Thursday, May 30, 2013

FamilySearch World Wide Camera Operations

Image Credit: FamilySearch
© 2013 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
All rights reserved.

In a 17 May 2013 email to partners, affiliates, bloggers, and members of the press, FamilySearch disclosed (or reiterated) information about its world-wide records acquisition efforts.

There are more than 1. 5 million images captured each week. Who makes this possible? Records preservation missionaries, contractors, FamilySearch employees, archive employees, and many volunteers are responsible for capturing millions of images each year.

There are about 222 cameras located all over the world; 92 cameras in the Western Hemisphere, and 130 in the Eastern Hemisphere. These industrial cameras can each take millions of images ranging from 16 to 50 megapixels. Computer software is used to calibrate the camera, capture the image, manage the project, and capture metadata or information about the records. Clamps and foam wedges are used to keep the book level and the image in focus. All images are saved on an external hard drive [which] at the end of each week [is] placed in a protective case, and sent to Salt Lake City, Utah. Once the hard drive arrives in Salt Lake, it is sent through an auditing process where rejected images are sent back for rework and approved images are processed and published.

At NGS 2013 FamilySearch disclosed that it plans to significantly increase the number of cameras. It plans to do so using record preservation missionaries to operate the cameras. (Record Preservation missionaries are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, generally retired, who volunteer 18 to 24 months of their time to operate FamilySearch cameras.)


  1. So how does one go about getting one of the camera crews to come and film/preserve a group of tax and court records that are squirreled away in a little back room of a courthouse that are going to be "dust" in a matter of years if something isn't done soon. The records are already 100+ years old and have never been filmed and are exposed to the heat and cold of the seasons. Ellen

  2. Yes! I'd like to know the answer to that question too. I've sent in my request but haven't heard back yet. Waiting for a month now.

  3. Two questions
    1)does family search then have different records than ancestry because there are two teams of people photographing the same materials? Or, do the different entities keep each area with some propriety, so that there are fewer duplicates?

    2)Are there any plans to go back to some of the older records, for example, in Italy, where the first microfiche records are so poor?

  4. Thank you so much you volunteers who devote so much time and talent in this activity to preserve the past. Congratulation!!! and Thanks.


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