Tag Archives: Indexing/Transcribing

Child mortality in history

We are fortunate in current times that child mortality in the United States and Europe is fairly low. Unfortunately, our ancestors weren’t so fortunate.

While indexing historic records for, I’ve noted so many infant deaths. Imagine a young mother carrying a child to term only to have that baby be still born or die before their first birthday. My grandmother, pictured below, had two babies who died before her four surviving children were born.

Ruth (Stearns) and Vincent Jordan with baby Vincent 1922

Ruth (Stearns) and Vincent Jordan with baby Vincent 1922

Grandma was very tender-hearted and I can imagine the overwhelming sadness she experienced when her first two children died shortly after birth. Mothers through history must have experienced the same soul-crushing sadness.

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Posted by on January 1, 2014 in History, Indexing/Transcribing


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To Arbitrate or not to Arbitrate…

I’ve been indexing for Family Search since May 8, 2010. Over the last 8-9 months I’ve indexed over 20,000 names and just received a message from Family Search that I’ve indexed 1,000 batches (each batch can contain anywhere between 2-100 names. Why index so much? Well, every time I hit a brick wall with my own genealogical research, I index. My thinking is that I am helping other people break through their brick walls by indexing information that Family Search will make available for free on their website.

So where does arbitration come in? Arbitrators are experienced indexers who increase their education through Family Search education pages and do live training by phone with a Family Search professional. I’m now at a point in my experience that I qualify to be an arbitrator. I’ve completed the education and have reached the point where I’m ready to work one-on-one by phone with a professional on the arbitration process.

I haven’t done it yet because: a) I’m a little fearful of taking the next step since I am by no means an expert, and b) I live in a fairly busy household full of people and pets and don’t have a quiet place to go to do the telephone part of the arbitration training. Very frustrating.

School and chaos may cause a delay in the process, but I will find a quiet time sometime and complete my training.


If you haven’t visited Family Search yet, now is a great time to try it out


Posted by on January 21, 2011 in Indexing/Arbitration



Indexing historical records

Now that I have recovered from the inevitable post-semester exhaustion, I hope to post more information to this blog.

I have been very fortunate that I have been able to index (transcribe) records for Family Search. As of right now, my statistics there are 2693 names and information transcribed. I started this as a way to give back to the genealogical community. Now, I have also found out that I am learning a lot as well. Below are some projects I have been able to work on and my observations.

1940s Draft cards for the state of Texas for men born before 1897 – For the most part, I have transcribed first name, middle name, last name, town, county, state, birthdate. This became very routine until two occurrences – 1. I got a card with a giant ink blot in the center yet I was able to blow up the image and still see the name of the person under the ink, and 2. I once downloaded a batch that also showed the other side of the card where height, weight, and vital statistics were recorded.

Census records from 1910 – these are the most interesting and also the most difficult records to index. They run the gamut from very neat and easy to read to very sloppy and nearly impossible to read. They also contain many foreign names that are hard to identify (fortunately there is a help box that can help with some names, but doesn’t always help). One interesting finding on a recent census form was comprised entirely of Jewish, Irish, and Black (not all originating in Africa, some from islands) people. I wondered, was this a slum? I know from many history lessons that the Irish were considered lower beings. I’m sure that, unfortunately, Black people were considered lower beings. Were Jewish people also looked at this way? Indexing records make me want to learn so much more about history and what our forefathers had to bear. One other interesting thing is that the record for each person gives, not only the place of birth of the person, but also the place of birth for that person’s parents.

Finally, the most important thing is that indexing reminds me that those who index historical records are human, as were the census takers. What this means to all of us who are involved in genealogical research is, even when you find transcribed information for an individual, be sure to look at the actual record yourself – you may be surprised at what you see there.

Indexing is very addictive as I watch my stats climb. But also, I feel like I’m doing something good for someone who will, in the future, be searching for the ancestors whose names I am transcribing.


Posted by on May 22, 2010 in Census


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