“Announcing FamilySearch,” Ensign, July 1990, 79–80
The First Presidency recently announced new computer software that will simplify many of the tasks involved in doing family history research. The new software, FamilySearch™, is now available for use at the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City and at every branch family history library in the United States and Canada.
FamilySearch makes it possible for researchers using small computers in branch family history centers to retrieve information from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City in ways previously not available. The software is on compact discs, like those sold in record stores, each of which holds approximately 320,000 pages of information. These discs make it possible for researchers to make comprehensive searches of many large genealogical files, records, and indexes available at the library in Salt Lake City. Researchers using the discs can also make instant computer-printed copies of information they need.
One FamilySearch file, the Family History Library Catalog, contains descriptions of the books and records available in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Records all over the world have been microfilmed for this collection. The compact-disc version of the catalog, unlike earlier microfiche and card-catalog versions, lets users do a computer search for places or names. Once the information is located, the researcher can order the appropriate microfilms from the Salt Lake library.
A second FamilySearch file is a compact-disc edition of the International Genealogical Index. The index contains more than 150 million names, and the automated format simplifies access to this vital information. A researcher enters the appropriate name and information into the computer, and then the computer retrieves the names and information that most nearly match the request.
A third file that FamilySearch can access is Ancestral File—a collection of family-linked genealogies that have been contributed to the Church since 1979. This file is currently available only in the main Family History Library, but plans are that it will be distributed to branch family history centers later this year.
As other FamilySearch files become available, they will be announced.