A Lesson from the Jamaican Bobsled Team

Jamaican Bobsled Team

In 1988, Jamaica entered a bobsled team in the Winter Olympic Games in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Representing a tropical nation in a cold-weather sport, this team was seen as the ultimate underdogs. In a show of worldly brotherhood, other countries offered support and guidance to the new Jamaican team. Although the team did not officially finish due to a crash during one of their runs, they showed significant improvement throughout the games. What did they teach the world? Never give up.

What does the Jamaican bobsled team have to do with indexing? Everything!

Many of us are new to indexing, just like Jamaica was new to bobsledding. We are trying to learn the basics while sometimes struggling with the unique fundamentals, such as handwriting. Thankfully, a community of experienced indexers offers new indexers guidance and support. Everyone improves with practice, and even though some of you may feel like you have crashed on your indexing run, don’t give up. There is a community of indexers anxious to help you succeed!

We know indexing has its difficulties, but we hope that you will continue to persevere. The benefits far outweigh the challenges. Check out what indexers and genealogists have to say about indexing:“Thanks to the time you took to index some anonymous stranger's records, I have been able to piece together [my great-great grandpa’s] life and understand so much more about my own. Thank you.”– Sam

 “I have loved doing indexing. It’s been a way of reaching out to the past and touching another life.… Thanks everyone, and I'm grateful to be a part of this good work.”– Juanita

“Thank you transcribers! I am so excited!! After 7 years of research, I finally found the baptism record for Great-grandpa Francis.… Now I have a starting point to gather Toth family information.”– Mary

Whether indexing is your first step on the path to doing your own family history, or you are now indexing to give back so others can find their ancestors, we encourage you not to give up just as the Jamaican bobsled team didn’t give up. You don’t have to be an Olympian to be a part of the indexing community. You just have to be willing to do your best. Your efforts, however large or small, really do make a difference.

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