This month I had a chance to speak with Todd Bushman. Todd is a newcomer to indexing, but after seeing the top numbers posted on the FamilySearch indexing Facebook page (www.facebook.com/familysearchindexing), Todd decided to set a personal goal and see if he could reach those numbers. He was able to become a top indexer that week and has often been one of the top indexers from that point on. I have been inspired by Todd’s drive and passion for indexing.
Q. How long have you been indexing?
A. I started on March 23rd, so a little over six months.
Q. How did you get started indexing?
A. We had a presentation at church on indexing in January. I thought it was neat at the time, but I didn’t think much of it until March when I was talking to my parents and mentioned to them that indexing had been presented at church. My mother, while I was growing up, did extraction work with microfiche in Oklahoma, and she mentioned that indexing was so much easier than the extraction work she used to do (and much quicker). So I logged on, downloaded the program, and did a batch just to check it out. I have been hooked ever since.
Q. What do you do for work?
A. I’m a division finance manager.
Q. Where do you live?
A. Currently we live in Meridian, Idaho (just outside of Boise).
Q. Do you have any children?
A. We have two children—a son who is 6 and a daughter who is 4.
Q. Why do you index?
A. I index because it is very enjoyable. It has basically become my main hobby. Many people like to golf, camp, fish, or make things. I don’t have any of those talents, especially making or fixing things . . . , but I do have a passion for indexing and love the concept of making these records available for others to use. I think at different times in our lives the Lord prompts us to get involved, and right now I feel urged by the Lord to do this work. I love the volunteer nature of indexing for that reason. I believe the Lord will prompt individuals to become involved and will utilize their talents to help do this. Those talents can be and are in many different capacities, whether one is a fast typist, can easily read older handwriting, or just has the patience, diligence, and desire to spend hours and hours working on one batch that is difficult to read or is in a foreign language. The work is accomplished and others benefit from those efforts. Indexing is unique in that almost anyone with a computer can do it, and do it well.
Q. Have you shared indexing with others?
A. Yes, I love sharing indexing with others. In our church we have a “contest” over the summer between the youth groups with indexing. It is really neat to see various individuals really get into it. Obviously not everyone will grasp onto it—I know I didn’t think I would—but I think if people try it, they may be surprised and really get into it. Again, I think at different times in our lives the Lord prompts us to do certain things, and although not everyone who tries it will become a regular indexer or arbitrator, enough will develop a passion for it that it is worth introducing everyone to it. The key is to introduce people to it and let the Lord inspire those He wants at that time to get involved. Regular reminders and highlights can catch people at different times and circumstances in their lives and give them the desire to become involved. I know I didn’t jump on it the first time I heard about it, but having it brought to mind again and feeling the prompting of the Spirit to look into it has gotten me hooked to the cause.
Q. What is your favorite thing about indexing or genealogy?
A. I love watching for names similar to family, friends, and so on, and thinking about both the people themselves whose names I am helping become available for others to research and thinking about those who will use the digitized records to finally find individuals and families that have eluded them for years. When you really start thinking of the records as actual people, it excites you to know you are doing something simple yet extremely beneficial to others. There is also a bit of a scavenger hunt feel to indexing I love when I finally come across a person from a new state or country, and I imagine at some point I will recognize a name, and that will be exciting. You never know what will be on the record you are indexing. It is also really neat to talk to others who are as excited about indexing as you are, which is one reason I like the Facebook page (www.facebook.com/familysearchindexing).
Q. When is your favorite time to index?
A. Pretty much whenever I can. The most frequent time for me is after the kids have gone to bed, and funny as it may sound, I love to index while watching TV or a movie. I don’t know why I can do both at the same time, but it is really relaxing for me.
Q. Do you have any stories or inspirational things that have happened to you because of indexing?
A. I haven’t run across any more Bushmans in the records I’ve indexed yet (though I am still hopeful), but I have found that more of my free time now is spent in meaningful service, and there is a peace and uplifting to your soul that comes from that.
Q. What do you like to do in your free time when you’re not indexing?
A. I love to read and watch movies when I’m not indexing. I also enjoy most anything related to family and Disney, so most vacations are either spent visiting relatives or visiting Disneyland.
It was interesting to speak with Todd and learn about how and why he indexes. It is also impressive to see the amount that he indexes. We each come from different backgrounds and index different amounts, and we all index for different reasons. We may not all be top indexers or arbitrators, but each and every individual indexer is important. I have been inspired by Todd, and while I don’t know that I will ever index as much as he does, learning about why he indexes makes me want to be better.