FamilySearch: New Web-Based Indexing Tool

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was received from our friends at FamilySearch.org.

FamilySearch Web indexing Screen Shot

IMAGE: Web Indexing Tool Screen Shot, courtesy of FamilySearch.org.

Salt Lake City, Utah (25 September 2017), FamilySearch International, a leader in historical records preservation, has launched its new web-based indexing tool. Indexing is a technology used to make the world’s historical records freely searchable online for family history research. The new program makes it easier for online volunteers to participate using web-enabled computers, laptops, or tablets, and enables FamilySearch to expedite its online publishing of completed indexes. (Find and share this announcement and its graphics online in the FamilySearch Newsroom).

New features enable volunteers to work on tablets, modify the layout of their dashboard based on personal preferences, set and track individual goals, and create groups with friends or others interested in working on a common project.

Global nonprofit FamilySearch digitally preserves billions of historical records online to help individuals with their family history research. It has published billions of images of historic records from all over the world online. Researchers can find the record images in FamilySearch’s Catalog or Historic Records Collections online. But searching through billions of images online in search of one’s elusive ancestors is not fun for the average person. They want to type in an ancestor’s name and known context, press Enter, and voilà, see highly matched results from their search query.

“That requires an index,” said Jim Ericson, marketing manager for FamilySearch Indexing. “Until the records are indexed online, they can only be discovered by browsing through often enormous collections of digital images. With a digital index, researchers can locate records in seconds by using a person’s name and other helpful information as search terms. A searchable index saves researchers time and effort by returning search results from the entire collection in a matter of seconds.”

Ericson says the new web-based indexing platform will enable more volunteers to participate worldwide and increase the rate at which FamilySearch can make indexed records accessible online. “It is a straight-forward experience that no longer requires people to download software,” said Ericson.

Using the new tool enables volunteer indexers to help make it possible for millions of people to have personal family history discoveries quickly with just a few keystrokes. Indexing also fuels hints, a new feature on FamilySearch.org that makes finding records even easier by mapping indexed records against a person’s family tree and sharing high probability ancestral matches with them.

The web-based indexing program also has new built-in helps, plus a lab section that allows you to test upcoming product features and enhancements for the new program.

For first-time volunteers, simple training provides step-by-step instructions. To participate, go to FamilySearch.org/indexing, and click the link to web indexing.

RELATED
Check out or plan to participate in the Worldwide Indexing EventOctober 20-22, 2017.

FamilySearch Why Indexing Maters infographic

About FamilySearch
FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at FamilySearch.org or through over 5,000 family history centers in 129 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

FamilySearch: 2017 Worldwide Indexing Project

Look what FamilySearch has planned for 20-22 October 2017 – the annual Worldwide Indexing Event.

Here’s the link to register –  https://www.familysearch.org/IndexingEvent2017?icid=bl-wi17-6598

You may use either the web or desktop indexing interface. The web version allow those who have Chromebooks to participate.

Congrats to the Western Massachusetts Genealogical Society for leading the way. They’re planning a training session of 16 Oct 2017 in the computer lab at the Agwam Senior Center, 954 Main Street, Agawam, Massachusetts.

DearMYRTLE's Profile PicMyrt’s Musings
One way to “pay it forward” is to index records so others can more readily find documents mentioning their ancestors.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt     🙂
DearMYRTLE,
Your friend in genealogy.


For Further Reading (I guess you could say we’ve done a bit of indexing over the years!)

 

Thank-you for the new icon, FamilySearch

FamilySearch_NewIcon

Remember the agonizing months we perused the FamilySearch Catalog only to meet with utter frustration over dead-end clicks? All too frequently when clicking the camera icon to view digital images online, our hopes and dreams were dashed.

It was the empty screen of death for genealogists working late into the night, hoping to view a digital image that could possibly solve our research challenge. Instead of images from a digitized church or courthouse record set, we were met with the ever so painful notation that we “did not have sufficient rights to view the images” and that “the record set must be viewed in a Family History Center or affiliate library.”

We wasted time clicking where we could not go, only to see that dreaded message time and time again.

There was considerably more than a lone cry in that wilderness of dispair.

In fact, online genealogists on at least four continents begged FamilySearch to give us a new icon.

We suggested an icon that would indicate before clicking, that review of the record set wasn’t going to happen online from the comfort of our personal workstations.

We begged, we pleaded. We promised Chocolate Chip Cookies. Ol’ Myrt here even submitted suggested illustrations – anything to save us from those out-of-bound clicks and the extra 5 seconds it took for the black screen of death to rez into view.

And so they DID!

Thanks to info provided by Monique Riley via Facebook tonight, Ol’ Myrt is happy to report the engineers at FamilySearch have crafted a new icon that’s starting to appear in the FamilySearch Catalog! See the red arrow above. It’s the beloved (and oft times dreaded) camera icon, now with the addition of a key above it.

What does it mean? The church or government archives that has jurisdiction over original record sets permitted FamilySearch to digitize certain records but stipulated in their mutual contract the images be protected. In fact, the images are to be viewed only at Family History Centers and affiliate libraries.

Adding a record set to “To Do List” for our next visit to the Family History Center or affiliate library is a lot more productive that erroneous clicking to dead-end black screens of genealogical death, wouldn’t you say?

THANKS for listening, FamilySearch.

Where may I deliver the home-baked cookies?

 

 

FamilySearch: Microfilm order deadline extended

NOTE FROM DearMYRTLE: The following was received from our friends at FamilySearch.org and include the digitization priority request info Director of Patron Services Diane Loosle promised when she visited with us during the first hour of our Mondays with Myrt (hangout) 14 Aug 2017

UPDATE: FamilySearch Digital Records Access Replacing Microfilm

FamilySSearch digitization

IMAGE: Courtesy of FamilySearch.org

Thursday, September 7, 2017, marks the closing of an 80-year era of historic records access to usher in a new, digital model. FamilySearch is discontinuing its microfilm circulation services in concert with its commitment to make billions of the world’s historic records readily accessible digitally online. (See FamilySearch Digital Records Access Replacing Microfilm). As its remaining microfilms are digitized, FamilySearch has provided additional information to users of its historic microfilm program.

FamilySearch, a global leader in historic records preservation and access, began microfilming historic records in 1938. Advancements in technology have enabled it to be more efficient, making an unbelievable tide of digital images of historic records accessible much quicker online and to a far greater customer base.

FamilySearch released a list of helpful facts and tips to help patrons better navigate the transition from microfilm to digital.

QUICK FACTS AND TIPS

  • Patrons can still order microfilms online until Thursday, September 7, 2017.
  • After film ordering ends, if customers need access to a particular film yet to be digitized, they can express interest to have it added to the priority digitization list by contacting FamilySearch Support (Toll Free: 1-866-406-1830).
  • All of the microfilm rented by patrons in the past 5 years have now been digitized by FamilySearch—over 1.5 million microfilms (ca. 1.5 billion images).
  • The remaining microfilms are being digitally scanned at a rate of 1,000 films per day and are projected to be complete by 2020.
  • New digital images are available as they are scanned in the FamilySearch.org Catalog.
  • Films currently on loan in family history centers and affiliate libraries are automatically granted extended loan status.
  • Affiliate libraries now have access to nearly all of the restricted image collections as family history centers.
  • Visitors to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City will still be able to order needed microfilms to use during their research visits.

HOW TO FIND DIGITAL IMAGES ON FAMILYSEARCH

Digital image collections can be accessed today in 3 places on FamilySearch.org, all under Search.

  • Catalog. Includes a description of all the microfilms and digital images in the FamilySearch collection. This is where all of FamilySearch’s digitized microfilm and new digital images from its global camera operations are being published. A camera icon appears in the Catalog adjacent to a microfilm listing when it is available digitally.
  • Records includes collections that have been indexed by name or published with additional waypoints to help browse the unindexed images.
  • Books include digital copies of books from the Family History Library and other libraries, including many books that were previously copied to microfilm.

For additional help, see Finding Digital Images of Records on FamilySearch.org, or watch this how-to video “Where are the digitized records on FamilySearch?

“FamilySearch is committed to meeting customers’ needs as much as possible during this transition to digital access,” said Diane Loosle, FamilySearch’s Director of Patron Services. “We really appreciate the wonderful feedback we have received since the initial announcement. It is helping us better facilitate customer experiences during this next phase.”

Loosle said FamilySearch’s over 5,000 family history centers will continue to provide access to relevant technology, premium subscription services, and digital records, including restricted content not available at home. Centers have the option to return microfilm that is available online or otherwise not needed. As more images are published online, centers may reevaluate whether to retain microfilm holdings.

See Frequently Asked Questions: Digital Access Replacing Microfilms for more information.

About FamilySearch

FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at FamilySearch.org or through over 5,000 family history centers in 129 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.