In May 2013, nearly 2,000 genealogists and enthusiasts from around the world gathered in Las Vegas, Nevada, for the annual National Genealogical Society conference. Members of the FamilySearch indexing team and local volunteers ran a booth at the conference for those who attended. Over a period of four days, new indexers contributed 200 batches to the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Community Project. While this effort was exciting, the following stories that volunteers shared remind us all why this work is so important.
- ·A woman named Vikki came to the booth and was super excited to talk about her immigration experience. She arrived at the San Francisco port when she was 5 1/2 months old and FamilySearch volunteers had indexed her record. During her visit at the booth, she found the record she appears in and we snapped a photo!
- ·Two women walked by the booth looking for Mexican records. They sat down at a couple computers and were amazed to learn that FamilySearch has 65 collections of Mexican records available for free online. These women were just getting started with their family history and were able to locate family members in the 1930 Mexico census.
- ·On Saturday, nearly 70 young people from the nearby area came to participate in a special youth camp event. One young woman was an exchange student from Korea and created a free account to start building her family tree on FamilySearch.org. There is currently only one collection from Korea published online, and she was able to locate family members in it! FamilySearch.org has only been available in Korean for just a few weeks.
- ·A young man participating in the youth camp also came to the indexing booth and was able to build his family tree with his father. They learned about the Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, Immigration Cards, 1900–1965 and the nearly 1.5 million records available in this collection. Sure enough, once he did a simple search, he was able to find a record containing a photo of a family member! He even learned about his family’s Italian heritage.
New resources and records are making more information available to families throughout the world. Indexed records continue to be a valuable resource for those who have not only been doing genealogy for a long time, but also for those who are just getting started. Current indexing projects include records from New York, Louisiana, and Hawaii, as part of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Community Projects and over 150 additional projects from around the world. Thank you for your efforts, and please continue to index these records so more stories like these can be possible.