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

Sunday, August 5, 2018

What does it mean when FamilySearch announces new records?

I get a monthly notice of the "new" records on but what is meant by the word "new?"

The key here is reading what FamilySearch is saying. Some of these are "new indexed" records being added to The comments on the records indicate that they are "Added indexed records to an existing collection." Now, this is really good news because only the indexed records can be searched for names, dates, places, and etc. The more indexed records that are added the easier it will be to find your ancestors from the millions of records on the website.

Are there any other "new" records? Yes. There are new indexed record collections that have been added. These may have images but the images are of the "index" not the original records. Here is an example.

New Jersey, marriage indexes, New Jersey Bride Index letters E-Z, R-Z, Reel 33, 1930–1935
There are also new images added to the Historical Record Collections as long as they have an associated index. The idea is to convert the Historical Record Collections entirely to searchable records.

Where are the unindexed images? There are still some left in the Historical Records Collections but new unindexed records are being added, without fanfare, in the Catalog. The images for these newly digitized records have yet to be indexed so the records need to be searched individually using places, dates, and names by looking at the images. As of June 2018, there were 832.6 million records that were only available as listed in the Catalog. Over time, since digitizing the records takes less time than indexing the same records, the ratio between the number of records in the Historical Record Collections and those listed only in the Catalog will shift with more records only in the Catalog than in the Historical Record Collections unless the Indexing program increases dramatically.

New records are being added all the time to the Catalog. I know this because I am working at the Maryland State Archives digitizing thousands of new records that are being sent weekly to FamilySearch that will ultimately end up on the website. But you will need to periodically look into the catalog and see if any new records have appeared in the places where you need records.


  1. Have you ever checked to see how long it takes from when you upload digitized records from the Maryland Archives to when they appear in the FamilySearch Catalog?
    Thank you for the work you are doing there!!!

    1. My understanding is that the records go online at the end of a project. The Maryland State Archives is an ongoing project and I am not sure when it will end, so I do not know when the records will start to appear.