Cast of Thousands Helps “Fuel the Find”

Worldwide Genealogy Indexing Event Runs through August 14
By The Contemplative Genealogist©™

Little did this 1920 census taker know that that file under her arm was actually a genealogist's treasure chest. (Source: Library of Congress, public domain.)

Little did this 1920 census taker know that that file under her arm was actually a genealogist’s treasure chest. (Source: Library of Congress, public domain.)

And they’re off! Genealogy’s global indexing event for 2015, “Fuel the Find,” is officially now in full swing with thousands of professional genealogists and amateur family history researchers joining forces with one goal – to ultimately make every conceivable type of historic public record available online – and easily searchable.

The indexing extravaganza was so popular last year that more than 90,000 genealogy enthusiasts signed on and nearly crashed the system. So this year, Family Search, the event’s sponsor, is giving indexers an entire week to put their collective noses to a very big grindstone.

Census rolls, church marriage ledgers, military interment control forms, newspaper obituaries. If you can name a type of record frequently used in family history research, you can bet your boots someone will be indexing that record type over the next several days.

In a nutshell, the process starts when someone finds an interesting collection of documents or photographs at a national archive or in a small town historical society’s file cabinet, makes copies or takes digital photographs of the items, and sends the batch of records to Family Search. Volunteers, like the ones involved with “Fuel the Find” this week, then transcribe the records. The online process, also known as “indexing,” enables computers to search for those records online, and also helps computers figure out how to develop additional hints for searchers that link the scanned documents to other records which might be related.

Each volunteer who participates this year will be asked to pull out specific data from individual records to summarize the most critical information contained in those records, type those key data points onto online forms customized for each records batch, and then submit those forms to Family Search via the organization’s online indexing system.

Family Search is asking its “Fuel the Find” volunteers to index at least one full batch of records in their preferred language. Adults and even teens fluent in French, Italian, Portuguese or Spanish are especially needed to work with record groups which were produced in those languages.

But those fluent in English need not feel left out. There are still billions of English language documents which also need attention.

With such a huge challenge, planners hope for 100,000 participants or more to join the fun between now and the event’s end on August 14, 2015. So sign up, and get crackin’!

Tip: To prevent a system crash similar to the one that occurred last year, planners recommend that you download records and work offline as much as possible.

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About Laurie Snyder

Laurie Snyder is a writer, editor, traveler, history researcher, humanities advocate, and educator. An award-winning journalist, her interviews with survivors of Pearl Harbor, Midway, and the Holocaust have appeared in national and regional news publications. The creator and managing editor of the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers: One Civil War Regiment's Story ©™, The Contemplative Genealogist ©™ and The Contemplative Traveler ©™, she also serves as the principal consultant for Snyder's Point Communications.
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