So, what exactly IS ‘indexing’ for FamilySearch.org? Besides being an interesting hobby it can sometimes be a surprising one too.
Take for instance my experience. One day, when I was deep into indexing a batch of ‘US Death Certificates’ I was quite engrossed and had been indexing for an hour or so when I realised I had been entering as the ‘Cause of Death’ ‘GSW (Gun Shot Wounds) to head and chest’ more than once. A few dozen times. I checked again the title of the batch I had downloaded and there it was, “Chicago, Illinois, Cause of Death – 1900 to 1930s! The days of Al Capone and the Chicago gangs. It was at once chilling and thrilling! You just never know what you may find.
As a volunteer, I do the data entry of the original human records worldwide from centuries ago to the present day, in any language we choose. The data we index consists of births, deaths, marriages, banns, obituaries, christenings, newspaper items, and baptisms, also, historical records and many other interesting items worldwide. These original documents are scanned, then uploaded to Family Search for us to download and index (type out) what we see on the documents.
After we enter the information and return them it does not matter if we have made a mistake because the records are checked and arbitrated more than a few times for accuracy before being uploaded to the Family Search site.
It is exciting to see documents that are just now seeing the light of day, and will soon be uploaded to Family Search where we all benefit from the contributions of volunteers like me and that I use to find my ancestors.
In 2013, I helped index the United States 1940 Census. When you first start out searching for your ancestors, usually the first place to go is the Census of that country, area and year in which they were born and lived in. That monumental task was completed well within the time range expected and up and running far sooner than anticipated.
Then, in July of 2014, the FamilySearch website asked for volunteers for two full days of indexing by asking everyone we knew to join in. This, in part, is their response after that weekend.
“We hoped to have an unprecedented 50,000 contributors in a 24-hour period. FamilySearch volunteers excelled, surpassing that goal by 16,511! That’s right—66,511 participants in one day! Incredible! We are grateful for the patience and persistence of many volunteers who faced technical difficulties due to an overwhelming response.”
We who helped the indexing that day were offered the badge below.
I have been using this site for many years and I feel that by indexing I am giving back for all the free information I have been able to find over the years. I find it is an absorbing and interesting hobby. I am never bored.
Many more batches of names, dates and historical facts now await for us to index and to provide a name or a lead for someone who is searching for their ancestors.
Just remember, you are helping to add millions of data for us genealogists to find plus as a side benefit, indexing can help you become a better researcher as you become more familiar with the wide variety of historical documents available to you and the type of information each contains.
So, why not give this interesting hobby a try? Your first step is to log on to the link below for more information and good luck!
FamilySearch, historically known as the Genealogical Society of Utah, which was founded in 1894 is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (The Mormons) but you certainly do not have to share their beliefs to volunteer to index or have a free account to search for your ancestors.
The site is always in the process of digitizing the bulk of their genealogical records, as well as partnering with genealogical societies to digitize other records of genealogical value. Most genealogical sites have obtained their records from this site.
FamilySearch Hits 8 Billion Searchable Names in Historical Records
Nonprofit FamilySearch published its 8 billionths free searchable name from its worldwide historic record collections online. The milestone is even more astounding when you think that each name is someone’s ancestor—8 billion family connections just waiting to be discovered. Read about if here.