Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Adventures in FamilySearch Indexing - Week 53

I totally missed my one year anniversary of FamilySearch Indexing. My father came from New York for a visit and I couldn't pull myself away to work on indexing. I think my priorities were straight with that choice.

I spent all the time I could with my father. Which also included conducting a personal interview of him. I wanted my son to videotape it but he wasn't able to. Thankfully Radio Shack had the Olympus Digital Voice Recorder (WS-210S) on sale so I purchased it. I was so excited when I played the interview back on my computer. It was crystal clear and in stereo. It was simple to use and I am just in love with my new toy and the results I have from it.

I could of worked on FamilySearch Indexing on Sunday but I was busy sleeping and recovering from my father's visit. I major over did. I even had to call in sick on Monday. Today I am just starting to recover enough to get on the computer and do some work. Boy, do I have major, major blog and email reading to do. It's amazing how fast it all accumulates.

With that said I haven't watched the mailing list to let you know of any new developments in indexing. I do recall sending out one posting last Wednesday from FamilySearch letting us know that the indexes that volunteers create will remain free. See article "Records Created by FamilySearch Indexers to Remain Free". Some volunteers were upset with an earlier announcement from FamilySearch. They had made arrangements for to host the images to the census records that volunteers had indexed. I can understand the frustration that some of these images will not be available at home for free but on the other hand I see the Church's position. It cost lots of money to host these images. Indexes are free and if you go to your local Family History Center you can see the images there free also. It's just not so convenient to go to the local FHC when your up and wanting to work in the middle of the night on genealogy. Not only is it not convenient, they aren't even open then.

I'm sure we don't have the full picture yet on what FamilySearch is arranging with partners and how it will benefit volunteer indexers. In my last Wednesday's article FamilySearch does mention some arrangements being made for "FamilySearch Members".
Where possible, FamilySearch will seek to provide free public access to digital images of original records. Due to affiliate obligations, free access to some images may be available only to FamilySearch members (volunteers and indexers who meet basic contribution requirements each quarter, patrons at Family History Centers, and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who’s contributions support FamilySearch’s operations). FamilySearch members will also enjoy convenient access in their homes or wherever they have Internet access. (FamilySearch is currently developing its ability to verify that users are FamilySearch members for future home access. This expanded access should be enabled in 2009.)
I don't know how many volunteer indexers followed that article but it's big. You can be a FamilySearch Member through indexing for FamilySearch and possibly have access at home to some limited projects, while others who are not members won't have access at home. The whole point is to get as many records available to the most people at the least cost to everyone. With FamilySearch orchestrating this venture we are in good hands. I sure hope if any volunteer indexers left over the whole thing that they will read a little feature and come back. FamilySearch is working for some special privileges for those that are active participants in the FamilySearch Indexing program. We should hear more in the future regarding becoming a FamilySearch Member the article says it will be introduced sometime in 2009.

Another area of news is the FamilySearch Records Search pilot has a new search capability. They have a world map and you can click on a given region and it will show you all the record collections in that locality. I haven't played with it much, it only came out yesterday, but I think it's a great feature.

I had issues when I tried to open up my FamilySearch Indexing program on my computer. I had to open by going to and clicking on the Index Records tab. I'm not sure what's wrong with my program but at least there is a back door way to still index.

There is a new message from Headquarters for us.
From: Headquarters
Subject: Semimonthly Message
Date: 01 Aug 2008

To all Indexers:

1920 U.S. Federal Census Project

We are excited to start indexing the 1920 U.S. Federal Census! This is the fourth U.S. census to be worked on using the new indexing application. Although similar to the other U.S. Census projects, there are some differences in this project. Please read the field helps carefully and click on the example links at the bottom of each field help.

One difference in particular is found in the Township field. We ask that you index all information that was written to the right of Township or other division of county, located in the heading of the document. This includes the information written in Name of Incorporated Place and Ward of City. Also include words such as: township, precinct, or ward; however, do not include punctuation or symbols. To view an example, click here.

San Francisco Mortuary Records Project

Please notice that in the San Francisco Mortuary Records project, the Obituaries field is a required field. You must select or type either YES or NO. If there is an obituary included, it is usually located at the bottom of the image.

Double Scroll Bar in the Project-Specific Instructions Window

When viewing the project-specific instructions, please note that on the right side of the window you will see two scroll bars. You may need to use both of these scroll bars to see all of the information on each page.
The San Francisco Mortuary Records looked very promising to me but I decided to work on the Massachusetts 1920 U.S. Federal Census records. That was until I waited 30 minutes for the batch to download and open which it never did. I decided it was to late for indexing tonight so I tried to kill that batch. It wouldn't die or close so I didn't know what to do. I was thinking of leaving it running and see if it would download and open during the night and then work on it tomorrow. Instead I opened the Window Task Manager and shut down the whole program. I guess Sundays are better for indexing for me. I don't have much luck on the weekday evenings trying to get it to work. I am going to post this article and try to work the batch tomorrow.

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

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