Eight billion seconds ago, it was the year 1767. Eight billion cups of water fills 757 Olympic-sized swimming pools. And 8 billion inches equals 126,263 miles — the distance of five times around the earth’s equator.
Whether comparing seconds, cups or distance, there’s no question that 8 billion — 8,000,000,000 with all its zeros — is a large number.
FamilySearch recently published its 8 billionth searchable name in its online historic record collections.
“To digitally preserve and make so many names freely searchable online is impressive, but it’s the personal family connections that matter most,” said David Rencher, FamilySearch’s chief genealogical officer, in a Sept. 24 press release. “With each new record, there’s the possibility to find a missing link in the family tree. And that is soul-satisfying.”
Rencher said FamilySearch adds over 1 million new records each day, and this milestone is “just the tip of the iceberg.” Seven billion names have been added in the last 10 years alone.
“FamilySearch won’t quit until we’ve accounted for everyone possible from the world’s available records,” said Rencher. “With over 8 billion searchable names and growing, the odds of growing the branches of your family tree each time you visit keep getting better all the time.”
FamilySearch celebrated its 125th anniversary in November 2019. In an upstairs room of the Church Historian’s Office in Salt Lake City on Nov. 13, 1894, the Genealogical Society of Utah was established under the direction of Wilford Woodruff, the fourth president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Today, the Genealogical Society of Utah is known as FamilySearch International, and it stands as the largest genealogy organization in the world. Over the past 125 years, FamilySearch has worked to publish 3.2 billion digital images, 490,000 digital books and a family tree with over a billion more user-contributed records.
“FamilySearch largely credits this remarkable accomplishment to its dedicated online volunteers, innovative technologies and growing partnerships with other organizations,” the press release said of the 8 billion milestone.
FamilySearch announced earlier this month that a free, virtual RootsTech will be held Feb. 25-27, 2021. RootsTech Connect 2021 will feature dozens of classes in multiple languages. Registration is open at RootsTech.org.