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Dec 31, 2021

FamilySearch 2021 Genealogy Highlights/Year-in-Review

Here is a press release from our friends at FamilySearch:

Major milestones include completion of massive microfilm digitization project and unparalleled RootsTech attendance

SALT LAKE CITY, UT—In 2021, FamilySearch completed the digitization of its massive microfilm collection—2.4 million rolls to be exact—and welcomed over 1 million people to its first all-virtual RootsTech Connect online event. FamilySearch International noted these and other 2021 achievements among its efforts to help create fun, free, family discoveries for individuals worldwide, and create the family tree of humankind.

FamilySearch Family Tree

Imagine billions of people making new family connections by sharing what they know about their family history to a free online family tree that ultimately constitutes the family tree of humankind. That is one long term goal of the FamilySearch Family Tree. 

Crowdsourcing contributors worldwide added information about millions of deceased relatives to the FamilySearch Family Tree in 2021, making a total of 1.38 billion people now searchable in the world’s largest collaborative—and free—family tree!

Users also added hundreds of millions of sources—supporting facts—to their ancestors’ personal pages in the Family Tree. Sources can come from personal family records or hints generated by FamilySearch’s growing historical record collections. As the family tree of humankind grows, the number of ancestors that users have in common will also expand. Sources are important because they help strengthen the genealogical accuracy of ancestor pages—particularly for common, shared ancestors.

See what discoveries are waiting in the FamilySearch Family Tree for you. It’s free.

FamilySearch Searchable Records

To expand the branches of your family tree, you typically need access to genealogical records—documenting birth, marriage, death, census, military service, etc. FamilySearch now offers more than 14.3 billion searchable names and images from historical records from your ancestral homelands all over the globe. FamilySearch’s predecessors began gathering records in 1893 and started making these available on microfilm in 1938.

A major FamilySearch milestone in 2021 was the completion of the monumental task of digitizing its 2.4 million rolls of microfilm (See FamilySearch Completes Digitization of Massive Microfilm Collection). The initiative makes billions of ancestors from over 200 countries and principalities more readily discoverable online. FamilySearch’s Explore Historical Images feature enables users to effectively peruse digitized images from most of the microfilm collection online and more with a free FamilySearch account.

FamilySearch also added hundreds of millions of new, searchable, historical records in 2021. The top expansions included collections for Scandinavian countries (NorwayDenmarkSweden, and Finland), the NetherlandsSpain, the Caribbean and Pacific Island countries, the United KingdomCanada, the United StatesMexicoUruguayVenezuelaPeru, and more.

Search these free collections to see what was added for your ancestral homelands in 2021 now using the enhanced search feature at FamilySearch.org.

FamilySearch Discovery Experiences

Global interest in personal family connections continues to grow. FamilySearch experienced over 200 million visits in 2021, with visitors combing through online ancestor records to extend their family tree and add family memories.

 2021 enhancements that visitors can now enjoy include new discovery pages for ancestors in the family tree. These pages are an easy way to see your relative’s life story at a glance, view photos and stories, and understand the historical events they may have lived through.

It’s also easier than ever to see what FamilySearch can tell you about your relatives with the discovery search feature. This search allows you to see results from the Family Tree, historical records, memories and a surname search, all at the same time.

Finding Help with Family History

Need help with your family history? FamilySearch made wonderful enhancements to its menu of helpful services in 2021. You can now simply type in a topic or challenge, and suggested results will appear. The new FamilySearch Community forum enables you to easily find family history solutions and ask questions from—or even join—a helpful community of conscientious volunteers worldwide who are quick to respond—for free.

For those just getting started, FamilySearch also has a new page to guide you through your family history journey. From personal discoveries, to searching records, to creating a family tree or having family history fun, this page can get you started with simple steps.

Get started on your family history journey.

RootsTech Connect 2021 HighlightsRootsTech Connect welcomes millions of people worldwide to celebrate family and make family connections at the world’s largest family history conference and year-long learning platform. It offers thousands of classes, inspiring speakers, and meaningful activities that lead to fun family discoveries and foster new connections. Undaunted by the uncertainties surrounding COVID-19 and related travel restrictions, the 2021 event was held entirely online for the first time. The results were amazing and far reaching. The all-virtual RootsTech Connect 2021 attracted more than 1 million participants from 242 countries and territories (see RootsTech Attracts Over One Million Participants). 

A key learning is attendees are as intensely interested in connecting with their living relatives as they are in discovering their ancestors. The stunning demand for the online event led Steve Rockwood, FamilySearch CEO, to declare online learning a new core FamilySearch priority. He said FamilySearch would continue to explore ways to effectively globalize and localize learning and discovery experiences.

Register now for RootsTech Connect 2022 (March 3–5, 2022). It’s free! 

QUICK ROOTSTECH CONNECT 2021 LINKS

Keynotes

DNA

Connecting with Family

Getting Started

Winning Song Contest Entries

Family History Library Reopening

People from all over the world flock to Salt Lake City, Utah, every year to take advantage of the abundant genealogical resources of FamilySearch’s Family History Library. The library serves beginner and professional family history patrons from all over the world and is a popular tourist attraction for the state of Utah.

The library was happy to begin a phased reopening starting in July 2021 (See FamilySearch Family History Library Reopening), following its closure on March 13, 2020, due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. The Library took advantage of the prolonged closure to make needed renovations that will significantly improve patron discovery and research experiences. Enhancements include the addition of state-of-the-art patron workstations with dual monitors and adjustable height desks to accommodate sitting or standing preferences, enhanced workflow throughout the facility, a new patron dining area, and the addition of nearly 40,000 books from new acquisition and long-term storage.

The library also added or upgraded free patron services (Visit the new Family History Library web page). Guests can sign up for free, one-on-one virtual consultations with a research specialist (available in multiple languages). If you can’t come to the Library, a staff member can retrieve a book from its shelves or help you find what you’re seeking through the new record lookup service. In FamilySearch Communities online, guests can receive assistance from volunteers worldwide, including locating or interpreting ancestor records, asking questions, or sharing their expertise with others. The library also continued to expand its popular free online classes and webinars

Find and share this announcement and additional images online in the FamilySearch Newsroom.

About FamilySearch

FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at FamilySearch.org or through over 5,000 family history centers in 129 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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