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The Joy of Indexing: 101

The Joy of Indexing: 101

Indexing is a fantastic way to get involved in family history, especially if family history seems intimidating and you aren't sure where to start. I've found it has become even more meaningful for me as I've engaged in the search for my own ancestors because of the gratitude I've felt for those who have indexed records before me to allow me to find information about my own ancestors lives—for me it feels like a way to pay it forward.

The change to web indexing (it used to be a program you had to download on your computer) makes it fast and easy to get started from anywhere and pick up right where you left off.

Start by going to FamilySearch.org and then clicking Indexing > Web Indexing.

FamilySearch Indexing

Once you sign into FamilySearch, you'll be dropped onto this Indexing home page. You'll be able to set goals here and track your progress, but to get straight down to business, click the blue Find Batches button.

indexing home page

This will show you all the batches currently available to index. You can choose the difficulty level, language, etc. that you're up for too!

beginning batches indexing

Once you're in your indexing batch here are a couple of my favorite features.

1) Handwriting examples! If you just can't figure out what a letter is, open up this panel and it will give you examples of different ways that letter has been written historically. These have been a lifesaver to me in the past.

indexing handwriting help

2) Special instructions. When I start indexing a new type of record, I like to click through the "?" icon for each field, so that I know what I'm doing—it makes a big difference. For example, did you know when typing a height listed as 6' 1", you should type 6 1 (without the foot and inch symbols)? I'd been doing that wrong for years!

Special instructions

As I index, I can't help but wonder who these people were and what their life story was. I look for connections to my life and family (one person with my birthday so far!) and each time I find one it makes me smile. The greatest joy comes from knowing that as I index, I'm helping make these records searchable so that someone who loves this person and is looking for them can find them. How cool is that?

Ready to start indexing? Try it out at FamilySearch! Want to create your own custom family tree to help remember your own ancestors! Get started here.

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