Giving Back

Indexing and Transcribing documents and records

The vast number of records and documents available on line is growing everyday. Some of these records are not searchable, as in there is not an index or means to see who is listed on these documents. This means scrolling through a vast array of scanned images reading every name to see if your ancestor might be included. This is very time consuming.

On FamilySearch.org, they have the option to help index several different projects that currently have no index. They have them arranged from beginner to advanced for you to choose your comfort level. These projects come from all over the globe. Since I am missing a few marriage records from Indiana, I choose to help index the Indiana marriage records. Helping index these records has helped me learn the different styles of handwriting over the ages. Also, most of these marriage records in the batch you receive (usually three images) were written by the same person, the court recorder, or someone similar. This helped distinguish the lettering in that particular batch.

I also recently found that the National Archives is looking for people to help tag and transcribe their record holdings. This is something I am looking forward to helping with as well. Their goal is to help make their records more discoverable.

Helping index these records, even though they do not help my own research, has been a wonderful addition to my genealogy research. Not only will it help another researcher, it helps me understand different handwriting, different types of records, and get a glimpse into the past. It helps give a sense of time and space. As in the marriage records, I wonder what their day was like? Were they giddy with excitement, nervous, or maybe it was against their will?

I recommend trying a project or two. It is a wonderful way to give back to the genealogy community. Plus, you never know what you might discover!

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