Technology helps FamilySearch hit major milestone

lds.org

Published: Saturday, Sept. 12 2009 12:17 a.m. MDT

FamilySearch volunteers expect to have transcribed more than 325

million names by the end of 2009, just three years after the

organization began its online indexing program.

The milestone was a number once thought impossible to reach in such

a short period of time. In 2006, a few thousand volunteers indexed only

11 million names. But thanks to continuing advances in technology and a

growing number of volunteers — more than 100,000 across five

continents — an estimated half-million individual names are indexed

each day.

At that rate, Paul Nauta, FamilySearch public affairs manager,

expects that 500 million names will be transcribed by the end of 2010.

And yet all this work barely makes a dent in the vast stores of

historical records throughout the world, which grow by more than 100

million records (each with multiple names) every year.

\"We are not catching up,\" Nauta said. \"In preserving

records alone, there are more records created in one year than we could

ever film in years with current technology.\"

To hasten the work of making important historical records available

online, FamilySearch is continually trying to improve upon current

technologies and find additional dedicated volunteers.

Over time, the LDS Church's Family History Department has developed new

ways to preserve records not only as quickly as possible but at the

highest quality possible. This has resulted in specially designed

digital cameras, innovative scanning technology, and new computer

software.

\"It is not necessarily that we want to be pioneers in this field

and this technology,\" Nauta said. \"But we are compelled to do

it.\"

Capturing the records

Digital cameras that have been adapted to the work are at the

center of each operation. They are the tool used to capture images of

the original documents once a project is identified and permission

gained.

Employees of the church's Family History Department oversee the

effort to acquire records, beginning with the decision about what

records they would like to acquire and from where.

\"It's about how it helps us connect the family of man,\" said Duane

Barson, one of three area managers for the Family History Department,

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