Congratulations to the FamilySearch Indexing Volunteers – Your Efforts Counted…to a Billion!

One Million Digitized WPAs I have been reporting since RootsTech 2013, FamilySearch Indexing has been approaching the billionth indexed record. It really takes team effort to reach such a goal. Previously it took decades; this time it took less than 7 years :-) When it came to the 1940 US Census Community Project, organizations joined forces to complete the project. A few weeks into April 2012, 4.9 million records were indexed in one day and on July 2, 2012 indexers produced over 10 million records indexed and arbitrated in a 24-hour period. Now that was a WOW moment!

Today, someone will be named the indexer of the billionth record. Another could be named as the one who indexed the most records. And another could be named for the most accurate indexing. The list could go on, but it took every single record to count to a billion and therefore every single record and the indexer who contributed it counts! It’s part of being a team, whether on a project, with friends, in a family, with a business, or in the community, greater outcomes materialize with team effort and support :-) So today, THANK YOU to each and every volunteer who made it happen! You have provided indexes that will assist genealogists and family historians in finding the records that will piece history together! And, THANK YOU to FamilySearch International and the Indexing team for supplying and supporting these efforts. Volunteers could not do it without you! You provide so much :-)

This past week familysearch.org received a makeover. As individuals evaluated the new features and layout, I personally noticed that the links to the pages for indexing remained the same. For those who may have hesitated and would like to join in indexing the next billion, here is how you can become a part of this great team.

Go to www.familysearch.org. First ScreenClick on the Indexing box, the fifth one from the left, and then Learn More. (If the screen has rotated to highlight indexing, just click on Learn More.) This is the FamilySearch Indexing Home Screen.2 If you do not already have a FamiySearch account you will need to register. Click on “Sign In.” The form requires that you create a user name and password that will be used when accessing the FamilySearch Indexing software and other FamilySearch features. 4Be sure to read the Rights and Use Information as well as the Privacy Policy, then click on “Create an Account.” :-)5 When you return to the indexing home page click on “Download the software” and you will received the specialized software necessary for indexing. 2aOnce you have downloaded the software you are ready to begin. If you scroll down the Indexing home page you will see some interesting and pertinent information with links to even more information. Don’t be overwhelmed! You decide which project to work on and a way to find out more information about the projects is to click on “see all  projects” highlighted in blue under “Indexing is a worldwide effort.”6 The projects listed are from localities around the world! These pages will give you the details and sample pages to determine the right project for you!78910 (By the way, if you are logged into the software you may access the project information from the list of choices.)

As I mentioned, indexing is a team effort and if a collection is a priority to an organization it will be completed at a much faster rate. If your society has interest in records that will specifically benefit your members, why not adopt that project. You can even hold indexing meetings or parties. There are many ways to come together to index the records that benefit ourselves and the community.

As I mentioned previously, the projects being highlighted by FamilySearch Indexing are the US Immigration and Naturalization Project and the Italian Ancestors Project. Once indexed these records become accessible to all genealogists and family historians without subscription.

Today is the day to celebrate another billion records indexed! CONGRATULATIONS to FamilySearch Indexing and its volunteers. And, once again, THANK YOU :-)

Copyright ©2013 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

FamilySearch Indexing Fast Approaching a Billion Indexed Records

FS Thanks A BillionOne 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.)

Indexing Home Page

FamilSearch Sign In

FS Registration Page

Registration Information

Once you have an account, you may download the indexing software. This software can be used with Windows, Mac, or Linux :-)FS Indexing Get Started

Installing FS Indexing Pop-Up Window

Sign In to FamilySearch Indexing

Download BatchOnce installed, choose a project, download a batch, read the instructions for the project, and then begin. Please Read the InstructionsInstructions 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!

FS Indexing Image

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.

Blues Skies Cap the End of RootsTech 2013

RootsTech2013-Find My Past 3

Boy Scout Merit Badge WPThe third day of RootsTech 2013 began with snowy roads and about 2000 young people descending on the Salt Palace Convention Center. Upon arriving I met a group of young men that were going to earn their genealogy badge from the Boy Scouts of America, and later found 2000 youth contained in Hall 2 with presentations geared to an introduction to genealogy and family history. Smaller groups toured the facilities with guides. The young people were all smiles as they entered the exhibit hall. Pictures were taken by the RootsTech waterfall. But, as an adult attending the conference, the youth were hardly noticeable. Well-mannered and polite, they blended with genealogists of all ages.

There appeared to be fewer adult attendees this Saturday. The developers were gone. There were only three sessions, and a reduced fourth, offered. The Saturday keynote presentations were sponsored by MyHeritage. The recap is posted at RootsTech.org. David Pogue opened the general session. You don’t want to miss it!

After the opening session, my focus was DNA. The first presentation was a panel from the three leading companies providing DNA testing for genealogy: Family TreeDNA, 23andMe, and Ancestry. Bennett Greenspan, Tim Janzen, MD, and Catherine Ball represented the respective companies. CeCe Moore moderated for the panel. DNA at RootsTech 2013 WPThe attendance in each DNA presentation provided standing room only. Later in the day, a wall was removed to accommodate the crowd. By a raise of hands, the crowd was heavily interested in DNA for genealogy. Most individuals had the results from more than one test from more than one company. The main issue raised during the Q&A was the ability of individuals to compare data with results from all three companies. Bennett Greenspan, with concurrence of the panel, cited business profit as the main reason for the “brick wall.” Many discussed GEDmatch as a possible solution to the problem, but the way in which Ancestry released the raw data to customers is incompatible with the current version of GEDmatch. (Judy Russell, The Legal Genealogist, has written a blog post about Ancestry’s recent move to fulfill the promise to release raw data needed for comparisons that may be of interest to you.)

FamilySearch Indexing expressed gratitude to all of the volunteers who assist them by providing an opportunity for those in attendance to have a picture taken on the mock-up of the Ellis Island immigration dock. The present goal of FamilySearch Indexing is to reach the one billionth record indexed! It is estimated that the goal will be reached in the next few weeks. FS Indexing WPAt the close of RootsTech 2013 the number of records indexed was at 988,216,302 and climbing. If you are a registered indexer with FamilySearch, why not get online and help in this worthy project that benefits everyone in the genealogical community. I personally found a new record subset of interest, US airplane immigration lists from after World War 2 to 1954. These records may be of interest to you as well. If you’ve never indexed before and would like to try it, give it a test run at familysearch.org. A batch of records can be competed in small increments of time and an index is a great tool to genealogists everywhere :-)

Usually, as the conference comes to a close, fatigue sets in as one says good-bye to old friends and new. Blue skies capped a very successful conference. Mike Bronner, Warren Bittner and Nathan Machula FHL March 23, 2013 WPAlthough there were other dinners and parties being held around the venue, I was at the Family History Library. According to Warren Bittner, CG, that is where “real” genealogists go to party :-) Warren was the coordinator of the Advanced German Research Course held this past January for the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, and at least five of us from that course were in attendance at the library last night, including our own Judy Russell, JD, CG. Although the library has changed its hours to close early on Saturdays, it remained open until 9pm to the delight of all who attended.

Thank you to all who volunteered to make RootsTech 2013 a success!

(By the way, Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings, an offical blogger, has compiled a list of blog posts written during the course of the conference. Thank you, Randy! A list of official bloggers and links to their sites can be found at RootsTech.org.)

Copyright ©2013 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.