Tuesday, May 8, 2012

'Twas the Night Before NGS and FamilySearch Was Stirring

Paul Nauta of FamilySearch addresses bloggers Tuesday
Paul Nauta of FamilySearch addresses bloggers Tuesday
You must know I am prejudiced in favor of the National Genealogical Society (NGS), for which I serve as a volunteer. I must say I loved the NGS conference in Salt Lake City. I’m lucky a job assignment has made it possible for me to attend every year.

And so as I write this Tuesday evening I am perched waiting for another NGS conference to begin.

Earlier Tuesday evening I attended a pre-NGS news briefing by FamilySearch and learned a thing or two.

  • FamilySearch has published 530 million images and 1.7 billion indexed records.
  • FamilySearch has signed an agreement with the Italian government to digitize all their civil registration records.
  • More than 650 societies are helping index the 1940 census.
  • More than 460 “blog ambassadors” are helping spread the word.
  • Just over 30% of the census has been indexed.
  • By the time you read this, there supposedly will be indexes published for six states. Do I remember which they were? Ummm. Delaware and Colorado, then Kansas. New Hampshire, Oregon, and Virginia. By my calculation, that amounts to 5.47% of the census. (On a related note, I noticed today that MyHeritage added New York to their index. That’s a huge state and boosts their completed percentage to 10.51%. Their horse bounds into the published index lead at nearly double the FamilySearch total.)
  • Eight additional states are at 100%. After hitting an indexing project hits 100%, FamilySearch does a time-consuming audit, spot checks errors, bundles up the data ready for publication, shares it with her Community Project partners, gives them a chance to get published, and then publishes it on FamilySearch. (Now if FamilySearch’s publishing arm could speed up to the velocity of her indexers…)
  • FamilySearch’s goal for image publication for the year is 400 million images. Compare that to the 4 million images of the 1940 census. Even bigger, the Granite Mountain Record Vault is thought to contain 3.5 billion images. The point: FamilySearch needs indexing volunteers to stick around after the 1940 census and it needs a whole lot more.
  • FamilySearch teams are out capturing more records all the time. A system called Field Express adds 75 million images annually.
  • The current projection is that 1940 indexing will be complete in July.
  • Within weeks, the index from A Billion Graves will be posted on FamilySearch.
  • FamilySearch hopes to ship by the end of the year a feature that would allow you to annotate records with corrections.
  • They are working on new arbitration models that would cut down on the amount of arbitration that must be made.

Besides the U.S. status map at www.familysearch.org/1940census, there is also a secret status dashboard at https://the1940census.com/dashboard/ that gives various statistics about the indexing project. One graph shows number of records indexed per day (lately about 1.3 million records):

imageAnother shows the number of active indexers per day (which has been running about 22,000 a day):

imageAnother shows the numbers for the current day, which you can watch like a stock ticker of your IRA, except that the indexing numbers go up.

Stay tuned for more NGS Conference news…

(Private message: Happy Birthday, Mr. Myrt.)


  1. I understand that indexing is slow (especially with volunteers). My concern is that recently, the "browse only" records haven't been coming online very fast. I heard that they digitize 10 pages of microfilm a second. Why aren't more of those records getting put online more quickly. The United States page has listed 578 records categories for a couple of weeks now. Probate and deeds records can and should be published prior to indexing (most have written surname indexes in them.

    1. No offense but tell that to the thousands who have made complaining about the lack of availability NOW ( or preferably, on Apr. 2, 2012, like the Phoenix rising from the ashes). of the fully indexed version of the 1940 census.
      The sooner we get it done and available the sooner, I hope and pray, this whining will stop. And, if people aren't whining about the "lack" of an indexed 1940 census, they are whining that " their states" should be made available first. For the record,I (1) don't think these are people who go so far as to ever look at a probate record or deed and (2) I think this has to be motivated by curiosity mote than anything else, because, let's face it, there is mo such thing as emergency genealogy.

    2. The end of the first sentence should read something like their primary activity in life, a constant cacophony.

    3. When you go to All Record Collections, wait for the list to finish populating then click on Last Updated on the right. You will then see how many collections are being added almost daily from all over the world.

  2. I did a search on MyHeritage for people in the 1940 census of New York. It appears that only Albany and Allegany counties are fully indexed and a few other counties are partially indexed.


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