Indexing Obituaries Just Got Easier

May 1, 2014  - by 

In 2014, we have already indexed over 16 million names from obituaries. And all of this was done while navigating the indexing learning curve for these new projects. Nicely done!

Thank you for your willingness to index these amazing records, learn the instructions, and give feedback to create the highest quality indexes possible and make these names and stories searchable online.

Fortunately, a few changes have been made recently to make indexing obituaries a little easier. They are as follows:

  • Names such as “Mrs. Douglas (Melissa) Fairbanks” should be indexed as two records (Mrs. Melissa Fairbanks and Douglas Fairbanks) instead of one.
  • Instead of three record types, there will be only two: Deceased and Other. All relatives and nonrelatives will be indexed as Other in the Record Type field.
  • The Relationship to Deceased list has been updated to include Divorced Spouse, Domestic Partner, Fiancé, Fiancée, Relative, and Nonrelative. Continue to choose the closest relationship possible on the list.

The help resources for obituaries have been updated to reflect these new instructions:

Please note: While we transition to these new instructions, older obituary projects need to be finished according to the original instructions. For old projects that still have three record types—Deceased, Relative of Deceased, and Nonrelative—continue to index and arbitrate names such as “Mrs. Douglas (Melissa) Fairbanks” as one person (Mrs. Melissa Fairbanks). Index and arbitrate two people (Mrs. Melissa Fairbanks and Douglas Fairbanks) for similar names in all new projects that have two record types: Deceased and Other.

Older projects include:

New projects (as of May 1, 2014) include:

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  1. I am a new arbitrator and as such I am very worried that I will “ding” something that I shouldn’t. One might think that an arbitrator is such because they know everything about the indexing program, unfortunately that is not always the case. But I will continue to study and read these blogs which are extremely helpful to me. Also I will continue to do indexing and to read my arbitrations to see what I am indexing wrong. Arbitrating is a whole lot harder than, as an indexer, I thought it would be. Have patience with me as God isn’t finished with me yet.

  2. Does the Church have a search engine for indexing? For example, I’d like to do a search in an LDS indexing search box, using the words, “How to index step children.”

    1. I’m certainly no expert but I thought the instructions were pretty clear in that the church records to not differenciate between a step relative or a blood relative. I hope I have been doing that correctly. ie….step son is indexed as a son. Someone let me know if I have messed up yet again!

      1. You are correct to identify a step-son as a son for indexing. Similarly you would identify a step-parent as a parent.

    2. For your example this is the best place to find that information. For Windows I just use CTR + F to open up a search box. Enter “Step Children” it will find all times that term is used. You can also search the PDF file with instructions the same way. Any good search engine such as Google Search will find the answer almost anywhere on the Internet. I found this Blog when doing a Google search for indexing information.

      To set up and maintain a separate search engine for this purpose would, in my opinion, be redundant and a waste of time and money.