comparison of linked pedigree databases


citation letter from Family Tree Magazine

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Linked pedigree databases for genealogists are compared below, with indications of their present size, growth rate, and cost.  This report clarifies exaggerated claims by some of the vendors.   Only in AF (Ancestral File) is there an attempt to remove duplicates.

We make no attempt to compare the quality of the databases.  For a review, see Ref.a, below.  A few large non-pedigree databases are also listed here.   Additions and corrections, especially historical growth statistics, will be appreciated and will be included here.

estimating the size of a database

Linked pedigree databases:

Millions of names and monthly growth rate

WFT (World Family Tree), with 71 million names (29 CDs) as of 2/1/99, grew by 3% monthly during the previous 6 months. (We exclude Vol. E1, which duplicates names on Vols. 1-13; and the Family Albums Vol. 1).   The 29 CDs can be purchased individually for $40 each.  Vols. 8-12, or 13-17, or 18-22 combined are $60.

AF (Ancestral File), not counting duplicates, with over 29 million names as of December 1997, grew by 1.5% monthly during the previous eight years (see below).  AF is free but not Web-accessible.

KKN (Kindred Konnections), with 27 million names in the Ancestral Archive as of 2/1/99, grew by 7% monthly during the previous 6 months.  A KKN subscription is $100 per year.

GENSERV, with 16 million names as of 2/1/99, grew by 2% monthly during the previous 6 months.  GENSERV access costs $12 per year.

AWT (Ancestry's World Tree), with 9.2 million names as of 2/1/99, grew by 3% monthly during the previous 6 months.  Access to AWT is free.

GENDEX, with 9.5 million names as of 2/1/99, grew by 4% monthly during the previous 6 months.  Guest access to GENDEX is free.

Everton's-On-Line, with about 50,000 charts in the Pedigree File and 80,000 in the Family File as of 11/98, costs $50 per year.

GO (the Genealogy Online GEDCOM collection) had about 3 million names as of 3/98.  Access is free.  There is no search engine; index files must be downloaded and searched manually.

FT (Family Tracer) had over 1 million names as of 12/97.  There is a $4 charge for each download.

Some non-pedigree databases:

The Web site had 832 databases on 2/1/99; 790 on 1/1/99; 750 on 12/1/98; 676 on 10/1/98, 639 on 9/1/98.  There were 200 million names overall on 1/1/99; 100 million on 9/1/98; 90 million on 4/1/98.  A subscription is $60 per year.

As of 11/1/98, Everton's-On-Line had 85 million names in searchable databases.  Access is $50 per year.

The Family Treemaker (FTM) Internet Family Finder included the contents of 173 Family Archive CD's on 2/1/99; 169 on 1/1/99; 161 on 12/1/98.  The CD's are available individually for $20-$60 each; the complete set is about $4500.  FTM's had 1199 books online on 2/1/99; 1136 on 1/1/99; 917 on 12/1/98; 866 on 11/1/98.  Access is $50 per year.

The KKN Web site had 87 million names on 1/1/99; 86 million on 12/1/98; 84 million on 11/1/98, 83 million on 9/1/98, 82 million on 7/1/98.  Access is $100 per year.

Social Security Death Index:

The Social Security Death Index, with about 60 million names as of 1/99, is available, free, through Everton's-On-Line,, or Kindred Konnections.

Web links:

FTM's GSF (Genealogy Site Finder) had approximately 51,000 links on 2/1/99; 50,000 on 1/1/99; 47,000 on 12/1/98; 46,000 on 11/1/98; 45,000 on 10/1/98;  40,000 on 4/1/98; 35,000 on 2/1/98.

Cyndi's List had approximately 40,000 links on 2/1/99; 39,000 12/1/98; 31,000 on 10/1/98; 28,000 on 4/1/98. 

Residential telephone phone listings:

Telephone books on the Web (Michigan State University Libraries)
Telephone Directories on the Web
Yahoo! People Search

Historical growth of Ancestral File (AF)

AF is available for free in about two thousand Family History Centers of the Church of Latter Day Saints (LDS).  AF is not Web-accessible.  According to various (conflicting) sources, AF had in:
January 1990: 7 million names
July/August 1990 (1st edition): 7 million names
Spring 1991 (2nd edition): 9.6 million names
December 1991 (3rd edition): 13 million names
August 1993: 10 million names
August 1993: 10 million names
September 1996: 15 million names
February 1997 (last edition): 21 million names
February 1997 (next edition): 30 million names
September 1997: 20 million names.
December 1997: 29 million names.


a. Alan Mann ( Searchable Lineage Linked Databases, Genealogical Computing, Vol. 17, No. 3, Winter 1998.  Not Web-accessible.  Most of the databases listed here were surveyed by Alan Mann in December 1997.

b. "Ancestral File: This well-known collection of over 29 million names is available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, in nearly 2000 family history centers worldwide, and at various other locations as part of the FamilySearch® suite... One unique thing about Ancestral File is that the publisher, the LDS church, attempts to merge duplications.  If duplications had not been merged, the file would be at least 50% larger."  From Ref. a, above.   According to Genealogical Computing, Vol. 17, No. 4 (Spring 1998), the LDS church in April 1998 will release, for the first time ever, a small amount of data on CD-ROM.  (The first release will include the 1851 British Census for three counties, and the Australian Vital Records Index of 1788-1905).

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estimating the size of a database

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Deane Merrill,