FamilySearch has a great volunteer program for indexing records.  Indexing takes scanned and digitized handwritten or typed records and allows volunteers to write down information such as names, dates, and places.  With this information, searching through records is faster and easier to do.  Instead of searching through pages and pages of microfilms, a person can easily go online, type in the name they are searching for, and (with luck) find that name in the database.

Not only is participating in indexing a great volunteer opportunity to help prepare records for search databases.  It also teaches you how to read old and/or sloppy handwriting.  Even with all the indexing and transcribing, family historians and genealogists still work with reading handwritten records.  And to be honest, many of the records are hard to read.  At times, it take a lot of work to decipher the handwriting.

With indexing, a person learns to recognize different styles of writing.  It may be difficult at first, but you will learn and improve on the skill.   The more records you index, the easier it will become and the more you are preparing yourself for the day when you find an important family document and need to decipher the handwriting.  You will be thankful for the practice.

If you haven't already, consider volunteering at:

If you are already an indexer, keep up the good work.  It may be hard and frustrating at times, but you will improve.  Just imagine what it would be like if one day a record you are indexing happens to have the name of one of your ancestors.  How would that feel to you?  Your work is allowing another person to search for their ancestor and find that name.  They will feel that same emotion you just imagined feeling.

Also, if you have been invited by FamilySearch to become an arbitrator (after indexing a specific number of batches), seriously think about accepting the offer.  It can be even more difficult to arbitrate because you are comparing the same record done by two different indexers and you have to make the decision of which is right.  But don't let that scare you away.  It too will be a great teaching tool.  It improves your skills as an indexer (for you should continue doing both arbitrating and indexing batches) and it lets you take another role in preparing these records for internet accessibility.

It is a great family history opportunity.  Don't let this experience and practice pass you by.  Consider joining in on the volunteer effort - whether it is through FamilySearch or another organization.

1 comment:

  1. I use the familysearch site so often,that I feel it is the least I can do to volunteer and help transcribe. I truly enjoy doing it too!
    Theresa (Tangled Trees)


I live in the present yet feel for the past
Seeking connections and roots that outlast
The change of the seasons, the distance of time
Stories and people who I can call mine

Someone who's part of me -- Who will that someone be?

For the hearts of the children are turning
Turning to fathers they've never seen
And the hearts of the fathers are burning
With the promise of what will be

Play the song "The Hearts of the Fathers are Turning" by Steven Kapp Perry