The mission of the BYU Record Linking Lab is to develop tools that link families and individuals across records and combines the efforts of FamilySearch, BYU students, and academic researchers. We are currently developing tools to auto-index hand-written forms (such as census records), extract genealogical information from books, and link collections with sparse data (such as lists of school alumni or those who died in World War I).

Our lab provides a mentored research opportunity to over 40 BYU students with diverse backgrounds and skill sets. These students bring together experience in a wide array of fields, including programming, family history, and foreign languages. The synthesis of their unique skills allows us to combine the accuracy of careful family history work with the speed and automation of machine learning. This hybrid approach provides the most effective way to link individuals across records, particularly groups that are difficult to link, like women and immigrants.

All of the work our lab does is designed to increase the quality and coverage of the Family Tree at familysearch.org. The Family Tree provides a single public tree that will eventually link together everyone in the world. Our goal is to expand the base of people able to find their family on the Family Tree and reduce barriers to participating in family history work. We have many tasks that volunteers can help with. Please contact us at rll@byu.edu to get involved.

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