Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Awesome Maps

I’m map folk. Maps run through my veins. So at the Federation of Genealogical Societies annual conference last month when Jake Gehring of FamilySearch showed an awesome color-coded map of their worldwide camera projects (see “FamilySearch Vault Express” for more info), I knew I had to share it with you.

FamilySearch Worldwide Camera Operations Map 2011

The deepness of the color indicates the number of cameras in each country. Click on the map to enlarge it.

Ancestry.com Map

Like a Kung Fu protégé, Ancestry.com has moved beyond digitizing microfilm and is now digitizing original records. I invited Ancestry to supply a map of their own projects. They declined. That left me no choice but to use a map I obtained in 2009.

Ancestry.com Worldwide Digitization Operations Map 2009

The map indicates that Ancestry had scanning operations in what looks to be seven countries. I’m guessing the locations were: the United States (3 locations), Canada, England, Germany, France, Italy, and China. Two of the red dots are keying locations: Uganda and Beijing.

FamilySearch Extraction Map

Devin Ashby, in his FamilySearch Indexing session at FGS, showed another map of interest. It showed how many names have been extracted or indexed from each country across the globe. FamilySearch has been indexing for the last 32 years. Unlike Ancestry, FamilySearch provided a copy.

FamilySearch Worldwide Extraction Totals 2011

Noodling an Ancestry.com Map

I finally decided to put together my own map of Ancestry’s  digitization efforts. After all, I have Insider Sources. You should limit how long you look at the map so you don’t go blind from overexposure to pure awesomeness.

Ancestry.com Worldwide Project Map 2011

I’ve taken Ancestry’s map of their offices (the saplings). They probably digitize in one or more of these offices. Then I’ve added digitization projects (green dots). Last year one of my sources said Ancestry was working in about 20 locations worldwide. My map doesn’t account for that many, but these are the only ones my sources would give up.

To quote an old Chinese (or Panda) proverb, “There is no extra charge for the awesomeness… or attractiveness.”


  1. You could also search Ancestry's job openings. Right now, they have an opening for a "Document Preservation" contractor position in Kansas City, MO, presumably at the regional National Archives facility. I've previously seen similar openings here in Minnesota; scanning at the Minnesota History Center in St Paul. Also in Maryland, at the College Park National Archives facility.

  2. I have a deep respect for FamilySearch and what they are doing with digitising records around the world. There is absolutely no chance Ancestry.com would go to places like Liberia or the Congo to acquire records. It simply won't be profitable for them. If FamilySearch did not do this work, most of the records from these countries would probably not survive even for the next 20 years. Circumstances in those countries are just too unpredictable.


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