News Release

Worldwide Event Helps Discovery of Ancestors

Thousands Search Ancestry One Record at a Time

Worldwide Event

October 20-22, 2017 marks the ‘Worldwide Indexing Event’ sponsored by FamilySearch, a genealogy organization operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

During this online event, volunteers can join thousands worldwide to index as few or as many batches (groups of records) as the want in the 72 hour period.


Indexing is the process of entering record data from digitally scanned, historical documents into the FamilySearch database, making records easily searchable and freely accessible to everyone- for both members of the Church and non-members.

One family researcher put it, “An unindexed record is an unfindable record.”

FamilySearch is the largest genealogy organization in the world. After volunteers complete the indexing process, anyone can search the indexed records to learn about and gather their ancestors into their family tree.


“FamilySearch maintains millions of searchable records,” said Brent M. Hansen, Senior Program Manager of Family Search, who was recently in Accra, Ghana. “The purpose of our work is to gather names to make them available to Africans world-wide who want to connect with their families”. 

During the 2016 Worldwide Indexing Event, over 100,000 volunteers indexed more than 10 million records and made them freely searchable online.

Those interested in participating in the October 2017 event should visit

Indexers come from all parts of the world and all age groups. Anyone with a computer or tablet and an internet connection can index records. There is no limit to the amount of time a person can spend indexing records. Those with non-English language skills are particularly needed.

FamilySearch in West Africa

In West Africa, the process of digitizing marriage and census records and making them available for indexing is relatively new. A capture project is currently underway in Accra, Ghana. Ten digital scanners are being used to photograph 1 million records each week.  Approximately 25 million vital records will be photographically digitized from Ghana. The scanned records will need to be indexed by individuals before they are made available on

Many regions in Africa have no written records. The histories of families are kept by the Abusua-Panin or “Family Elder” who is trained to memorize and recite historical data.  Since 2003, Family Search has conducted more than 20,000 oral interviews of ethnic groups living throughout rural Africa.

“The largest French indexing project in the world is now taking place in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” said Thierry Mutombo, Manager of Record Access for FamilySearch. “Millions of records that would have eventually been lost, are being added to the FamilySearch database.”

The stories and vital records of births, marriages, deaths, and property records are being added to the huge database maintained by FamilySearch.


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