Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – FamilySearch Indexing

Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings has posted this week’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun and the topic is FamilySearch Indexing!

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (and I really think that you should do this), is to:

1)  If you are not one already, become a FamilySearch Indexing volunteer so that you can work on the 1940 U.S. Census when it comes out after 2 April 2012.  Go to and  sign up to index.  If this is new for you, take the Test Drive, download the software, and do some tonight!

2)  Once you have the software on your computer, then do some indexing.  If you are new to indexing, then download a batch and work on it, learning the process along the way.

3)  If you are an experienced indexer, then do a batch or two for SNGF.

4)  Tell us what record collection you indexed, and how many records you did tonight.

5)  Tell us in your own blog post, in a comment to this post, or in a Google Plus stream post or Facebook status line.

This was the perfect challenge for me this week for two reasons.

  1. I’ve indexed in the past, but it has been quite awhile and I’ve been meaning to get involved again, in preparation for the release of the 1940 U. S. Census
  2. I’ve signed up to be a blog ambassador for the 1940 U. S. Census Community Project and I was planning to write a post related to that today.

This lets me kill two birds with one stone.

For those of you not in the know, the 1940 U. S. Census will be released to the public on April 2, 2012.  That is only 37 days away!  However, when first released, the census will be available as images only; there will not be an index.  And genealogists know that indexes make finding those pesky ancestors SO much easier.  So, it falls on us to create that index.

If you’ve never done any indexing and think it sounds hard, it’s not.  Follow the directions in Item #1 of tonight’s challenge instructions to get started.  After you download and install the software, you can download a batch.  Batches are small groups of items that can be indexed in one sitting.  They are divided into different levels for beginners, immediate, and advanced indexers.  Start with a beginner batch, because it will usually be easier to read.

Tonight, I did some batches of World War II Second Registration Draft Cards for Arkansas.  These were SO easy!  The cards were filled out in big printed letters and one was even typed.  None of that early 19th-century cursive that I’ve been dealing with in transcribing Captain Thomas Hemphill’s will.

If you use FamilySearch records (which are available FREE), then I encourage you to do some indexing to give back to the community.  A lot or a little, it doesn’t matter.  Every record indexed helps.  And if you plan on helping to index the 1940 U. S. Census (and I hope you will), this is the perfect time to practice.

So, why not sign up now?

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