FamilySearch Completes Massive Microfilm Digitization Project

Big information: after 83 years of filming the world’s historic genealogical information, FamilySearch has accomplished digitizing its 2.4 million rolls of microfilm.  One of the best half? The archive, which incorporates info on greater than 11.5 billion people, is now accessible without spending a dime on 

Over 200 international locations and principalities and greater than 100 languages are included within the digitized paperwork. All forms of genealogically important information are included—censuses, births, marriages, deaths, probate, Church, immigration, and extra. Now that the undertaking is accomplished, it’s a lot simpler for customers to search out members of their household tree and make private discoveries inside these information.   

Need to try these digitized microfilms for your self? Discover FamilySearch’s free collections of listed information and pictures by going to, then search each “Data” and “Pictures.” The Pictures characteristic will allow you to browse digitized pictures from the microfilm assortment and extra. You’ll need a FamilySearch account to entry digitized information—however don’t fear, signing up is totally free!

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What’s Microfilm?

A microfilm is a roll of movie, like what could be utilized in an previous digicam—it simply holds much more pictures per roll. Nevertheless, as an alternative of storing photographs of treasured reminiscences and family members, microfilms are designed to retailer paperwork which are shrunk down into miniature. These historic information are captured on the roll of movie and shriveled for simpler storage. Earlier than digital preservation, microfilm was an efficient and space-conscious approach to protect historic paperwork and make them extensively accessible.

Microfilm has been used since 1839, however its greatest breakthrough and popularization occurred in 1928.

FamilySearch started microfilming in 1938, again when it was nonetheless known as the Genealogical Society of Utah. It was one of many first main organizations to embrace using microfilm imaging for long run report preservation. FamilySearch’s microfilm assortment finally grew to greater than 2.4 million rolls. 

FamilySearch ended its microfilm distribution to household historical past facilities in September 2017 when it started its transition to a free, all-digital, on-line entry method. FamilySearch’s bodily microfilm assortment will proceed to be preserved, however the knowledge the rolls include can now be simply seen and searched on-line. 

a woman on a microfilming computer

Know-how Permits for Fast Microfilm Digitization

In 1998, FamilySearch started digitizing its microfilm assortment—a undertaking that, on the time, was anticipated to take over 50 years to finish. Nevertheless, advances in know-how lower the estimated time to completion by almost 30 years.

Microfilm scanning started with about 5 workers. As the method developed and advanced, it grew to as much as 30 workers utilizing 26 scanners. This work continued even in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

FamilySearch is dedicated to amassing, preserving, and offering entry to the world’s genealogical information to assist people and households worldwide uncover and join with their household histories. It continues to seize the pictures of unique information at an ever-increasing fee—however digitally, bypassing the necessity to switch the knowledge from movie.  

Though the digitization of FamilySearch’s microfilm assortment is accomplished, the digitization of latest information worldwide continues. FamilySearch can be working to outsource the digitization of its giant microfiche assortment, which must be accomplished a number of years from now.

Take a look at FamilySearch’s digitized microfilm assortment—and all of its different freely accessible report collections!

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