While many people know that the time and effort they spend indexing historical records helps the family history community, many don’t understand exactly how these records are used. Many volunteers have asked for some clarification on how the records they index are actually used and what benefit they provide.
The Benefits You Provide
Volunteers from around the world have indexed hundreds of millions of records over the past 30 years that are now available free to the public on familysearch.org, supporting the site’s mission of helping the entire family history community have access to the records of their ancestors.
Every name you index is a name that will eventually be searchable (and findable) on familysearch.org. Indexing isn’t a way to benefit FamilySearch as an organization—it’s a way to benefit the entire community of family history researchers find records and identify their ancestors more quickly. Many people every day are making discoveries or research breakthroughs because of the volunteer efforts of FamilySearch indexers.
Here are a few recent notes of appreciation that have been shared on our Facebook fan pages at http://www.facebook.com/familysearch and http://www.facebook.com/familysearchindexing:
“Thank you so much for having these records available. I’ve been making a family tree on the other huge genealogy site. Your site has documents that they don’t, and it really does help so much that these are available for free. I’m ‘paying’ by helping volunteer to put in information so hopefully others can find their family members as well.”—Missy Lowman
“Yes, FamilySearch is great and by working together we can do wonders. Instead of ten people looking for a needle in a haystack, each person could enter thousands of names and save other people many hours of work. By the way. I DID find the wills of two of the Sherwoods of Mt. Pleasant, Solomon and Jabez. These wills will provide the missing links in many cases for these families.”—Grant Davis
“Tonight I was trying to piece together a family in the mid-1800s in Ohio. They were shattered by death, marriage, remarriage, name changes, and lack of records. Using the records indexed through FamilySearch, I was able to build a reasonable framework for the family and solve an important mystery. It was such a satisfying moment. Thank you, indexers, arbitrators, computer persons, filming persons, anyone whatsoever involved with this effort!”—Carol VanTine Yocom
Records Publication Accelerates
FamilySearch continues to increase its efficiency and capacity to publish historical records online, both as images and indexes. While our indexing efforts continue to grow, the current effort simply won’t keep up with FamilySearch’s ability to publish images and the broad community appetite for more historical records. This means there will be hundreds of millions of images made available on familysearch.org BEFORE they can be indexed. As our capacity to index records continues to increase, we will turn those published images from stand-alone image collections that act as “online microfilm” into searchable collections that allow people to find their ancestors.
Your efforts in indexing and in introducing indexing to new volunteers will help us make more of these published images searchable over time. We express our deep appreciation to you as a volunteer in this effort. We add our voices to others we hear in the worldwide family history community in expressing a collective “thank you” to you and the other more than 130,000 active volunteers worldwide who participate in indexing.