For the Love of… Indexing!

I love indexing!!  I tried it a few years ago and got scared away… because it was hard to read old handwriting and I wasn’t sure if I was doing it right.  Well, I made a New Year’s resolution to give it another try and I am hooked.  Things have changed!  Now, I can easily choose the level of difficulty, choose the types of records I want to index, and even receive feedback on how to improve my indexing.  What is indexing?  Basically, it is viewing old/original records and extracting/typing the information into searchable databases.  Being part of such a huge project is very fulfilling.  I know I am potentially making it easier for others to find out about their ancestors and make connections with their past.  It only takes a computer and as little or as much time as you’d like to spend.

How can you try indexing?  Click here to go to the website and complete the following steps: (1) Register to select a username and password, (2) Download the necessary software, (3) Learn more about indexing by viewing a brief tutorial, and (4) Start indexing!!  I think it is cool that two people index every record and then an “arbitrator” (i.e. more experienced indexer) checks/fixes the differences between the two records.  It is comforting to know that someone can catch my mistakes and help me improve.  For example, I completed 3 “batches” of names (total of 75 names) and then realized I had mistakenly recorded the residential town as the person’s birth town.  I felt horrible, but later checked the “arbitration” results for my batches and saw that they had been fixed.  I learned that I really should read the directions on what information to extract and not assume I already know what I’m doing!

Why should you try indexing?  As I mentioned before, it is very fulfilling.  I love that I can set personal goals just for me and work to best myself.  I love the “history” portion of my page where I can see the names adding up.  I love being even a small part of such an important effort to record data from old documents.  I love that flash of inspiration when I figure out a letter or word.  Mostly, I love knowing that average people like me will not be forgotten when their names are preserved in this way.

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