Monday, May 2, 2011

Cigars, Cigarettes, Indexing or I'd walk a mile for indexing

When I was growing in the 19__'s the popular women magazines were full of articles offering advice for quiting smoking. Smoking had just been declared public enemy #1 and everyone was trying to quit. One article caught my attention, even at that very young age...,it explained that women have a particularly hard time quitting because they use smoking as a reward. Clean the bathrooms - have a cigarette; peel the potatoes - have a cigarette.

That article came back to me years later when I announced to myself that if I cleaned the bathroom I could have a glass of wine. That sure sounded like a reward to me. During the Harry Potter hey days I would promise myself two chapters if I did something distasteful like pay bills or pay attention to my kids...only kidding!

After discovering that Family Search is looking for volunteers to index I have once again fallen into the reward business. If I finish the work schedule I can index a page of the 1930 census. If I do some laundry I can index the NY marriages.

The indexing is so addicting that I have to apply the reward method or I would only index and nothing would get done.

The FamilySearch folks have the process down to a science. The indexing template is easily downloaded to the computer hard drive. Each indexing "batch" takes from 45 - 60 minutes. If I have a problem there is an instant chat feature that gives me easy access to help.

The 1930 census for the Bronx was a "melting pot". Every name had a different nationality. We have all read about immigration but indexing that census felt like I was reliving the time period.

Indexing the NY State marriages 1908 - 1935 has been a personal journey as one of my lines comes from Wyoming County and guess what?! I am indexing the Wyoming County marriages.

This is an addiction that I would highly recommend. It has given me a new insight for search stategies. Just because something is not in the index doesn't mean it is not there. Indexers have a tough job and deciphering the materials is a challenge.
There are several names that I think I might have all wrong but there is a quality control system in place so I hope for the best.

From now on, however, if I can't find someone in an index I will understand that they could very well be in the raw material. Never give up unless you have personally viewed the primary documents. No one knows a name like the family researcher.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I like indexing for FamilySearch, too, and I understand where you're coming from!