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Friday, Oct. 24, 2014

66,511 volunteers set FamilySearch indexing record

By Christine Rappleye, Deseret News

Published: Sat, July 26 5:00 a.m. MDT

 More than 66,500 FamilySearch volunteers around the world helped index and arbitrate records from July 20 at 6 p.m. to July 21 at 5:59 p.m. as part of the Worldwide Indexing Event.

More than 66,500 FamilySearch volunteers around the world helped index and arbitrate records from July 20 at 6 p.m. to July 21 at 5:59 p.m. as part of the Worldwide Indexing Event.

(Keith Johnson, Deseret News)

More than 66,500 FamilySearch volunteers around the world helped index and arbitrate records from July 20 at 6 p.m. to July 21 at 5:59 p.m. as part of the Worldwide Indexing Event and also helped set a record for the most volunteer indexing participants online in a single day, according to FamilySearch’s Facebook page at facebook.com/familysearch. Over the course of 24 hours, more than 5.7 million records were indexed and 66,511 people volunteered.

Indexing is transcribing information from historical documents to make it searchable online. Once indexed by two volunteers, an arbitrator checks them before the records are live online.

FamilySearch’s previous one-day record was 49,025 individual contributors, set on July 2, 2012.

Since FamilySearch started the indexing program in 2006, more than 1 billion records have been indexed, according to FamilySearch.

For information about volunteering, see familysearch.org/indexing. To search these records, go to familysearch.org.

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1. utah dane
Herriman / USA, UT,
July 26, 2014

Red Corvette - Which part of the article made you think this was done in haste? The article said a record number of people participated, which in turn resulted in a record number of records being processed. My wife was one of those who processed two batches of names and I can assure you that it was not done in haste, but carefully and with love. Hats off to all those who participated in this awesome event!

2. Laura Ann
Layton, UT,
July 26, 2014

If you want to get good at something, you have to practice. Sure, people make mistakes, that's why there are arbitrators. When I first started indexing, my scores weren't as high as I wanted them to be, but I learned and got better. I'm thrilled that so many people were willing to volunteer their time to help with a worthy cause. Thank you to anyone who helped as it helps me with my genealogy!

3. sfcretdennis
Nice, CA,
July 26, 2014

Red Corvette: Have you done any work in this field? It is not easy as names can be hard to read and make out. However, at lest two indexers are given the same page and then there is arbitration should there be any differences between the two. No one know who ells is doing the same page you are doing. If you have not tried to do the work give it a try and bay be you will not criticize the work we do.

4. DN Subscriber
Cottonwood Heights, UT,
July 26, 2014

Inaccuracies will happen. However, having two people do it separately, then any discrepancies adjudicated by an arbitrator is a very sound approach.

The real problems are the difficulty reading old script, the haphazard spelling used by those making the original records (or the people they talked to), and the sometimes poor quality of the images from which the indexers must work.

Instead of lamenting that fact that there is not 100% accuracy for millions of records, we should be thankful, and grateful to the volunteers, that there are in fact millions of records that may be 80% (or more?) accurate. That is a far bigger help than having a warehouse full of paper documents that no one has ever looked at in the last 50 years, and no one has any idea of what might be there. You can spend weeks arguing over a single document.

In my own research, I have found records with surnames spelled multiple ways in the actual records, and most are faithfully transcribed by indexers. This may be the fault of my semi-literate, foreign born and speaking ancestors, or the work of a not much better qualified census taker with poor penmanship.

5. Henry Drummond
San Jose, CA,
July 26, 2014

I'm not LDS but I have used these sites for my research. I had no idea that many people were involved in this project. Many thanks!