Genealogy from the perspective of a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon, LDS)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Floating in a Sea of Records

By Pudelek (Marcin Szala) (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
I used to read a lot of poetry, but I am not much impressed by what is represented a poetry today. But the words of a poem I read in high school come back to me once and while from the Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem, "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner." The verses that seem appropriate to me presently are as follows:
Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean. 
Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.
Sometimes I feel like the Ancient Mariner of genealogy, floating on a sea of records, but not one of them can I use to find an elusive ancestor.  Sometimes I feel like I am treading water (or records) and barely keeping my head about the flood. For example, today's Historical Record Collections added 8,446,153 records. This is just in one day. If those records were gallons of water, It would fill a pool 2136 feet long, 400 feet wide and over 80 feet deep. That would be plenty to float the Ancient Mariner in style on fresh or salt water. Put another way, if the records were water they would be approximately 25.9 acre feet of water. In other words, the water would cover an acre to the depth of 25.9 feet. If the records were $1 bills and I had it in an investment at 4% a year, I would be getting $337846.12 in interest assuming no compound interest. That works out to $925.60 a day.

If I looked at each of the new records for one second, it would take almost 98 days going without stopping just to finish looking.

If the number of records were miles and I was traveling in my car at 75 miles per hour, it would take 4692.3 days to travel that distance without stopping for McDonald's or Burger King or anything else.

But think about it. This was just one website. How many more records went online today? Too many to count and too many to review.

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