In recent years, the Church has taken on some huge projects to streamline and speed up genealogy research. It is putting billions of images online, with an online indexing system to harness the cooperation of many people to make those records accessible. It has assembled in one database all the Church historical records related to temple work.
But still there is an important piece missing, in my opinion. Since the times of Henry Ford, the mass production techniques of specialization and cooperation have changed most of the industries in the United States to make them hundreds or thousands of times more productive, but the genealogy industry has largely escaped those radical reengineering efforts. It is still mostly a "cottage industry" in its work methods, barely touched by the "industrial revolution" described by Adam Smith.
It appears that the LDS Church needs an annual flow of new fully-researched names in the range of 10 million in order to avoid all use of unresearched names and duplicates from the past. I don't see another reliable way being developed to easily produce at least 10 million new fully-researched names each year, so I wish to describe such a system. It should be noted that there are some fee-exchange aspects of the system which are needed to ensure a certain level of fairness among the participants. I assume those necessary fee-exchange features make it unsuitable for direct Church sponsorship.
The inherent "mathematics of genealogy" strongly invite a change in approach to achieve vast gains in overall productivity through "industrial strength" cooperation. These mathematics have always been there, but have gone completely unnoticed, so it seems. The solution I suggest is relatively easy to implement with today's computers, but it certainly could have been done 10 years ago, and probably could of been done 30 years ago with the first availability of general-purpose computers.
Below is a short description of the project I propose. All the important pieces of the system have been tested in research mode, and now are being assembled for general public use. A patent was issued in 2004. The system is actually operating at a very basic level in a beta testing mode at http://www.GenReg.com
, and significant amounts of documentation appear on the site under the "about us" button, including a 30 minute narrated PPT video. It can accept registrations and genealogical data, but it is far from complete. Two people in southern Utah County are doing the work in PHP/MySQL. A noticeably larger staff with a wide mix of skills will be needed to make it fully successful, including programmers to flesh out all the necessary mechanisms. Anyone with the slightest interest is invited to inquire further. This is a bootstrap startup with a near-zero budget. It is an idealistic endeavor, and I assume that venture capital involvement and extreme profit-making goals would seriously warp the project from the beginning, although there is every reason to believe that the project could become at least self-supporting.
Genealogy Registry, http://www.GenReg.com
We provide the concepts, methods, and tools for researchers to cooperate in completing high quality genealogy on an industrial scale, up to 2,000 times faster than in the past. Researchers can "finish" data so that no one need ever do the basic research again, which is the best possible way to stop all unnecessary duplication. With this vast increase in efficiency, it becomes possible to finish the basic genealogy for whole nations in extremely short time periods. Theoretically, the entire US could be completed in two weeks: If all of the 4 million US genealogists each completed and contributed 75 names, and spent about 1 hour on each name, or 80 hours in all, that would mean that the 300 million names of those who have died in the US could be collected in a two week period.
Participating researchers who do their part completing a 10-generation single-surname descendency structure should receive back completed versions of the other 1023 single-surname descendencies they need to complete their full 10-generation pedigree, making it a 1000-to-1 gain for them. This would be an impossible, million dollar product using normal historical methods, but participants get it essentially for free. The completed database can also be treated as a cooperative publishing project, where the royalties from distribution would be returned to the data suppliers who agree to the publishing of their data.