FamilySearch publishes "Project Completion Percentages" on the page "FamilySearch Indexing Updates". (That may or may not be the only or best place). On that page we find, for instance, that "US (Community Project), New York, New York—Passenger Lists, 1942–1957 [Part F]" is 11.33% complete (arbitrated?) at time of writing. This percentage is however, meaningless unless we know how many Parts there are, and / or what the size of each Part is and the complete Project is.

I seem to have been making this point in various places for literally years. Am I missing something? Is there a definition of the Part sizes somewhere? If so, where, please?

2 Answers 2


I would read the quoted text in a way which does not raise your concern. If the percentage complete refers only to Part F then you do not need to know whether or not there is a Part Z to interpret the statement. It simply means that there is more than 88% of the task in question left to do. No doubt that is interesting to those working on Part F.

If you are interested in a super-task that encompasses more than one of the tasks listed, then you require additional information. You want to ask another question about whether each of the sub-tasks is the same size. But there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the answer given for its apparent purpose.

In my reading the information given certainly has meaning in its own context. For your purposes, it is necessary but not sufficient. (In many ways, this revisits the larger question of information and evidence.)

  • Sorry @Fortiter - I've not explained myself successfully. If I were working on "US ... Part F", then the number would have meaning. I'm not. What I'm trying to understand is how far through the entire "US (Community Project), New York, New York—Passenger Lists, 1942–1957" FamilySearch has got. If I knew that there were 6 batches (A through F!) then I could feel reasonably hopeful they're not far off nearly there. If there are 26 batches (A thru Z), then they are a long way off. Knowing Part F is 11% complete doesn't help me know anything and I question the usefulness of the statistic.
    – AdrianB38
    Apr 24, 2013 at 14:21
  • So your question is "Does the list All projects being administered by FamilySearch indexing include all extant records in a category? Or might there be another Part created? Seems like a straight forward request to an FS Indexing forum.
    – Fortiter
    Apr 25, 2013 at 0:48
  • Err. Yes. I confess I didn't actually think of submitting a request to a Forum - probably because I'm not an Indexer. Now all I have to do is find such a Forum... I could be gone some time....
    – AdrianB38
    Apr 25, 2013 at 20:25
  • Well, that was a waste of time... @Fortiter - I followed your sensible advice, went to the "Project Completion Percentages" page referred to above, discovered it was a Wiki page with a Discussion, and submitted a request asking if there was a way to see the size and progress of the complete project. Their response was "Unfortunately Indexing doesn't have the manpower to monitor these pages. Send an email to [email protected] with the name of the project in the title for timely response." Not sure that FS understand the concept of discussion but let that pass. So I mailed the address...
    – AdrianB38
    Apr 28, 2013 at 20:25
  • ... the FS Support team responded "The best answer I can give you is found at the following site: familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/FamilySearch_Indexing_Updates." Yes - that's the same page that I started with and asked them about. So I ask them for clarification about a page and they tell me that page is the best they know about. I'm beginning to think they don't know the size of a whole project. And they're managing it how????
    – AdrianB38
    Apr 28, 2013 at 20:26

Presumably there is a Project Manager at FamilySearch who oversees the indexing, that person has a supervisor, and so on.... Someone must know. On the other hand, it doesn't follow that other public-facing people at FamilySearch, even FamilySearch support, have access to those people or that information. I am reminded of a software project I was involved with once, where the developer's answer to 'when will [the new version] be available?' was always "when it's ready".

The person I would ask, who might know who within FamilySearch would know, or be able to ask someone who could ask someone, etc: The Ancestry Insider. I see that today's post is Some FamilySearch Indexing Stats which he has extracted from the November issue of the FamilySearch Indexing Newsletter.

Looking at the newsletter, I see that The Ancestry Insider has simply copied the numbers at the bottom of the page, rather than extracting them from a larger article. However it may be worth it to shoot him an email to see what he says.

I see also three links at the bottom:

This page has been replaced by the "Projects in Need" list here and is not current.

Project Completion Percentages April 8, 2013

The link "Projects in Need" takes one back to the "Current Projects" page.

While I understand and share your frustration, the thing that bothers me is that when I click through to US, New York, New York—Passenger Lists, 1942–1957 [Part F] it says:

Description and Characteristics

  • This project is to index passenger lists for the port of Maryland.

Port of Maryland? Say what?

P.S. the NYG&B website notes:

September 5, 2013 FamilySearch.com has added more indexed records to its New York Passenger and Crew Lists, 1925–1942. All recent additions to FamilySearch, both indexes and browseable images, can be found at https://www.familysearch.org/node/2340

Clicking through:

Added indexed records to an existing collection. (50,172 indexed records 0 digital images)

New York, New York Passenger and Crew Lists, 1909-1957


Images of passenger arrivals in New York Harbor, corresponding to NARA microfilm publication T715: Passenger and Crew Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1897-1957. Additional records will be added as they are completed.

So while it might be possible to learn the size of the entire collection by going to the catalog at NARA, that still doesn't answer the original question. Argh. Seeing how many microfilm rolls exist for the date range might be a clue, if the parts are numbered starting with A, but that's a wild-assed-guess.

  • There's a related bit of information in the answers to Cannot find ship's manifest for family arriving in the US around 1890 genealogy.stackexchange.com/questions/2371/… where Inspector 8 reports finding Baltimore arrivals in the Castle Garden database.
    – Jan Murphy
    Dec 14, 2013 at 4:35

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