FamilySearch Indexing Update

March 4, 2009: The FamilySearch indexing application is available in three new languages:

  • Italian,
  • Portuguese, and
  • Russian.

These languages are in addition to English, French, German, and Spanish. They have current indexing projects in all of these languages except Portuguese. They will be introducing a Portuguese project in the near future.

Volunteers can help with any of the projects of interest by registering or logging in at FamilySearchIndexing.org.

Recently Completed Projects
(Note: Recently completed projects have been removed from the available online indexing batches and will now go through a final completion check process in preparation for future publication.)

  • UK – Cheshire – Church Records
  • District of Columbia – 1920 US Census
  • Florida 1885 Census
  • Florida 1935 Census
  • Massachusetts 1865 State Census

Current FamilySearch Indexing Projects, Record Language, and Percent Completion:

UNITED STATES

  • Arkansas Marriages – Part 3 – English – 59%
  • Michigan – 1920 US Federal Census – English – 8%
  • Minnesota 1895 State Census – English – 11%
  • New Jersey – 1920 US Federal Census – English – 18%
  • Rhode Island 1915 State Census – English – 2%

ARGENTINA

  • Argentina Censo 1869 – Cordoba y San Luis – Spanish – 81%
  • Argentina Censo 1869 – Corrientes y Entre Rios – Spanish – 13%

BELGIUM

  • Belgium – Antwerp Foreigners Index – English – 21%

CANADA

  • New Brunswick 1871 Census – English – 27%
  • Nova Scotia 1871 Census – English – 21%
  • Ontario 1861 Census – English – 84%

FRANCE

  • France, Coutances, Paroisses de la Manche – French – 9%

GERMANY

  • Brandenburg Kirchenbücher – German – 40%

ITALY

  • Trento Italy Baptism Records, 1784-1924 – Italian – 50%

MEXICO

  • Nayarit – Censo de Mexico de 1930 – English – 76%
  • Sonora – Censo de Mexico de 1930 – Spanish – 26%
  • Tabasco – Censo de Mexico de 1930 – Spanish – 23%

NICARAGUA

  • Nicaragua, Managua Civil Records – Spanish – 10%

NORWAY

  • Norway 1875 Census part 1 – Norwegian – 6%

PERU

  • Perú Lima-Registros Civiles – Spanish – 5%

RUSSIA

  • St Petersburg Kirchenbuchduplikat 1833-1885 – German – 1%
  • Ukraine Kyiv 1840-1842 – Russian – 5%

SPAIN

  • España Lugo Registros Parroquiales [Part 1] – Spanish 15%
  • España Ávila Registros Parroquiales – Spanish – 52%

UNITED KINGDOM

  • UK – Cheshire – Land Tax – English – 14%
  • UK – Cheshire – School Records – English – 17%
  • UK-Cheshire-Parish Records 01 – English – 3%

VENEZUELA

  • Venezuela Mérida Registros Parroquiales – Spanish – 1%

Current FamilySearch Affiliate Projects, Record Language, and Percent Completion:

UNITED STATES

  • Arkansas Marriages IV – English – 37%
  • Indiana Marriages 1882-Apr 1905 – English – 73%
  • Ohio Tax Records – 2 of 4 – English – 68%
  • Vermont Militia Records – English – 23%

BELGIUM

  • Belgique – Registres Des Décès (Français) – French – 14%
  • België – Overlijdens Registers – In het Nederlands – Dutch, Flemish – 18%

CANADA

  • Nova Scotia Antigonish Church Records – English- 64%

GERMANY

  • Bremer Schifflisten – German – 32%

FLANDERS

  • Flanders Death Registration – French, Dutch, Flemish – 38%

Courtesy of Paul Nauta, Public Affairs Manager, FamilySearch

New Family Search Indexing Resource Guide Available

familysearchindexingDuring the most recent update to the FamilySearch Indexing Web site, a resource guide was added under the Help tab. This page is a quick reference tool for finding answers to most indexing questions. It includes resources for indexers, arbitrators, group administrators, and stake extraction directors. It also includes language resources, such as handwriting helps for English, Latin, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, German, and Dutch.

To find the resource guide while working in the program at www.familysearchindexing.org, click on the Help tab, and then click Publications.

Thanks to Paul Nauta for the above info.

New Data at FamilySearch Record Search Pilot

The following was received from Paul Nauta at FamilySearch today:

Familysearch added over 6 million new indexed records and 1.4 million new images since January 5, 2009, to its Record Search pilot (see chart below).

The West Virginia birth, marriage, and death records, and the South Dakota state censuses for 1915 and 1925 are now complete. Many thanks to the thousands of online FamilySearch Indexing volunteers who helped make these wonderful records available. See the chart below for more details. The new records can be searched for free at FamilySearch.org (Click Search Records, then Record Search pilot).

Record Search visitors might also notice the following changes to the pilot site after the latest update.

  • Region map flyover now lists the number of collections in a region
  • Rotate an image clockwise or counterclockwise in the viewer
  • New full screen view in the image viewer
  • Search form now displays the collection being searched
  • Image navigation- moved previous, next & go to buttons to the bottom of the page
  • Collection list page is now a single column
  • Image only collections are identified
  • Changes to print selected area

familysearchupdate021909

1875 Norway Census Transcription Initiative Now Underway by FamilySearch Indexing Volunteers

The following news release was received from Paul Nauta at FamilySearch on February 2. I looks like I just lost it in my mailbox – thus it’s not being posted until nearly a week later. Sorry…

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH—FamilySearch International, the University of Tromsø, and DIS-Norge announced today a joint initiative to transcribe the 1875 Norway Census for free online access. It is the only Norway census that has not been indexed and the first to be tackled as a global, Internet-based effort. Volunteers who can read Norwegian are being sought to complete the project at www.familysearch.org. (Go to FamilySearch.org, then click Index Records, and then click Volunteer.)

The 1875 Norway Census is valuable to researchers because it was the last national census taken just before the great Norwegian immigration period that started in 1878. Researchers will not have to wait much longer for convenient, online access to the historic census. FamilySearch digitized the census images and is using its Web-based transcription tool and volunteers to create the automated index. The University of Tromsø and DIS-Norge are sponsoring the project, but many more online volunteers are needed to transcribe the 1.6 million individuals found in the tens of thousands of census sheets.

Although FamilySearch has done other major international indexing projects, this is the first one for Norway. “The biggest challenge is the Norwegian handwriting and names,” said Jeff Svare, collection management specialist. “Most of FamilySearch’s current volunteers are not skilled at reading Norwegian names or handwriting. Native Norwegian volunteers would be much more effective and efficient at transcribing the required information from the census sheets,” concluded Svare.

Volunteering is simple. Volunteers with Internet access register online at FamilySearchIndexing.org. Once they have downloaded the transcription software, there is an optional, but very helpful, tutorial. They then select the Norway 1875 Census project, and a digital image of a census page will appear. The volunteers then enter the highlighted information they see on their computer screen. That information is saved and compiled online in an index that will be made freely available to the public. Each batch should take about 30 minutes.

Indexers do not need to worry about their skill level at reading censuses. Each census page is transcribed by two different indexers. Any discrepancies between the two entries will be arbitrated by a third indexer. The result is a highly accurate, free index of tremendous value to family history enthusiasts. The more online volunteers that help, the quicker the free census index will be available online for all to enjoy and benefit from.

There are other hidden benefits to volunteering. Volunteers become familiar with historical documents, the valuable stories they can conceal, and their usefulness and application to genealogical research.

The FamilySearch Records Access program has already generated over 500 million names and images through its volunteer initiatives. The collections can be searched for free at FamilySearch.org. (Go to FamilySearch.org, then click Search Records, and then click Record Search pilot.)

Gunnar Thorvaldson, professor of history and manager of research for the Norwegian Historical Data Centre at the University of Tromsø, said, “The University welcomes the cooperation with the FamilySearch Center to extend our sample of computerized entries from the 1875 census for Norway. This will significantly increase the potential use of the first high quality Norwegian census both in statistical and ancestry-related research.”

“We are happy to be able to assist FamilySearch in indexing the 1875 Norway Census,” said Torill Johnsen, president of DIS-Norge. “Lots of important genealogical information has limited access because it is still only available on paper in archives and libraries. Online access to those reliable sources makes it available for genealogists from their own computer when they want it. Active involvement from volunteers will hasten the completion of the 1875 Norway Census and increase the number of digitally accessible sources,” added Johnsen.

FamilySearch manages the largest collection of genealogical records worldwide. In 2007 it announced plans to begin digitizing and indexing its collection for broader, more economic online access—starting with popular collections like the U.S., Canada, and U.K. censuses. FamilySearch has created free online indexes to date for the 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, and 1900 U.S. Censuses. FamilySearch is working with The Generations Network to provide enhanced, free indexes for the remaining U.S. censuses.

Tennessee Courthouse Records Being Preserved, Filmed, & Digitized

Following is a teaser from an interesting article about an LDS couple working with historic records found in Tennessee county courthouses. According to the article in the February 8, 2009 Herald-Citizen, the repaired and sorted courthouse records will be first microfilmed and then digitized. Interesting…

PUTNAM COUNTY [Tennessee] — Charlie and Dixie Murray are getting a first-hand look at the history of Charlie and Dixie MurrayPutnam County as they help clean, repair and organize records from the county’s past. The two are volunteers with the Genealogical Society of Utah and have been working with counties across the state for two years to archive historical records.

They have worked in Cocke County, Greene County, White County and Cannon County before coming to Putnam County.

In Putnam County, the pair have been hard at work for the past two weeks with county archivist Glenn Jones, sorting through old records from Putnam County Chancery Court.

Jones said, “They are doing a great job and are handling the documents with extreme care. It’s a big job to take each record and clean it up and repair it and organize it.”

So far, 18 boxes have been brought to the archives office from the Justice Center. More than 30 boxes remain. Jones said it isn’t known how many more boxes of historic records are being stored in various county offices.

Each record is unfolded and cleaned, removing dirt or mold. If the paper is brittle and the document is tearing, it is repaired. It is then filed in acid-free folders. After that, the records will be indexed and put on microfilm, with the Tennessee Archives receiving a copy and a copy going to the county archives.

The Murrays said as part of the volunteer agreement, the records would also be digitized and placed on the Web site www.familysearch.org. There, the records will be available free of charge to those conducting research.

Read the full article by Heather Mullinix in the February 8, 2009 edition of the Herald-Citizen.

Family Search Indexing Update

The following Family Search Indexing update information was received from Paul Nauta, Public Affairs Manager for FamilySearch.

February 6, 2009: FamilySearch volunteers wrapped up 14 online indexing projects already in 2009 and continue to make good progress on the 38 open projects. There are two new projects from the 1930 Mexico Census this week, and the Colorado 1920 U.S. Census project is also new.

As FamilySearch continues to expand into international record collections, there is a growing, continual need for indexers who can read the respective languages. Even if a volunteer can only dedicate a few hours a month to an indexing project, when multiplied by thousands of online volunteers, small contributions of time by individuals can have a significant impact. Volunteers can register and participate immediately at www.familysearchindexing.org.

I have rearranged the following data by category.

RECENTLY COMPLETED PROJECTS
Recently completed projects are those that have been removed from the available online indexing batches and will now go through a final completion check process in preparation for future publication.

UNITED STATES VITAL RECORDS

  • Arkansas Marriages [Part 1]
  • Massachusetts Death Records 1906-1915
  • New Hampshire Early to 1900 Births

UNITED STATES 1870 CENSUS

  • Kentucky– 1870 US Census (Part 2)

UNITED STATES 1920 CENSUS

  • Arizona – 1920 US Federal Census
  • Illinois – 1920 US Census
  • Florida – 1920 US Census
  • Massachusetts– 1920 US Federal Census

CANADA 1861 CENSUS

  • New Brunswick 1861 Census
  • Nova Scotia 1861 Census
  • Prince Edward Island 1861 Census

MEXICO 1930 CENSUS

  • Guanajuato – 1930 Mexico Census
  • Guerrero – Censo de Mexico de 1930
  • Queretaro – Censo de Mexico de 1930

CURRENT PROJECTS, RECORD LANGUAGE, AND PERCENT OF COMPLETION STATUS

UNITED STATES MILITIA RECORDS

  • Vermont Militia Records – English – 15%

UNITED STATES VITAL RECORDS

  • Arkansas Marriages – Part 3 – English – 27%
  • Arkansas Marriages 4 – English 34%
  • Massachusetts Marriage Records 1906-1915 – English – 84%
  • New Hampshire – Early to 1900 Deaths – English – 83%

UNITED STATES TAX RECORDS

  • Ohio Tax Records – 2 of 4 – ENGLISH – 66%

UNITED STATES – STATE CENSUSES

  • Florida 1885 Census – English – 26%
  • Florida 1935 Census – English – 67%
  • Massachusetts – 1855 State Census – English – 76%
  • Massachusetts – 1865 State Census – English – 33%

UNITED STATES 1920 CENSUS

  • Arkansas – 1920 US Federal Census – English – 32%
  • Colorado – 1920 US Federal Census – English – NEW
  • Connecticut – 1920 US Federal Census – English – 55%

ARGENTINA CENSUS

  • Argentina Censo 1869 – Buenos Aires 2 – Spanish – 84%
  • Argentina Censo 1869 – Cordoba y San Luis – Spanish – 55%

BELGIUM

  • Belgique – Registres Des Décès (Français) – French – 14% – (Death Registers)
  • België – Overlijdens Registers – In het Nederlands – Dutch, Flemish – 14% (Death Registers)
  • Belgium – Antwerp Foreigners Index – English – 17%

CANADA

  • Nova Scotia Antigonish Church Records – English – 52%
  • Ontario 1861 Census – English – 20%

FLANDERS (in present-day Belgium, France, and the Netherlands)

  • Flanders Death Registration – French, Dutch, Flemish – 37%

FRANCE

  • France, Coutances, Paroisses de la Manche (church records) – French – 8%

GERMANY

  • Brandenburg Kirchenbücher (church books) – German – 35% – This percentage refers to a specific portion of a larger project.
  • Bremer Schifflisten (Bremen ship lists) – German – 20%

MEXICO

  • Nayarit – Censo de Mexico de 1930 – Spanish – 12%
  • Sonora – Censo de Mexico de 1930 – Spanish – NEW
  • Tabasco – Censo de Mexico de 1930 – Spanish – NEW
  • Tlaxcala – Censo de Mexico de 1930 – Spanish – 82%

UNITED KINGDOM

  • UK – Cheshire – Church Records – English – 51%
  • UK – Cheshire – Land Tax – English – 9%
  • UK – Cheshire – School Records – English – 4%

UKRAINE

  • Ukraine Kyiv 1840-1842 – Russian – 1%

VENEZUELA

  • Venezuela Mérida Registros Parroquiales (church records) – Spanish – 1%

NICARAGUA

  • Nicaragua, Managua Civil Records – Spanish – 9%

NORWAY

  • Norway 1875 Census part 1 – Norwegian – 2%

RUSSIA

  • St Petersburg Kirchenbuchduplikat 1833-1885 – German – 1%

SPAIN

  • España Lugo Registros Parroquiales (church records) [Part 1] – Spanish – 15%
    España Ávila Registros Parroquiales (church records) Spanish – 16%

New Digitized and Indexed Records at FamilySearch

The following news release was just received from Paul Nauta, with FamilySearch:

30 January 2009 – Since the last update on January 5, 2009, FamilySearch added over 40 million new records to its Record Search pilot. Individuals with international roots from Argentina, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Germany, Netherlands, and the Philippines will find some nice surprises in the newly added collections.

Birth, marriage, and death records were added for the Netherlands and Ireland. Irish researchers in particular have been anxiously awaiting the 23 million records from the Irish Civil Registration indexes. These records date from 1845-1958 and are also known as the Statutory Registration Records. Statutory registration for Protestants began in 1845 and for Catholics in 1864.

Many thanks to the thousands of online FamilySearch Indexing volunteers who helped make these wonderful records available.

See the chart below for more details. The new records can be searched for free at FamilySearch.org (Click Search Records, then Record Search pilot).
New at Familysearch 01-31-09

Volunteer to Index Historical Documents at FamilySearch Indexing

Familysearch Indexing

“In 30 minutes you can help people find their ancestors.” That’s the promise prominently displayed on the front page of the familysearchindexing.org Web site. Since the indexing program began, more than 150,000 people have volunteered to help make genealogical research easier for others, and thousands more are volunteering each month.

Family history indexing is the simple process of extracting names from digital images of historical documents and creating online searchable indexes from the previously gathered information. FamilySearch has provided a way for anyone with an Internet connection to assist in the monumental task of indexing genealogical records. The initiative is working, and rapidly expanding the number of records easily accessible.

The bulk of two and a half million rolls of microfilm, all housed in the Granite Mountain Record Vault near Salt Lake City, are scanned and converted to digital images by high speed processors, and then indexed by volunteers on home computers to eventually provide easy access online.

“At the current rate of scanning, it will take between eight and 10 years to complete the microfilm scanning,” said Paul Nauta, FamilySearch manager of public affairs.

Read the full article in the January 30, 2009 edition of The Mormon Times.

Sign up to do volunteer indexing.

Obama Descended From an Auctioneer

This just in from Paul Nauta at Family Search – 

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH—FamilySearch International continues to feed the growing appetite of family historians and researchers worldwide with the release of its free 1900 U.S. Census online. The free collection allows users to search the entire population of the U.S. in 1900—over 76 million people—and view high quality images of the original census FamilySearch.org. Go to FamilySearch.org, then click Search Records, then click Record Search pilot). 

Using the online census, President-Elect Barack Obama would learn that public speaking skills and stage presence run in his family—his maternal great-great-grandfather, Charles Payne, was noted as an auctioneer by profession in the census. With just a few keystrokes, he’d find that Charles and his wife Della were born respectively in Missouri and Ohio and living with their six children in Johnson County, Kansas, in 1900. Obama’s great-grandfather, Rolla, was listed as their second child. 

Famous inspirational writer and lecturer, Dale Carnegie (1888 to 1955), can be found as a mere 10-year-old farm boy in Nodaway County, Missouri. Researchers might notice that Mr. Carnegie’s family name was spelled Carnagey in the census. He would later change the spelling of his last name, perhaps to capitalize off of the popularity of tycoon Andrew Carnegie (no relation). 

“The 1900 U.S. Census is such a significant collection for several reasons,” said Paul Nauta, public affairs manager for FamilySearch. “The 1890 U.S. Census was mostly destroyed in a fire. The 1900 census included information not captured from other censuses—like the exact month and year of birth of every person enumerated, years married, the number of children born to the mother, how many were still living, and how long an immigrant had been in the country along with their naturalization status,” added Nauta. 

Researchers can also explore when and where a person was born, as well as the place of birth of that person’s parents. Such information is particularly helpful in trying to determine or document ethnic origins. 

The 1900 U.S. Census is also a very important collection for Native Americans because it was the first to include separate Indian Population Schedule sheets for a county. Native Americans living in the general population were enumerated there. The 1900 census included the individual’s Indian and English name, tribal affiliation for the individual and his or her parents, percent of Indian blood in the individual and the parents, education, and land allotment information. 

FamilySearch manages the largest collection of genealogical records worldwide. In 2007 it announced plans to begin digitizing and indexing its collection for broader, more economic online access—starting with popular collections like the U.S., Canada, and U.K. censuses. FamilySearch has created free online indexes to date for the 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, and 1900 U.S. Censuses. FamilySearch is working with The Generations Network to provide enhanced, free indexes for the remaining U.S. censuses.

Gulf Coast State Histories Slated for Online Access – Houston Public Library Joins FamilySearch in Digitization Effort

The following was written by FamilySearch Staff:

Salt Lake City, Utah – November 24, 2008 – Thousands of publications that capture the diverse histories of Gulf Coast states will be accessible for free online. FamilySearch and the Houston Public Library announced a joint project today to digitally preserve and publish the library’s vast collection of county and local histories, registers of individuals, directories of Texas Rangers, church histories, and biographical dictionaries. The digital records will be available for free online at FamilySearch.org and HoustonLibrary.org.

“Houston Public Library has one of the top 10 genealogy libraries in the nation and a very strong Gulf Coast and international collection,” said Susan D. Kaufman, manager, Houston Public Library’s Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research. “Visitors come from all over the country to visit the library. Researchers will benefit from the convenience of online access to the collection targeted under the joint venture with FamilySearch,” added Kaufman.

In 2007, FamilySearch announced its plans to create the largest and most comprehensive collection of free city and county histories online. Over 23,000 digital publications have been made available online since then. The addition of Houston Public Library and its collection furthers that goal.

Under the agreement, FamilySearch will digitally preserve thousands of Houston Public Library’s historic publications collection and provide free access to the images online. The targeted publications range in date from 1795 to 1923.

The new digital collections published online will have “every word” search capability, which allows users to search by name, location, date, or other fields across the collection. The search results are then linked to high quality digital images of the original publication. Users will also be able to just browse or read the publications as digital books online if they prefer.
The digitization efforts have already begun, and publications are now viewable online. Texas records are the first publications targeted by the initiative, followed by other Gulf Coast states. The project will take up to five years to complete.

Digital publications will be noted and hyperlinked in the Family History Library Catalog at FamilySearch.org as they are digitized. The growing collection can be accessed currently at FamilySearch.org (go to Search Records, and then Historical Books).

“We are honored to be part of such an important and beneficial initiative with a world leader like FamilySearch,” said Kaufman. “The digitization and online publication of Houston Public Library’s historic collections will help increase the inquisitiveness of library patrons and create a heightened sense of awareness of the library’s resources – which then brings customers back more often with more research questions. It’s a win-win for everyone,” Kaufman added.

FamilySearch is providing the computers, scanners, and camera operators required to complete the project. FamilySearch previously announced projects with Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Brigham Young University Harold B. Lee Library, and FamilySearch’s own Family History Library in Salt Lake City.

The Houston Public Library’s Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research is also a FamilySearch Affiliate Library. That means local patrons have access to millions of microfilms from FamilySearch’s vast genealogical collection in Salt Lake City, Utah. Patrons can order research material from FamilySearch through the library and use the library’s film readers and copiers to further their genealogical efforts.

Courtesy of Paul Nauta, FamilySearch

Volunteers Discover Fun Facts Transcribing Historic Canadian Censuses – Completed Indexes Will Be Free Online

Ontario, Canada – 19 November 2008 – FamilySearch International announced its plans to make the indexes to available Canadian censuses accessible online for free with the help of online volunteer indexers and an agreement with Ancestry.ca. The first censuses completed will be those from 1861, 1871, and 1916. Online volunteers are needed to help transcribe select information from digital images of the historical documents into easily searchable indexes. The completed indexes will be available for free at www.familysearch.org.

Famous Canadians in the 1916 Census

The following was written by FamilySearch staff:

What do Art Linkletter, Sir William Samuel Stephenson, and Elvina Fay Wray have in common? They all have ties to one of the three provinces that make up the 1916 Canada Census, and some lucky volunteer may experience the thrill of transcribing their information for the free online index.

1. Arthur Gordon Kelly (Art Linkletter) will be found as a four-year-old child at Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. He was abandoned as an infant and then adopted and raised by a preacher. He hosted House Party and People Are Funny both on radio and later on newfangled television, and he is best remembered for his interviews with children on the television show Kids Say the Darndest Things. His adoptive parents were Fulton John Linkletter and Mary Metzler.

2. Sir William Samuel Stephenson was a Canadian soldier, airman, businessman, inventor, spymaster, and a British intelligence specialist during World War II. Stephenson is best known by his wartime intelligence codename of Intrepid and is considered by some to be one of the real-life inspirations for James Bond. He was born William Samuel Clouston Stanger, January 23, 1897, in the Point Douglas area of Winnipeg, Manitoba.

3. Elvina Fay Wray was born September 15, 1907, on a ranch near Alberta to Elvina Marguerite Jones and Joseph Heber Wray and will most likely show up as a nine-year old-child in the 1916 census. She made her film debut in Gasoline Love (1923), but it was her lead role in The Wedding March (1928) that made her a star. She became a cult figure after her role in King Kong (1933), as the beauty captured by a giant gorilla.

Getting Involved
Interested volunteers can begin helping immediately by registering online at familysearchindexing.org, downloading the free indexing software, and selecting the 1916 Canada Census project. A digital image of a census page will appear.

Volunteers simply type in the data highlighted on the computer screen and save it online. It takes about 30 minutes to complete one census page, and volunteers have a week to complete it if need be. Volunteers only need to be able to read, type, and have Internet access to participate.

“The 1916 census was selected first because it is the most recent and smallest of the three censuses targeted in the first phase. It included three of the western provinces (Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Alberta) and has about 1.7 million names—so it will not take long to complete,” said Stephen Young, FamilySearch project manager.

There are other hidden benefits to volunteering. Volunteers become familiar with historical documents, the valuable stories they can conceal, and their usefulness and application to genealogical research.

Indexers do not need to worry about their skill level at reading censuses. Each census page is transcribed by two different indexers. Any discrepancies between the two entries will be arbitrated by a third indexer. The result is a highly accurate, free index of tremendous value to family history enthusiasts. Young says the more online volunteers that help, the quicker the free census indexes will be available online for all to enjoy and benefit from.

One indexer recently commented, “I am intrigued with how the people come alive for me as I index. I indexed a household . . . containing a family with young children, grandmother, maiden aunt, and a couple of unmarried siblings. They had five servants, and I visualized a well-to-do household; the married son working maybe as a lawyer or doctor, taking care of his extended family. I see both sad and happy stories.”

FamilySearch manages the largest collection of genealogical records worldwide. In 2007 it announced plans to begin digitizing and indexing its collection for broader, online access—starting with popular collections like Canadian censuses. FamilySearch has digitized the 1916 Canada Census and is seeking online volunteers to help create a searchable index for it and other census and non-census Canada projects. The 1861 and 1871 censuses will be next.

Libraries and Archives Canada (LAC) owns and is providing the digital images for the Canada census projects.

Courtesy of Paul Nauta, FamilySearch