FamilySearch Indexing Announces First Worldwide Arbitration Event

April 21, 2015  - by 

More than six million indexed images containing valuable genealogical information are waiting to be arbitrated (reviewed and corrected) before they can be published and made available to family history researchers on Eliminating this backlog of needed records is the object of the first online Worldwide Arbitration Event sponsored by FamilySearch Indexing and scheduled for May 1-8, 2015.

Volunteer arbitrators worldwide, and FamilySearch indexers who are qualified and willing to become arbitrators, are being called upon to help arbitrate the images which were previously indexed (transcribed) by indexing volunteers. In the FamilySearch indexing system, historical records are indexed by two different volunteers, then an experienced indexer known as an arbitrator reviews and corrects any discrepancies between the two indexers’ work. Only then can records be published for researchers on

“Indexers far outnumber arbitrators, which creates an imbalance in the work and a backlog of records waiting to be arbitrated” said Mike Judson, FamilySearch indexing workforce development manager. “This event will not only help to reduce the backlog, but will make it possible to publish millions more searchable records so others can find their ancestors.”

FamilySearch indexers and arbitrators make it possible for to publish an average of 1.3 million freely searchable records containing more than three million names each day. An estimated 19.5 million names are contained in the current backlog of records awaiting arbitration.

Qualified Indexers Invited to Become Arbitrators

All indexers who have indexed at least 4,000 records are eligible to become arbitrators. Qualifying indexers who would like to participate as arbitrators should visit to learn how to get started.

Following four essential tips will ensure volunteers are ready to submit high-quality arbitrated records during the Worldwide Arbitration Event:

  1. Read the instructions. Read or re-read the field helps and project instructions for each arbitration project before beginning.
  2. Record match. Record matching ensures that arbitrators use a correct and fair comparison between the information recorded by indexer A and indexer B. For instructions, watch the video: “Arbitration Training – Record Matching,” which teaches how to complete this essential step in the indexing process.
  3. If possible, volunteers should index one or more batches from each project they plan to arbitrate during the event, then continue to index one batch for every ten they arbitrate. Indexing (and reviewing the instructions) will help arbitrators stay sharp.
  4. Arbitrate in native language. Accuracy is highest when volunteers work only in their native language. Unless they have received extensive training in a second language and are highly proficient in that language, or have been specifically trained to index certain types of records in a second language, volunteers should stick with projects in their native language.

For additional information, volunteers can visit


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  1. If there are only 6 million records behind, why does the indexing page on say that they are 21,089,500 records behind?

  2. I have indexed over 4000 names. i also live in George, South Africa. i applied for arbitration status and was advised by Family Tree that it would not be possible as i cannot be supported. Really strange answer considering the small world we live in with computer access world wide.

    1. I’d contact support again and you might get a different answer from a different person. It doesn’t sound right to me.

  3. I am newly indexer.But I want to help more to do the work.I need training to comply the qualification,

  4. I’m doing this indexing at the library, as I don’t have a new enough computer at home. I’m a little unsure about the process & am reading as I go along, hoping to get the info correct. I’m eager to get started, but a little insecure about how to go about it.

  5. I have been indexing on and off for years, i have recently been trying in vain to even access any project, without going around in circles. Why is it so hard now then to open a project? I have signed up for the Worldwide Indexing Event Starting in One Week. I hope it will be easier next week.