Sunday, August 26, 2007

Adventures in FamilySearch Indexing - Week 5

It's Sunday and I didn't make it to church today. All last week I attended BYU Education Week and now I am exhausted. I have slept all day and since getting up I have now completed a batch of FamilySearch Indexing. I had a beautiful page of the South Carolina 1900 U. S. Federal Census. Everything was clear except for the scribbles made on the head of households given name. Why do they do that? I know it's part of the statistics they are gathering afterwards. They must of figured nobody was going to look at it once they gathered that information. Very frustrating to look at years later.

I didn't time myself because I had previously decided not to, but I can say it went very fast. I really could of done more than one batch but I vowed to start my Family History Consultant Training Courses on the Church's Internet Learning System (Net Dimensions). I wanted to start last Sunday but I didn't have time to. These are the two habits I am trying to develop for my Sunday afternoon activities.

Right now my grand total of indexed names in 5 weeks is 300 individuals. I know many have done tons more than me but I am contributing and making my dent into the names to index. According to FHC Support at the FGS conference in Fort Wayne on the 14th Aug 1.2 million names were indexed by 70,000 indexers. Now those figures are just on that day not for the over-all project. That means each person did an average of 17 names each. Can you see how important each individual is to this indexing project. Having said that I sure would love to see the figures on the most people have indexed individually.

Here are a few comments sent to me by readers this past week:


I am a 69 year old male with a lot of time and a new interest in indexing. I had a hard page to read so I used the laptop and went on line to I am a member and tried to find the same people on the 1910 census and was successful so I could read a lot of the names. It goes against the grain to call a male with a male name and a wife a female but I'm told to enter it the way I see it. Anyway it is fun and quiet. Thanks

Bill Thomas



I enjoy reading your blog. I don't know how it would set with the powers to be, but I have been known to check what the index reads at Ancestry AFTER I have decided what I want to put down for an especially hard to read entry. I don't want to let their index lead me in some direction but a couple of times after looking at their index I could see exactly what was probably the right interpretation.

Actually doing this has taught me how terrible the index Ancestry has really is. I had already come to that conclusion after having so much trouble finding people on the 1900 census. Doing this indexing has really opened my eyes to how totally bad their index really is.

Isn't this a wonderful activity? I really feel the spirit of the work doing this. The beauty of it is that it can be fit to our individual schedules. I just love that.Have a great day. Keep up the good blog.

Bob Givens


It appears the theme this week was taking a look at the census records on Ancestry to compare those difficult to read records we are indexing. Personally I don't see any problem with that. I don't have an Ancestry subscription but I do have access to Heritage Quest from home. It has been a common trick amongst genealogists to view difficult to read census records online at either of these websites. The quality of the films are different. What might be unreadable on one site could be clear on another. Even the actually microfilms of the censuses should be consulted at times. I wouldn't suggest doing that with this indexing project but it is an option for your own personal use.

Another thing to keep in mind with censuses is that there are different copies of the original censuses. There wasn't xerox machines back then so the county/state had to re-write the census pages to send a copy to the federal government. The transcriber could of skipped the line your ancestor was on and that is why you don't see them in the census.

One of the benefits of FamilySearch Indexing is that it's exposing indexers that have never done genealogy research before to what records are available for them search. I bet it won't be so scary for them to start doing their genealogy afterwards.

If you have a FamilySearch Indexing experience you would like to share email me at:

See ya tomorrow, for tomorrow is always another genealogy day!

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