Monday, July 2, 2012

Familysearch Indexing Legacy Marathon

This was an exciting twenty-four hours in the genealogy world. The FamilySearch indexing marathon ended at 5 PM Pacific Time, with a glorious finish of more than 10,080,334 records, 7,068,719 indexed and 3,011,615 arbitrated. More than 45,104 individuals participated. Due to wanting to post about this experience, I was waiting to write until after the final numbers were in, but they are not being posted until tomorrow.

Throughout the twenty-four marathon FamilySearch kept participants informed via their Facebook page found at:
It was not until late yesterday that I discovered this by a message posted on the indexing page. When I needed a break from indexing I would visit the page and read the latest statistics and comments being posted. People posted from around the world. Some had indexing questions, but most just wanted to share their feelings about the experience.

My contribution was 1,660 records of the 1940 Census in Connecticut and Illinois. It will be interesting to see tomorrow where the project stands. I would imagine fairly large portions of the remaining eighteen states have been completed. At this point I am within 2,380 of making my current goal of 20,000 records indexed. In the process my work involved twenty-nine states, with most of the work in the following states:
Massachusetts 4,000
Illinois 4,000
Nebraska 3,400
Connecticut 1,920
Oregon 1,440
Washington 1,000

My arbitration percentage actually increased from 97% to 98%, so the work was pretty accurate. Over the course of indexing my speed and accuracy have grown.
I thought I would share some interesting highlights and reflections of the overall experience of the indexing.

Early today they asked for predictions on how many records would be completed. They reached 5,513,346 records by 9 AM. One could feel the excitement as they posted, " We did it! We hit 5 million early. It's amazing what we can do as a community joined in a common cause. We hit the goal, now let's see how far we can go by the end of the 24 hours. Let's leave a legacy!"
At 10 AM they were completing about 600,000 records an hour, and had already reached 6,123,228 records. At that rate I felt they might reach ten million.

The amount of participants grew almost as quickly as the records indexed. On the first posting of numbers on Sunday there were 13,832, then it grew to 19,672, then 23,347 by the final count on that day. On Monday it grew to 33,743, then 35,670, and by noon to 38,807. By 2 PM it was at 41,573, then 43,006, and finally 45,104 participants.

Some of my discoveries include the following:
A family of Indian race, with very distinct names living in Madison County, Illinois. The father was Red Eagle, mother Goldie was White race, daughters Eagle Feather and Two Stars, and a son Pony Eagle.
The terms for color or race seemed to leave a raw feeling with me, especially White and Negro.
Quite a number of individuals were divorced or never married. Many older children living were with their parents or siblings as adults.
Widowed were living with family, and mostly women living on their own whether widowed or divorced.
Quite a number of divorced individuals.
Women appeared to live longer, with the oldest found being 95.
Very few sets of obvious twins and no other multiple births.
Common names Charlotte, Bertha, Mary, Charles, and Arthur.
Common use of Biblical names.
Interesting batches containing convicts, nuns, and orphans.
Interesting terms for relationships include Curate, Partner, Progeny for a child, Foster Child, Friend, and more common Lodgers and Boarders.

The overall set up of the indexing is wonderful, fast and easy. The variety of places of birth and previous residences is amazing. One set just listed US and another Europe, not much help in doing one's genealogy. I like the way names and places repeat in the indexing process. Once one gets the hang of this it makes indexing much faster. It was fun to see the makeup of individual families and their neighbors. In downloading ten batches at a time I had an even broader perspective of the community. Then there was the age span between children, especially the last child. It made me wonder if the depression or some other social events had impacted the spaces between the births. It was also great to know who provided the information which might help to explain what was provided.

In the process I only turned back a handful of batches. One in particular was a Void sheet of information. Hopefully a comparison will be made to ensure that a revised sheet actually has been indexed. A few blank sheets were found, and a few sheets that were partially recorded.

This is not something that I could do every day, but I am grateful for the opportunity to view the 1940 Census in a broader perspective. I enjoyed reading others impressions of the event. They should probably do this more often. What an impressive response. Truly we have been a part of a FamilySearch Indexing Legacy Marathon. If you were not able to participate there are many more batches waiting to be indexed. Please take time to contribute to this very worthwhile work.

Final Count
" Amazing! We passed the 5 million records goal in less than 16 hours and just kept going! Thank you to the 46,091 indexers and arbitrators who participated in this historic event."
Final Record Count:
7,258,151 Indexed
3,082,728 Arbitrated
10,340,879 Total

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