Genealogy from the perspective of a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon, LDS)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Indexing Obituaries -- a rare opportunity to see the past

When we participate in the FamilySearch Indexing project, we a get a unique opportunity to open a window into the past we may never have experienced except for our indexing efforts. As genealogists, we stick pretty much to the sources and records of our own families, but as indexers we can see records that we never would have looked at any other way. The effect of this exposure to a large variety of records from around the world can be unpredictable.

For example, FamilySearch is looking for volunteers, in a recent blog post entitled "Obituary Arbitration in 6 Easy Steps," they asked:
FamilySearch needs hundreds of additional arbitrators to help with the new obituary projects, both to help publish the records and to help others get past the learning curve for this new record type.
I have an insight into this activity having scanned thousands of death records from the City of Mesa Cemetery and I can say that reading death notices will change your understanding of life. This new emphasis on obituaries is part of a larger effort to focus on modern records that connect recent generations. The advantage, of course, to the indexer is that text is not usually in a foreign language, it is printed and it tells a story. I think we will see some interesting reactions as people begin indexing this type of record.

If you are interested, FamilySearch has prepared an instruction document called "Indexing Obituaries and Death Notices." As a matter of fact, this document is a remarkable analysis of obituary entries and would be useful to anyone researching obituaries.

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