Tuesday, September 4, 2007

FamilySearch Indexing Progress

Most readers know that the LDS FamilySearch organization is digitizing images from microforms in the Family History Library collection and is indexing them in a project called FamilySearch Indexing. The goal is to digitize and index all of the microforms (over 2 million microfilms and over 1 million microfiches) and provide them for FREE at the http://www.familysearch.org/ web site.

The indexing effort is being performed by volunteers who sign up, receive training and indexing software, and commit to doing some indexing on a regular basis. Some of the indexing of specific records is being done by members of genealogical societies. The indexing procedure requires two separate indexers to evaluate each record, and if they agree then the record is accepted. If they disagree, an arbiter makes the final acceptance decision.

Some databases have already been completed - they can be found on the FamilySearch Records Search Project here. You do have to register in order to access these records.The databases currently being indexed can be found here. The databases that will soon be started are here. As you can see, the major emphasis is on the 1900 United States census at this time. Several genealogy societies are indexing records specific to their local or regional interests.

This indexing effort will take a long time. The more volunteers there are, the less time it will take. The goal is to index census, military, vital, immigration, naturalization, church, probate, land, Bible, tax and other records and link the index to the record image. This is a very ambitious, and worthwhile, effort.

If you are one of the indexers, I applaud your efforts. Please keep them going! If you want to help, they still need volunteers to help - you can volunteer here. You do not have to be an LDS member to volunteer and do the indexing work.

Do you want to keep up-to-date on what is happening with FamilySearch? Check out the FamilySearch Labs web site at http://labs.familysearch.org/. This site has links to their four current projects in work -- Record Search , Indexing, Pedigree Viewer and Life Browser.

The promise of these projects is extremely high. I applaud the vision, goals and results of the FamilySearch staff and leadership, especially the intent to make these records available for FREE to researchers.

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