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

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Look at the numbers in the FamilySearch Historical Record Collections

When you look at the list of the Historical Record Collections on, you will see a lot of different markings and numbers. The above list is sorted by the last date updated by clicking on the title of the column.

First is the little camera icon that indicates that the collection has actual images of the records. Here is a screenshot showing the icon:

Next, is the a number in a column headed by the term "Records." This is a general and not a specific designation. Almost every collection is going to have a different method of counting entries as "records." You could also conclude that this number represents the actual number of "records" in that particular collection. That is NOT the case. Here is an example. "The United States Passport Application, 1795-1925" is listed as having 959,931 records. By clicking on the name of the collection, you will get a page giving more information about the collection. Here is the page for that collection:

You can see that there are actually 3,038,874 images. So how may records are there and what does the number in the column on the list page indicate? The answer is that the number shown in the list is the approximate number of "indexed" records. You can see above where it states, "Some index records have been published and more will be added as they become available." If you View the Images in this Collection, you will see all 3 million plus images, but if you search the collection you will only be searching the indexed images.

If you work your way through the collections, you will find many that are completely indexed. However, you will also find many where the indexing is only partially done or where there is a notation to "Browse Images" indicating that no indexing has been done. Searching the Historical Record Collections requires you to search the actual images when the entire collection has yet to be indexed.

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