One of the great announcements made at RootsTech 2013 was that FamilySearch Indexing is fast approaching a billion indexed records thanks to people like us. What once took decades has now taken a little over six years so that those interested can find an actual image of a record of an ancestor with a click of a mouse or a tap on a screen :-) Indexing makes research easy and convenient.
While at RootsTech 2013 I noticed at the indexing booth that the counter never stopped. About a dozen computers were made available so that those attending the conference could stop by and index a batch. Others around the world continued to index as well :-) As of this past Thursday, FamilySearch Indexing had reached 990,000,000 and counting. I hope this pace remains constant as indexers continue the quest. Ten million records doesn’t seem like that much since indexers already broke records last July 2nd and topped the goal of indexing 5 million by completing over 7 million in a 24 hour period with over 3 million records arbitrated for the 1940 US Census Community Project.
Now two additional projects are center stage: the US Immigration and Naturalization Project and the Italian Ancestors Project, but as an indexer, neither project is required. The indexer chooses which record set he or she would like to work with, such as a project listed as a high priority and/or one in the indexer’s area of interest. Projects are also labeled as beginner, intermediate, or advanced to assist the indexer in choosing an appropriate level of difficulty. On the screen that allows you to choose your project, in the left-hand corner, an indexer may choose how many batches he or she would like to download. The advantage to more than one batch is that when a record is handwritten the indexer can become accustomed to the recorders style and it is easier to read. This is true for all handwritten records, but especially for those written in a language foreign to the indexer. Currently many of the passenger lists are typed on the original records so data entry is easy.
If you would like to give indexing a try, you will need a familysearch.org account. There are two types of accounts: one for the general public and one for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (Don’t be concerned about the LDS church account if you are not a member. The account log in for LDS members allows them to access church related directories, calendars, and other church information.)
Once you have an account, you may download the indexing software. This software can be used with Windows, Mac, or Linux :-)
Once installed, choose a project, download a batch, read the instructions for the project, and then begin. Instructions for each field are always to the right of the data input. Help is available by phone or chat. Give indexing a try, and if you find a specific batch that is incompatible with you, just send it back and try another one. Soon you will be indexing like a pro!
What if indexing is not for you? There are other ways you can contribute to the genealogical community at familysearch.org. You can contribute by writing research articles for the wiki and/or tech tips in your area of expertise, make a tax-deductible donation, and/or evaluate upcoming features. It’s up to you! I’ve heard FamilySearch express gratitude many times for those who volunteer. All of us benefit from the record sets indexed and made available at no cost to us. If you use familysearch.org, thank an indexer! At RootsTech, FamilySearch Indexing found a fun way to give back to the volunteers as well. Anyone who indexed a batch at the conference received a photo on the mock dock of Ellis Island in honor of the US Immigration and Naturalization Project. Remember immigration and naturalization records can be the key to unlocking the mystery of an ancestor’s homeland. Why not give indexing a try? You may be the one to index the billionth record!
Copyright ©2013 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.