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Mormon church to add 300 million names this week to online genealogy pool

They'll be released on new beta website

Published: Thursday, April 29 2010 12:00 a.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — The pool of genealogical records you can access with your home computer is about to get richer and deeper.

FamilySearch President Jay Verkler said 300 million more names will be available online this week through the LDS Church's family history service. Verkler made the announcement to applause at Wednesday's opening session of the National Genealogical Society Family History Conference in Salt Lake City.

Verkler described the church's Worldwide Indexing project, in which volunteers working at their home computers read digitized images of microfilmed records stored in the church's Granite Mountain Records Vault in Little Cottonwood Canyon. The volunteers transcribe the records so they can be indexed and searched easily online by people at their home computers searching their family trees.

"So would it be OK if we released some of those records this week?" Verkler teased. "We're going to release 300 million of them this week. We're going to do it on a new website we're creating called beta.familysearch.org."

The newly added records augment a few hundred million indexed names already accessible on a previous FamilySearch Web site. They come largely from U.S. collections and from some parts of Europe.

Verkler said the flow of names to the Web will continue as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints seeks to index all of the approximately 3.5 billion names stored on microfilm in the mountain vault. It will take about 10 years to index all of the records, a task previously projected to take more than a century to complete.

e-mail: rscott@desnews.com

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