FamilySearch.org, an outstanding free website hosted by FamilySearch International, the foremost family history organization in the world, has released a 2015 year-end summary of its global efforts to ultimately connect families across generations. It has made substantial progress in creating new personal and family discoveries through significantly more access to historical records, expanded partnerships, a more powerful and user-friendly online search experience, and hundreds of free localized events hosted worldwide.
For more than 100 years, FamilySearch and its predecessors have gathered and preserved worldwide records, creating the largest collection of genealogical and historical records in the world. It continues to digitally convert its vaults of microfilm for online viewing, along with millions more newly captured record images from archives across the globe.
In the past 25 years, it has been influencing technology and initiatives that engage a broadening swath of consumers to have emotional, endearing experiences with their family and family history. It uses its nonprofit status to continue to rally the growing sea of commercial companies—large and small—in the genealogy and family markets to join in the noble efforts.
HIGHLIGHTS FOR 2015
During 2015, Steve Rockwood took the reins of FamilySearch, replacing retiring Dennis Brimhall as CEO.
Two Family Discovery Centers, which represent a new concept in presenting family history information, were opened in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Belleview, Washington. Ground was also broken for a new FamilySearch Library in St. George, Utah, which will have some of the new discovery center experiences.
RootsTech 2015, a global family history event held in Salt Lake City, Utah, and hosted by FamilySearch, uses technology and fun experiences to expand family connections. It attracted a record 300,000 attendees in person, online, and through local post–Family Discovery Day events.
During 2015, FamilySearch, in cooperation with several other organizations, launched the Freedmen’s Bureau Campaign (discoverfreedmen.org) to finish digitizing and indexing Civil War–era records that are crucial to African American research success. This project should be completed in 2016.
On October 23, 2015, FamilySearch celebrated the 30th anniversary of its well-known Family History Library in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah, which houses the largest and most expansive collection of family history records in the world. Hundreds of thousands of patrons still frequent the facility from around the world.
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