In celebration of Family History Month, FamilySearch International (FamilySearch.org) and GenealogyBank (GenealogyBank.com) today announced an agreement to make over a billion records from historical obituaries searchable online. It will be the largest—and perhaps most significant—online US historic records access initiative yet. It will take tens of thousands of online volunteers to make GenealogyBank’s vast U.S. obituary collection more discoverable online. Find out more at FamilySearch.org/Campaign/Obituaries.
For those considering indexing these obituaries, I think it important to point out that GenealogyBank is not currently available at family history centers. That means, unless things change, that the general public will not have access to the full text of the obituaries that they index unless they subscribe to GenealogyBank. I don’t know if there are plans to make GenealogyBank available in family history centers. (Through the partnership, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will have free access.)
Members of the general public considering indexing might react in two ways:
- It isn’t worth my time to index a record that I won’t have access to.
- Since free access to the entire obituary will not be available, by all means I will sign up to index so that the vital information from the obituaries will be available—for free—on FamilySearch.org.
It’s up to each of us to decide which course to take.
Read the full text of the announcement on the FamilySearch blog.