Technology helps FamilySearch hit major milestone


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

April — Italian, Portuguese and Russian — and Swedish in August.

Three volunteers from Nicaragua, Guatemala and Honduras

helped index the milestone 250 millionth record in Spanish as part of

the Nicaragua Civil Registration indexing project.

\"We've come from transcribing by hand to delivering digital images

on CDs through the mail to Web-based applications where virtually

anyone can be involved,\" Nauta said. \"We are quantum leaps from

where we began. It's just faster and more reliable and efficient.\"

With the technological advances and the ever-increasing number of

indexing volunteers, the Ellis Island historical records — which a

decade ago took 12,000 volunteers 12 years to complete — would take

three weeks to index today.

Beyond the technology

Beyond the innovations in technology, at the heart of the hastening of the work are people.

At any given moment, thousands of volunteers from around the world

are working with FamilySearch Indexing. A growing number of them are

not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They contribute an increasing volume of the

indexing being done.

For some, preserving historical records is a commission to preserve

the identity and heritage of a nation, organization or community. For

others, it lends a deepened sense of personal identity.

\"They confirm that they are part of a larger family fabric that has

a rich history,\" Nauta said. \"We quickly learn that life as we

know it isn't just about us in the here and now. Knowing the richer

context of our family history gives us and our posterity something more

to live up to — a legacy to fulfill and pass on after doing our part.\"

For Mormons, the real value and legacy in family history

lies in the saving ordinances of the temple. For example, Nauta

said that the greatest rewards come in doing temple work for his own

family that he has discovered thanks to the indexes produced by Family

Search volunteers. \"There is a distinct difference ... in doing the

work for family I know or did the research for,\" he said. \"I kind of

know them because I've spent time with them, researching them, learning

about who they were.\"

But for members of the church and those who aren't, the growing interest in family history work was foretold.

\"It's in the scriptures,\" Nauta said, quoting Doctrine & Covenants 2:1-2. \"Elijah 'will plant

in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the

hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers.'\"

The Spirit of Elijah is described by Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve as \"a manifestation of the Holy Ghost bearing

witness of the divine nature of the family.\"

See the story in its original presentation on LDS.org.

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