Sunday, May 18, 2008

Adventures in FamilySearch Indexing - Week 43

It's been a busy week for me and an even busier week for FamilySearch. On the 13th they made some updates to the system. You can read about it in their message to us below.
From: Headquarters
Subject: Notification of System Downtime & Upgrades to the Web Site
Date: 13 May 2008

The FamilySearch Indexing server will be down for maintenance at 1:00PM today. During this downtime several exciting updates will be made to the Website.
  • Home Page. The home page will have a new look, including an area where messages can be posted with news and other information regarding all aspects of FamilySearch indexing.
  • Record Search. A link to the Record Search pilot site will be included in the messages on the home page.
  • Spanish translation. A drop-down list located in the upper right corner of the home page will allow users to switch between using English and Spanish on the Web site.
  • Ask a Question. The Ask a Question box under the Help tab will include a drop-down list to allow the choice of searching for indexing or UDE questions.
  • Install Now button. The Install Now button will not appear on the home page. Instead, the Start Indexing button will have all of the same features as the old Install Now button and will also include many updates to help the indexing program run smoother on operating systems such as Windows 2000 and Mac OS.
  • Administration reports. Group administrators and area advisors will be able to download reports in CSV format and then bring them up in a program like Excel for further formatting and calculations.
  • Links for MAC and Linux users. MAC and Linux users will now be able to use the links from within the indexing application.
We anticipate the system being down for approximately one hour. If you plan to index during this time, you can download up to five batches before 1:00PM, work on them offline, and submit them when the system is back online.

Thank you for your patience. We greatly appreciate all you do.
I took a look at the website at and really liked the new layout. It's just wonderful that you can reach Record Search off the indexing page. While I'm on the subject of Record Search they also made an update to their system this past week. This is from their blog.
  • No login required: We have opened the site up for quick and easy access without registering
  • Improved Home Page: Modified a bit of the look to freshen the site for new users
  • Improved Place Suggestions: Country and State suggestions are significantly better - see if it works better for you. But don’t forget searching by county and or city is still very much supported.
  • Client Side Caching: The site updates are better managed and subsequent startup times should be quicker
  • New Collections: Civil War Pensions and US 1860 Census (one state)
Things just seem to get better and better all the time! We did have another message from headquarters this week.
From: Headquarters
Subject: Semimonthly Message
Date: 16 May 2008

Highlights are available with many indexing projects to help you locate the requested information for each field. Occasionally, the highlights do not seem to fit the document that you are working with correctly. To adjust the highlights:
  1. On the menu bar, click View.
  2. Click Adjust Highlights.
  3. Move your cursor into the image area, over the information to be indexed. A yellow grid of highlights with a think red border should appear.
  4. Adjust the highlights using one or more of the following options:
  • Adjust the small red boxes on the red border by clicking (and holding) the box and dragging it to the desired place.
  • Adjust all of the highlights at once by moving your cursor over one of the yellow boxes until the four-pointed arrow appears, then click and drag to the desired location.
  • Adjust a single yellow box or column of yellow boxes by moving your cursor over the block square that appears in the center of one of the yellow boxes (a white hand with a dashed square should appear), then click and drag to the desired location.
To return to normal view:
  1. On the menu bar, click View.
  2. Click Adjust Highlights.
You may change the color, transparency, or whether the highlight appears as a solid rectangle or as an outline. To make changes:
  1. On the menu bar, click Tools.
  2. Click Options.
If you prefer not to use highlights, you may choose to use the ruler instead. To do this:
  1. On the menu bar, click View.
  2. Click Show Ruler.
Note: Sometimes you must close the batch and reopen it for all of these changes to take affect.
While I was indexing today I decided to work on my old faithful Irish Marriage Indexes 1845-1868. I knew the newer Irish vital records are typed so I was wondering what these older ones would look like. I did two batches and it was all handwritten in a lovely script. It was a pleasure to work with. There were less names in the batches but that was ok. I indexed 169 names today, which gives me a grand total of 7605 indexed records to date.

I ran into two new situations while indexing my batches. I was kind of surprised when I was indexing this one person that had two last names: Cunningham ors Shelliday, Martha. I quickly looked at the instructions for the surname column and found the following:
"Surnames that follow the abbreviation ors. should be indexed in the surname field after the alphabetical surname."
I took that to mean to index it once as Cunningham and then right below it on the next line index it with the Shelliday last name. What a relief it is to have little helps to quickly look at along the way.

My second situation didn't have any suggestions or guidelines for it. I had two page numbers listed for an individual. I suppose the correct thing to do would have been to write headquarters to get their input but I just reasoned out a solution. I hope I am right.

I decided that since they want you to index two surnames as separate records that it would be logical to index two pages as separate records. So I did the first one as referenced on line 132 and the next line I typed the same information but with the second page number 139 listed instead. It seemed reasonable to me to do it that way. Other than that everything went well while indexing. I was even able to listen to DearMyrtle's podcasts.

It was kind of nice to get back to handwritten records. It made me wish I had some New York marriage records back in 1845-1868 time frame to work on. I have some people I sure would love to look at marriages records for back then, which of course don't exist in New York that early. I'm sure the records I indexed will be very useful to others down the road.

See you tomorrow, for tomorrow is alway another genealogy day!


Anonymous said...

I believe those instructions about the ors, though maybe not completely clear, are wanting you to put both surnames in the same field? You might email support to find out for sure.

Myrt said...

Hiya Renee -- Hadn't thought of using a genealogy podcast as background music for anything other than jogging or while deleting spam from my email inbox. Thanks for the suggestion.

Myrt said...

OK, so Ol' Myrt here WALKS, I don't actually JOG. --giggle--