Monday, May 7, 2012

FamilySearch Indexing, Official vs Unofficial

Last Wednesday, I was privileged to be included in a panel discussion on DearMyrtle's Webnair . I was there to represent the Unofficial Share Batch For FamilySearch Indexing on Facebook. April Robertson the founder of the group had a prior commitment and volunteered me.  I understand the webnair will be archived.  It was a wonderful presentation. I had microphone problems and had to stay on mute most of the time, but the exercise gave me a chance to reflect on parts of the process of indexing, especially the 1940 Census Index, because of how fast it was made available for indexing.
My thoughts went to Official information vs Unofficial information... Is there a big difference?
What would be official?  To name a few, Support at FamilySearch is available through the Help area of the indexing page.  The FamilySearch Wiki  is all encompassing. It has an Overview, Project instructions, Project updates, Frequently Asked Questions, and Additional Helps.  I have given the link for the 1940 census but you can search for any project you may be working on.  Don't forget to read the Basic Indexing guidelines and the Field Helps, we tend to overlook the obvious many times.
These help sources are created by Support members who work tirelessly day and night in the background finding answers, creating help documents, and wiki entries.  Theirs is a labor of Love, as it is with the support members who answer phones and chats to answer challenges, or pass on information so challenges can be overcome.  I feel honored to be among their midst.
The Unofficial FamilySearch help groups include Facebook groups.. These could be a Facebook group started by a  Stake Indexing Director, a member of a specific area, or like The Unofficial Share Batch for FamilySearch Indexing  , one that includes people from all over the world.  If you don't like Facebook, they have Skype groups for getting other opinions and sharing batches.  There is also email.  I have a Ward Indexing Director, that emails me almost daily.  The people I see in these groups are the Magic in Indexing. They take of their personal time to give opportunities for others to research their families online at no expense.  What wonderful people, and they take it Very seriously.  They don't want to be wrong.  They ask for another set of eyes to look (Share batches) to make sure they are seeing correctly if the handwriting is difficult to read. They ask for clarification of rules, or if they see a problem not mentioned, they send feedback to FamilySearch Indexing support for them to address.  I am a member of the Unofficial Share Batch group and I have high praise for the positive manner they work together and strive to keep it that way.

It is a wonderful thing to see those that are developing, overseeing, and indexing all work together.  Sometimes the harmony gets off, but they are quick to fix and most of the time it is a beautiful piece of art.