So it is with FamilySearch.org. Your presence here, whoever you are, adds life to the site and enjoyment for those who come behind you. In fact, it’s almost impossible to do anything on FamilySearch.org without making the experience better for someone else.Genealogy has always been a very solitary pursuit. Of course, we could have family reunions and such, but usually the dedicated genealogist was busily working away on ancestral lines without much contact, help or even the good wishes of family members. I could discuss the reasons for this isolation, but I think I will do that another time. The key point made by Dennis is the statement about the possibility of making any changes on FamilySearch.org Family Tree without helping others. This is due to the fact that the Family Tree is a "unified" family tree program. All of the people working on the program can see and interact with any of the other user's changes.
Family Tree is unified in the sense that all of the information about each individual is only in one place on the family tree. If you and I were related and looking at a common ancestor, we would both be looking at the same individual, not two different copies on our own family tree files. For this reason cooperation is not an option, it is required. Anything done on the Family Tree program; entering data, uploading photos, sharing stories, all of these events are visible to everyone who logs into the program.
Literally, anything we do to benefit the information on FamilySearch.org, benefits all of the people visiting the program. This not only applies to adding genealogical information, photos, stories and documents, but it also extends to participating in the Indexing program. Dennis concludes his blog post with an invitation:
FamilySearch.org offers the same kind of opportunities to everyone who attends its “party.” Thousands of people come to FamilySearch.org every day for the express purpose of giving back to make life better for others. The most visible of these opportunities is FamilySearch indexing.
Do you realize that most of the billions of searchable names on FamilySearch.org were transcribed (or indexed) from historic documents by ordinary people? The vast majority of this work is done by volunteers, individuals like you and me who want to use their spare time to do something good for others. Like a stitch or two in a quilt, every record indexed really matters. In fact, all it takes is one indexed record for someone else to find a missing connection in their Family Tree.
So next time you visit FamilySearch.org, how about you take a few minutes to give back? I would like to extend to you an invitation in 2014 to join us in the “One Patron” experience. For example, if you like to search for records, learn to index and submit a batch of indexed records. If you’re already a regular indexer, how about adding a photo, story, document, or source to help others find or learn about their ancestor? Or how about performing the ultimate act of service of using your time to submit a name to the temple?
With everyone doing a little and some doing a lot, we can all enjoy and be a part of this entire party we call FamilySearch.org.