Monday, 30 April 2012

It's Time to Give Back to the Genealogy Community

Now that I'm feeling better, I've had the time and energy to get back to some genealogy work.  I had been reading about the release of the 1940 U.S. Census at the beginning of April.  Only the census images have been released.  So, you can only find your relatives if you know exactly where they lived, or browse a community page by page.  The reason is that the census images have not yet been indexed.

What is indexing?  Well, if you started your genealogy in the last decade and went straight to Ancestry or Family Search or some other site and entered your surname in the search box, you were benefiting from the indexing efforts done by others.  Volunteers are indexing the 1940 census for Family Search, viewing each page and typing the names, ages and birthplaces into special software.  Once the indexing is complete, which involves several sets of eyes on each indexed page, the census images for that state will be searchable on Familysearch.org.

I know the thrill of finding my ancestors, with the click of a button, in an indexed census.  It's time for me to give back, and index someone else's people.  So far, I have indexed census pages from New York, Massachusetts, Mississippi and Louisiana.

If you are interested in contributing to the 1940 Census project, click here and then click the button "Get Started."  You will have to download the indexing software onto your computer.  And it's easy.  Well, not all the census enumerators had exemplary handwriting.  A few times, I've had to ask my husband and daughter to see if they could figure out some names.  We all stared at one woman's name for several minutes and were unable to figure it out.  The indexing arbitrators ruled that it was "Sue."  I never guessed!

Have you given back to the genealogy community?  Why not start today?


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