God Bless the Indexer

May 2, 2016  - by 

By Jennifer Kerns Davis

A few years ago, I was facing a somewhat challenging research problem in my tree. I had a family pieced together, but I could not extend the mother’s line. I was missing some important bits of data that would help me in my quest. At the time, I had a very busy schedule that would not allow me to spend hours scouring through film or digital images to find the information I needed. I ended up dropping that part of my tree temporarily and focusing on a different part.

About a year later, I decided to revisit this family. After searching indexed records on FamilySearch.org for a few minutes, I couldn’t believe how quickly I was able to find a marriage record that named the maiden name of the mother in question, along with her parents. In the time I deferred my search for this family the year before, someone had indexed the exact record I needed! I was so excited! But in my excitement, I didn’t forget to say a little prayer to God, like I usually did, thanking Him for helping me to find the information I needed.

Then it occurred to me—God was not the only person I needed to thank. I suddenly had a strong desire to thank the person who indexed this marriage record just for me to find! But how could I know who that person was? It was impossible for me to know—except that God knew. Then I knew what to do: I prayed to God and asked Him to bless the person who indexed this record, whoever he or she was. I felt an outpouring of love for the indexer.

I suddenly realized that it was not just the indexer that brought this record to me, it was the arbitrator too! There are also people at FamilySearch who get the records ready to publish, and all the others that touched that record—from the camera operator who took the picture of the record right down to the recorder who sat there with my ancestors so many years ago, pen in hand, and wrote down that information that I now had in my hands. None of these people knew me or even knew my name, but they had done something that meant so much to me. The feeling of love and appreciation for all of the contributors to this record overwhelmed me. As I continued my prayer, I prayed that the Lord would bless each of those persons for carrying out their part. Now this has become a regular occurrence for me: whenever I find a record to fill a branch of my family tree, I ask God to please bless the indexer, arbitrator, and everyone else that brought that record to me.

So if you feel an extra lift while you are indexing or arbitrating, this could be why: there are people praying for you, and thanking you for your work. Perhaps you are receiving blessings outside of your indexing work—blessings for your family, blessings of safety, blessings of health. Whatever the extra strength you feel in your personal life because of your service, just remember that there are appreciative people like me cheering you on, thanking you and praying for you.

 

Help Fuel the Find
Learn how you can help people like Jennifer discover important details of their family story. Watch the video.

 

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Comments

  1. “God bless the Indexer” article expresses exactly how I feel. I have also done some indexing as a way to express my gratitude, and even once found some info on my family tree whiled indexing.
    Indexing can be very hard work, but you get better at it the more you do it, and it can help you develop a talent for reading the old handwriting.

  2. While I am sometimes cynical about mankind’s progress in these times of increasing violence and social insanity, I am reminded of the less obvious (or publicized) spiritual contributions made by people such as Jennifer Kerns Davis.

    I was, indeed, uplifted as I read your message; and as I indexed records, I shared your curiosity and gratitude toward those record keepers of the original documents.

    Like you, Jennifer, I am deeply grateful for the efforts of the indexing and genealogical community for making family searches so much easier.

    I recently responded to the call for indexers, as a way to “give back” in appreciation, even though I am a relative “newbie” to genealogical research. Old pictures, letters and other family artifacts that I once would have discarded, I now consider uploading into my family tree.

    Just the other day, I received a packet of old family photos, letters, and newspaper clippings from my sister, who decided to send them to me rather than discard them.

    You can imagine my great joy when I discovered a picture of my G-grandmother taken in 1895 after I had recently traced her lineage back to the 1400s in Scotland! I will be uploading that picture and related newspaper clippings soon.

    Shall we all continue to bless and thank one another? I surely will!

  3. I too, have had miracles happen in finding needed records because of the indexing efforts of others. I often say a thank you prayer to Heavenly Father for the records He is providing for us, but until now, I never thought to say a thank you prayer for those who also help provide these records for us. Thank you, Jennifer for sharing your touching story.