Monday, March 17, 2008

Adventures in FamilySearch Indexing - Week 34

This was the first week that I missed doing my FamilySearch Indexing on a Sunday. Our family celebrated my husband's birthday Sunday, since he works Monday evening when we normally would of held it. Then my friend Teresa needed some computer help so my planned hour visit turned into many hours. Thankfully the hours paid off and we avoided the dreaded nuking of the computer hard drive.

I was finally able to do my FamilySearch Indexing today, and what was more fitting to work on, on St. Patrick's Day, than the Irish Marriage Indexes 1922-1958. Happily the index batches I did were beautiful and in pristine condition. It was a breeze to index what records were on them. I felt like I was cheating because my first batch only had 159 names on it even though I get credit for indexing 375 records. I was so paranoid I was missing something but there was no second page to index. My batch only had two columns on the page so that made it even smaller than normal.

I was listening to DearMyrtle's Family History Hour Podcast and I finished before the hour was up. I decided that my weekly indexing session was to short so I did another batch. That batch turned out to have only 113 names. Once again it was in pristine condition so it was effortless to index the information. It kinda made me wonder why these typewritten pages weren't OCR'd, they were that good.

I really feel guilty claiming I indexed 750 names today because I feel like it was actually only 272. I guess I did "index" the 478 blank lines by hitting Ctrl-Shift-B. It was more tiresome to mark those lines blank than it was to actual type information into the lines! Oh well, I get credit for doing about a month's average in one day. I have 4,301 total names indexed to date now. If someone is really into getting the high numbers from having indexed names the Irish records would be a great place to get them for little effort.

There were no messages from Headquarters this week, but I did receive a couple of emails I will share with you and report on news from the BYU Computerized Genealogy Conference.

My first email has a great reminder that we are control quality on the images we are indexing. I'm sure I am guilty of doing my best with some records when the quality was poor enough they should of been returned to be digitized again.
I, like so many others appreciate and enjoy your blog ... thanks for keeping so many us updated.

I have been doing Indexing and Arbitrating for a year ... I recently have been working on the 1850 census. What I have found out is we are the ones to do the quality control of the digitized images ... they records are being digitized at a high speed ... and it sounds like no one looks at the quality, until a batch has been returned THREE times. There is a possibility someone will look at the batch IF a list is send to the support group ... hopefully.

This concerns me ... I don't think the people working so hard on indexing realize they are part of quality control. I have seen people mark an entire page "unreadable" ... and still submit it for arbitration. As I subscribe to I have check the quality of their 1850 census against the batches I have worked on ... you can read theirs ...

I have also looked at some of the 1850 census posted in the FamilySearch Labs ... ... alot of the copies are good, but look at Alabama, Coffee County, the first 24 pages ... then compare them to copies make by other companies.

The short of a long "fussing" ... is people doing indexing and arbitrating ... need to be reminded they are quality control ... and they should send a message to support when they return something. I have told this to people and they often tell me they wish they had know that before ... they just tried to do the best the could and submitted the batch ... they didn't think they should return it ...

Thanks for "listening" ... Phoebe, Albuquerque, NM
This next email is from the FSIndexing mailing list on Yahoo. Billie gives us a little background on his question regarding ditto marks and then the reply and document that FamilySearch Indexing Support sends back to him.
I sent in a question to support concerning the Wisconsin 1905 State Census. Instead of ditto marks, the enumerator uses lines in the blanks instead of names, ages, etc. when they are repeated in the line before. Thought others might also benefit from the reply I received tonight from them.

Billie - Alabama

Subj: Reference: Wisconsin - 1905 State Census (CaseID:625281)

Dear Billie,
Thank you for contacting FamilySearch Support. Attached is a document that answers your question. Click anywhere on the blue underlined title of the document(s) to see it in full.

If these directions do not resolve your problem, could you please reply to this email with a phone number and a time when we could call and help you? If you wish, you may call us Monday through Friday 8-5 or Saturday 8-noon (Mountain Time) at 1-866-406-1830. After asking for indexing, select the option for using the FamilySearch Indexing program. Please include your phone number in all your email correspondence. Thank you for your service.

FamilySearch Support

Document Links:
FamilySearch indexing: Sometimes it's difficult to tell what is a sign of repetition (ditto mark) _

This next email is from the UGA and it tells us how to access the records that have been indexed. This will help more than one of my readers that have asked how to access the records that have been indexed.
UGA Indexing

The first UGA indexing project with FamilySearch Indexing is now on the Internet!

UGA indexed the Salt Lake County death certificates from 1908 to 1949 (county, not state). The indexing was completed last year. Then the data went through various FamilySearch Indexing processes, and the index can now be used on the Internet at

Labs is a free site, but you do need to register to use it. On the Home Page, click ‘Record Search’. On the next page, click ‘Register to Use Record Search’. Fill out the short form. You may need to wait a day or so, but then a notice will be sent to your email, and you can use Record Search. After that, you just type your email address to sign in.

To find our index, scroll down the left hand column to Vital Records, “Utah, Salt Lake County Death Records, 1908-1949.” Click to search our index. The county has not given permission for the images of the death certificates to go online, but with the information in the index, they will send copies of death certificates.

FamilySearch Indexing would like us to use the index and let them know if there are any problems. There is a Feedback button in the upper right section of the screen.

You can use the other record indexes in Record Search as well. These include the 1850 and 1900 US Census, Freedman Bank Records 1865-1874, several Cheshire, England records, and state death records from Georgia, Ontario, Ohio, Utah and Texas.

On the right hand side, are collections of records that have not been indexed but can be “browsed.” These include Vermont Land Records Early to 1900, Belgium Death Registration 1796-1908, and some church records from Germany, Illinois, France, Czech Republic and England.

Thanks again to all who helped index!
News from the BYU Computerized Family History and Genealogy Conference on both FamilySearch Indexing and Records Search.
  • There are 125,000 users of FamilySearch Indexing.
  • We are averaging 1.7 million names indexed a day.
  • There are some FamilySearch Indexing users that are indexing for several hours a day.
  • We indexed 67 million individuals in 2007.
  • Records Search was launched June 2007 with 100+ million records
  • Records Search has 45,000 registered users.
  • They are working on the Family History Library Catalog showing digitized films before Way Pointing or Indexing.
  • Records Search is working on moving over the old DOS FamilySearch CD Collections
It was a great conference and I will share more with you on what I learned in the coming week.

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

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