Starting to Index
Click on the FamilySearch Indexing icon on your desktop. You must sign in to the indexing program using your username and password each time you open FamilySearch Indexing.
Download a Batch
Click on the Download a Batch button in the upper left of the screen. Batches are groups of one or more images that can often be indexed in 30–60 minutes. Projects are listed alphabetically by name. The size of a batch varies depending on the project. It may contain 10, 15, 25, or 40 records, etc.
- Click on Show Preferred Projects—Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced levels OR Show All Projects. When you first start indexing, start with beginner projects
- Click on the project you want to download
- Select the number of batches you want to download (up to 10) in the lower left corner of this window (do not download more than two batches when you are first starting); click OK
- Open the batch by clicking on it, once the download is complete; the first record will appear in the top half of the window
View Project Instructions
Read the instructions specific to this project before indexing the project. These instructions, found in the lower right of the window, provide background, guidelines, and examples that need to be followed for this project.
Set the Number of Records
A record is created for each principal name on a document image. Some batches have a set number of records for each image and will have a corresponding number of data entry lines already set up. For other batches, you will need to determine the number of records to add the needed data entry lines. Most times you will be able to skip this step.
The project instructions will tell you how many records there are per image. Review the instructions. Then look over the document image to determine how many records are included on that image. Change the number of records, if needed. This will adjust the number of lines in the data entry area to enter the information.
- Count the number of records on the image; do not count any blank lines, unless the project instructions specify differently
- On the menu bar, click Tools, and then click Records per image
- Type the number of records, or click the up or down arrows to select the number of records on this image
- If your batch has more than one image and each image has the same number of records, click Apply to all images
- Click OK
The number of data entry lines will change to the number of records you set. If needed, you can add or delete record-line entries as you index using the icons in the toolbar above the data entry area. Place the cursor over each icon to see what it does when clicked on.
Note: If the number of data entry lines does not change after you have made changes, this indicates that this batch has a minimum number of records that must be accounted for. The unused lines must be marked as Blank (ctrl+B) before you can submit the batch.
Keep the Field Help window open in the lower right of the indexing page. As you enter data in each of the fields, read the information in the Field Help window pertaining to that field to make sure you are extracting and entering the information correctly.
Entering Information into the Data-Entry Fields
Enter the information requested in the data entry area in the lower left portion of the indexing page. If you do not have time to finish a batch in one setting, click the floppy-disc icon to save your work. When you open the indexing program again, it will open where you left off. Press Tab or Enter to advance to the next field or next image or next line on a census record.
- Use all lower case letters (they will automatically be capitalized when needed)
- Do not use any punctuation except apostrophe or hyphen, when part of a name (e.g. O’Conner)
- If information is missing for required fields, mark the field Blank (ctrl+B); if information is missing for fields not required, press the Tab key to skip this field
- If you cannot read one number or letter, use a ? in place of it (e.g. Du?can)
- If you cannot read multiple numbers or letters, use * in place of them (only use one for each set of unreadable letters; e.g. Ols*, S*onfel*)
- If you cannot read any of the numbers or letters in a field, click the field, then click Mark the Field Unreadable or ctrl+U
- If you cannot read information in any of the required fields, click the field, then click Mark the Record Unreadable button or ctrl+shift+U
- If you need to add diacritical marks, click on the International Letters icon [ñ]; click on the letter you need and click OK
- Use the Help menu in the top toolbar for other help or click on the Ask a Question link found under Indexing Links in the lower right of the indexing page. You will also find resource guides and indexing tutorials in this section. Frequently Asked Questions, which will answer many of your questions, can be found on the FamilySearch Indexing website
Check the Quality
Quality Check is the final step before you submit a batch. The window pops up automatically when you enter data in the last field of the batch and you hit Tab to advance. It asks if you are ready to review the information you entered. If you want to review a few fields before the Quality Check checks your work, click No and then click Quality Check when you are ready. Otherwise, click Yes when this window opens. Once the Quality Check is completed, you will see data-fields in question highlighted. Double check the information you entered and use the Lookup Help in each field to determine the correct spellings of names and places. Just because a name or place is not listed in the Lookup Help does not mean that it is entered incorrectly. If you are sure of the information you entered, click Accept. If the same surname is used for an entire family, such as that found on a census record, click Accept All.
Submit a Batch
When you have finished indexing a batch, you need to submit it. When the Quality Check is completed, a Submit Batch window will automatically pop up. Click Yes and your work will be submitted. When you submit a batch, the information is saved on the server, and the system removes the images and information from your computer. At this point there is no way to retrieve it again. A window will pop up stating, “Congratulations! The batch has been successfully submitted.” Give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done and feel joy in knowing that you have just helped to add another index to the FamilySearch.org website.
How Accurate is Your Indexing?
Every record at FamilySearch Indexing is indexed by two volunteers. When discrepancies arise between two indexed records, an arbitrator steps in to determine the most accurate information. However, keep in mind that arbitrators also make mistakes.
Open the FamilySearch Indexing program (click on the icon) and click on the Arbitration Results tab in the lower right of the page. You will see a percentage showing your accuracy. However, do not worry overly much about this figure. It is more important for you to see where the arbitrator made a decision on work that you submitted and for you to discover where you made mistakes, whether in data entry itself (typos) or following the guidelines for each field. Click on Review Batches. You will need to reenter your username and password. In the next window, you will see all of the projects you have submitted and your accuracy on each batch. Click on a batch and you will be taken to a page that shows the original project image in question in the top half of the page and a smaller window in the lower left of the page that compares arbitrated data entries. Your entry will be shown, as well as what the arbitrator deemed the correct data. Click next at the top of this small window to see the next arbitrated entry in this batch. The only feedback you can give at this point is to ask the arbitrator to review the batch, but once the arbitrated batch is “corrected” and submitted, it cannot be changed. Perhaps this will change in the future.