thegenealogygirl


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Tuesday’s Tip: Indexing!

Indexing!

 

In honor of FamilySearch’s worldwide indexing event this week, I am bringing you a few indexing tips.

This video is geared toward beginning indexers but it also includes a few of my personal indexing tips that would apply to anyone.

If you have never indexed, I promise it is not hard!  Give it a try.  If I haven’t convinced you yet, watch this video.

 

 

Be a Genealogy Superhero – index!

 

gg - indexing superhero - small

 

 

ps – I am having a hard time letting go of the old indexing software.  When indexing that way you ‘download’ a batch.  The new web indexing tool is great, you don’t download, but I think I said the phrase ‘download a batch’ a few times.  Sorry!  Old habits and all of that.  😉  Also, if you use the new web indexing, you can access your batches from any device and index anywhere you have internet access.  Pretty cool.

 


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Can you spare 30 minutes? – An Indexing Update

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Close up shot of me proudly wearing an indexing button at RootsTech 2016

In March I shared my 2017 goal to index 6,000 records.  I am so happy to report that one of the indexing projects I have been helping with is soooooo close to being finished!

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On the right side of this screenshot you can see the stats on the 1881 Canadian Census, Part B.  So far, 53,664 images are complete, 10 images are awaiting indexing and 6 images are awaiting arbitration.  (I am pretty sure that means that the 10 images that need to be indexed will be added to the final arbitration list once they are indexed.)

This has been a fun challenge for me to help with.  I have been researching my Québec ancestors for about 4ish years now.  It was so painfully slow at first.  I don’t speak French.  But now I can zip right through things that felt impossible four years ago.  I’m still not a French speaker by any means, but I do know how to read most French Genealogy records for Québec.  Helping with the 1881 Canadian Census – which is in French – has really helped boost my understanding of the language and of names that I don’t have in my tree but sometimes see as witnesses to events for my family.

When I started, my accuracy percentage was not great.  I didn’t understand the diacritics well at all.  I’m still no expert, but I have memorized the keyboard shortcuts to help me type them and can recognize them in sloppy handwriting quite accurately now.

I was able to index 2,075 1881 Canadian Census records!

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Now that the project is nearly complete, and there are no batches available to download, I have moved on to the 1856 France, Saône-et-Loire Census.  It is stretching me even more.  I love it!

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My accuracy has gone way up.  There are occasional batches that are so hard to read and I get a surname wrong for a large family and my accuracy goes way down, but overall I’m doing pretty well at 97%.

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So far this year I have indexed 2,660 of my 6,000 record goal.  I’m a bit behind the pace I was hoping for but making progress.

Have you tried indexing?  If not, I promise there are plenty of English projects that need help.  Even a bunch of beginner projects.  FamilySearch is one of the many organizations you can index for.  They happen to be my preferred place to index because they provide their records freely to all.  If you have never indexed, check out the resources for indexers on FamilySearch.  The indexing page currently looks like this.

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I promise it is beginner friendly.

This infographic is a great summary of why indexing is so vital to genealogy.

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Have you indexed?  If so, who do you like to index for?

 

Do you have 30 minutes to spare?  If so, help “Fuel the Find” today by indexing one batch of records!

 

 


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Jerry, the Super-hero Indexer

gg, i heart indexers

In February of 2014 I wrote several posts all about indexing.  I even issued an indexing challenge.

Indexing is a vital part of the amazing increase in accessible genealogical records.  We ALL benefit from indexers.

I have always had a soft spot in my heart for indexers and their service.  But that soft spot grew to bursting this past November when I read an article about a man who had made it his goal to index 1 million records before he died.

Yep, you read that correctly, ONE MILLION records.

He didn’t quite make it.

His name was Jerry.  Jerry indexed 952,891 records before his death on 6 November 2016.

952,891 records!!!

 

Jerry’s family members are planning to index the remaining 47,109 records in his memory.

Well.

After reading that, my indexer-loving-genealogy-obsessed heart just couldn’t take the amazingness of Jerry’s service without rededicating itself to more indexing.  I didn’t start out with any particular goal in mind, I just decided to index when it worked.

I am guessing that anyone who was conscious at the time, will remember the American turmoil that was going on the 6th of November 2016 and that still continues.  Because of all of that, I was watching the news A LOT more than usual, and still do.  Do you know what you can easily do while watching the news?  Index.

In November and December I indexed about 3,500 records.

When I looked at my stats recently I decided to set a goal for 2017 to index 6,000 records.  I know it’s a far cry from a million, but it’s SO MANY MORE RECORDS than I usually index.

As a genealogist who relies on indexers, I express my deepest thanks to Jerry.  Thanks for his service and for his example and how it has inspired me.

Thank you Jerry!

 

Do you index?  If you want to join the party you can index for many different organizations.  Find one you like and pitch in.  Every little bit helps.

 

You can read more about Jerry here.

gg - indexing superhero - small

PS – This post is not meant to make any sort of political statement or imply anything about my own political leanings.  I love people SO much more than politics.  Vote however you feel comfortable, worry about the state of our nation however you choose, I love you for you, not for your voting preferences.  🙂


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Made My Day!

gg, i heart indexers

Last Tuesday I wrote a post entitled, “Just in case you need another reason…“.  My post was another small plug for indexing.  Why do I often plug indexing?  Because indexing is VITAL to genealogy.  And if I talk about it a lot, maybe it will inspire others to participate.  That day, two VERY cool things happened.

One reader, Amy, asked what indexing was and how to get involved.  Several comments later she wrote:

“Just did my first batch! I have a whole new respect for the indexers. I had one first name that was a pure guess on my part! Very interesting and very sad. Lots of children. People died of worms? Live and learn!

Thanks for introducing me to this!”

Wow!  I love that!

I write a simple little blog post about indexing and suddenly the world has one new indexer.  I was feeling pretty happy about the whole thing.

Then, shortly before I went to bed, I read another comment on that post that completely blew me away.  Elaine Davis said:

“I started indexing because of one of your previous blogs…6000 records later, I’m hooked. Anyone indexing who would like almost instantaneous answers to questions should join the Facebook group Share Batch Indexing, ETC. They are a wonderful group who will answer questions, review your batch, or send you virtual chocolate if you get a bad arb score!”

6,000 records?!!

Wait, let me try that again.

SIX THOUSAND RECORDS?!!!

 

Holy cow Elaine!  I am so impressed.  And so grateful.  That is 6,000 records that are now searchable online.  6,000 records that just might include some of the ones I have found lately.  6,000 records that help people like you and me make connections with our beloved ancestors.

I am deeply humbled that something I wrote inspired these two women to join the noble ranks of Indexers.

In case you didn’t know – I think Indexers are Genealogy Superheroes.

 

 


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My thoughts – FamilySearch Indexing Day

WorldwideIndexingBadge_EnglishDid you participate in the Worldwide Indexing Event hosted by FamilySearch?

My teenagers and I did.  I was honestly surprised that they were willing to join in.  This is not something they have an interest in.  They know what indexing is.  They have participated in helping index a batch or two on Family Night, but that’s it.

So why were they willing?

Well, FamilySearch did such a good job pushing this event.  It was announced repeatedly at our church.  The day the event began there was an especially detailed announcement at church.  Something about being challenged to participate by someone other than mom or dad softened them up.

After church the boys said they were willing to give it a try.  I went in before the event began and downloaded ten batches for each of the three of us so we could work offline if the system had trouble with volume.  Thank goodness I did!  The first several hours were rough on the system.  But we got work done anyway.  For a few hours we rotated turns on the computer and each of us indexed several batches.

I discovered something.

My 13 year old is a natural!  That kid was able to read almost everything on every record.  He would call me over occasionally to look at a name or a place.  Most of the time he already had a guess that was correct.  There were only a few names I had to spell for him.  I was very impressed.  Now if only I could figure out how to get him hooked on some form of genealogy.  🙂

The final numbers for the event are impressive.  5.7 million records were processed during 24 hours by 66,511 participants.  Amazing!  You can read more about the final numbers here.

What a fabulously successful event.

But.

The number of records on FamilySearch is growing much more quickly than they are being indexed.  The FamilySearch blog recently had a post detailing some of the changes in the new indexing program that will launch soon.  This paragraph is eye-opening:

“FamilySearch recently reached a significant milestone: one billion images of historical documents are now viewable on FamilySearch.org. That’s one billion pictures of documents. Of those images, how many would you say are indexed and searchable by name? All of them? Half of them? Would you believe less than 22 percent?”

The article goes on to explain ways the new system will streamline things to allow for indexing and arbitration to be accomplished more quickly.  You can read more about that here and here.

One billion images?! 

Awesome.

But only 22% are indexed?

We have work to do my friends!  Some good indexing work is in order.

And FamilySearch?  How about making that Worldwide Indexing Event a regular thing?  Like maybe quarterly, or even better – monthly.

Because it seems that – If you plan it, they will come.  All 66,511 of them.


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Still Here!

Carter & Harrison, bear lake, 2014

My little fellas, Bear Lake, 28 June 2014

I’ve been itching to get back to my blog – there are so many things I have to say, and so little time!  Here are a few of the big genealogy things that have been on my mind:

  • I created a fabulous mini book for our family reunion to help the great grandchildren learn more about our family.  It was awesome!  And even better, the kids loved it and worked on it.
  • Facebook groups for genealogy – which are your favorites?  They can be great and well, not so great.
  • FamilySearch indexing day was amazing.  I’m so impressed with their final numbers!  My two teenagers participated.  Can I just say I was completely surprised?  It turns out my 13 year old is pretty excellent at deciphering old handwriting.  Now I just need to figure out how to get him actually interested…  Did you join the fun?
  • Today is Pioneer Day.  I have lots of Mormon Pioneers in my tree.  Today is a tender day for me as I consider the many hardships they endured.  Last night my 13 year old offered our family prayer.  Among other things he said, “Please help us to remember the real meaning of Pioneer Day.”  Such a sweet moment for my mother heart.  I love this quote – “Can we somehow muster the courage and steadfastness of purpose that characterized the pioneers of a former generation?  Can you and I, in actual fact, be pioneers [today]?”  – Thomas S. Monson.  Do you have any Mormon Pioneers in your tree?
  • I have one more LARGE family reunion this summer.  I am one of the three people in charge.  I need to come up with some sort of activity, some family history type activity.  I have a few ideas brewing…
  • Who Do You Think You Are? started back up!  My favorite show.  Do you watch?
  • My family and I have discovered a new {to us} show on Netflix – Alaska The Last Frontier.  I am in love with this show because I have three generations in my family that were involved with homesteads in Alaska.  There were two homesteads, one was completed, one was not.  The one that was completed was started by my 3rd great grandfather Henry Hyde.  He died before it was completed so his wife Alice Whiteley Hyde completed it without him.  Watching this show has really opened my eyes to how difficult life is in Alaska.  I am gaining new respect and admiration for this part of my family with every episode I watch.

I’m still here, soaking up every bit of genealogy goodness I can find in the world.  See you in a few weeks!