Arbitration Today, Find Tomorrow

November 24, 2014  - by 

What thoughts come to your mind when you hear the word arbitration? Do you think of volunteers? Differences of opinion? Ancestors waiting to be discovered? For those who don’t know, arbitration is an essential step in the indexing process. Currently, every record is indexed twice and arbitrated once to resolve differences between the two indexes. Indexed records can’t be published until they’re arbitrated.

This process has made over a billion records searchable in the past nine years. And arbitrators have risen to the call to increase the quality and amount of their efforts; however, there are currently over 16 million indexed images of historical documents that are awaiting arbitration. That represents millions of individuals whose names cannot yet be published. We need your help!


How You Can Help

If you are currently arbitrating, review the instructions, and keep up the good work!

If you are an arbitrator who hasn’t arbitrated in a while:

If you’re not an arbitrator but you’re interested in becoming one:

  • Make sure you have indexed at least 4,000 records with high quality and understand the instructions for every project you plan to help arbitrate.
  • Read this document on becoming an arbitrator.
  • Talk to your group administrator or FamilySearch to offer your help and discuss your qualifications.

The Future of Arbitration

You may have noticed that pleas for arbitration happen fairly often. Wouldn’t it be great if more high-quality indexed records could be published online without having to rely so much on arbitrators? It’s possible to have this simplified process while still maintaining or even increasing quality. How? One word: technology.

FamilySearch is constantly finding new ways to use technology to magnify the efforts of all of the volunteers. About 20 years ago, the “verify records” process helped increase the quality of extracted records. Then arbitration revolutionized the indexing process in 2006. Now, as we develop another new indexing program, we are discovering more ways to keep quality high while reducing the effort it takes to index each record. Check out “Magnifying Volunteers’ Gifts: A Progress Report” to learn more.

Even with the help of technology, every volunteer is vital to this effort of making historical documents searchable online. Thank you for your continued dedication to helping researchers worldwide find their ancestors.

– Article by Katie Gale

Latest posts by Katie Gale (see all)

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  1. I’ve been doing indexing for some time and have noticed that you leave no room on your forms for much valuable information that searchers could use. No place has been alotted for many dates, locations or occupations. Also, on your forms, sometimes credit is given for each name listed, on others not, and on some credit is given when no names are presented. Although I really don’t care for the credit, it would be nice to know exactly what I have done. You need to evaluate your forms a little more. Don’t misunderstand me, I enjoy doing indexing and will continue, but more interest should be given to help those searching these names to really find the correct names for their own ancestry. Now, what do I need to do to become an arbitrator instead of just an indexer?

  2. I would appreciate more follow up when indexed set is given a ? so that we could know what we did wrong and then do more but not make same mistakes. Also when a grade is low and we ask for follow up we don’t get to know if it was wrong or if arbitrator was new. Thank You for this opportunity. I indexed a project and called for help 3 times. Followed the instruction and got a ?.

  3. Tisztelettel kérem, hogy a rendszeresen elvi hibát vétő 2471208-as számú ellenőr tevékenységét szíveskedjenek felülvizsgálni. Születéskor, az gyermek családnevét , beírja ezzel vét az elemi szabályok ellen. Rendszeresen kijavítom, de miután a tevékenysége folyamatos és ugyan azt a hibát véti, biztos meg van győződve saját igazáról. Nem lenne célszerű az ilyen esetekben mindkét fél véleményét kikérni? Amennyiben még is én vétel a játékszabályok ellen, elvárom, hogy írásban hívják fel a figyelmemet.

    1. Elnézést kérek fordította magyarra. Hívnám FamilySearch Support közé tartozik segítséget ezzel a problémával. Számuk 06.800-18.362.

  4. I am the Savage Mills Ward Indexing Director. I started indexing a month or so ago. My goal is to inspire members of my ward to do Indexing and Arbitration work. Since I am a Director, I have to learn fast both tasks, Indexing and Arbitration. I want to index at least 4000 records by the end of June 2015 to start my experience with the Arbitration process. I will pray for getting the skills I need fast to do my job as expected by my Bishop.

    1. Rene,
      Good luck in your new calling. The most imporant thing I can stress to you in indexing and arbitration is read read read all the batch rules of each project and look carefully at the examples in field helps. Many arbitrators don’t do this and they cause a lot of frustration when they incorrectly change good indexing. I speak from lots of indexing experience. You will quickly learn what I mean first hand when you get back arbitrated results. There are really good arbitrators out there but they are in the minority. Currently there is no communication between indexer and arbitrator. Until FS fixes this problem, indexing frustration will be ongoing.

      You will have to weigh how much time you put into researching information to make indexing right because ultimately bad arbitration can reverse all your hard work from an uninformed arbitrator.
      I hope you will be an asset to the arbitrator community.

  5. Hello,
    Is there a link for a forum? or something like that where you can ask little questions about the projects you are working on?
    I have little arbitration questions as to what is right and what is not.
    Recently… the document I was working on said 2nd Dau, So I put that in and it was marked wrong and changed to Second Daughter. So I started doing it that way and that was marked wrong on another document in the same project and put back to the method of 2nd Dau.
    Then it was changed to Second Dau. so I did it that way and you guessed it… it was arbitrated wrong…lol

    I am getting confused and would just like to know what is the right way? 🙂 To do a proper job.

    Nancy Ecker

      1. Okay and Thank you. I have written to them a few times and they have been really good/quick at getting back with great information. 🙂