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

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The State of FamilySearch Indexing

FamilySearch just published a blog post entitled, "Straight Talk about the State of Indexing." For the past two years or so, I've been hearing about the fact that the FamilySearch Indexing program would be moved entirely online. Presently, the program requires you to download a segment to your computer for access to the program. In addition, there is some talk about a mobile version of the program. A limited mobile version of the program was released and then withdrawn. There is the latest statement from FamilySearch regarding the status of a new release:
Old Indexing Program versus New Indexing Program 
What can I say? Yes, we’ve been talking about a new indexing program for nearly two years. And, yes, it has been in development for even longer than that. Clearly there were miscalculations about the complexity of the task, the amount of time it would require, and even how it would be received by our beta testers. We have learned, and we have gotten smarter. A limited number of volunteers are now doing actual indexing work in a greatly improved version of the program. But we still have a long way to go to make sure it is ready to support the large number of volunteers and variety of work. 
Meanwhile, the current indexing program is what we have to use. It has been a mostly steady workhorse for eight years, and we expect it will continue to serve us well for at least another year. The transition to the new program will be gradual and will occur in phases. We’ll be sure to keep you informed as progress continues. 
In the meantime, please keep using the current program. We have heard some stake indexing directors and group administrators are no longer teaching people how to use the current program because they are waiting for the new one. Please do not wait! Keep training people so they can be fully up to speed and engaged in indexing when the time comes to make the switch.
Since there is no firm deadline set forth in the announcement, I would suggest that everyone follow the advice and keep using the current program.

The rest of the blog post acknowledges that easy English projects are getting hard to find. Here is the statement from the blog post:
Easy English Projects Are Getting Harder to FindThis is no surprise to you if you’ve tried to find one of those favorite census or obituary projects lately. We are victims of our own success. The big, easy English collections that were once plentiful are now mostly indexed and published for researchers on Congratulations are in order! But, there’s a downside to these amazing accomplishments as well. 
The big, easy English record collections still out there are few in number and aren’t always the kind people like to index. Passenger ship lists, marriage records, military records, and such contain a wealth of valuable genealogical information but are rarely volunteers’ first choice. I liken the situation to putting broccoli and macaroni and cheese in front of a child. Nine times out of ten the child is going to choose the macaroni and cheese. 
If you can’t find what you really want to work on, will you give one of the less popular projects a try to see if you can acquire a taste for the other records as well? I promise, it’s good for you—and it makes a huge difference for researchers. It will also help to preserve the few beginner projects for the actual beginner indexers.
If you have been watching the new Historical Record Collections as they are being loaded onto the website, the statement should be no surprise to you. Here, I would suggest that the indexers began looking at the less popular options that may be slightly more difficult but the results and the benefit to the genealogical community is still there.

The blog post also indicates that non-English indexing is now the greatest need. If you can a foreign language or if you would like to learn consider indexing in another language.

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