Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Tuesday, May 25, 1999 Published at 05:54 GMT 06:54 UK


Family tree site felled

The Mormon Church has a massive genealogical database

A new Internet Website, launched by the Mormon Church, to help people trace their family history crashed after being overwhelmed by demand.

On its first day, around 500 people a second were estimated to be trying to access the site.

It contains the records of 400 million people dating back 500 years.

They have been gathered by the Church for more than a century for members, who are required to trace their family roots as part of their faith.

Quadruple overload

The site was down for six hours after the crash on Monday, forcing its high-tech partner, IBM, to add a support computer to handle the traffic.

IBM spokeswoman Jan Walbridge said: "It's triple, quadruple what they anticipated.

"They did plan for a back-up system, but they didn't think they'd have to use it so soon."

Family trees

Genealogy is one of the most popular subjects on the Internet with more than 40,000 different sites dedicated to family searches.

For Mormons, tracing family trees also forms an important part of their religious duties.

The Mormons, or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, first began compiling parish records from across the world since 1894.

Microfilm copies of the records, which are stored in a vault in the Wasatch Mountains near Salt Lake City, were used to compile the massive Mormon database.

The Mormons say they plan to add a further 200 million names to its FamilySearch database by the end of the year.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Sci/Tech Contents

Relevant Stories

23 May 99 | UK
Burke's breaks taboo

Internet Links


The Church of the Latter Day Saints

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

World's smallest transistor

Scientists join forces to study Arctic ozone

Mathematicians crack big puzzle

From Business
The growing threat of internet fraud

Who watches the pilots?

From Health
Cold 'cure' comes one step closer