Wednesday, January 11, 2017

FamilySearch Reviews 2016 Accomplishments – Part 2

This is a continuation of yesterday’s article. FamilySearch recently published a review of their 2016 accomplishments. Here is the information plus commentary and a comparison with their 2015 figures.

FamilySearch 2016 accomplishments relative to: HelpHelp

“In 2016, FamilySearch added a Help Others feature to guide consultants and more experienced genealogists in assisting others. People seeking help provide their username and a helper number that allow helpers to look online at their records, find opportunities for research, and help guide that research,” wrote FamilySearch’s Diane Sagers.

Facts and figures:

  • 15 million volunteer service hours. This is up from 12 million in 2015.
  • 11 million of those hours contributed by indexers. Up from 9 million.
  • 315,000 volunteer indexers. Up from 304,000.
  • 3.7 million hours contributed by service missionaries. Up from 3.
  • 4,807 service missionaries. Up quite a bit from 3,850.
  • 4,960 FamilySearch Centers. Formerly called family history centers. Up from 4,891.
  • 103 new centers this year. My math says the difference between 4,891 and 4,960 is 69, but there were centers that closed as well. The Layton FamilySearch Center alone replaced 48 family history centers (according to a 27 November 2016 article in The Davis Clipper).
  • 3,108 centers outside the U.S. This is up 244 from 2,864 the previous year. This is wonderful news. Some countries of the world don’t allow FamilySearch to loan microfilm. Researchers in those countries can now access records in their centers that aren’t available otherwise.
  • 1,852 centers in the U.S. This is down 175 from 2,027. This is discouraging since many records on are only available to the general public in FamilySearch centers.

FamilySearch 2016 accomplishments relative to: Discovery ExperiencesDiscovery Experiences

In 2016, FamilySearch opened a new FamilySearch Center in Layton, Utah; broke ground for a large FamilySearch library in St. George, Utah, that will include discovery experience stations when it opens in 2017; and began remodeling the first floor of the Salt Lake family history library to include discovery experiences.

Facts and figures:

  • 375,000 RootsTech Attendees. [Fine print: Includes in-person, online, and local Family Discovery Day events.] This is up 75,000 from RootsTech 2015.
  • 133 million visits. In 2015 they reported 291,000 visits per day, which yields 106 million visits. (Techie comment: If I am not mistaken, FamilySearch uses the Adobe Omniture definition of a visit: If a person views a sequence of pages, that counts as a visit. If they take a break of more than 30 minutes, it counts as a new visit. If they visit for more than 12 hours, it counts as a new visit.)
  • 7.4 million registered users.

FamilySearch 2016 accomplishments relative to: MemoriesMemories

“Family history is about stories; it is more than dates and facts,” said Steve Rockwood, CEO of FamilySearch. FamilySearch added the memories gallery view, added user-to-user messaging, and has the ability to make audio recordings.

Facts and figures:

  • 5.6 million memories [stories, photographs, documents, and audio recordings] added in 2016. Last year FamilySearch reported a total of 10.3 million memories, so the total must be about 16 million. 
  • 4.7 million photos added. Added to the 9 million total last year, now has 14.5 million.
  • 521,000 documents added. These are documents that users have scanned and uploaded to They now have 1.6 million total. I hope everyone is scanning and uploading your home sources (birth, marriage, death, and military discharge certificates; funeral programs; newspaper announcements; Bible pages; etc.). Don’t have a scanner? Use your cell phone camera.
  • 362,000 stories added. With 747,000 last year, FamilySearch now reports having 1.1 million.
  • 50,000 audio recordings added. FamilySearch reports the total is now 92,000 recordings. That is disappointing. Tom Jones has said, “What should be our first priority is to do what future generations cannot do.” (Jessica Murray, “Answering the Big Genealogy Puzzle With Tom Jones,” Ancestry [Blog] [ : 25 August 2014].) Recording elderly relatives is one of those things.

For more information see “FamilySearch 2016 Year in Review” on the FamilySearch Blog and “FamilySearch 2016: Connecting families across generations” on the Deseret News website.

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