Monday, July 30, 2012

The Indexing Horse Race is Almost to the Finish Line

AncestryInsider has viewed the 1940 Census Indexing Project as a Horse Race, running FamilySearch against and others posting the completed states online when available to search by index. It certainly has been amazing to sit on the sidelines and watch as in less than four months the finished project is almost here. The horses or competitors should reach the finish line sometime today or tomorrow. FamilySearch is now at 98.97% and only New Jersey, at 67%, is available for indexing. Five states are in the final arbitration stages, and of the twenty not available for search by index, fourteen are at 100%. Thank you so much to the volunteers who spent countless hours making this possible.

For FamilySearch this must seem like building a house of cards. Each time they take the website offline for routine updating, we hold our breath in anticipation of what we will discover when they come back online. We as genealogists want it all yesterday and yet probably can't conceive how challenging this project truly is. Thank you so much to the technical support and computer geeks who provide the expertise to make this happen.

The members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints financially support this monumental effort by FamilySearch. Thank you to all of the members who contribute to both the funding, and the pursuit of genealogy discoveries as service missionaries, church employees and individuals who have discovered in their lives a great love of doing family history work.

The great contributions of FamilySearch have just begun. There is a huge effort to place digitized records from around the world online, indexed and totally available for research for everyone in the world. Having spent some time with Michael J. Hall, the Deputy Genealogical Officer for FamilySearch, this past weekend we felt his enthusiasm for the work happening on a daily basis. He has the dream genealogy job, traveling around the world, meeting with people and sharing with them the possibilities of having their records preserved digitally. We are thankful for his participation in the "Summer Genealogy Fest" in Eugene, Oregon with the Genealogical Council of Oregon.

Currently FamilySearch is working with Italy to put all of their Civil Registration records online. I have been waiting for this, as I need to complete a project using those records. Even though I have the microfilms on extended loans, the use of online digitized records is faster and more efficient. The records are easier to read and the best copies can be retained. FamilySearch is also working on the large collection of microfilmed and fiche records in the Granite Mountain Vault in Utah. Michael noted that they hope to complete that project in the next five years. All of these digitized records will be in need of indexing. If you are an indexer, please continue to work at indexing. Encourage others to get involved and to help share the great satisfaction of helping to provide easy access to essential records in documenting our family histories.

So, as this once in a lifetime 1940 Census Indexing Project draws to a close and crosses the finish line, take time to savor the moment. Then jump right in and look for those people whose names are now searchable with online digitized copies at your fingertips. That is how I plan to spend the next few days before I take on another indexing project. Please help to carry forward this great effort in preserving the genealogy records of the world.

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