Community Corner: Indexers Share Their Stories


Today the indexing community spans the world, with volunteers participating in this meaningful work on nearly every continent. At FamilySearch, we frequently receive stories from indexers who are excited to share their positive and life-changing experiences. Here are two of the stories that we’d like to pass along.

Everyone Can Make a Difference, Heber, Utah (Name Withheld)

Every summer, a campground in Utah welcomes thousands of young women between the ages of 12 and 18 for a week of fun and adventure. Recently, this camp hosted a few young women with special needs. One of these beautiful young women was afflicted with cerebral palsy. Her condition was so limiting that her father had to sit behind her in one of the paddleboats and hold her upright because she only has control of her right forefinger. Even with her physical limitations, this amazing young woman has indexed 400,000 names. That number isn’t a mistake—400,000 names indexed with only one finger! While this young woman may be physically challenged, she knows that she can contribute to this great work and does so enthusiastically.

The Power to Change Lives, Kyiv, Ukraine

Pavel started indexing over three years ago when invited by friends to participate. He desired to help but didn’t fully understand the importance of the work he was helping with. Still, he continued to index and recently opened a project and had an experience that dramatically changed his understanding.

As he was indexing a child’s last name and date of death, the name stuck in his mind, as it was a very interesting surname. A few names later, he saw the same last name for another child, and the parents were the same. Later in the document, he found the same last name and parents for another child. Going back, he saw the first child had died at the age of one. The second child he had recorded was only three. Further down the image, a record indicated that another child of the same family had died at the age of six. Just two days later, a fourth child passed on, followed by another sibling, age eight. In all, the family lost five children in only a few short days.

Further down, another entry appeared for the mother. All had died in the terrible Russian cholera epidemic of 1910. Finally, after the father had buried all of his children and his wife, a final entry noted his own death. But against all the record-keeping norms of the day, the father’s record listed not cholera as the cause of death, but sadness.

Struggling with his emotions, Pavel explained, “After I read all of that, I couldn’t do indexing for a while. I understood—I cared now; I cared about everything that was happening to the children.

“In retrospect, I see that our life continues, and stories may repeat themselves. It’s not just with my mind that I now understand. Now I feel it in my heart. After that [experience], I started to be more attentive to my children and those who surround me.”

Share Your Story

Do you have a story you would be willing to share with the indexing community? We’d love to hear from you! Send us your stories including any of the following:

  • Stories you’ve found while indexing.
  • Success stories resulting from your efforts.
  • How indexing has helped you in your own family research.
  • Why you index and what indexing means to you.
  • Fun things going on in your community to encourage others to index.

If you have something to share, email your stories to

About the Author