Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Adventures in FamilySearch Indexing - Week 60

I was sick this past weekend so I wasn't up to working on my FamilySearch Indexing Sunday. It is just amazing how quickly time seems to fly. I can't believe we are already into October. It just seems like a month ago I was writing my article on my New Year goals. I'm still working on organizing my genealogy. I am obsessed with that subject.

When I tried to open my FamilySearch Indexing program on my desktop I noticed that all my icons are broken. When I try to click on them the tell me they are unable to launch the program. I don't know what the deal is with that now.

I looked on the FamilySearch Indexing website and found this notice.
Date: September 29, 2008:
Subject: Mac Users and Java

If you are a Mac user that installed a Java update over the weekend and are now having issues launching the indexing application, click here.
I'm not a Mac user but I do use Java so I did the click here thing.
Document ID: 104454
FamilySearch indexing: Indexing no longer runs on a Macintosh
Error message when trying to log in to indexing: java.lang.NullPointerException
Following an update released by Apple around September 28, 2008, Macintosh users of indexing get an error message. Thus far we have tested this with OSX 10.4 and 10.5 and both the Intel and PPC platforms. Currently only MacOS 10.5 on Intel chips is working.

This problem was caused by Apple's update, not a change in the indexing program. We are working to determine what course of action we can take but we are early in the process right now. Please check this page for updates.
Well that message doesn't apply to my situation. I decided to go to the website and click on the Indexing link from there. It did give me a notice:
A special update to the FamilySearch Indexing application has been completed. Start the application as you usually do. [OK]
That did the trick and the program loaded and is now working for me. There was a message for us this week.
From: Headquarters
Subject: Project Completion Team
Date: 23 Sep 2008

To Volunteers in Utah:

We are requesting volunteer to join our new Project Completion Team. For numerous reasons, projects nearing completion are delayed as we evaluate some troublesome batches. These batches must be submitted so the project can reach 100% completion and be published on the Internet. Our project Completion Team will be responsible for submitting these batches.

If you have been indexing for a few months, or have indexed over 2,000 records, and would like to participate on this team, please send an e-mail to Byron Mortensen, the group administrator for this team, at Include your name, indexing username, and list the languages you feel comfortable working with.

You do not need to be an expert in genealogy or reading old handwriting. You do not need to be fast at sifting through these difficult images and not be afraid to mark records as "Unreadable". We will provide training materials for you and send messages to keep you informed of projects and needs.

We will be asking you to look at batches that other indexers have rejected. You will evaluate each to see if it is reasonable to extract the records within an hour or less. If it is, proceed to index the batch. If it is not, we will explain how to finish the batch and send it back to us.

The goal for this team will be the same as the goal we have here at headquarters: To make more records available to more people faster.

If you participate in this effort previously, we want to say thank you and keep up the great work. Your contributions have been extremely significant and appreciated. We are now trying to create a unified team who can work together just as our larger indexing workforce works together.

We appreciate all of your indexing efforts and for your help with this initiative.


The FamilySearch Indexing Team
Sounds like a wonderful thing to be a part of. My only questions is why only Utah volunteers? I don't have an answer to that. Maybe someone will enlighten us.

I did want to post a readers comment to me last week regarding my comment on the messages from headquarters. I thought them very basic and straight forward on things we all needed to do. To me them seemed to be basic common sense.
I hope that people actually read the messages and follow them. You would think that it's pretty basic information, but I can't tell you how many people do things like put United States in the country field (even though the familysearch folks have mentioned that you shouldn't before) or do things like putting the 0 in front of the page number. There are also people that for the first nine numbers put a zero in front of them (01, 02, etc.). It creates more work for the arbitrators.

Sue Anne
Thanks Sue Anne for the reminder. I sure hope we are all applying the messages given from headquarters. Sorry if I sound like they weren't important they are. I just had never thought to do it the incorrect way. I guess with thousand of indexers we can all come up with our own way of doing things and that doesn't necessarily mean it's the correct way. Thank goodness we have these messages and also the guides to tell us how to work on the projects.

I was happy to see that the New York 1870 US Federal Census records were still available for me to index. YIPEE!!! I love New York. I worked on 3 batches all of various legibility. One of the census takers must of been a doctor working on the side. I heard that the reason doctor's handwriting is so bad is because years ago the prescriptions where held as secret formulas that only the pharmacist could decipher. My census taker must of felt the census page was one big secret to withhold from posterity. I did manage it though.

I indexed 120 people and that brings my grand total of records indexed to date to 8737. Now I'm off to read more articles on organizing my genealogy.

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


Anonymous said...


I always enjoy your blogs, especially the ones about indexing. I was interested in the message for people in Utah to do returned batches. I live in FL, but wish I could help- I'd love to help get the Irish BMD indexes out. I am anxiously waiting for them to be released.

I've been doing the UK Cheshire Poor Law records lately. For anyone who is interested in getting high numbers, you do 5 to 30 records and get credit for the entire 50 in the table.

Keep up the good work! Pat Payne

Anonymous said...

As far as the Project Completion Team goes, I think Headquarters is sending out the invitation to one group of volunteers at a time as they need more help. Since there is only one group administrator, they probably don't want to overwhelm him. However, if you wrote to him to ask to join the group, I don't think he would turn you away (no matter what state you live in).

Henry said...

I'm curious to know why limited to Utah. UK indexers have been asked to concentrate on the Cheshire projects in order to complete by December and all four record sets are moving rapidly. The Cheshire records range from typed electoral registers which I think are nearing completion at arbitration, through handwritten school Poor Law and Land Tax.
For arbitrators a problem is that people are failing to to enter 4 digit year numbers and also using 01,02 etc contrary to project instructions. This means the arbitrator has either to reject the batch or go through every entry to arbitrate. Arbitration becomes very time consuming if every year and date need entries.
PS Please don't type with CAPS Lock on either!