FamilySearch has the world's largest collection of original records. It has been preserving records from around the world for more than 100 years and began microfilming in 1938. The microfilm collection includes more than 2.5 million rolls. In the past, researchers could order microfilms and microfiche and have them delivered to their local Family History Center or affiliate library. Books and other materials, however, could not be ordered. Therefore, as an avid family historian I used to take a semi-annual trip to the Family History Library to research all materials and extend my family tree.
It would be so much easier (and cheaper!) if all of these records were available online. In order to accomplish this and make the records freely available, FamilySearch began several years ago to digitize its collection. For example, many of the books are now viewable online. FamilySearch initially estimated that it would take more than a century to convert its microfilm collection to digital format. But due to technological advances, more than 1.5 million rolls of census, marriage, probate, and other records are already complete. Microfilms are now being scanned at a rate of approximately 1,000 per day, and the entire process will be finished by the end of 2020. Incredible! FamilySearch acquires all new records utilizing digital cameras.
Digital images are being indexed by volunteers from around the world. The indexed records are then made available to help all of us find our ancestors. You can become an indexer by going to FamilySearch Indexing. Indexing is web based; the indexer sees an image and indexes the information requested. The indexed images will be searchable online at FamilySearch.org at no charge.
In addition to the ongoing indexing, each year FamilySearch has a worldwide indexing event. In 2016, the three-day event far surpassed goals. In only three days, 116,475 volunteers throughout the world indexed 10,447,887 records.
FamilySearch is holding its annual event October 20-23, 2017. This year FamilySearch is particularly interested in indexing French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish records, although records in English and other languages will also be available. Here's what FamilySearch posted to its Worldwide Indexing Event 2017 Facebook page:
Join volunteers from around the world on October 20–23 to help #familysearchindexing (wherever you are). You will have three days to index at least one batch in the language of your choice. If you are fluent in French, Italian, Portuguese, or Spanish—our focus languages for 2017—please help index records in one of those languages. Special training will soon be available to help you prepare!
This event is fun, and indexing is easy. You can choose from multiple projects in the language of your choice. Give it a try and help preserve the world's records.
Find out more and join the fun by clicking on this link: FamilySearch.org/indexingevent2017