Tuesday’s Tip: 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.



Worldwide Indexing Event – Will You Join Us?


This video gets right to the heart of what Indexers do for Researchers.

Indexers help make genealogy better.  They help make genealogy from home possible.

FamilySearch is holding another Worldwide Indexing Event this week!


FS indexing


Will you join us?


I hope so!

Here is my invitation to you:


First, if you have never indexed, visit this FamilySearch page, scroll down and click on the blue ‘Try it out!’ button on the ‘Try a Guided Tour’ section.  After you complete the tour, index one batch.

Second, if you are an avid genealogist, I invite you to reflect back on 2017.  How many major new discoveries did you make this year?  How many of those discoveries were aided by an indexed record?  I invite you to index one batch for every major discovery you made this year.  Spread your joy to other researchers by indexing!

Third, will you spread the news about the FamilySearch Worldwide Indexing Event?  You can visit this page, add your email address to be ‘counted in’, and then invite your family and friends on Facebook, Twitter, or by email simply by clicking a few links.


Can you imagine what we could accomplish together if we all just indexed one batch this week?


What discoveries have you made because of indexers?


Here’s one last video.  I promise, indexing is easier than you think!



Will you join the ranks of Genealogy Superheroes by indexing?


gg - indexing superhero - small



Advice Please ❤️


I have finished filing thousands of precious letters between my grandparents, as well as letters from my great grandparents, extended family, and friends to my Grandpa during WWII and my grandparent’s respective missions.

I have begun scanning and transcribing.  What a joy!

But I am struggling with a few decisions.

Should I post the letters here or on their own blog?  I haven’t counted the letters, but there are thousands.  If I post them here, how should I alter my posting schedule?

Should I include everything?  My Grandma wrote the word destroy on a few of the envelopes.  You see, she inadvertently “Dear John”ed my Grandpa and was extremely embarrassed by that.  It wasn’t something she talked about.  Ever.  But my Grandpa told me all about it.  How do I handle those letters with respect to both my Grandma’s feelings and honoring the truth of their story?  (I really don’t think she had a reason to be embarrassed, it all worked out just fine in the end.)

Then there are a few letters written by Grandpa’s friends that don’t exactly paint the letter writers in the best light.  Do I include those?

Oh boy!  So many decisions.

So, I have a little survey here with these questions.  Feel free to answer on the survey or in the comments or both.  I would love any feedback that might help me choose a path forward.


Thank you!





Can you spare 30 minutes? – An Indexing Update


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!

Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 10.55.46 AM

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!

Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 10.57.00 AM

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!

Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 10.56.26 AM

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%.

Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 11.04.47 AM

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.

Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 11.47.09 AM

I promise it is beginner friendly.

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


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!




Help Preserve Records – 4 Pennies At a Time

Naomi Skeen, death record

“Utah Death Certificates, 1904-1964,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 4 March 2016), > image 1 of 1; citing series 81448; Utah State Archives Research Center, Salt Lake City, Utah.

That image is the death record for my great grandmother Naomi Skeen.  She’s the smart one who saved the divinity until her kiddos were craving a treat.

That image is available for free on FamilySearch.

Did you know that FamilySearch relies on LDS missionaries to volunteer their time and go to places all over the world to digitize records?  Those missionaries pay their own way but the equipment is provided by the church.  The church is allocating resources in an effort to preserve as many records as they can, as quickly as then can.

But, things happen.  Like natural disasters.  Sometimes records are destroyed before they are digitized.  The good news is that we can help!

LDS Philanthropies has various charities set up that meet different purposes.  Among those is the opportunity to donate directly to FamilySearch.  Ten cents saves three records – so my title is actually a little high.  That’s 30 records saved for every dollar donated.

One camera kit costs about $7,000.  Each new camera kit allows another set of missionaries to digitize away.  The LDS church has no trouble finding volunteers to serve missions.  So… more cameras, more missionaries, more records being saved.

Interested in donating a buck or two?  Click on over or call (801)356-5300 and reference Family Search acct #30-020-070.

Interested in a few more details?

Here is a list created by some of the folks at LDS Philanthropies:

  • The Church is literally racing against time as it tries to help gather and preserve the world’s genealogical records.
  • Historical records showing proof of life are disappearing at an alarming rate.
  • Records of our ancestors are subject to storage issues, decay, and natural disasters.
  • Last year’s typhoon in the Philippines destroyed millions of records in the Catholic
    diocese record archive.
  • Census records in India are destroyed every ten years.
  • The mass move to digital record keeping has nations throwing out handwritten records faster than ever.
  • Only 12 percent of the world’s top genealogical records are digitized and preserved,
    leaving the rest at risk of destruction or loss.
  • At current rates it will take 124 years to capture the top-tier records.
  • Governments are asking FamilySearch for help in preserving their records at three times the rate FamilySearch and its crews can capture.
  • Donations to FamilySearch go directly to the Church’s records-capture project.
  • 10 cents saves three records. That’s 30 records for every dollar donated. And that’s up to 30 people found. Imagine the impact of a $10,000 donation—that’s 300,000 people (the population of Cincinnati, Ohio) who will be forever grateful for your generosity.
  • FamilySearch is also helping loved ones find each other while they’re still alive. See how Mandy Phillips used the Church’s indexing program to reunite with grandparents she had not seen in 20 years. Click here to see her inspiring story.



Seeking Advice – Favorite Recording Methods & Why?

deane duval - funny faceMy Grandma, date unknown

I have been preparing for my big trip.  I’m excited.  But.  I am struggling with a very important decision.  How am I going to record my interviews?

I keep changing my mind.  There are so many different technologies available.  It’s been a long time since I did a proper interview and everything is so different.

Rather than bore you with all of the MANY swirly, crazy thoughts bouncing around in my head about the many different ways I could record my interviews and what I think about each one, I was hoping to get some advice.

What is your favorite method of recording an interview and why?

Do you prefer audio or video?

What technology do you like?

All suggestions, tips, warnings, and advice are welcomed, wanted, and needed!