Saturday has rolled around again and Randy Seaver has posted this week’s challenge on Genea-Musings. It’s very appropriate given that we are entering the holiday season.
What genealogy resource are you thankful for? Is it an organization, software, websites, repositories, persons or something else?
Without a doubt, I am most thankful for FamilySearch, which fits three of Randy’s categories – a website, an organization and persons – as much of what it accomplishes and offers to researchers is because of millions of volunteer hours devoted to identifying resources to help genealogists.
My first interactions with FamilySearch happened in the “old days” before the internet at my local family history center in Upland, California.
I was and am most thankful for all the people throughout the years who have helped in my quest to populate my family tree. After a few years of local microfilm reading, I had an opportunity to go big time and visit the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.
My experience was the same as at my local family history center, as many staff members pointed me to new resources, taught me to use technology as it became available, without which I would still have some mighty tall brick walls.
I distinctly remember being in the library when someone asked a staff member when the FHL collection would be all digitized. The answer was that it would be decades before the work was completed. A few years that, that became 20 years and today, it is close to imminently being finished.
The worldwide digitized collections in FamilySearch allows us to sit at home to access thousands of records. Yes, some are restricted and access has to be in a family history center and, yes, a few still require a visit to Salt Lake City.
However, for the most part, FamilySearch offers a tremendous database of records that will help probably 95% of researchers on any given day.
Personally, I have used records from all over the United States and multiple countries in Europe. It’s even more amazing that their records are free (unless hits appear from partner organizations that require a subscription.)
To everyone who has ever volunteered, worked for or helped to index FamilySearch records, thank you from the bottom of my heart.