Why I Index

January 8, 2014  - by 

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 started indexing, 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 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

“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   

“Originally, I started indexing because I was stuck and saw an advertisement asking for help with the 1940 census. Once I started, I got hooked. I also like the idea of paying it forward to those who are also looking for their ancestors. I see the projects flying to completion, which is great for all researchers.”

L. Stevens

“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 done a bunch!”

S. Carter

“I’m from Ireland, where so few records of genealogical importance have survived, so I index to help make what Irish records are in existence more available.”

N. Owens

“I index because it’s fun and helps others! I always hope to find something related to my family.”

T. Imgham

“Indexing brings a happy spirit into my heart!”

K. Allen

“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

“I index because I want to give back for all the blessings and resources I have found. I also index because I don´t want others to be stuck.”

H. Rangel

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

Many benefits come from participating in this great work. What has indexing done for you? Why do you index? Send us an email at fsindexing@familysearch.org, or leave a comment below.

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  1. I index because it gives me a feeling of accomplishment and because it is rewarding to know that those people will now have the opportunity to accept the gospel. I am being a missionary!

  2. I followed my mother, who did it all by mail and spent hundreds in frankage, tips, etc. She waited for many months for replies. I can now get my answers in a fraction of the time. I have access to much more now (like Census records and birth and death records). My mother was a real Saint and I want to pay her back! Gene Thompson

  3. 1980 – I was asked to extract names from films to computer cards. The films were from Mexico City, Mexico. I don’t speak Spanish and served a mission in Japan. I don’t read/write Japanese. I’ve been hooked on the Indexing program when it first came out on computers. I love technology in doing this work. For those just starting to index, be careful of the Indexing Bug. There have been many a times when there is no way I could make-out a name(s) and I would put the batch aside and work a different batch. And there it is, the spelling of the family name I had problems with earlier or at the end of the batch, I would go back and have a discussion with this person to help me complete their record and they would. The vale is lifted from my mind and I am able to do this for this person. Experience after experience keeps me going. Having been on the other side for a short period during open heart surgery, I know this work needs to be done. All these years I ask the question – “Why was I given the choice to comeback?” To take care of my family and to have a part in this work. Just so you will know, those I walked among were family members. I know this now cause they knew who I was and I was not afraid. How many people were there? If you could stand 4-6 ft of the ground and look far off into the distance and be comfortable seeing the face of a person, the distance and space all around you are your family members. That is why I do Indexing. It’s important to me they are not forgotten. Thank You All who Index.

  4. I index because I know how important it is to get this information where researchers can find if. I pray that what I do will help someone in their search

  5. I spent 25 years of my life doing research for myself and others. I spent thousands of hours digging through old dusty books and reading microfilms for many hours just looking for one scrap of information. I know how hard it is to find info if the record is not indexed. We are a long way from indexing all records out there so one might still have to dig like I did and still do. But, so much info can be found by a click of a few buttons now. Thanks to everyone who does this.

  6. Well, everyone commented here shared their experience on indexing, I am happy about that but i will be more happier if anyone share the specific way of indexing particularly the topology of the family generations.