Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tuesday's Tip ~ FamilySearch Indexing Advice

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I have recently started indexing for FamilySearch.org, and I will be helping index the 1940 US Census when it is released on April 2.

the1940census.comFor new indexers, there is a brief instructional video and there are instructions within each "batch" that you index, which I do my best to follow, but after indexing a few batches, I still had questions about how to enter some items. For example, sometimes a name is printed at the top of a draft registration card, but the signature at the bottom didn't agree, or in entering a foreign place name for place of birth, how much effort should I make to correct the spelling of that place, or do I index it exactly as written?

Everything I'm indexing is also being indexed by someone else. When there is a difference in an entry, that entry goes to an arbitrator who reviews the entry and makes a decision on what the entry should be. Indexers can check their Arbitration Results and see how often they agree with the arbitrator. When a "batch" is not 100% accurate, it's a good idea to check to see why, in order to improve your indexing skills. (As somewhat of a perfectionist, I'm aiming for 100% accuracy.)

When I recently contacted FamilySearch to ask about why a couple of my indexed items were changed, I received an email directing me to a section of their website that I had not been aware of. New indexers may find the information at the following links helpful. Hopefully these links won't change so future indexers can find them from this post:

Indexing Resource Guide is a page with several links, including handwriting help.

Basic Indexing Guidelines are instructions for all projects. If project instructions, field helps, or project updates do not answer an indexing question, refer to Basic Indexing Guidelines for an answer to the question. At the bottom of this page are links to other helpful pages with specific advice for indexing names, place names, dates and ages.

Basic Indexing Guidelines: Names and Basic Indexing Guidelines: Place Names were particularly helpful for me.

I also just recently found what looks like a new or updated publication in PDF form: A User's Guide to FamilySearch Indexing (March 2012) which I plan to read through before April 2. If you think you'll have even just a little time in the next few months to help with indexing the 1940 US Census, please help out. We all will have ancestors that we won't be able to find without the index.

Tuesday's Tip is a daily blogging prompt from Geneabloggers, the genealogy community's resource for blogging. It is used by many genealogy bloggers to help them tell stories of their ancestors.

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