Why I Index

January 9, 2014  - by 

Why I Index
Some people index to give back. Some people index because they are stuck in their own research. Why do you index? People around the world index and arbitrate for FamilySearch for a variety of reasons. We decided to ask some of our volunteers this question, and we received many diverse responses. Read what they had to say!

“I index because I think we are here at this time with all this technology to help move the work of Elijah along. The early pioneers had their purpose, and I think family history is ours! It is interesting, fun, and something even an old lady like me can do!”

N. Sallade

“I find it so intriguing. I try to imagine the stories of the people whose names are on the record. I also always feel better after I’ve indexed a bunch!”

S. Carter

“I index for several reasons. (1) I like to help make records available for other people who are doing research. (2) Indexing is service. Service brings blessings. When I am stuck in my own research, indexing is an invitation to the Spirit to help me overcome the obstacles I have encountered. I always have more success in my research when I index first. (3) It is fun! We index as a family. It has been interesting to see my children develop increased ability to recognize names, document types, and even different handwriting styles as we index. (4) By indexing as a family, my children have developed a love of family history research, a love for the people that we have done indexing for, and an increased desire to do work for our own family. When we index, they want to find our own family members and go to the temple on their behalf.”

J. Clawson

“I made a commitment when I started genealogy to index a record for every record that I used. Someone did it for me, so I am paying it forward.”

K. Shepherd

“I index because I feel I am giving back to all those who are also on this same genealogical journey.”

S. Bryant

“Recently, when I hit a very hard part of life, I turned to indexing to keep me grounded. It helps distract me from my worries. The Spirit of Elijah and those who have gone before bring me comfort. Thanks for letting us help.”

C. Pixton

“I started indexing because I love to transcribe records. It was brought to my attention that I would be ‘giving back’ by indexing, and I haven’t stopped after two years. For all of you who have volunteered to transcribe and have helped me find more information on my family—thank you, thank you, thank you.”

D. Jones

“Indexing makes me feel close to those whose names I index, and I often feel their presence. I also index to help family tree researchers who are awaiting records to be transcribed.”

C. Wilcox

“I started indexing following the extraction program, and I got hooked. I’m still indexing because I enjoy it and it’s a way to pay back those who have made it easier to do my family history. Having been diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago, I find that indexing keeps my mind active, and it keeps me sane. I love it!”

M. Taylor

“Well, I index because I love it. In all the years I have indexed, I can’t recall stumbling across anything to help me personally with research, but the technology is amazing, and I so want to be a part of helping others where I can.”

S. Evans

“I index so I can get a lot of practice deciphering handwriting and learn what documents are available. Once I start, it is hard to stop!

A. Christensen   

Thank you to the many volunteers who shared their testimonies and indexing experiences! Your sacrifice and contribution will help thousands who are looking for their ancestors.

Many blessings come from participating in this great work. What blessings have you received? Why do you index? Leave a comment below, or send us an email at fsindexing@familysearch.org.

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  1. I index for several reasons but mainly it is an opportunity to give service when you have no idea who or how many you are helping. What a wonderful opportunity to touch others.

  2. I enjoy indexing in part because I feel I have a talent to decipher difficult handwriting. I love names and discovering new places.

  3. I index because as of now, it’s the most I can do concerning family history. I’m a youth and I don’t know how to do work for my own ancestors. But I’m very glad I’ve been taught how to index because it gives me a place to start. Indexing is an easy way to get into family history and it’s a blessing to have this opportunity to help others with their family history work. I hope to encourage other youth to start indexing too.

  4. I index because I know that it helps us all in one way or another. I like being able to further others research and someday I hope to find more information on my own lines.

  5. I enjoy deciphering the names. I like to think that they are cheering me on & thanking me when I get it right. I always feel great after I have indexed, knowing that someone, somewhere out there, will find a member of their family. I know how exciting that is, and I am glad to be a part of it.

  6. I was involved with the Extraction Program many years ago and loved it and was sad when it went away, but very excited and happy when the Indexing of the records began. I have been working on my own family history for years and I’m excited to be able help make so many records available to search for free. I also get involved a little with the history surrounding some of the records. I usually pray before indexing or arbitrating and am amazed at how many times, not all the time, but many times I am able to look at a handwritten name and just like that I can read it. I believe Heavenly Father has a plan in all this and not just making sure everything is correct, but He knows who is waiting for us to find them.

    1. When did the extraction program go away? I was called to be an extractor in 1981 after I had volunteered. I lived in Utah and hadn’t had a job in the ward for almost a year. I did extracting for many years until I went on an 18 month mission. When I got back the name had changed from Extraction to Indexing but it was basically the same uncept improved. There I have been extracting/indexing/arbitrating for 32 years . My eyes are getting bad so I just enlarge the print so I can see but I keep indexing.

  7. I index because I love the feeling I get when I have submitted a batch. I know that those names are going to help someone that is doing their family history. It just brings satisfaction that you really can’t find anywhere else. Our Heavenly Father gave us the blessing of family history and I love taking hold of that chance!

  8. I index to help all the people around the world to make their research successful and easy. I always wanted to help the Family Seach Genealogy in my own little way.I always feel that indexing is so important and that it is a great work we can share.

  9. I began indexing initially to be obedient. Now I do it because I enjoy it and want to be part of moving the work forward. What joy we can bring to others by serving!