In 1779, English clergyman John Newton published the lyrics to the now-famous hymn, “Amazing Grace.” When I read or listen to this song, the phrase “I once was lost but now am found” always strikes me, and I can’t help but think of the many who have lived but who are now “lost” from memory.
According to a recent UNICEF study, as many as 40 percent of the world’s births are never recorded, and many of these people die without any written documentation of their existence. How sad that any of our fellow humans should be born, grow, learn, love, and perhaps marry and have children and grandchildren, only to have the memory of their lives simply fade away after they die!
Doesn’t every person deserve to be remembered? FamilySearch thinks they do, which is why we invest so much time, effort, and money to gather, preserve, and share the records of the past. But there is still so much left to do!
Recently FamilySearch commissioned a study to better understand why people index. One of the leading reasons is to leave a legacy—not a legacy about themselves, but a legacy for those whose names are being indexed. Study participants reasoned correctly that without their indexing contribution, people could be lost from memory altogether. But because of their generosity, millions of long-forgotten people are being found and remembered and, in a sense, are being reunited with their living family members.
To celebrate this reunion of the living with their ancestors that volunteers make possible many times every day, FamilySearch has created a short video called “Indexing Is Vital for Research.” It may not be the catchiest title, but we think you’ll remember how it makes you feel.
Enjoy it with our compliments, and please share it freely with your friends and family. The more people we can encourage to join in this great cause, the more we will help those who are lost and forgotten to be found and remembered.