Sunday, November 28, 2010

Need your inspiring story about FamilySearch

Ol' Myrt here has been approached for a project -- worthwhile to say the least. But I need help from my DearREADERS. I know that a number of you are actively supporting as either indexers or arbitrators, and that an even greater number are accessing original documents that have been indexed and are now available at

What's needed are a few inspiring stories about your experiences with the FamilySearch Indexing project. Here are some starting points:
  • What inspired you to become a FamilySearch indexer?
  • What if any training did you receive as a FamilySearch Indexer?
  • What do you think about the Part A, Part B and then arbitration methodolgy?
  • How many of your genealogy friends participate in the indexing project?
  • How frequently do you do research at soon to be replaced by
  • Describe a research breakthrough using either the pilot or beta FamilySearch indexed records. Be specific as to record group, and your ancestor's name.
Time is of the essence, so please take time to tell Ol' Myrt how FamilySearch Indexing projects have impacted your research.

I, for one, like to index when I am stymied, and cannot figure out where to look next for records mentioning my ancestors. Indexing makes me feel I am "paying my dues" or "paying it forward". Some of my best brick wall busters have been because others indexed an obscure record group that listed my ancestor.

Be sure to post your reply in comments after this blog entry.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt     :)
Your friend in genealogy.


  1. What inspired you to become a FamilySearch indexer? I found that FamilySearch was starting the indexing project and thought it would be interesting to index records that could possibly help my research as well as others. I also thought it would be fun.

    What if any training did you receive as a FamilySearch Indexer? I learned the 'basics' of how to index a record they've improved greatly since I did the 'training' course in 2008. But it is pretty easy, it just like when you read through census records at Ancestry only you are transcribing what you see and not just your particular ancestor but the entire page (or document).

    What do you think about the Part A, Part B and then arbitration methodolgy? I think its a good idea to have two indexers and then a tiebreaker so to speak, its a good way to get the most accurate information from the records as possible.

    How many of your genealogy friends participate in the indexing project? I don't know about any friends that are participating but I always mention it if I'm on Facebook or posting something at a genealogy group.

    How frequently do you do research at soon to be replaced by I go there (to both actually) because I honestly like the former better than the latter, its easier to use and easier to find what I'm looking for. The latter doesn't have enough filtering that I can find specific enough records (or ones close to what I'm looking for) at the top of the page. But I suppose I'll get use to the latter eventually.

    Describe a research breakthrough using either the pilot or beta FamilySearch indexed records. Be specific as to record group, and your ancestor's name. Hmm, well when I first starting using it I mainly searched the Ohio Death certificates which helped a great deal with my paternal lines, specifically Fry, Wilhelm, and Walker. But more recently when they added records from Illinois, specifically Cook County, my maternal lines really started to fill in, my Robinson, Gentzen and Kriesten lines. I was able to fill in a LOT of blanks and missing pieces with the birth, marriage and early death records and even found a couple surprises. I also knocked down a couple of brick walls with some of the German records for my paternal Walker line as well as my Bertsche line. Those are the major breakthroughs I've had.


  2. I have been indexing for about two months. I found a very significant record on the site in 2001. Like you,this is my way of showing gratitude. I am glad there is an arbitrator. If a make a mistake, someone will caught it. Believe it or not I have gotten a quasi geography lesson will indexing.

  3. DearMYRTLE,

    I have not participated in the indexing portion of FamilySearch. I hope my answers about genealogy research and breakthroughs using the FamilySearch site help with your project.

    "How frequently do you do research at soon to be replaced by"

    FamilySearch is a cornerstone of my genealogy research. It is one of the sites I go to immediately when I begin any genealogy research. I follow the updates on their site and routinely search for family names. I have had breakthroughs using the pilot site, and the forums.

    "Describe a research breakthrough using either the pilot or beta FamilySearch indexed records. Be specific as to record group, and your ancestor's name."

    My father-in-law and I have been researching his family in the Detroit, Michigan area for several years. We had good original source documentation on his paternal grandfather, Charles Martin Kruger, from 1897 until his death in 1914. The only information we had on Charles before the 1890s were family letters which stated that Charles and some of his siblings immigrated to the US from Buchholz-Kreis, Schleckheim, Germany in the mid-1880s. The letters also stated that Charles' parents were August and Eva Kruger (no maiden name was given for Eva). We hunted and hunted, not only for Charles and his siblings, but also using what we thought were his parents names, and even tried to find the place where they immigrated from, with no luck.

    Our first breakthrough came when the FamilySearch pilot web site was highlighted during one of our local genealogy club meetings by Lynell Moss, who runs the LDS Family History Center in Plano, Texas. That evening after the meeting, I looked at what records were available, and discovered the Michigan Marriages (1868-1925) Collection. I found Charles Martin Kruger's marriage record, which provided information about he and his wife, and also listed their parents names! Suddenly we had a record that stated Charles' father as Andrew Kruger, and his mother as Effa Deck. We did several other searches in this database, as many of Charles' siblings married in the Detroit area, too. After comparing the information in all of the marriage records, it was determined that Charles' parents were Andrew Kruger and Eva Deck.

    At that point, we felt that we would have to find where they came from in order to go back any further in the family line. That led to a more thorough search for the location of the village where the Krugers immigrated from in Germany. This was our first experience in attempting international research, so we were really exploring unknown territory. My father-in-law began to research all the townships with the name Buchholz in Germany. He found 20+ areas, but none that were connected with a district that sounded like "Schleckheim".

    A few months prior to this breakthrough in our research, we attended the Great Family Search Conference hosted by Lynell Moss at the Family History Center in Plano. The FamilySearch forums ( were mentioned during the Plenary Session, with an example of someone in the US posting a question about a location in Germany, and the response they received from someone in Germany who lived near the target location. I started a thread entitled "Buchholz-Kreis, Schleckheim, Germany", and asked for assistance in identifying the location. In two days, I received a response that pointed us to Buchholz in Kreis Schlochau, West Prussia, which is in present day Poland. Through additional research of the area, I was able to find digitized copies of the catholic church records, and confirm that our ancestors were there.

    I cannot imagine another way we could have found this information without the records and assistance we received on the FamilySearch site. It is an invaluable resource for all things genealogy and family history.

  4. I became an indexer because I wanted to be part of a project that makes historical/genealogical information available to the public. User access is very important to me and I appreciate the way FamilySearch approaches this monumental task.

    My indexing "training" consisted of an instructional video I watched online. The first batch I indexed slowly, but my pace and performance picked up with practice.

    The Part A/Part B system isn't foolproof, but it's the best process I can thin of. I'm also an arbitrator, so I get to see both sets. There are times when I determine both A and B to be incorrect and I override them. It's not too common, but it does happen.

    The Texas death certificate database at FamilySearch has been instrumental in helping me sort out my Jones family. The ability to search by parent name has really helped me find descendants in my tree. I am also thrilled by the availability of Luxembourg records! Such a tiny duchy and I'm able to research online to my heart's content thanks to FamilySearch!

    Good luck with your project. I can't wait to hear more about it.

  5. * Ever since I saw my first index (census index in a book), I was so very grateful for the people who took the time to make life easier for me. I want to give back to make genealogy easier for others, and hopefully help myself as well.
    * My training was online.
    * I think the methodology of having two people index the records is a good one. I also like an arbitrator looking over and doing a final check. However, I think the arbitrator should have more training, and I think that whenever possible, both of the indexers spelling variations should be included.
    * I don't know of any other people I know in real life who participate in the indexing project
    * I use both and almost everyday now.
    * I had a break through with Mary White. I had a very hard time finding her anywhere and with such a common name, I thought I had an impossible task. A couple of weeks ago, I found her death certificate (Ohio) on beta, and after researching her parents family through census on beta, combined with my research with obits, etc., I found that she was indeed my Mary White. I've had this brick wall since the late 80's, so it was a big deal for me!

  6. Hello Dear Myrtle,

    I tired posting a comment on your blog post entitled "Need your inspiring story about FamilySearch".

    The post didn't appear to go through, so here it is:

    I had a brick-wall breakthrough that started with a record I found on FamilySearch in a database called "Idaho Marriages, 1878-1898; 1903-1942"

    There's a write-up of this on my blog; it describes the breakthrough and how traditional genealogical research methods combined with genetic genealogy led to a discovery...and enabled a family skeleton to come tumbling out of the closet :)

    The narrative is here:

    All the best,


    By the way, I always enjoy reading your blog; thanks for all that you do.

    Randy Majors