First Microfiche Handed Over to Family History Society

    “First Microfiche Handed Over to Family History Society,” Ensign, Dec. 1991, 71

    First Microfiche Handed Over to Family History Society

    The first sets of British microfiche containing information more than a century old were handed over to the Federation of Family History Societies at its annual conference held at Britain’s University of Sheffield. The information was taken from the 1881 Census of England, Wales, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man.

    “This is a milestone in family history activities in England,” said Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, president of the Europe North Area, who presented the microfiche to federation chairman Richard Ratcliffe. “This indicates the great cooperative spirit that exists with all parties in attempting such a huge project.”

    The project began in 1987 when members of the British Genealogical Record Users Committee resolved to transcribe and index the records of the 1881 census, which contained more than 26 million names. The records are owned by Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, which arranged with the Church’s family history organization to direct the project.

    Approximately one hundred full-time missionaries work at the Management and Evaluation Center in London preparing records to be sent to various computer centers in LDS meetinghouses in England, Scotland, Wales, and the Channel Islands.

    It will take approximately five more years, a total of 1.2 million hours of computer time, and eight thousand floppy disks of information to complete the project, experts estimate.

    “It’s a mammoth task that we are undertaking, but a very exciting one,” reports Elder Jack Hoare, who with his wife, Yvonne, heads up the project.

    Names are indexed by surname, birthplace, and census place. When all the counties are complete, a national index will be produced, listing individuals by surname and birthplace.

    Copies of the microfiche will be made available to Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, the Public Records Office, the Federation of Family History Societies, participating county family history societies and groups, county libraries, and the Church’s family history centers (approximately 60) scattered throughout the British Isles.