Looking Back, Looking Forward

January 14, 2014  - by 
Looking Forward

It’s a new year and a great time to look back at the achievements of the past indexing season and forward to preview the exciting future ahead. So pat yourself on the back for last year’s success, and get ready for indexing’s best year yet!

FamilySearch Indexing’s Past

Is there anything more fun than the afterglow of a job well done? Remember the 1940 U.S. census community project?—132 million names, four months, 100 percent volunteer produced. Need we say more? Even though the 1940 census project happened in 2012, the good feelings and enthusiasm carried right into 2013.

For many, the U.S. immigration and naturalization community project followed. The records weren’t as easy, but volunteers still rose to the occasion. More than 42.6 million passenger lists and immigration card records were indexed and arbitrated in 2013. All those ancestors would be so proud!

Remember April 19? How could you forget? That was the day we hit ONE BILLION RECORDS indexed and arbitrated since FamilySearch indexing launched in 2006! With the average record containing two or three names, that’s two or three billion people who can now be found by their descendants. How many millions of people have found their ancestors as a result? Who knows? Hopefully you are one of them! Here’s a big “thanks a billion” from a handful of grateful researchers.

How about that new experience for patrons of FamilySearch.org? Photos! Stories! Family Tree! Are you contributing in these ways as well? It’s all part of the FamilySearch culture of giving—everyone benefits from each others’efforts. Give a little today—get a little tomorrow. Before you know it, we’ll all be connected to our ancestors!

Have you fully explored the new indexing website? It’s the latest addition to the experience for FamilySearch patrons that began last April. The new indexing site makes it easy to get the information you need about indexing and arbitration, available projects, and training for your volunteer role. But guess what? The best is yet to come!

FamilySearch Indexing’s Future

The new website is only the foundation for the really significant improvements you’ll see later this year when FamilySearch launches its new browser-based indexing program. No more downloading a program to your computer. No more wondering where project instructions and updates are located. No more wishing you could index on your tablet device. All this and more will be available in the new indexing program!

If you’re in Salt Lake City during February 6–8, you are invited to come and try an early version of the new indexing program at RootsTech 2014. The exhibit hall is free and open to the public, so stop by and tell us what you think.

Over the next few months, we’ll highlight some of the key features of the new program in future newsletters. The first feature is browser-based indexing.

What Is Browser-Based Indexing?

Simply put, browser-based indexing means indexing will soon be accomplished online using any major Internet browser currently supported by FamilySearch. You will not have to download a program anymore. Instead, indexing will happen on the same FamilySearch.org website where you go to upload pictures and stories, add names to Family Tree, and search for your ancestors.

Now when you get stuck in your research on FamilySearch.org, a simple click or two will let you jump directly to your indexing without opening a separate program. When you finish a batch, another click or two will let you jump to adding photos or stories or right back to your research.

Current Indexing Experience

Future Indexing Experience

Steps to start indexing
Anyone wishing to index must first visit indexing.familysearch.org to download the program, and then locate the program on his or her desktop to begin participating. Volunteers will no longer need to download a program. Once you are logged in to FamilySearch.org, indexing will be two clicks away. (Screens are shown in English but will be available in all indexing languages when the new program launches.)
Finding a project
Currently, indexers have to scroll through a long list of projects to find the one they want. Only limited sorting is provided to help you find the right project. In the future, finding projects will be so much easier! Indexers will be able to filter available projects based on language, difficulty, and location. Project information will also be searchable to help you easily pinpoint favorites.
Indexing a batch
The current data entry window is fixed and allows for two data entry methods—table and form entry. The new indexing will allow you to customize your data entry space and choose from three data entry methods, including table, form, and column indexing!

With the indexing tool built into the FamilySearch.org website, everything you need for indexing will be conveniently located in one place. That includes project information, messages from FamilySearch and your group administrators, explanations about which projects are most in need of help, handwriting and other helps, news about group challenges and accomplishments, and more. You will be able to learn about a project, open a batch, read the instructions, index, arbitrate, and get help—all without leaving the FamilySearch.org website.

So there you have it—the old and the new of FamilySearch indexing. In the next issue, we’ll discuss new training, help resources, and mobile device support.

Stay tuned!

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  1. Thanks to all of you who are making the new indexing helps available. I have been over indexing in my ward for several years now and have been amazed at the continued tweaks in the system making it easier to know what to do. This new one coming up will be wonderful in making it easier to complete the indexing projects. I definitely see the Lord’s hand in the progress that is being made to help find those names that will help to complete someone’s temple work. Awesome!!!!

    1. I see that some new phones allow a friend to sign their names and addresses etc. Then you can put a box around the info and have it changed to type. Would it be possible to do that with a page and have the computer do most of the indexing, then you could check the computers work and correct any errors it made? I also want to index off line for the same reason that many of you have stated above. Lots of time away from home with no access to the internet.

  2. I have been involved with indexing since the 80’s. We have come along way since then. Thanks for the many hours spent developing easier methods.

  3. Question Re the new indexing program

    Will completing batches off line be available in the new program?
    Being online is not always available to me so this has been very handy option. I haven’t seen any information regarding an offline option mentioned.

    The new program looks good!


  4. I can not open any search information. It says oops we cannot connect the link. Also what is this about changing the browser as it says when I log on to Family Search.org. Please reply. I can no longer pull up any information

  5. Read thru your blog. I am excited to be able to take my tablet (ipad) with me. One question: How do you mark a blank? That is very important as not all pages have all information.