Friday, August 31, 2012

FGS: FamilySearch Key Messages

Paul Nauta addresses bloggers at FGS conferenceAt a preconference blogger dinner, FamilySearch’s spokesperson, Paul Nauta, presented FamilySearch’s key messages for the Federation of Genealogical Societies annual conference.

The big news is a $100 discount for RootsTech 2013. You should be aware that the RootsTech audience has been expanded to include new users, so if you’ve stayed away because it is too technical, you should reconsider. From now through the end of the week, you can get the $119 price by going to and using registration code “blog119.” We were told that this price will be the best offered. Registration without this insider opportunity will not come until sometime next month.

FamilySearch would like attendees to be aware of the amount of Alabama content recently released on To see for yourself, go to and type “Alabama” in the search box. (Private message to FamilySearch: It would sure be nice if you supported a parameter that preloaded the search box, such as ?search=Alabama.) The FamilySearch mission is to “Provide easy access to records to help individuals identify their ancestors and link families.”

FamilySearch would like attendees to know about the growing research assistance available free to anyone. FamilySearch now has over 500 online courses. These show the presenter and slides simultaneously. The research wiki now contains over 66,000 articles. Live help is available, as well as Facebook and Skype groups. Go to

Nauta shared some of the same facts and statistics presented by Rod DeGiulio at the BYU Conference. (See “Rod DeGiulio: All About Records.”) He mentioned that FamilySearch does not have permission to publish all its microfilm in the Granite Mountain Record Vault. Some contracts don’t allow it, but FamilySearch is trying to negotiate permission for those films. Ninety percent of FamilySearch’s record coverage priority belongs to the countries shown in the map below:

Map showing 90% of FamilySearch record priority

About one-third of FamilySearch’s camera operators are senior volunteers. FamilySearch would like to invite members of the public to volunteer since they want to expand camera operations as their microfilm scanning winds down. Interested parties should contact No special skills are necessary. You may be able to work from home or travel abroad.

FamilySearch would like conference attendees to know about the just completed 1940 census community indexing project. About 165,000 people participated. To understand how many that is, FamilySearch spokesperson, Michael Judson, said this is enough to fill the 2012 Olympic stadium twice. Four-hundred and thirty-four family history societies participated. They collectively indexed 15 million record and arbitrated 7. Society accuracy measured 98%, a little higher than average. Two-hundred twenty-three of those societies have transitioned to the next project.

The Ancestry Insider Indexing HistoryThe next community project is indexing U.S. Immigration and Naturalization records. About 2 million records have already been indexed by 50,000 volunteers. The goal for 2012 is 30 million records. This is a considerably larger project than 1940. While the 1940 census consisted of 132 million names, this project contains 500 million. Attendees can visit the project booth and have a picture taken of them standing in front of a dock, representing immigration.

What is coming in the future?

FamilySearch is planning to add book checkout for its copyrighted book collection. Just like checking out a physical book from a library, the system will allow users to checkout an electronic copy.

FamilySearch will add the ability to correct mistakes in indexed information.

FamilySearch will release Family Tree. Family Tree is supposed to be source-centric to move towards a more accurate pedigree. Family Tree is “A place to hold the best genealogy, freely available to all, and preserved for future generations.”

Finally, FamilySearch deputy chief genealogical officer Michael Hall gave a short report on citation progress on He provided a handout that I will cover in detail in a separate article.


  1. What's the guess on the time table for public release?

  2. As of some months ago, you can link to a state listing of collections directly. To get the link use the filters to filter to the desired state. Copy that from your url address bar in your browser once you're there and you've got a direct link.

    1. I hadn't thought of that. I want something more general, however, like "States Census".

      -- The Insider


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