The year 2020 was, in a word, unforgettable. It was an unprecedented year that truly showed the flexibility and adaptability of the human race. People found new hobbies, new ways to connect, and new ways to be close despite a physical distance. Did you ever think you’d be living through such historic events?
Despite the craziness that was 2020, FamilySearch made several notable achievements—many of which further our goal to help people all over the world experience the joy and inspiration that come from making new family connections and discoveries. Check them out below!
Updates to the FamilySearch Family Tree
The FamilySearch Family Tree is a collaborative project that anyone with a FamilySearch account can contribute to. We’re constantly blown away by the work all of you put into it—but in 2020, you really went above and beyond.
Almost 100 million relatives were added to the family tree during the 2020 calendar year. That’s double the number added in 2019, and over three times the number of relatives added in 2019. What a staggering metric! In total, there are now 1.3 billion people in the world’s largest free, collaborative family tree.
In addition, FamilySearch users added 300 million sources to their relative’s profiles using their own family records and FamilySearch record hints. If you’re not sure how to add sources, take time to learn; adding sources to a relative’s profile strengthens the genealogical soundness of each profile on the tree.
Tree Tweaks and New Features
FamilySearch also made changes in its tree data that will make it easier for search engines like Google to index the tree’s content. This adjustment, in turn, will make it even easier to discover the FamilySearch Family Tree online.
Newly added features give users the ability to “follow” people in the tree and in Memories. It’s now also possible to make memories private, bookmark an album, create searchable tags in Memories, and create slideshows about an ancestor. The popular Family Tree fan chart view is now available on the Family Tree mobile app as well!
Even More Searchable Records
One of the hallmarks of the FamilySearch experience is our expansive, ever-growing record collection. The FamilySearch Explore Historical Images feature was released in 2020, giving easier access to over 4.3 billion record images. An additional 1 billion names were indexed, or made searchable, making it easier than ever to find your ancestors in FamilySearch’s collections.
Among these records, significant collections were added from Norway, Brazil, France, Germany, Fiji, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, and more. A new Mayflower collection was also added to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the landing of the Mayflower.
New FamilySearch Discovery Experiences
Some of the most fun experiences FamilySearch has to offer are its discovery experiences—short activities that allow you to view your family history in new and unique ways. In 2020, FamilySearch expanded its website experiences to 30 languages. Now, even more people around the world can enjoy them.
These discovery activities include the All about Me activity, which now provides a more customized experience for those who have ancestors from American Samoa, Fiji, Norway, and Puerto Rico. Do you have ancestry from those parts of the world? These rich new experiences can help you learn more about your ancestors—and yourself!
But that’s not all. New discovery activities were added, including the interactive Where Am I From? experience, which allows you to check out events in your ancestors’ lives on a global map.
RootsTech in 2020
It was a historic year for RootsTech; the conference celebrated its 10th anniversary! The 2020 conference hosted 16,000 in-person attendees and over 75,000 livestream viewers. It was a delightful event, with spectacular keynotes and an ever-popular Family Discovery Day that attracted 25,000 attendees all on its own.
RootsTech didn't slow down in 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic created a unique opportunity to make RootsTech entirely virtual and entirely free. RootsTech Connect 2021 took place on 25–27 February, and it is shaping up to be the biggest RootsTech yet. 1 million from over 200 countries attended RootsTech Connect, and content will be viewable on-demand all year long!
With all the achievements in 2020, we can’t wait to see what 2021 brings. Be sure to be a part of it! Sign up for a free FamilySearch account, and start making your own family discoveries.