Friday, June 27, 2014

In Praise of Indexes

The other evening I was doing some research as I watched Wimbledon on the TV.

I was chasing up Mr GeniAus' aunt, Joan Gowans, who left an estate of $1,000.000 in 1899, I think that would have been a fair stash back then. I found her death and funeral notices in The California Digital Newspaper Collection whch told me that she was buried in Odd Fellows Cemetery in San Francisco.

Joan's Death Notice 

San Francisco Call, Volume 86, Number 18, 18 June 1899

After a bit of digging around I found that the cemetery records had been digitised by Familysearch  but they were not indexed. This means that one has to trawl through many screens to find a record; it is just like using microfilms.How much more accessible this and many other Familysearch records would be if they were indexed.

It took me about twenty minutes of negotiating through several record sets before I found Joan's burial. I realised rather guiltily that I had never done any indexing for Familysearch yet I have used their online indexes extensively. With my well documented lack of keyboarding skills I was also concerned about contributing accurate records to Familysearch.

As I was to be home the next morning I tuned into DearMyrtle's Wacky Wednesday Hangout on Air to find that the topic for the Hangout was Familysearch Indexing.  During the program Myrt demonstrated how to log in to Familysearch, sign up for indexing, download the indexing software, set it up, do some indexing and upload your work. It didn't look too difficult at all.

After the Hangout was over I was home alone and it was peaceful so I loged into my Familysearch account, followed Myrt's instructions and completed two batches of indexing. The contribution I made was just a drop in the ocean but I felt that, in some small way, I am saying thankyou to Familysearch for all they do.

Familysearch Indexing Page

If you have ever contemplated doing a spot of indexing for Familysearch I encourage you to give it a go. But first watch the Hangout that I have embedded below.

1 comment:

Jana Iverson Last said...


I want to let you know that two of your blog posts are listed in today's Fab Finds post at

Have a wonderful weekend!


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