FamilySearch Indexing

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FamilySearch Indexing is a volunteer project established and run by FamilySearch, a genealogy organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The project aims to create searchable digital indexes for scanned images of historical documents. The documents are drawn primarily from a collection of over a billion photographic images of historical documents from 110 countries and principalities. They include census records, birth and death certificates, marriage licenses, military and property records, and other vital records maintained by local, state, and national governments. However, to access the billions of names that appear on these images, indexes are needed to be able to search them efficiently.

Volunteers install proprietary software available at no cost on their home computers, download images from the site, type the data they read from the image via the software, and submit their work back to the site. The data is eventually made publicly and freely available at Family History Centers or at the FamilySearch website for use in genealogical and family history research. FamilySearch anticipates that the number of names and associated genealogical data indexed is expected to accelerate as more people volunteer to index.

Since FamilySearch indexing began in 2006, this unprecedented crowdsourcing effort has produced more than one billion searchable records. The value to professionals, hobbyists, and family organization researchers is immeasurable.[1]

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Up to December, 2008, the FamilySearch Indexing Project has focused primarily on indexing state and federal census records from the United States of America, though census records from Mexico and vital records from other locales have also been indexed. As of July 2014, total records completed are 1,199,819,448; total records completed in 2014, 96,213,312; records awaiting arbitation, 20,365,809; and as of August 2014, 335 projects in many languages and over 20 countries are waiting to be done. To ensure accuracy, three people check each record, two people index the same record at separate times, then an artibrator compares the two records and corrects any mistakes or errors. In addition to the general indexing projects, the site also partners with other genealogical organizations to complete specialized indexing projects. Partners have included the Arkansas Genealogical Society, the Black History Museum, the Indiana Genealogical Society, the Ohio Genealogical Society, and the Utah Genealogical Association.

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