FamilySearch 2018 Genealogy Highlights

January 2, 2019  - by 

FamilySearch International, a global leader in helping individuals discover their family history, published its annual at-a-glance summary of its efforts in 2018. A key FamilySearch initiative is to simplify family history and increase discovery experiences for beginners. In 2018, FamilySearch published hundreds of millions of new, free historical records online, provided personal, interactive learning opportunities, opened new facilities, and created more effective search experiences at

Record Updates in 2018

FamilySearch has the largest collection of genealogical and historical records in the world—and 5.8 billion of those are now searchable online. True to its mission to connect families, FamilySearch published its two billionth digital image of historical records online and continues adding records at a rate of over 300 million new records and images yearly.  Over 300,000 online volunteers clocked in over 11 million hours to help index 122 million new records, making them easy to search for an ancestor’s name.

FamilySearch published significant new collections from the War of 1812 and World War I. Military records are a treasure trove of largely underutilized record collections. They can help uncover details about soldiers and their families and lives. Another significant collection published was the complete archive of Ellis Island and Castle Garden Records online. Today, more than 100 million Americans have at least one ancestor who came through Ellis Island.

FamilySearch 2018 records and help

Family Tree Growth in 2018

The popular, free FamilySearch Family Tree had 1.6 million contributors for the year, who added 28 million new people to the global tree. The total number of searchable people is now 1.21 billion. Users also added 241 million sources to their ancestor pages.

New tools make online searches easier with an array of devices. The powerful FamilySearch Family Tree mobile app now has over 90 percent of the functionality of’s Family Tree feature.

FamilySearch 2018 Family Tree growth

New Interactive Experiences

FamilySearch’s vision includes “creating a bond, linking the present to the past, and building a bridge to the future.” Part of that process is to create fun, interactive experiences that link people to the past. FamilySearch’s innovation experiences are now showcased at Revolution Place in the Museum of the American Revolution, a popular new tourist attraction in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Four interactive displays immerse visitors in an experience of 1770 Philadelphia when the American Colonies struggled with the quest for independence.

FamilySearch 2018 discovery experiences and memories

New Director for the Family History Library in Salt Lake City

In August of this year, David Rencher, AG, CG, FIGRS, and chief genealogical officer of FamilySearch, was also made director of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.  He is working with FamilySearch development teams to increase patron success at the library and more than 5,000 local centers worldwide. During the year, 72 new centers were built to increase user access. In January 2018, a new 8,000 square foot FamilySearch center opened in Lehi, Utah, and ground was broken for a new Ogden Utah FamilySearch Center.

Successful 2018 Genealogy Conference

RootsTech 2018 was a huge success, providing up-to-date information on resources and search techniques. Over 125,000 attendees participated in person and online. Throughout the year, lectures have been rebroadcast and posts of information have appeared on the RootsTech Blog.

After a year of impressive growth in 2018, FamilySearch is looking forward to what the new year will bring!

FamilySearch 2018 growth


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  1. As an adoptee,I thought my hereitage was forever lost. With the help of kind people,Adoptees Together,I was able to locate some family. Now with ALL the information from the hard working people at Family Search, I can see my connection to some pretty interesting people. How amazing!!!!!! Words can’t express how grateful I am for all the hard work, long hours,(eye strain

  2. Thank you for giving us these interesting statistics. I use them when I teach classes, to illustrate the extent of resources available to people for FREE.

  3. Give us some stats on geneology/family history as a hobby. Provide some best guesses on the level of activity worldwide.

  4. All your updates and still no ability to add my legal wife (yes, I am female too) to my family tree. You said you working hard to make it work, and yet we know it is possible, Ancestry has been doing it for years. So quit lying already.

    1. Laura, I’m sorry for your frustration. This is FamilySearch’s official response regarding recording data on same-sex relationships:

      The goal of is to capture, store, and provide records and an accurate genealogy that represents past, present, and future families of the world. To support this goal, same-sex relationships, including same-sex parents and same-sex couples, will be provided in FamilySearch Family Tree. Several systems that surround Family Tree, such as tree and record searching, must be significantly redesigned to support same-sex relationships before Family Tree can release this capability. We expect to finish this work by 2019. Following this work, the FamilySearch Family Tree application can then allow same-sex information to be recorded. We appreciate your patience and desire to preserve the world’s genealogy in Family Tree.

      If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact FamilySearch Support. Again, I’m sorry that this has been difficult for you and your wife.

      1. Still waiting for you to add the ability to honestly reflect the composition of our families… not just the other father of my daughters (my husband), but the husband of his brother (and their kids), the husband of his cousin, the wife of our niece, etc. etc. etc.
        It’s impossible to add new branches to your tree when you can’t even enter the person where they attach.

      2. 2019 is almost over. Ready to give up on I have a lot of research to add, but not going to add it here if same-sex marriage information is going to continue to be excluded. How disappointing!

        1. K, thank you for reaching out and voicing your concern! You are definitely heard and understood. The wait has been long, but I’m happy to say that our statement still stands.

  5. Family Search has been so very helpful to me! I am working on gathering info on the people buried in a small old cemetery in our town. I have found some helpful info. Also I decided to start my own family tree and have done very well. This is a wonderful organization! Thank you all!

  6. Can you give me the updated stats for indexing? How many are indexed? How many have yet to be indexed? % of these indexed? Any estimates based on current volunteers?