FIND YOUR FAMILY ONLINE
As well as over six billion searchable names, FamilySearch now has a staggering two billion digitised record images. Sharon Hintze explains how to find these records and how you can help build the world’s largest family tree
Discover billions of records for free on the world’s biggest family history site
For many years FamilySearch has been known chiefly for abundant transcribed records from more than 100 countries, but not for huge collections of digital images. Not any more. There are now more than two billion images on FamilySearch. It can sometimes be tricky to find the record you are looking for on a site so big. You probably search in collections on the Historical Records database. But the images there, both indexed and image-only, constitute only 60 per cent of the images on FamilySearch.
The other 40 per cent are found in the ‘FamilySearch Catalog’(formerly Family History Library Catalog). Many of these ‘Catalog Only’ records are essentially providing a substitute for microfilm circulation which ceased in September 2017. Most can be seen at home when signed in with a free FamilySearch account, but due to restrictions by some archives and record holders, others can only be viewed at one of the more than 5,000 LDS Family History Centres or at LDS nominated ‘Affiliate Libraries’. The Society of Genealogists is one of these, and dozens more organisations will likely be approved as affiliates during 2018.
Learning to use this new source of digitised record images is vital. While last year about 250 million new searchable transcribed records were added to Historical Records, only 33 million images were added. On the other hand, a whopping 363 million images were added to those which can only be accessed through the Catalog. It is highly likely that by the end of 2018 more than half the images available on FamilySearch will be through the Catalog. And remember, FamilySearch is not just adding British records, but images and transcriptions from all around the world.