News Story

Canadian Genealogists Thrilled by Millions of New Records Added  

FamilySearch, the largest genealogical organization in the world, added 8.5 million new indexed records and images this week to its vast collection. Sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, these diverse collections and more than 3.5 billion other records can be publicly searched for free at

Included are nearly 31,000 additional digital images of the Manitoba Census from 1831-1870, over 520 digital images from the Quebec Notarial Records from 1800-1900 and nearly 180,000 indexed and digital images from the BillionGraves Index. Other records from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Italy, the Netherlands and the United States have also been added.

John Williams, director of family history in Regina, Saskatchewan, says, “As more records are digitized, it makes it much easier to find records, and much faster too. It is making family history research much more accessible to more people, and records can be accessed from home. And digitized records are cutting the costs too. Previously, if you had to order a certificate, the cost could be $50. Now researchers can access digitized records themselves.”

“It has been a huge help to us,” says family history director Vince Vincent in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. “People who have been stuck on finding ancestors in the past are now starting to find them quite easily. So, many times people get excited by seeing digital images that have eluded them for years.” 

Millions of people use  FamilySearch records, resources and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years.

FamilySearch provides personal assistance for both experienced family historians and those who are just beginning their genealogical journey.

Searchable historic records are made available on through the help of thousands of Mormon volunteers from around the world. As a nonprofit organization, FamilySearch relies on the support of these  volunteers, who provide personal assistance and share their knowledge about genealogy research. These volunteers also transcribe (index) information from digital copies of handwritten records to make them easily searchable online.

Margaret Clarke serves as a FamilySearch research assistant in Regina, Saskatchewan. She says, “People are thrilled, ecstatic, excited and grateful when they find a record. ...We get tears; we get hollering. … [They are] driven to find their ancestors and complete their genealogy.” 

Clarke remembers when researchers kept notes in pencil, wrote letters in foreign languages and often had to travel distances to trudge through old graveyards. “Now [with] just a few clicks on a keyboard, ... you find original documents and you find the image of the document, not just the index. You can look at the actual certificates of birth, death [and] divorce. It is astonishing!”

Karen Bennett, director of the family history centre in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, agrees. “I was stuck on my great-great-grandfather for years and years and could not get anywhere. Then just recently on FamilySearch, with the addition of all the records, I was able to find the information I needed [in order] to learn where he was from and open up my line. And when you find the person in FamilySearch, now it is so easy to attach them to your family tree.”

FamilySearch is a service provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FamilySearch’s commitment to helping people connect with their ancestors is rooted in the Mormon belief that families are central to our lives and that family relationships are intended to continue beyond this life. Because interest in family history is not limited by culture, ethnicity or religious faith, FamilySearch’s resources are available to all who want to discover more about their families and their heritage, from church records in Europe to oral histories in Africa.

“It is like stepping back in history for researchers,” says Vincent. “It completes the story of [one's] family.” 

Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources for free at or through more than 4,600 FamilySearch centres (also known as family history centres) in 132 countries, including 163 FamilySearch centres at various locations across Canada.

Clarke says, “[The additional] 8.5 million records are just the tip of the iceberg, as more and more records are coming.” 

More volunteers are needed (particularly those who can read foreign languages) to keep pace with the large number of digital images being published online at Learn more about volunteering to help provide free access to the world’s historic genealogical records online at

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