Wednesday, July 2, 2014

3-2-1 Cite! Challenge for July: FamilySearch Indexing

Our newest 3-2-1 Challenge from DearMyrtle is:
·         3 – Review 3 possible projects
·         2 – Submit two batches
·         1 – Write 1 paragraph about your impressions
CITE! All sources, including your “personal knowledge” as the source for the paragraph you write.

I won’t be able to write one paragraph about my impressions but I'm excited to get back into indexing! I had done indexing back in 2012 when the 1940 census came out. The census records were lots of fun and were not too hard to do except for reading some challenging handwriting on occasion. I had also done other projects but couldn’t remember which ones. On the tab for My History in the Indexing program, I could click on the “My Records Submitted” to see what I had done before. Some of the other record groups included Ontario, Canada Marriages; WWII Draft Registrations from Arkansas; California Great Registers; World War I Registration cards from Missouri; among other items for a total of 1420 records.

So the three possible projects I reviewed for this challenge were:
  • US--Passport Applications, 1918-1925 [Part I]
  • US--New York, Records of the National Guard, 1906-1954
  • Sverige, Jönköping—Kyrkoböker, till 1860

I believe the only way to really review the projects is to try to do one batch. Before I started, I read the instructions. I click on the sample image and also on the sample image that has the fields marked.  Here is an example of that sample page for the Records of the National Guard:

Sample page for enlistment cards
My notes on the above projects:

US-Passport Applications, 1918-1925.  I did 8 batches.  There was some trial and error before I could figure out how to submit the batch. I had left out the header data for each of the pages. Then there were some fields highlighted in red where I had to accept the odd spellings.  Once I did that, when I checked my history, I had 57 points.  All for about 45 minutes work.

These batches were images of passport applications. Usually they are two-sided but we are indexing only the front side with the application no, year, state, first name, last name, birth location, birthdate.  Some of the images had extra stuff about the previous application, so I had to mark it “no discernable information” and go on to the next image.

Some of the applications were filled out by hand and others typed. I like the typed ones best as it was easier to read. I would check the signatures if I needed to verify a spelling of the surname. The hardest batches were the ones that had no printed state on the form. It appeared to have been in Washington DC which I entered as District of Columbia.

US-New York, Records of the National Guard, 1906-1954.  These are made up of cards for enlistments. I checked out the sample page and what was to be entered first.  Having the various fields circled and explained made the indexing easier. 

I was given a batch that someone had started but hadn't finished. It was nearly completely unfinished so it was as if I did the whole batch. The only thing that had been done on the batch were the header was filled in on two of the images.

This record group was not too hard. There seemed to be two kinds of cards: ones filled in almost completely with all the information except the age like the example above, and other cards had only the name, age, enlistment date and military unit. I quickly learned how to enter the code for a blank (control B).

I did several batches of this type. I am willing to go back and do more!

Sverige, Jönköping—Kyrkoböker, till 1860.  There were not a lot of U.S. records to index and I saw this one from Sweden. Jönköping is a place where my husband’s Swedish family came from and I had searched quite a bit for his family in church records.  1860 records weren’t too hard to read so I thought I’d give it a try.

The batch was a two page spread from the church book.  It was all in paragraph form in the old style of handwriting.  This record was not from 1860 at all, but rather 1634! If you cannot handle a batch, you can return it. That is what I did. Hopefully genealogists from Sweden will tackle these records, though they may also have trouble reading the old handwriting. But at least they can read the language!

My conclusion paragraph describing this all: I indexed 19 records of the U.S. passport applications and 15 records of the National Guard records. I think this is a very worthwhile endeavor for genealogists to do to give back to the genealogy community for all of the wonderful records we have already used from someone else’s indexing. I was a bit disappointed that there were not more U.S. records to index besides the few I saw. I am very anxious for all of the land and probate images that are online at that are not indexed and I would be willing to work on those.  Come join me in indexing a few batches yourself![1] 

[1] Lisa S. Gorrell, “3-2-1 Cite! Challenge for July: FamilySearch Indexing,” blog post, My Trails Into The Past,, 2 Jul 2014.

Copyright © 2014 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past

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