What thoughts come to your mind when you hear the word “arbitration”? Hopefully you first think about how it is an essential step in bringing accurate, searchable records to publication. For those who don’t know, every batch goes through a final arbitration process to resolve any discrepancies between the work of the two volunteers who indexed the records.
There are currently more than 4 million documents that have been indexed that can’t be published because the arbitration has not been completed. There are 6.3 million records that need to be arbitrated in Spanish, 1.1 million in Portuguese, 120,000 in Italian, and 50,000 in French. Three countries with the highest arbitration backlog are the Philippines, Peru, and Chile. The backlog of records needing arbitration can represent hundreds, thousands, or even millions of individuals from your country whose names cannot yet be searched on FamilySearch.org.
As a family history leader in your stake, you can help to get those waiting records published! Here’s how:
If you are not already an arbitrator:
- Take the arbitration tutorial. You can’t teach what you don’t know! Click here to take the tutorial.
- Begin Arbitrating. After you have become experienced and comfortable with indexing, start arbitrating as well. If you do not have arbitration rights yet, contact FamilySearch Support.
- Learn about record matching. Record matching is one of the most important parts of arbitration. It’s also one of the most missed and misunderstood steps. Make sure you and your arbitrators are familiar with this process. Click here to learn more about record matching.
Once you become an arbitrator:
- Regularly refresh your memory with the arbitration and record matching tutorials.
- Regularly review project instructions and the Basic Indexing Guidelines. Learn the instructions for each project you plan to work on, and index from that project (if it is available) before arbitrating.
- Train and encourage the current arbitrators in your group. Those currently helping with arbitration are doing great. No one is perfect, but they continue to help make the highest quality indexes available. They need encouragement and continued training.
- Find new arbitrators in your group. If possible, find two or three new qualified arbitrators in your stake. Ask them to become arbitrators, assign them arbitration rights, train them, and continue to encourage them as they strive to become comfortable in this critical role. Click here to learn more about how to select arbitrators.
With your help, we can arbitrate those 4 million documents and make them searchable on FamilySearch.org.
Just for fun, imagine that each of those documents represents four people (a conservative estimate). That would mean 16 million people are almost ready to have their searchable records published. That’s almost equal to the entire worldwide membership of The Church. What can you do today to help get these records published?