Indexing on a Roll, Volunteers Continue to Amaze
Indexing is increasingly being recognized as an engaging and unifying activity that brings the Spirit and helps further the work of the Lord. The 1940 U. S. Census Community Project has given Latter-day Saints an opportunity to link arms with thousands from other faith traditions, as well as civic and social organizations (more than 150,000 volunteers in all), to make this large and valuable record collection freely available to everyone.
The recent success of the “Five Million Record Challenge,” held July 1 (July 2 in some areas of the world), demonstrated just how popular and engaging indexing is becoming. On that day, over 46,000 volunteers participated, and they indexed more than double the goal set by indexing and arbitrating a total of more than 10.3 million records in one 24-hour period.
“Apparently we set the goal too low,” said Mike Judson, FamilySearch manager for indexing volunteer development. “We continue to be amazed by the number of compassionate volunteers donating their time so others can trace their family history. Their enthusiasm for indexing historic genealogical records to make them searchable online is astounding and incredibly gratifying.”
At current rates, the 1940 U. S. Census will be fully indexed and arbitrated by early August. Consultants, indexing directors, family history center directors, and local priesthood leaders are naturally interested in maintaining the enthusiasm of their indexing volunteers. FamilySearch is pleased to announce that just before completion of the 1940 U. S. Census, a new major effort, the U. S. Immigration and Naturalization Community Project, will commence and will surely further engage and invigorate indexers and arbitrators in North America.
As the U. S. is largely a nation of immigrant families, the records in this collection (Immigration & Naturalization) are a foundational element of American research. Many millions of these records are currently available as images in the Church’s collection, but they now must be indexed in order to make them searchable. As with the 1940 U. S. Federal Census, FamilySearch will seek support from Church members as well as genealogical societies and the general public to accomplish this next goal. Six individual projects in the collection have already been posted in the indexing tool. Each is listed with the designation “U. S. (Community Project).”
FamilySearch is also launching large-scale national and regional projects from other parts of the world and in multiple languages. For example, the recent historic partnership with the National Archives of Italy allows FamilySearch to index millions of Italian civil registration (birth, marriage, and death) records. Thousands of volunteers (Italian speaking as well as others who can learn simple Italian phrases) are needed to meet this challenge. Similar plans are being developed for Latin America. In some cases, stakes within the U. S. and Canada will be invited to assist with these large international projects.