thankfully we can always return batches that are frustrating or difficult and try an easier batch.

  3. Wow. That’s mind boggling. Thx for sharing all those stats. So when’s the Challenge Party? Two days away or nine days away? I’m in…unless it involves math! *lol*

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