As with many countries, historical records in Ghana are at risk of being lost. Fortunately, FamilySearch is helping preserve these precious records before they are destroyed. One effort involves indexing the 1982–1984 census, which according to a 1984 estimate puts the population at 12.3 million. Today the population of this country is double that, at about 24 million.
Members of several local congregations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are now actively indexing this particular census project. A small but growing army of over 525 indexers has now indexed more than 252,000 records and arbitrated more than 63,000 records for this project.
New volunteers are the lifeblood of the FamilySearch indexing program. While indexing can be an engaging personal hobby when done alone, indexing groups can be particularly helpful in energizing new indexers. An indexing group can be as small as two people. Communal indexing can bring a social element and more fun to the effort, while also increasing accuracy.
Those indexing in Ghana have done some great things to build a new workforce using expertise from local volunteers. Nearly 100 percent of the indexing on this project has been completed by people from this country! Below are a few examples of what they have been doing to be successful.
- Give new indexers additional time and attention. An older man was interested in indexing and was not very familiar with computers. However, with a little one-on-one help, he was able to submit his first batch!
- Remember that young adults make excellent indexers. Youth groups from Adenta, Christiansborg, Tema, and Takoradi have learned indexing and have enjoyed competing to see who can do the most names. On one occasion, a few volunteers came and learned how to index and didn’t want to stop when it was time to end for the day.
- Set aside a time to index. A local family history center director set up a schedule so that each group had a day and time to come learn how to index. Computers and Internet service are available in various centers throughout the world.
- Index with a friend. Two volunteers came and had some training and quickly learned indexing. As they learned, they wanted to keep up with each other as they went along.
One volunteer commented, “We just know that indexing is very addictive, and once people learn about it, they want to be involved. We have a long way to go till the records are done, but we will keep adding people to our indexer list, and we will finish the task.”
Good luck to all the wonderful volunteers in Ghana and all indexers throughout the world! Thanks to your dedication, more and more people are experiencing the joy of making records available.