Everybody into the pool

Indexing marathon

What are you doing this coming Sunday and Monday, July 20-21?

WorldwideEventPosterSome of us, of course, The Legal Genealogist included, will be arriving at and beginning our learning experiences at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP).

Some of us may be starting new jobs.

Some of us may be heading off for summer camps or programs.

Some of us may even be starting vacations.

But we should all find just a little bit of time — just a half-hour somewhere during the 24 hours between 00:00 coordinated universal time (UTC) and 23:59:59 UTC July 21 — to join in the Worldwide Indexing Event at FamilySearch.

Now that raises a bunch of questions, doesn’t it?

What’s the Worldwide Indexing Event?

It’s a one-day push to get (a) lots of records indexed at FamilySearch that are now hard to access because they exist only as images without indexes to the names that appear in the records and (b) lots of people actively involved in indexing, because that’s the only way to cure the problem of images without indexes!

Think about it this way.

The one piece of information you might need to break through a brick wall in your research might be in an obituary published in a newspaper somewhere out there in a location you haven’t even considered. If all that exists is a digital image of the published obituary, how are you going to find it?

Now think what you might be able to do if the names in that obituary came up in an index search.

The same is true of all those passport applications filed in the United States between 1795 and 1925. I’ve seen one where my German-born great uncle named his father in the record.

Or perhaps you need to be able to find that one record in the Manchester, England, parish registers.

Just consider all the things we might be able to discover, if only we could find the records that relate to our ancestors — and especially the ones they created in all those places where we don’t know they lived!

That’s the value of an index. It’s a clue pointing us to records we couldn’t easily find — and perhaps might not find in our lifetimes.

What’s the event goal?

To beat the old record of 49,025 indexers and arbitrators who joined in a similar event two years ago, on 2 July 2012. The aim is to round up 50,000 people — current indexers and a whole bunch of new folks — to index at least one batch of records during this 24-hour period.

And yes, we can do more if we want to and have time. But we need to do one complete batch — which usually takes no more than a half hour even for a total beginner — to be counted towards the goal of 50.000 indexers.

What do I have to do?

If you haven’t done any indexing before, it’s easy. You can learn more about how it’s done here. You can take a test drive, or get started with the basics, or find an indexing project that’s just right for you. There’s additional help here, too.

There are hundreds of projects to choose from to begin your indexing. FamilySearch is recommending four in particular for this event:

• US—Obituaries, 1980–2014
• US—Passport Applications, 1795-1925
• US, New Orleans—Passenger Lists, 1820-1902
• UK, Manchester—Parish Registers, 1787-1999

But there are so many more, from every part of the world, so if you’re Canadian, pick one from Canada. Australian? Plenty for you. European? Lots in your native language.

When are the start and end times in MY time zone?

Well, that kinda depends on what time zone you’re in, now, doesn’t it? You can check out what the time is right now in Coordinated Universal Time at this website, and do the calculation yourself.

Or you can just figure it this way. The start time of 00:00 UTC converts for the United States as:

• 9:00 p.m. Atlantic Daylight Time
• 8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time
• 7:00 p.m. Central Daylight Time
• 6:00 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time
• 5:00 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time
• 4:00 p.m. Alaska Daylight Time
• 2:00 p.m. Hawaii Daylight Time

Need more help? There’s a Facebook page for the event that promises to help with local start times and even to provide status updates.

Can we count on you?

You betcha. I’m not sure where exactly I’m going to find that time — I’m teaching three full classes on Monday the 21st at GRIP — but I’ll find it somewhere, somehow.

Join me?

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12 Responses to Everybody into the pool

  1. Celia Lewis says:

    I’ll be working my little fingers as well. I’m already doing some additional practice indexing since I’ve never done obituaries before. Easy-peasy. Cheers from Canada. We can all get involved wherever we are.

  2. Cindy K. says:

    OK:) I’m in!

  3. Sharon Crowley Connor says:

    Judy, you are a terrific cheerleader! You have compelled me to do what I’ve been MEANING TO DO (we know how that is) for at least a year! I’ve downloaded the Indexing program, and plan to begin tonight. No matter what batches I do between now and Sunday, I will begin a batch at the Worldwide Event time in order to help meed the goal. You are something else!

  4. Nancy says:

    Hi, Judy. I think you can get a bit of head start by downloading a batch beforehand and indexing at least part of it, finishing it on the 20th/21st, and submitting it that day. That may help some people to be able to participate who otherwise couldn’t.

  5. Carolyn Lea says:


    Thanks so much for spreading the word. I am already an indexer and looking forward to doing this event and hope your support induces a lot of new people to pitch in – and stay in. It is very rewarding and almost all of us can give enough time to do a batch now and then – one a week maybe? Becoming familiar with the process may also help enlighten researchers to the difficulties that can arise when transcribing records and help them consider using more wild cards in their own searches. Like most things you learn a lot from a different perspective.

  6. Doris Weaver says:

    I will work on whatever is needed. I’ve indexed before & will take at least an hours worth of work.
    Would it be possible to get the work earlier than the stated times. I will start as soon as I receive it.

    • Judy G. Russell says:

      I think you can start any batch at any time, Doris, but only those that are submitted within the time frame will count.

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