I say all the time that now is the time to start or continue your family history research. There are so many family history and genealogy websites that allow you to research when traveling to your ancestral home isn’t an option. Also, more and more records are being digitized every day it seems like. So the opportunity to find some records from the comfort of your home computer has greatly increased over the past ten years. Although there are now thousands of digitized records available, many of them are not searchable, meaning you can’t just enter in a name and date and narrow down the results. Many online records still require the researcher to search page by page looking for a familiar name.
So when I heard about an indexing challenge with Family Search I was intrigued, to say the least. I use indexes all the time in my research, death indexes marriage indexes, and military indexes are the main ones I use regularly. But I never thought about how those records got indexed or who were the people that indexed them to allow my research to be a little easier. That was until I read about the 7 Day Indexing Challenge a few weeks ago.
Devon Lee from Family History Fanatics had an idea to do a 7 Day Indexing Challenge – A Batch A Day. She wanted to unite the current genealogy community in a movement of service, do something positive and long-lasting, and introduce future family historians to the records needed to do genealogy work. And with a few posts about her idea to a genealogy FaceBook group, her idea was born and soon had many followers. If you have followed my blog for any type of time, you know I love a genealogy challenge. But this challenge would be different because it wasn’t about me and my research. It was more about the genealogy community and helping others gain access to records. So I was nervous to accept the challenge and start indexing. I had so many questions: how many records were in a batch, what if I couldn’t read the handwriting, did I have to complete the batch in a specific time frame, who would review my work, and how would I choose what I wanted to index?
So I watched a few videos about how to index genealogy records and felt more comfortable about my ability. My husband had done some indexing over the past few months, and he didn’t think it was very difficult. So I decided that I would join the challenge and start indexing. My first batch was US Compiled Military Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served with the US Colored Troops, 1861-1866. I had 14 records that I entered the given name, surname, age, date of enlistment, and place of enlistment for each record. There were no handwriting challenges and the information that was needed was standard information that I’m used to looking for. So, all in all, I would deem my first batch as a huge success and a big confidence booster. I’m excited to continue to index for the remainder of this challenge, and I’m sure I will do more indexing in the future as well. I’ve often said this journey I’m on isn’t just about me, and this 7 Day Indexing Challenge reminded me of that. And this is why my journey continues…
How to Participate
- Participates must have an account with Family Search (it’s free to sign up)
- Participates will need a computer/tablet with internet to access the website https://www.familysearch.org/indexing
- From that website choose one record batch to complete
- Don’t forget to share your indexing using #abatchaday #familysearch on social media and with me in the comments