For over 100 years, FamilySearch has been collecting records throughout the world. During that time we have collected 3.2 billion record images from over 100 countries, representing over 170 languages. But, the work of collecting records is far from over.
Most of the records we have collected to date have followed the growth patterns of the LDS Church and needs of those who most use these records. While this approach is still in place, we are also expanding our efforts to include records from some of the most remote parts of the world as well.
The following image shows where cameras are currently located throughout the world:
Great efforts have been made to increase the number of places where our camera teams can travel to and gather images of records before they are lost. This vast distribution of cameras throughout the world is exciting. In the previous year of 2013 we saw tremendous growth. The number of cameras in Europe is still expanding. Doors previously closed for years have been opened, and due to relationships fostered over many years, millions of digital images of genealogical content have been donated by record custodians.
Latin America has increased camera placement by more than 50% in each of the last two years. One of the most significant projects for Latin America is happening in Guatemala. The government there is truly partnering with FamilySearch to create some remarkable success stories.
FamilySearch is providing the cameras and training while the Guatemalan government is providing the manpower to operate 10 cameras, 3 shifts per day. It is amazing to see the remarkable success taking place in that country.
What about the Future?
While most areas of the world will experience expansion in 2014, the greatest growth, in terms of percentage, will likely be in Africa, Asia, and the Pacific Islands. All of these areas are expecting over 100% growth in camera placement in 2014.
We are currently working on significant government contracts in India as well. Our access to Catholic records in the Philippines have taken a miraculous turn. This success should result in some remarkable experiences for anyone who wants to get access to important historical records in the Philippine Islands.
The future is very bright for FamilySearch’s record digitization program. With indexing efforts expanding, new partnerships creating exciting opportunities, and the continued expansion of FamilySearch’s image capturing efforts, we will see significantly more images added to FamilySearch than ever before. This is truly an exciting time for FamilySearch. The future looks very bright, indeed!