Sunday, August 26, 2007

Notes from FGS Conference on FSI

I found this email on several mailing lists I belong to:

We had two gentlemen in a meeting tonight that were on their way home from the FGS conference in Fort Wayne. They talked about the FamilySearch Indexing project, and how & where it is going (fantastic). So I thought I would update everybody on the latest while my notes are still fresh.

About a month ago, there were 50,000 of us indexers. Then an article hit in the Ensign magazine and within the next three weeks, 20,000 new indexers signed on. The US census for 1900 is over half done.

Interestingly, as the arbitrators compare extraction batches, they're finding that we indexers are working at about 99.7% accuracy. That's phenomenal. Doesn't mean the records are going to be perfect because we as humans are not perfect, and the guys and gals that wrote the original records made some errors too, (and I got one page that the mouse had eaten 1/2 of it for breakfast), but it's exciting to see what's happening.

They are expanding the efforts for indexing and record gathering going on in Europe, and there are several political entities that are saying, "come get our records--we want them indexed and available for people." Generally, natives in the original countries are doing those records. (I've been hearing rumors that the Czech republic is one of those countries...but have not seen anything "official on that".)

Negotiations are also going on with some major Church groups in the US to get their records scanned and available on line as well.

Coming soon for indexing:
1850 US census
1871 Canadian census
1930 Mexican census (already available on line, but not indexed yet, has to be searched line by line, by locality)
Irish Civil Registration (56,000,000 names)
Expanded US vital records
Expanded international projects

Some of the things that are "done" but going through the checking/arbitration process:
GA death records
UT death records
TX death records
OH death records
Ontario death records
US 1900 census more than 50% complete (they expect Nebraska to be up within the next few weeks...they said they're saving the best for last? And Iowa is up just recently, obviously also one of the better states.)

Allen County Library and the BYU library are scanning their out of copyrighted books and they will be going on line. This includes family histories from BYU, county and local histories from Allen Co. We will be able to download entire books.

Sunday evening is a little hard to download a project, but they're working on fixing that. Other times are going well. Lots of teenagers, and young parents are working on it, although the majority of indexers are retirees (just over half.)

So--folks, if you haven't signed on to do indexing, please go to and sign on. You only have to do 1 page/project (may be as many as fifty names) a week, and you can do it in increments if that's what works for you. Some of us do more than one page a week when our time permits, and that's great too.

If you have more questions, feel free to ask. I have done indexing since May, and know some of the answers--though not all of them. Most folks who have done it will say that it isn't hard, and you pretty much pick your own time to do it. (You can download a project from one of their priorities, or pick your own from those posted--just depends on which button you push.)

It's exciting to see what's happening and what's coming. And whether you index a page a week, or several pages a day, it will help make more records available and in the end, we will all find more ancestors. NO, you do not to be a Mormon to participate in this project. The records that are being done cover all nationalities and religions, so come help.


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