11 Ideas to Make Indexing Goals More Inspired—and Fun!

May 7, 2020  - by 

Around the world, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have made astounding contributions to indexing on an individual, ward, and stake level. These efforts have helped millions of people discover and connect to their families, even helping them find names of ancestors they never expected to take to the temple.

One important thing to remember, though, is that using number goals as an incentive isn’t the only way to index. While some members of ward and stake indexing groups might be motivated by reaching a number goal, others may feel burdened, guilty, or intimidated. A reliance on numbers can also create a feeling of urgency to index quickly rather than accurately.

Every record indexed can help someone somewhere learn about family. No matter how many records a ward member indexes, the contribution makes a difference.

The recent change to remove individual statistics from ward, stake, and general indexing groups reflects a need to focus on creating accurate records and using inspiration rather than numbers to direct indexing efforts.

Here are a few inspiration-focused and fun ideas for supporting Church members as they participate in indexing—ideas that don’t rely on charts, graphs, or numerical goals:

1. Be open to guidance from the Spirit.

Indexing is one way Church members can help participate in gathering Israel, but it’s not always the best option for everyone. Be prayerful about who you might invite to index and how you can best encourage and help them. Also consider praying for help to connect families with ancestors they are looking for. At times, indexers have even stumbled across their own family names as they have indexed.

Mother and daughter praying together.

2. Share fun unique things you find.

Historical records are about people from our past and give hints to their life stories. Can you find a unique name, an occupation, or an interesting fact in the records you are indexing? Share with your group via messaging or in a group gathering.

3. Get to know the places in historical records.

Are you indexing records from Minas Gerais, Brazil or Florence, Italy? Learn about the food, names, culture, or history of these places. You could even hold a themed activity.

4. Work in small support teams.

Have you ever thought an indexing project was intimidating or worried that your entries were off? Try working on it with a partner! Have one person fill in the index while another uses the internet to double-check spellings for names and locations. This teamwork can increase the quality of the record, and it might help you interpret hard-to-read records.

5. Center your goals on learning something new.

Instead of setting number goals, each person can learn to index a new type of record, a record from another part of the world, and so on. You can brainstorm ideas together and then look at help resources on FamilySearch.org, the FamilySearch Research Wiki, and elsewhere on the internet.

6. Invite group members to share an indexing story.

Indexing stories could be about an inspiring moment you had while indexing, the story behind how you got started, or simply about how indexing has brought you joy or satisfaction in your day-to-day life. It’s possible that not everyone in your group has something to share, but even a single story might further invite the Spirit into your meeting.

Gentleman sharing an indexing story with a group.

7. Talk to others about indexing.

Make a goal to talk about indexing with someone outside of the group and share an experience you’ve had. If indexing has blessed your life, your story might uplift others.

8. Invite group members to give a mini-lesson on indexing.

This short lesson could be on an indexing technique or something they have learned. Much of what a person knows about indexing can be learned by trial and error. Is there a way to help someone new to indexing avoid these errors?

9. Learn how to index in another language.

If you have group members with experience in another language and can dedicate time to online learning, indexing in another language could be a fun challenge. Go to the Language Resources page, and choose a language from the drop-down list. Be sure to study these resources and the language carefully to make your entries as accurate as possible.

10. Explore different ways to keep in touch.

Social connections can make for a great indexing experience, but what this looks like may be different for every group. Whether you chat via Facebook or WhatsApp, hop on a video call, or text back and forth while indexing, those connections can really make a difference.

11. Take a second look at your temple name cards.

Next time you take a family name to the temple or use Ordinances Ready, take a look at the person’s profile page on FamilySearch.org. (Use the Tree search, or click View Person in Ordinances Ready.) When you look at the sources for the person, check how many of them were indexed. If you click into one of these sources and see a typed record, that record was likely indexed by a volunteer like you. If the record has the option available, you might even be able to thank the volunteer who indexed the record.

Girls looking at temple name cards.

A More Inspired Indexing Experience

So pick an activity. Spend an inspired evening having fun with indexing and discussing its joys without worrying too much about statistics. Don’t talk about numbers. Talk instead about the reasons why each of you love indexing.

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  1. I hope we are able to see our own number goals! Even though I focus on accuracy of course, I set goals to achieve them, and see progress through numbers.